I really don’t want to make a habit out of this but here is another game that I am abandoning.
‘Hitman: Absolution’ follows Agent 47 as he tries to kill to protect a little girl, while also working to uncover a mystery. It is a stealth assassination game where you sneak either by hiding or employing disguises before getting to your target in question.
Before I carry on though, I would like to talk about my history with the ‘Hitman’ games. I played ‘Blood Money’ back in the PS2 era and quite enjoyed it. As a teen, being able to walk through clubs with strippers was mind blowing. This simple appeal to my teenage mind aside, the game was also unique in the play-style it offered. Before this I had played games like ‘Prince of Persia’ and ‘Spider-man’ (2000) as such, I was used to simply attacking the enemies, dying cause I slipped up and then trying again.
Blood Money was the first game I played where it felt okay to die because along the way you had learnt a bit more about how you could solve the puzzle set forth. I vividly remember dying so much in this game that I had dreams of firing my dual pistols as my vision turned red. People who have played this game will remember that the game let you keep firing your guns as you die and the screen turns red. Wielding empty guns is a nightmare that I still get once in a while. Needless to say, the game stayed with me.
Another weird memory I have attached to Blood Money is that of a friend’s brother playing it on his laptop and the two of us watching and giving advice. That friend has since passed away and somehow that has fortified the presence of that memory in my head.
Anyway, since the recent relaunch of the ‘Hitman’ series in 2016, I have been wanting to get back. I picked up Absolution for free from GoG and thought it would be a good place to start. I had seen the reviews and was a bit concerned about it having a weak plot but I figured at no cost, there was no harm in giving it a try.
Unfortunately, Absolution, aside from the China Market level, is too damn linear. The maps are just guided pathways that take you from one set piece to another, and they offer little to nothing in the way of freedom. At the end of the day, they provide two options, crouch or disguise speed walk. The game lacks the variety of pathways one expects when working as Agent 47. But if the lack of pathways weren’t enough, the game also does not let you get creative with your kills. Sure there are options that let you go in guns blazing or make it all seem like an accident but often its just one of each and so it all lands up feeling really limited.
As I carried on, I thought I would get used to the linear style. I figured I could pretend that I am playing a weird Splinter Cell game. But at one point in the third mission, when I’d finally made it to my target, the game took control away from me and made Agent 47 pull an absolute amateur move. This was the point where I began to lose interest. Linearity is one thing, but forcing me to act out of character for the sake of plot is criminal. I would have been okay had the lack of agency been a result of something in character. But this was not that and as such felt all wrong. After this, carrying on became a chore. I became increasingly aware of the paths I had to take to get out of a level and they never felt imaginative.
Its fine if your puzzle can be solved in only one way possible, ‘Portal’ does this all the time; but it does not make you think you have the freedom of choice, Hitman: Absolution, unfortunately does.
So here we are, another game abandoned. I don’t want to keep playing this cause its not like the story is gripping or that the character makes sense. I will read the summary online and move on to Hitman (2016) which seems like a return to the classic. I am looking forward to that.