|Developer: IO Interactive
Release Date: Out Now
I've always been a fan of the Hitman games; ever since watching the brilliant movie Leon I wanted a game where you play as a Hitman. Now the popular series has reached its third instalment.
Hitman: Contracts again has you playing as the bald headed 47. This time there's no real storyline, you just go from contract to contract. The missions involve (as you'd expect being a Hitman) killing your 'targets' mostly, but some variety is added by having objectives such as "rescue him/her" or "blow that up". The game plays nicely and the controls are easy to get to grips with. Like the last two games, the action is on the stealthy side and everyone who knows about Hitman will want to do it the stealthy way. Sneaking up on guards and giving 'em the fibrewire treatment, not setting off alarms, hiding bodies and making a clean getaway all to get the Silent Assassin rating (which rewards you with new weapons). Alternatively, if you are of the less than patient type you could just go in all guns blazing, which is surprisingly easy and you can complete many of the missions in 5 minutes.
To use the stealthy approach there are a lot of items around the levels to make it easier, and to give you more choice of how you play the level. Things like poison to put in a target's food or drink can be seen on the very handy map. The map is also key to planning out your mission. As you may have noticed from screenshots of the game, developers IO Interactive have taken a darker approach with freaky scenes and events like a night club in a slaughter house where the guests wear some "unusual" head gear. There are also Manhunt-style kills which look really evil.
Graphically the game is very good, with a darker, more atmospheric look aided by improved lighting effects. Higher detail characters and nicer textures than before also give the game a polished appearance. Nifty special effects like bullet hits look great and give the gun battles more visual impact than before.
The sound is one of HC's strong points; the music draws you in, giving some great themes depending on the type of levels you're in. The weapons sound great along with the screams and other ambient noises. The voice acting is good, but I still don't like 47's voice, and don't think it suits him.
Overall I think that for fans of the series this is a must, but for newcomers thinking of having a go at being a 'cleaner' I'd suggest trying Hitman 2 first because it's a bit easier, and it's available on platinum now. Hitman: Contracts is a darkly atmospheric and enjoyable game that's a real challenge to complete properly.
- Nice challenge for Hitman fans.
- Great music.
- Inconsistent AI.
- It's way too easy to just run and shoot your way through levels.