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Game Profile
INFO BOX
PLATFORM:
PlayStation 2
PUBLISHER:
Eidos Interactive
DEVELOPER:
IO Interactive
GENRE: Action
PLAYERS:   1
RELEASE DATE:
May 30, 2006
ESRB RATING:
Mature
IN THE SERIES
Hitman

Hitman 5

Hitman: Blood Money

Hitman: Blood Money

Hitman: Contracts

More in this Series
 Written by James Dauer  on December 14, 2005

First Impressions: I'd make a witty comment about Agent 47's cue-ball, but then he'd probably strangle me while I was asleep with a pair of my own dirty socks.


The Hitman series is interesting. On one hand, it features clunky 3rd person controls with an iffy stealth system. Sometimes enemies will see spot you out at the most random times, whereas other times you can run right in front of an enemy and he won't even notice you. On the other hand, Hitman features one of the most exciting stealth experiences this side of Metal Gear Solid, rewarding players for sneaking in, disposing of the target- often without the use of a gun- and slipping out of harm's way. Nothing quite beats the adrenaline rush of making a clean hit. Now that the series is on its fourth installment, Io Interactive has sought out different ways to enhance the experience without hampering the core stealth gameplay.

The first important factor of Hitman Blood Money is the plot. Last time we saw Agent 47, he was recovering from a near fatal gunshot wound during a botched mission. After narrowly escaping he found out that trouble was afoot in his parent agency. Now an unknown rival agency is hiring out assassins to systematically murder all of 47's co-assassins and he is on their list. 47 must fight against these rival assassins to commit hits, prevent hits, and even save his own life. The inclusion of these rivals is bound to keep players on their toes throughout the entirety of Hitman Blood Money.

In previous Hitman titles, players were rewarded with special equipment if they avoided detection and performed a clean hit. Hitman Blood Money actually gives the player better incentive to do well by keeping track of how Agent 47 completes his contracts. This is known as the notoriety system. If 47 works smoothly, the authorities will be baffled as to who committed the killing, and 47's secrecy will remain unscathed. However, if 47 recklessly runs into a hit, guns a-blazing, he will undoubtedly pick up too much unwanted attention and find himself on wanted posters in later levels, leaving him far more vulnerable in public. At the end of every stage, the player is presented with a newspaper, chronicling how well the killing went. If all went smoothly, the death will be reported as a mysterious accident, whereas, if it went horribly wrong, an artist rendering of Agent 47's bald head just may end up right on the front page. The paper is built dynamically, recounting just how many people were killed and telling how the target was taken out.

One other new addition to the series is the concept of money. Before, when Agent 47 completed a mission, he never really got any payment, or if he did, the game never let the player know it. In Hitman Blood Money, 47 will acquire money depending on how well he performed the mission. If 47 botches things up, the agency will deduct some of his payment in order to clean up after him. With the leftover revenue, 47 can buy new weapons and upgrades (including metal-detector proof modifications for handguns, sights for rifles, and more), coax reluctant pedestrians to give up important information, or convince them that they didn't see anything.

Smaller additions have been made to the game such as close-quarters combat maneuvers. Agent 47 can now disarm opponents, as well as giving them a good headbutt. Also, there are more places to store enemy bodies than in any of the previous games.

The graphics engine has also been rebuilt from the ground up. While not quite as good looking as Killzone, the graphics are still breath-taking. Just looking at the stills, one is amazed at how spectacular the finer details look. Faces are very detailed, as are weapons and clothes. The lighting effects are downright gorgeous. It's amazing what IO has been able to churn out on the PS2.

Returning to the series is the familiar must-have map that gives players a good view of all of the characters on the map at once. Also, returning players will be quite familiar with the old interface. Agent 47 still walks like a tank, albeit a fast moving, tight turning tank, but the movement could still use a good fix-up.

Final Thoughts
Overall the product is shaping up nicely. The additions add a very interesting twist to the mechanics, making perfect hits much more worthwhile, and giving just a little more replayability to the title. If all goes well, the only real complaint that can be made is that of the controls, and even that isn't much of a complaint.


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