When Hitman: Absolution hit retailers last fall, longtime fans of the popular franchise were poised and ready to step back into the shoes of their favorite assassin. In addition to catering to an extremely loyal fanbase, Absolution also welcomed newcomers to the series with open arms. Now to kickoff 2013, Square Enix has decided to release an HD trilogy collection of three pivotal chapters within Agent 47’s bloody career. Hitman: HD Trilogy is a deadly fun package that while carrying a few flaws here and there still manages to hold up well enough to be an overall enjoyable experience. Here are a few reasons why you definitely should give this collection a shot.
Hitman: HD Trilogy is a remastered compilation of three classic Hitman titles including Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, Hitman: Contracts, and Hitman: Blood Money. The bridging storyline that evolves from one game to the next involves Agent 47 participating in several high profile missions all while working for the covert International Contract Agency.
Just like in most narratives, there are several twists and turns to keep the plot fresh and push both the mind and skill level of our hero to new, unprecedented heights. The story also intertwines perfectly with the mission-based gameplay dynamics originally setout by the developers over at IO Interactive. Just to clarify, the plot in its entirety isn’t exactly groundbreaking, but it does offer up several intriguing moments and gives a good analysis on Agent 47’s journey, thoughts, and motives.
Graphically, this package boosts some dated visuals that receive a slight bump in quality due to the implemented HD resolutions. Both Silent Assassin and Contracts are no-frills ports of the originals and show their age right out of the gate. On the flip side, Blood Money is the exact same version of the original game that first appeared on the Xbox 360 back in 2006. Thus, the overall presentation and soundtrack for this game in particular is by far the best this collection has to offer. Of course, this doesn’t take away from the fact that the other two games are still fun in their own right and are essential playthroughs if you want to get caught up on all the story has to offer.
If you’ve never played a Hitman game before, the objective of each mission is to execute key targets without drawing too much attention to yourself. To administer these tactics properly, you are encouraged to use disguises, and a combination of both sneaking maneuvers and silent strangulation takedowns. Completing missions successfully often nets you new weapons as part of your reward for a job well done. Alternatively, you could approach most missions by going on a shooting spree and the AI immediately responds to those actions aggressively. Of course, using these methods make the game even more challenging and aim to teach you the value of patience and discipline in the larger scope of each scenario. The total package promises over 75 hits across more the 40 levels and delivers on that front all without missing a beat.
While this trilogy sounds like the perfect package, there are at least two aspects that keep it from reaching it's fullest potential. For starters, these games are all ports and ultimately carry over the same nagging issues and glitches that were present in the original versions without fail. It would have been respectable to at least see an attempt to fix some of these problems, but it’s clear that the main goal here was to enhance the HD output without touching any of the other parts of each game. The other disappointing aspect of this collection is that it doesn’t include the first Hitman game, Hitman: Codename 47. For a collection that is being billed as the definitive Hitman experience, this seems like a missed opportunity to give new fans the full historical context of the series from the past to the present.
Hitman: HD Trilogy is an action packed collection that while good at it’s core, just barely misses the mark of being great. Gamers who are new to the series and loved Absolution get to explore more of Agent 47’s earlier missions in beautiful HD quality. If you’re a fan of classic stealth games, do yourself a favor and definitely check this out.
This review was based on a retail copy of the game for the Xbox 360 provided by Square Enix.