Hitman: Absolution is fun, but flawed. It’s immensely satisfying when you find a way to kill your target “accidently” instead of garrotting them or using a silenced gun. You can eliminate targets by poisoning food, blow someone up by swapping the hot sauce for lighter fuel, electrocute a target and so on.
There are also a variety of levels – from the crowded streets of Chinatown, to a science laboratory and even a courtroom. Personally my favourite levels were hunting down Lenny’s gang and strolling through Chinatown.
However, there are moments which ruin the immersion. One of the first things I had noticed was you could kill guards in the middle of a radio conversation. In the Metal Gear Solid games there was no way you could do that without backup being sent.
Sometimes guards detect objects being thrown and sometimes they don’t, even if it is only a few metres away from them. When they do investigate, it’s in a totally unrealistic fashion. If someone threw a water bottle near you, you don’t inspect it thoroughly like you’ve never seen a plastic bottle before. You might take a quick glance and then head in the direction the bottle was thrown.
This is the first Hitman game I’ve ever played and was surprised that Hitman: Absolution felt more like a stealth game then an assassination game. A lot of time is spent ducking and hiding behind tables and pillars, thanks to a strangely implemented disguise system. In theory, Agent 47 is supposed to be able to knock out someone (say a policeman) and wear their clothes. As long as he keeps his distance from the people he’s impersonating he shouldn’t get spotted. What actually happens is as soon as you poke your head out of the doorway, a policeman on the other side of the room is immediately suspicious of you and you end up having to sneak around and roll behind cover as though you never had a disguise in the first place. You even get spotted when you’re impersonating someone whose face is covered by a mask. In this case, Agent 47 should really only be suspicious if he’s acting oddly.
The plot doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. In fact, I am sure that the developers came up with the levels first, then concocted a plot around the different locations. The second reason is actions the player takes isn’t reflected in some cut scenes. For example, there’s a level where Agent 47 infiltrates a wrestling match in order to interrogate one of the wrestlers on the whereabouts of a kidnapped teenager. But in the actual level, I shot him with a sniper gun. The game then jumps to Agent 47 kicking back at a Hawaiian themed motel and getting attacked by the Saints before heading to Hope. How did he know where to go? I never spoke to the guy, I just shot him.
I also didn’t really understand the point of the Saints. The entire hotel segment could have removed and it wouldn’t have any impact on the plot or gameplay whatsoever. The Saints are just wedged awkwardly between the two levels like a square peg in a round hole. They are far too over the top and contradictory – in the cut scenes they destroy an entire hotel with missile launchers yet in the actual game they are just wandering about in their fetish nun costumes.
In my opinion, I think they should have been far more trigger-happy, destroying scenery if they even caught a whiff of Agent 47, or, removed the hotel segment altogether and made them a constant threat. So while Agent 47 is sneaking around killing targets, there is also a Saint sneaking around in disguise, trying to kill him.
Overall, I feel that Hitman: Absolution is a flawed stealth game. I preferred the parts where you had to eliminate a target and work out ways to kill them. I didn’t really find running away from the police or goons as enjoyable, and even those segments could have been better if the disguise system was well thought out.