Hitman: Blood Money - The Ultimate Review.
This is my first review for any game so please comment constructively. I know it is kind of long but please read it, I tried to make it as entertaining as possible. Read the first paragraph to get a taste of what the rest of the review is like. Thank you.
Silent But Violent
So I'm standing there, in school, in my school uniform - black blazer, red tie and white shirt, looking like the slap-head, bar-coded Agent 47 as I try to think of a scheme to silently execute one of the kids I hate. There's a loose pipe on the cieling of the corridor leading to his next class, could I throw my pen at it at the exact time he wanders under it and give him that haircut he has been needing for quite some time now? Could I sabotage the cooker he uses in a very-soon cookery lesson and send him running down the street mimmicing 'Disco Inferno'? Perhaps I could stuff crap-loads of lighter fluid into the bunsen burner he will use in the Science lesson in 5 minutes...
That suit must smell by now...
Doing 'The Hitman'
Plotting people's deaths as 'accidents' has never been so much fun thanks to IO Interactive's great sequel and best episode to date in the pretty unimpressive Hitman series. Hitman: Blood Money takes the traditional Hitman groundworks (Which had lots of potential) and adds a host of brand new and improved features. Things like throwing unconcious or dead bodies over railings or turning an enemies' own weapon against him are some welcome additions. All the old favourites such as suffocating your victims with the trusty Fibre Wire are still present but are maybe not as useful or as fun compared to sneaking up behind an unalert guard and using him as a human shield. Possibly the most useful method is to assassinate your target via supremely fun 'accidents'. In one example you can fill a barbecue with lighter fluid and, needless to say, when the victim you needed to kill uses it... The point of these 'accidents' is that they make the deaths look like, erm, accidents meaning that no one will know that you had anything to do with it. Managing to pull them off earns you more money and a large helping of self-gratification. Stealing the clothes (Why do they always fit?) from dead or unconcious bodies is still necessary to complete missions and there is a much larger selection this time around.
47, a master of disguise.
Struck By A Smooth Criminal
The amount of options available to execute each target brings me onto another brilliant addition that the series has been begging for, the notoriety system. Depending on how you come about your egg-headed executions will determine how public your actions are. Run around the mission shooting everyone and it will probably put your name on every newspaper in the world (or more likely a tombstone in the nearest church yard). This means that in further levels, civilians, guards and the target may recognise you and, well, what happens when an intruder is detected?.. At the end of each mission a newspaper will pop up and explain the events of your latest hit. What's cool is that it all changes depending on what you did during the mission, whether it be the forensic teams uncovering fingerprints, blood trails or bullet-shells lying around to civilians giving eye-witness acounts and sketches of what you may look like. The stats are also recorded after each mission and you can send them to the IO Interactive stat archives where you can compete with other players around the world.
Best bog-read ever?
So, the game has the gameplay that entertains but has it got the graphics that entertain? Yes. The game uses many cool shader techniques to render beautiful locations and colourful characters. Things such as water refraction and reflection shaders, normal-maps, bump-maps, parallax-maps, specular-maps, dynamic lighting and soft shadows are all present and make everything appear very realistic and cool-looking. All the clothes and the weapons look amazingly detailed and you often find yourself killing people just so you can see the detail on the clothes. There is also a huge amount of weapons all of which are the most detailed weapons I have ever seen in a game. Take a peek at the screenshots I provided to get a taster but believe me when I say, it is 10x better in motion.
A nice sunset if I've ever seen one.
The Sound Of A Hit
The guys in charge of the audio have done a fantastic job on this one. An amazing score which plays througout the menu screens, a great song during the credits and tension-rising tunes that dynamically change during missions make for some of the best virtual sound effects ever witnessed. Guns sound very meaty and realistic, the voice-acting conveys lots of emotion and the ambient effects such as rain and snow make for a very cool experience if you have surround-sound or headphones.
Another of the cool additions is the ability to upgrade 47's stock of custom weapons. The Hardballer custom pistol for example can be fitted with more silent and accurate ammo, multiple silencers, extra magazines, laser sights and more which all change the appearance of the weapons in-game so you can see that monstrous pistol with all the gizmo's applied. You can also smuggle weapons out of each mission and collect them in your Hideout which you can visit from the main menu at any time.
It's always hard to pull that cache off...
Escaping The Scene
Nearing the end of the review now, there are of course some problems with the game that need to be pointed out. None of them detract from the enjoyment factor or render the game unplayable - well, one does... There are huge numbers of reports of crashes and glitches (I had them myself) but they are easily fixed. After a few tweaks here and there (see the end of the review for specific details) the game runs fine with no problems whatsoever. Also, some people may complain that the controls are kind of awkward although they are the same as the previous Hitman games and I had no trouble with them. So, apart from these minor niggles the game is pretty much flawless. How many games have the pride to say that?
The good thing about Hitman: Blood Money is that you don't need a computer comparative to NASA's to run it. As long as you have a DirectX 9.0 graphics card with 2.0 or 3.0 shaders and a 1.5 GHz processor you should be able to enjoy the game with medium or max settings. My setup is as follows and runs the game on max settings with no lag at all:
Geforce 6800 GT
Intel Pentium 3.2 GHz
1 GB RAM
There isn't much I can think of that could be added to this one. Some more close combat moves perhaps? Even more levels next time? There's plenty of content here for now but improvements are always welcome. Right?
Wait until you see it in motion...
So, the end of the review ey? How should I finish? Should I say that Hitman: Blood Money is the best game ever with gorgeous graphics, gameplay that dishes out the pain and sound that 'fixes' windows? Naa. Got it. Hitman: Blood Money is worth every penny / dime. Is that enough? Nay. I'll stop, I can see that you're getting bored now and your mouth is as low as your balls (or boobs, ladies). Hitman: Blood Money is a very entertaining, beautiful looking and sounding game. I guess it boils down to personal taste - you may like huge war simulations such as Call of Duty or Battlefield but if you like stealth games, violent and entertaining games this should tickle your fancy. Once you fix the crashes I guarantee that you will be hooked, unless you aren't a fish, in that case you will be addicted instead. Buy it, play it, but most of all, enjoy it.
|88%| - Nicely Executed.
The Good Cops:
- Great, next-generation graphics with realistic effects and colourful characters.
- Music and atmostpheric sound effects that really create tension and emotional voice-acting througout.
- Fun missions with multiple ways to assassinate your target meaning a high replay value.
The Bad Hitman:
- Some annoying 'crash to desktop' bugs are in town.
- Controls can be tricky to master.
If you are using XFire and have it installed on your computer, even if it is off, you need to go to 'Tools > Options > Games > Hitman: Blood Money > Advanced' and uncheck "Enable in-game chat". This should fix most cases of crashing. If it does not, update your graphics and sound card drivers and make sure your computer has no viruses or spyware.
Harry Callaghan , AKA, Harry-UK.
Last edited by Harry-UK; 06-13-2006 at 06:43 AM.
Not bad, didnt see throwing knifes mentioned in there, shooting doors open?
I agree that HBM is definetly the best in the series but i can see myself replaying my H2's favorite levels and having a great time .
I would definetly buy a package including H2's best levels in the new BM engine, best music too .
My score would be:
A 9 along with the best, add a 10 for replay value into that .
Last edited by Alexlovesguns; 06-12-2006 at 05:02 PM.
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