Hitman: Blood Money
Score: 6.5 / 10
The Hitman games have always been kind of a mess - although, one could argue, that’s the point. As bald badass Agent 47, you’re plopped in the middle of various settings, with orders to kill one or more people, and make it out alive You’re given a full map and some vague orders - how you accomplish your mission is completely up to you. Hitman: Blood Money doesn’t change any of the established formula, which will please it’s fans and confuse everyone else.
theoretical brilliance of the Hitman series is that you can execute
your mission practically any way
you want. In one stage, you need to kill a guy who’s in a glass
bottom jacuzzi several stories above. You can take the easy way by
walking underneath it and firing up, and watch as the glass shatters
and the poor sap falls helplessly to his death. Naturally, this will
cause some concern amongst the guards. If you want to be less obvious,
you could climb up the side of the house and snipe from out of sight.
The “most correct” way to beat the level is by slipping an
aphrodisiac in his drink, then strangle him when he’s off visiting a
stripper. You can also cause “accidents”, which are new to Blood
Money. By messing around with certain objects, you can make your
target’s deaths seemed accidental, thus removing Agent 47's
involvement from the crime.
Figuring out the quietest way to kill people is even more important than ever, due to the newly introduced Notoriety rating. If you get captured on camera, or rampage through a level and kill everything in site, eventually people in other levels will recognize Agent 47, which can cause problems down the road. The only solution is to either expend money to cover up your tracks, or be more
The easiest difficulty level turns the Notoriety rating off, so you
can still play levels as you please without having to worry about
consequences in the next.
The problem is, figuring out how to execute the stealthier kills is astoundingly difficult, and practically impossible without a guide. You’re given some pieces of intel,
which can be
purchased for a
small fee, but they’re only vague guides.
The map marks off “important points” with an exclamation
mark, but never tells you exactly what you’re supposed to be doing
there. In one particular stage, an exclamation point leads you to a
point where you can set a bomb, which in turn will send a lighting
fixture crashing to the ground. But - for what purpose? Is to kill
someone, even though the room below appears to be empty? Is to cause
a distraction? There’s such a thing as being too open-ended, and
the complete lack of the direction makes the game feel too chaotic.
game occasionally shows a split-screen cinema (similar to the TV
show “24") - in
this same level, you see a man cooking food in his apartment. You
don’t know who this man is or why he’s cooking, all you know is
that he’s apparently important. If you somehow manage to find him
- the game constantly shows you these things without any indication
as to where these events are taking place - you can walk up to the
gas tank and sabotage it. When this man returns to cook some more
food, it explodes and kills him. And once again, you wonder - why?
You find out later in the mission that you were supposed to murder
this guy, but the game gives you clues right at the beginning.
Instead of levels taking linear - or even divergent - paths, the
route through some feels more like a much of arbitrary scribbles.
The only real thing you can do is wander around and hope you stumble across something. In order to get access to most areas, you need to accost various people and steal their outfits. Most of the time, you can only do this in pre-determined places, where you can hide the bodies. Otherwise, people will come across the unclothed body and begin to become suspicious. Right next to Agent 47's life meter is the “suspicion” meter, who shows how alert the guards are in the area. Pull out a shotgun in front of some policeman, and it’ll hit red really quickly. But how this works doesn’t always make sense. Sometimes you can hijack a costume and the suspicion meter immediately drop. Sometimes it’ll stay red until every guard in the level - and there are usually dozens upon dozens - are on your tail. Sometimes even weirder things happen - in another level, I garroted a lone guard in some thick brush and hid him in the bushes. A minute later, for some reason, another guard comes running out, runs straight towards the body, and immediately calls a full alert. The whole game operates on some kind of logic that’s never really apparent to the player, and thus things happen all the time without making any real sense.
graphics engine in Hitman: Blood Money has increased slightly over
the previous games, with the biggest advantage being better lighting
effects. The Mardi Gras level is also pretty cool, because the
Once you become intimately familiar with the levels, Hitman becomes a lot of fun, and the game is practically made for infinite replayability. The problem is, getting to that point is so messy that it’s more confusing than fun. This isn’t helped by the strange difficulty spikes (one level can be a massive challenge, and the next can be a cakewalk) and an annoying save system which lets you quicksave in level but erases them if you turn off the game. Most of these issues are trademarks of the series, and IO Interactive doesn’t really see any reason to fix them. It’s too bad, because while the concept is excellent, the shoddy execution is what keeps the series from excellence.
- Kurt Kalata
(July 14, 2006)
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