Hitman: Blood Money (Xbox) review
"The seemingly insipid story revolving around a genetically cloned man offing assortments of people around the world doesnít look or sound too outwardly appealing. I mean, canít we fill a slew of bad guys with lead in countless other games already? Sure we can. But what makes Hitman: Blood Money so darn endearing is its matter-of-fact approach to the stunningly brutal acts of murder found throughout the whole game. However, itís not simply the murder that does it; itís the maddeningly clever ..."
The seemingly insipid story revolving around a genetically cloned man offing assortments of people around the world doesnít look or sound too outwardly appealing. I mean, canít we fill a slew of bad guys with lead in countless other games already? Sure we can. But what makes Hitman: Blood Money so darn endearing is its matter-of-fact approach to the stunningly brutal acts of murder found throughout the whole game. However, itís not simply the murder that does it; itís the maddeningly clever ways in which youíll be disposing of enemies that will quickly make this title one to remember, even if some of its core fundamentals arenít done with precision.
After every mission briefing Agent 47 receives, heíll be sent off to various locales around the globe to eradicate another gang leader, thug, or random piece of crap. Heíll be given many different weapons to carry out the mission, including guns, blunt items, strangulation devices and even syringes to poison and sedate people. Many missions will have Agent 47 tracking down individuals and instead of confronting them straight up, heíll find different methods and means. For example, one way to kill a target that lives in a friendly, placid neighborhood is to call his house. Since his phone is placed in front of a large window, as heís picking the phone up, a perfect opportunity for a silenced sniper shot to the head presents itself.
And while the seemingly endless array of cool ways of killing people is fine and dandy, itís the highly suspect AI that puts a disquieting damper on things. One main issue I had was how they reacted to Agent 47ís presence. Often times heíll get spotted in a suspicious area and the onscreen meter that indicates how aware the AI is will rapidly jump. If he walks away and into a room, comes back and shows his face again, however, itís as if they had never seen him before. They simply forget about him. This is only the beginning. Often times heíll be spotted by a simple pedestrian across half the globe and it will immediately blow his cover. How they saw him from a mile away and how they realized he was of any threat is insignificant; they have super human powers. While the game encourages using other peopleís outfits to blend into the surrounding environment, many times it makes no difference. However, when the perfect blend of tactical espionage and gunplay melds and works outÖwell, itís a frickení blast. Sadly, though, it rarely happens.
A large portion of the missions put Agent 47 in huge, sprawling environments and herein lies a big part of the problem. The land is so big and thereís so many people just waiting to catch you. I found myself literally lost and confused and without a clue as to how to execute the mission. If one of Agent 47ís victimsí dead bodies are found, itís pretty much immediate mission abortion. If heís spotted holding a deadly syringe in his hand by one of the innocuous civilians, start over. Everything has to go right in order for general success, and quite frankly, itís downright annoying. Sneaking and being stealthy is often thrown out the window and instead it turns into a shootout. This is not what the developers had in mind.
But at least the vast worlds found are very detailed and intricate amidst the frenzy. Agent 47ís bald head is as shiny as ever, and the cutscenes are incredibly engaging. Upon a broad sweep of the land, it looks quite clear that a lot of work went in to making the world youíre killing people in an immersive one. Only one graphical hiccup presents itself, and that is a brutally terrible clipping problem. When Agent 47 can walk through trees, enemies, walls and pretty much any other inanimate object, youíve got a problem. It basically looks as if clipping issues were completely thrown aside and neglected. I guess thatís the developerís general attitude with the game as a whole. It looks nice, and at times itís brilliant, but it just doesnít execute in some very integral aspects. And that, my friends, is a shame, because Hitman: Blood Money really could have been great. It just didnít seem to want to be.
Community review by Linkamoto (June 10, 2006)
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