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Hitman HD Trilogy Review

by Diogo Miguel March 11, 2013

Everyone’s favourite bald assassin has been taking out targets in complex ways for a while now. So it makes sense that IO Interactive and publisher Square Enix decided to release a best of HD compilation. Fans know what to expect, but will a new generation enjoy the memory trip down Agent 47’s career?

Hitman 2 is perhaps the most puzzling title out of everything that this HD Trilogy has to offer. It has plenty of good ideas. It features the classic costume changing to fool enemies that the Hitman video-games have become famous for. It also include the ability to use props in order to complete missions.

Unfortunately all of these ideas are ruined by clunky stealth controls that makes it almost impossible to sneak up on enemies. This also makes it incredibly difficult to follow through with the objectives that field operative Diane constantly dishes out. Most players will struggle to even take out the target, let alone do it in the complex manner that the mission objectives require.

The building layout is also not helpful since it has some rather baffling level design. An early level set in a country estate will see players walking through nearly identical rooms, whilst looking for the target. There is a map that doesn’t exactly offer much help in finding the mission objective. It literally feels like being inside a labyrinth when playing through some missions.

Hitman 2 is a video-game that probably had some breakthrough ideas in its time. Nowadays they just seem poorly executed, and more than often end up being spoiled by an ancient control scheme. It will most likely end up being a frustrating experience for anyone who is not familiar with the early Hitman video-games.

Hitman Contracts certainly performs better than Hitman 2. It still has some issues with controls. Specially when it comes to using weapons, since it’s difficult to aim at distant targets.

However, it is incredibly unforgiving when it comes to mistakes. Less experienced players will struggle to even get past the first mission. This is mostly due to the lack of proper instructions given throughout the first mission. It means that the player is literally thrown into the deep end without much help on how to go about playing Contracts.

This is made even more apparent because Agent 47 can only take a few bullets before he gracefully kneels over and dies. The slow death animation is amusing at first, but it will become infuriating after seeing it many times.

Enemies are relentless and even the special forces in the first mission will put up a challenge. It’s definitely the case that Contracts holds up better than Hitman 2. It just requires a lot of patience to come to grips with its tough love approach.

Blood Money is easily the best out of the three for those that aren’t used to the earlier Hitman video-games. It is much more forgiving when it comes to mistakes. This is also the only way that PlayStation 3 owners can play this title.

It contains a lot of imaginative ways to send off targets to their maker. What is even better is that newbies can perform these accidental deaths with a bit of skill and patience, since the controls have been tweaked to make it easier to play through missions.

The controls are still a bit fiddly when it comes to using weapons and props. But it definitely is a vast improvement when compared to the previous video-games.

This is the highlight of the collection since it is also the one that is most accessible. This is due to the level design taking into account the various imaginative ways used to eliminate targets. This makes it more feasible for anyone, regardless of skill level, to feel accomplished after successfully completing mission objectives in the correct manner.

In terms of visuals, both Hitman 2 and Contracts have aged reasonably well. There is no denying that the levels feel somewhat empty and simple compared to the more recent efforts. However, they look reasonably well in full screen on HD TV screens.

Obviously it’s unfair to make such comparisons, but the current generation Blood Money looks miles better. Specially when it comes to some of its flashier levels. It’s surprising to see just how technology has advanced in the last few years when playing the other two titles and Blood Money.

The Hitman video-games are notoriously challenging. Fortunately, the games come with a couple of saves to use per mission, so the player doesn’t have to start from the beginning. This is very helpful when it comes to some of the tougher missions included in Contracts.

The two first Hitman games in this collection will probably end up being better received by those who played them when they came out. They both offer some imaginative ways to kill targets and the various tools to go about it.

It’s a strange decision to include the current generation Blood Money. Specially since it is a lot more accessible and will probably end up being the one most players enjoy. It essentially makes the two previous games look like ancient both visually and in terms of game mechanics. Which is unfair but sadly true as they don’t hold up as well after playing recent efforts like Hitman Absolution

Fans will probably get a kick out of player the older Hitman titles. Unfortunately anyone new to the franchise will find it very difficult to get into them, since the older titles haven’t aged particularly well. The Hitman HD Trilogy at least shows why Blood Money was so successful, but is also a treat for those fans who have grown up playing Hitman from the very beginning.

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