The new Glacier engine pulls off some lovely visuals, making Absolution the best looking entry to the series. The level of detail on the characters and the environments is superb with the streets of Chinatown packed with people, colourful fireworks bursting overhead and beautiful red and gold everywhere. Then you have the dingy hotel – Terminus, which echoes that old 1940's look perfectly. The engine handles a lot of stuff going on and looks great doing so.Animations
There are some superb animations in Hitman: Absolution and from 47's various combat moves to the enemies, there's no doubt that the Glacier revamped engine has been tweaked to allow for greater flexibility. There are a lot of context sensitive death animations based on the weapon that 47 is holding at the time, and the screwdriver to the gut is one of our favourites.Physics
The physics engine handles Hollywood style gun battles really well, shotgun blasts knock enemies over, explosions do a great deal of damage and destructible objects fly apart really well.AI
As you crank up the difficulty the AI gets smarter and smarter. On Purist you'll be hard pressed to get away with murder literally, unless you're really smart. They understand the level, they understand the propagation of information and they'll use it to inform each other of changes in their environment. Scare an NPC and they might run off to tell their heavily armed thug friends about you, they'll come to the area you're in and start hunting. If you're still there, expect a fight. If not, you can watch the enemy spread out and check various parts of the area.
You can hide in a bin or wardrobe and as long as no one saw you enter, you're fine. Of course if they did see you enter, expect some witty banter and then a lot of lead.
In combat they use cover, tactics and provide superb adversaries for 47 if you're playing gung-ho.
In short, Hitman's AI is some of the best we've seen since ever.Sound
To match the gorgeous visuals and solid word building the audio suite for Hitman is excellent, there are tons of tiny spot effects and ambient sounds which pervade each level and make the whole game far more atmospheric. From the tunnels beneath an area to the Chinese New Year they are all really well done.Music
What can we say about the score to the game, it's powerful, it's fitting and it evokes the right kind of emotional response from the various scenes. The piece we like the most is the dramatic reveal of 47 as he skulks around a library and the camera pans up across his feet to show his face. This piece music is Hitman to us.Voice
There are some famous folks playing characters in Absolution, Powers Boothe for one, Keith Carradine. David Bateson returns to reprise his role as Agent 47, which is fantastic because he is Agent 47 and no one can replace him. In short, the voice work for the game is top notch and the dialogue delivery is as good as it's ever been.Dialogue
The story is well written and has some solid character interplay. There are some twists and turns, with slow reveals as the game progresses. It's a good one!Contracts
There's no multiplayer in the game, its all about singleplayer. However there is an unlimited online mode in Hitman Contracts. It's an A-synchronous game mode which lets you play any level and pick any number of targets, you carry out the hit, which becomes the way the mission is structured. You then save it off and challenge your friends/other players to complete the hit.
You get Contracts dollars which can be used to buy stuff for Contracts mode.
It is simple, and it is effective. It works perfectly and provides the game with mission after mission of user created gameplay content with contests to find the best assassin in the world.Come in 47, your time is up.
Thankfully it isn't. Hitman: Absolution proves there's life in the old agent yet and this latest instalment of the beloved franchise is about the best we've seen since Blood Money and that's high praise indeed.