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Platform

Xbox

 

Genre

Action

 

Publisher

Eidos

 

Developer

IO Interactive

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

May 2004

 

 

- Fundamentals of the core gameplay remain intact
- Detailed and fully accessible environments.
- Sound and voice-acting well done

 

 

- Not a lot has been changed from the last two Hitman titles.
- Same gameplay elements , almost identical graphics…*sigh*
- Lack of multiplayer leaves little replay value once you’ve mastered the game

 

 

Review: Hitman 2 (XB)

Review: Splinter Cell - Pandora Tomorrow (XB)

Review: Tenchu - Return from Darkness (XB)

 

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Hitman: Contracts

Score: 7.2 / 10

 

hitman contracts review          hitman contracts review

 

Don’t try to slide this barcode through your local supermarket counter – it will only make him angrier. That’s right kiddies, the shiny bald head and balers are back for some more bloody assassinations.

The first two Hitman games were among the few innovative titles in the action/adventure genre. Hitman: Contracts, the third installment of the series, doesn’t do much in terms of “innovation”, but makes sure to fine tune every aspect that made the first two Hitman titles instant classics.

The story of Hitman: Contracts is hazy as the game starts off, but after each mission bits and pieces of the story are fed to you through cinematics. You realize early on that the missions you are playing are flashbacks from Agent 47’s memory.

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From strip clubs to cargo planes – you’ll be transported to a number of distinct locations.

There’s an old saying: “If it aint broke, don’t fix it,” and the developers seem to have embraced this. The gameplay of Hitman: Contracts is no different that the last two versions – aside from a few minute details, there doesn’t seem to be anything different. This is rather disappointing after

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all of the hype surrounding the new game. Movement, shooting, and performing actions are all done through the same interface, and even more sadly, same animations. What is new is the 1st person camera angle. The last Hitman attempted this and made the gameplay rather blotchy, but Contracts fixes the camera angle and makes it fun. While the 3rd person angle is best used for hiding in shadows and watching your victims, the 1st person camera works best for bolting through a door and shooting everything.

Regardless the lack of gameplay innovation, Hitman: Contracts creates one of the best artificial environments in any videogame. Veterans of the series know that each mission is filled with civilians, buildings, and other objects that are for the most part intractable. Hitman: Contracts keeps all of that intact while taking it a step further. Every mission can be accomplished a variety of ways. Similar to the Splinter Cell franchise, the player can choose when to use firearms and when to keep it basic and play hide-and-seek. The lighting and shading effects have been vastly improved over the last two Hitman games, while the overall graphics of the game are relatively the same as Hitman 2 (and a bucket of gore more).

On the subject of graphics, it seems the IO interactive team followed the same “If it ain't broke, don’t fix it” maxim. If both Hitman 2 and Hitman: Contracts were running side-by-side, it would be almost impossible to tell the two apart. I was very disappointed in this as well and hope that if the series plans to survive, Eidos needs to make sure the path of Hitman isn’t the same as the one Lara Croft took.

 

hitman contracts review          hitman contracts review


One area of the game that received major attention was sound. Composed by the award-winning Jesper Kyd (Freedom Fighters, Brute Force, and Hitman 2), Hitman: Contracts music will keep you on your heels at all times. Through dark corners you will hear the soft echo of Kyd’s musical score that is one of the best I’ve ever heard. The general sound of Contracts is well done, but nothing entirely special. The in-game conversations with the characters do spark some character out of the generally quiet Agent 47.

When you get finished with Hitman: Contracts there is no doubt in my mind that you will be satisfied, although more serious fans of the series will feel betrayed. Very little was done to make the core game better, making Hitman: Contracts no more than a highly priced expansion pack. The missions are a lot of fun to complete, especially with some of his bigger toys, and the stealth aspects of the game give those who aren’t a big fan of shooting a different way to complete the mission.

If you do decide to pick up Hitman: Contracts, make sure to do so as a rental, because once you get through the game once, chances are you won’t want to go through it a second time.

- Eric Lahiji
element@armchairempire.com
(June 6, 2004)

 

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