Hitman: Blood Money Review

If you,ve played any of the previous Hitman games, you may have noticed how the series has sort of been like a rollercoaster ride. The first title, Codename 47, offered up a new concept but was plagued with flaws, limitations, and trial and error gameplay. The sequel, Silent Assassin, offered up a large number of improvements across the board and completely changed the overall experience of the series, even though it basically kept to the roots of the original game. Unfortunately, the third title didn,t have the same impact and was more like an expansion to Silent Assassin. Although Hitman: Contracts was fun, it just didn,t have enough new features to hold your attention for long. After a while of waiting, IO Interactive has now struck back again with the fourth installment in the series, Hitman: Blood Money. So what can we expect from Agent 47,s latest outing? Read on to find out.

In Blood Money, players reprise the role of the genetically engineered assassin clone, Agent 47. The story unfolds in very much the same manner as the previous Hitman: Contracts; basically, the entire story is told through the use of flashbacks, and it,s in these flashbacks that you execute the 12 total missions of the game. These flashbacks are between a reporter and a former politician (Alexander) as they look over reports of the killings in which Agent 47 has been involved. Alexander has called the reporter to his home in order to alert the public to the dangers of cloning. His main fear is that terrorists can use the technology to create soldiers like 47. Even though most of Agent 47,s cloned brothers have already been killed off, he fears that Mr. 47 himself has stolen the technology of cloning and is going to sell it to the highest bidder.

Besides the new story, and its climatic ending, there are a lot of new features incorporated that really make the game feel more well-rounded and enjoyable than previous titles. The most noticeable of these new features is the completely new addition of a notoriety system. In previous titles, these statistics really weren,t worth much other than bragging rights. Blood Money, however, has now taken this concept to a whole new level.

When you complete a mission in Blood Money, you,re still shown the same type of statistics: how many bodies were found, how many people you killed, how many covers were blown, how many headshots, etc. Once you,re done looking at this, a full-page newspaper shows up with a news article that talks about the events that just took place. The great thing about this is that the news article is actually customized according to the exact decisions that you made during the mission. So if you shot two people in the head, for example, the newspaper will actually mention in a realistic manner that the police were disturbed to see that two people were executed by shots to the head and it will even identify the weapon that was used. The articles also mention how many witnesses, if any, noticed your criminal escapades. If there were witnesses, then the police place a sketch of what you look like in the newspaper. Depending upon how many witnesses saw you and how high your notoriety level is, the sketch may look nothing like Agent 47, or be a splitting image of the bald-headed assassin.

Just like in the previous games, taking a more stealthy approach will result in a higher rating and a lower notoriety level. The best way of doing this is to take advantage of a new feature: accidents. Instead of just plainly killing your target, you can now make every kill look like an accident. For example, this can be done by dropping a chandelier on someone,s head or even taking someone hostage and then pushing them over a railing. In fact the ability to now take people hostage by holding a gun to their head is a great addition to the game, since you can now use that feature to knock them out silently.

Fortunately, if your notoriety level is too high, you can always bribe officials at the end of the mission to lower it. Lowering your notoriety level is important, as pedestrians may notice who you are in the next mission if it,s too high. At the end of each mission you earn a specific amount of money, and there are sometimes opportunities for bonus money as well. Money can also be deducted from your pay for damage control if you went on a killing spree, or if you left any equipment behind. Money can also be used for buying upgrades for each of the five base weapons that are at 47,s disposal. Each weapon has roughly 13 upgrades, running the gamut between scopes, silencers, bullet types, laser sights, and several others. You can also make upgrades to Agent 47,s main equipment, with each upgrading adding a level of realism and customization to the game.

Among the five main weapons in the game are Agent 47,s famous Silverballers, a SP12 shotgun, SMG tactical machine gun, M4 assault rifle, and the W2000 sniper rifle packed neatly in a small brief case. These are the only weapons that can be upgraded, and are the only ones that can be taken into missions at first. In-mission other weapons are available, both intentional and improvised. Some of 47,s last items include a poison syringe, which can not only be used to directly poison enemies through the neck but can also be used to poison food and drinks, a sedative which can be used the same way as the poison syringe, and the trusty fiber wire. One of the best new weapons would have to be the addition of remote-detonated mines, which can be placed anywhere. If none of these weapons seem to do the trick, than 47 does have some new fighting moves at his disposal, like punching and head butting, as well as a disarming move.

One of the new gameplay mechanics for weapons is the ability for 47 to hide his weapon behind his back. If he is holding a handgun, syringe, or fiber wire, he will automatically hide it behind his back when walking near other people. The only problem is that people always notice when he is hiding a syringe or handgun. So while may serve as an affective way to have your weapon ready to go, it really doesn,t do a good job at concealment.

Choosing the right weapons to take on a mission is actually kind of complicated, because the problem is that you really don,t know what the mission is going to be like. So it may take a few attempts at running through the mission to choose the right weapons to fit your play style for that particular situation. The missions themselves, though, are very well done. All 12 missions have a large variety to them, so you never feel like you,re seeing the same old stuff again and again. Some missions will place you a Las Vegas casino, while others will see you in the quiet suburbs. IO Interactive has also done an excellent job at placing different features around the levels that you can utilize to complete your objective. The end result is a huge amount of replay value that none of the previous titles even come close to. There are just so many different ways of taking out your targets and going about the levels in general that you really need to play each mission over and over again to experience everything to its fullest.

The AI is one aspect of the game that really hasn,t changed much at all. It is a little smarter in the sense that people now notice blood on the ground, and guards will actually place dead bodies in body bags and drag them to the local security room. Not to mention that they,ll also pick up any weapons lying around and take those to the security room as well, including your sniper brief case, if you set it down somewhere. Other than those minor improvements the AI is very much the same.

Another nice improvement to Blood Money has been made in the visuals. Blood Money uses the latest version of the Glacier engine, and it all looks excellent. The engine supports all of today,s latest DirectX 9 features such as dynamic soft shadowing, self shadowing, character mapping, normal mapping, and very detailed textures. Some other small effects also include bullet holes in bodies via a new hit detection system. While the Xbox 360 and PC versions do look the best, it has to be noted that the developers were able to translate the majority of these visuals over to the PS2 and Xbox versions as well. So if you choose to go with one of these versions, you really won,t be left out as far as the visual effects go.

Like all of the previous Hitman titles, Blood Money features some of the best music around. The score is once again composed by Jesper Kyd, and it really adds to the tension and excitement of the game. The game would feel a little empty if it wasn,t for this great music. The sound effects are also well done, even though they do seem very similar to the earlier titles.

As much praise as I give Hitman: Blood Money for its good execution and excellent new features, it,s still suffering from the same issues that have plagued the series from the beginning. First off, the option of a first person view has always been garbage in this series, and any fan of an FPS-type view will be disappointed with this feature in this latest Hitman installment. While the controls do seem a little smoother this time around, they still have a somewhat stiff feel to them. The last problem arises with the trial and error style of gameplay gameplay. Having to reload constantly when a plan fails really starts to get aggravating, and it almost makes the game feel like one large action puzzle that needs to be solved.

In the end, Hitman: Blood Money does come out on top as the best title in the series. Blood Money makes up for most of its faults and shortcomings by offering a load of new features and entirely new ways of completing mission objectives. There,s a lot of content and replay value here that should keep you going for awhile. The new notoriety system is by far one of the best additions to the series, and it,s even taken farther given the fact that you can actually upload your results to a server and compare your scores with other players. It may be more difficult for someone who,s new to the series to just jump right in and start playing, but if you,ve been a fan of the series from the start, Blood Money is a definite must buy.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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