I am a huge fan of Hitman games, so I could not resist picking up the 4th installment of the series. BTW, how do you call 4th part in a sequence? Second part is a sequel, and if something has 3 parts, we can call it a trilogy. But four? I guess a 4-parter can be called trilogy+1 :mrgreen:
If you are not familiar with this franchise, I can assure you that the title describes the games premise quite accurately. You play a professional killer and you assassinate people for money. Your marks are usually wealthy crime bosses, or other kinds of criminal and social scum – which means they are well protected.
You are evaluated for each mission and assigned a rank. The hardest one to achieve is the coveted “Silent Assassin”. “Hitman”, and “Ghost” are also good. One of the lowest ones is probably butcher or something like that. How do you earn a high rank? You go in and out unseen, and the only dead person at the end of the mission is your target. Oh, and you should make it look like an accident.
Blood Money introduces two new concepts to this system. This time 47 gets paid for each mission and you can use this money to buy upgrades to your weapons. What are the upgrades? You can buy silencers, laser targeters, low velocity ammo, for your signature silver ballers. Or you can extend the barrel and use armor piercing bullets. Extra ammo clips, bombs and a detonator with super extended range are also great. Of course you hardly need any of that cool stuff. I usually don’t even take any weapons for a mission. All you will ever need is your trusty piano wire, and a sedative syringe.
In fact, weapons may sometimes get in the way. In most missions you will be at some point frisked or searched by bodyguards of some sort. So you will need to ditch your precious upgraded equipment somewhere in the ditch. It now costs you money to retrieve these items. It also costs you money to retrieve the signature Hitman suit. In the previous games I would usually escape in whatever I happened to be wearing at the time. This time around I usually try to swing around and pick up my clothes before I leave the scene :)
Second new concept is Notoriety. In this game, if you shoot someone in public people will remember you. There are also security cams and news teams in many locations. If you are not careful, your face may end up on a front page of a paper and etc.. Based on your performance in the mission you get certain amount of Notoriety points. If your cumulative score is high enough, civilians and guards in later missions may be able to ID you. Unless of course you decide to spend money to bribe news teams or the local police chief.
If you are a perfectionist like me, and you always go for that Silent Assassin rank you should never have Notoriety problems. Mine is still at zero after several missions. If you really don’t like the media attention you can always locate and steal security camera tapes in each location.
Gameplay is relatively the same as in other hitman titles. One big difference is the abundance of large crates, and freezers, vats and storage boxes you can use to hide bodies. In fact if you spot one of these you should stick around and wait for an easy kill. Guards are to stupid to open these containers so if you hide a body you are in the clear.
Level design is very good so far. Previous games usually had that one long, boring level that was impossible to pass without taking out few dozen of snipers and patrol guards. I have yet to find one level like that in Blood Money. Since I haven’t finished the game yet, I cannot say that one is not there though.
The second mission (third if you count the training) is a great example of a good design. You are supposed to kill an opera singer during a rehearsal. He is practicing his death scene in which he is executed via pistol shot to the head. How do you kill him?
- you can go rambo, and just kill all the police and guards and shoot him
- you can knock out one of the actors and dress in his costume for easy access to the stage
- you can install a remotely detonated bomb on the stage, and blow all the actors up
- you can find a good vitage point and snipe him down when he is on the stage
- you can use a remotely detonated bomb to make the stage lights crash down and kill all the actors
- you can sneak into the singers dressing room and kill him there
- you can replace the prop pistol used on stage with a real one
There is also one mission happening during Mardi Grass in which you can walk a crowded streets surrounded by literally hundreds of people. That stage totally blew me away. I haven’t really seen such a good crowd simulation in any other game so far. It’s amazing.
I have one huge complain about this game. Hitman has yet to grasp the concept of fully destructible environments. Sure, you can open and close most doors, and shoot out windows. But there is nothing more annoying than to see bullets bounce off a monitor screen, or not being able to break a bathroom mirror with a hammer. Eh…
If you loved last 3 Hitman games, you will love this one. However, if you expect big changes in gameplay mechanics you might be disappointed. It’s essentially the same game, just with few new features and improved graphics.
Here is the breakdown on my super scientific code monkey scale:
TOTAL SCORE: 6 (base 3)
+1 because it is a hitman game +1 for great graphics +1 for awesome crowd simulation +1 for good level design +1 for the new features -1 for non destructible environments -1 same old game, new package