Hitman HD Trilogy review (Xbox 360)

Valenka | 689d ago | User review
Reviewing: Hitman HD Trilogy
Nothing short of a collector's item.
The self-proclaimed—by the developers—'original assassin' has been a rising icon for video gaming since the introductory, PC exclusive instalment—Codename 47—and up until the most recent entry in the series, Absolution. What's next for 47 has yet to be announced, but we've received a nice little treat from Square Enix and IO Interactive to hold us over until then.

The Hitman series, which has sold more than eight million units around the globe (as of March 2011), has garnered one of the largest, most hardcore fan base in the world of video gaming, much of whom take pride in 47's toughened and strategic methodologies of gameplay mechanics. To commemorate 47's mark in the gaming world, the developers have whipped up a charming HD bundle consisting of Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, Hitman: Contracts, and Hitman: Blood Money.

It's not an uncommon sight of previous generation series and standalone games earning themselves an HD collection—including Devil May Cry, Silent Hill, Tomb Raider, and Metal Gear Solid—but that should not suggest that the Hitman series is undeserving of it. Since Codename 47, the Hitman games have set a bar for stealth-based and action games alike and paved the way in innovation and originality, and one would be hard pressed to find someone who hasn't played at least one of the games in the series. With that being said, I personally feel that justice has not been done.

If you're familiar with the Hitman series, then you probably remember how you've manoeuvred through 47's classic adventures. If you haven't, then you're in for quite a treat as a world of possibilities await you. Your target is in seclusion within an FBI monitored suburb: will you pacify an agent, steal his uniform, and push your target down the stairs? How about sneaking in through the side door and slicing his throat with the knife you stole from the kitchen? Your target is a Scottish crime boss relaxing inside of his slaughterhouse/opium lounge: will you surprise him with an attack from the skylight above his bed, or with that gun you smuggled in thanks to a roasted chicken?

You're required to consider your options in earlier Hitman games because unlike Absolution—which offered an altered formula for gameplay—you won't find it an easy task of turning a corner and mowing down enemies with an assault rifle. The focus within Silent Assassin and Contracts is pure stealth; walking instead of running, sneaking instead of blending, ensuring a proper save point before experimenting with an idea. Trial and error is a key component and these games are awkward to experience if you go in with a guns-blazing mindset. However, the admiration for this kind of gameplay should not be mistaken for complacency. There are some aspects about the games that earned complaints and would have done well in this HD collection if they were addressed.

The disguise system featured in Silent Assassin is as pointless as that of Absolution. Sure, you're more than welcome to steal the outfit of that Russian guard you'd just murdered, but I wouldn't walk within four metres of another guard, or your disguise will be rendered useless. If that's the case, then is there really a point to having a disguise system? It helps at a distance considering that enemies can't truly see you aren't one of them at ten or fifteen metres away, but then you're forced to find an entrance other than the one they're guarding and it often times leads you to a completely different section of the area, parallel to where your destination might be. Even with disguises that hide your face, enemies will see through your illusion instantly. One second you’re covered head to toe in a ninja outfit, the next you’re being cut down by gunfire for no apparent reason. How the guards can tell one ninja from another, each with full face wrappings, is anyone’s guess. You’ll never know; you just have to deal with it. It can get frustrating, particularly on the harder difficulty settings with fewer mid-level saves. In Contracts and Blood Money, however, your disguise works as if you're one of those of whom you're dressed and it helps stitch together the cunning and lethality of an assassin. If this sort of thing isn't your cup of tea, then you're better off picking up Blood Money alone for less than half the price of the entire bundle.

The visuals within the Hitman HD Trilogy are clearly improved and much more crisp than before, but it isn't anything special. It is understandable, but while some may claim that expecting a miracle from games this old is silly, I'd advise them to have a look at the Perfect Dark HD port from Nintendo 64 to Xbox 360. Now that is certainly a bonafide miracle.

The Hitman HD Trilogy is nothing shy of a collector's item. Included in the first-run copies is an art book featuring re-imaginings of 47's classic moments by artists around the globe, including Patrick Brown, Justin Hampton and Nathan Bailey. You're also given a redeemable code for the Sniper Challenge, originally offered as an exclusive preorder incentive for Hitman: Absolution, however this version does not unlock anything for the games within the bundle or Absolution itself. If you absolutely must have Silent Assassin, Contracts, and Blood Money in a high-resolution bundle with a list of half-arsed achievements for the former two, this is for you. Otherwise, you can easily view the content within the art book on each of the artists' respective websites or outlets and find all three games within this bundle for about half of the cost combined.
Ups
Polished, high resolution graphics
Jesper Kyd's beautiful soundtrack
Quick loading times
Downs
Pricing is a bit high for an HD port
Music is often louder than voices and sound effects, calling for manual adjustment
Silent Assassin and Contracts are shadowed as Blood Money takes the stage
Score
8.0
Graphics From the beginning of Silent Assassin to the end of Blood Money, there is no denying the improvement of the graphics in the three instalments and it's quite impressive.
9.0
Sound Jesper Kyd is without a doubt an amazing composer and his work for Silent Assassin, Contracts, and Blood Money makes a welcome return in a Dolby Digital presentation. Gunshots, voice overs, and sound effects are more crisp but sometimes the background music is a little too loud.
7.5
Gameplay Mechanics and features haven't changed and it's slightly unfortunate given the aspects of negative reception surrounding Silent Assassin and Contracts. While the game is nothing more than an HD port, it would have been appreciated to have some of the complaints addressed within this $40 product.
8.0
Fun factor Hitman has never been shy of an entertaining experience and this remains true, even more so with updated high resolution graphics in all three titles.
0.0
Online Online components are not present aside from a redeemable code for the Sniper Challenge, originally offered as a preorder incentive for Hitman: Absolution. Leaderboards for the latter are the only 'online' feature.
7.0
Overall (out of 10 / not an average)
Derekvinyard13  +   687d ago
good review, was afraid blood money was gonna overshadow the other games. blood money is an underrated masterpeice
Nicaragua  +   685d ago
I don't think its underrated at all. Pretty much everyone acknowledges that Blood Money is shit hot, cant say I've ever seen any reviews or comments to the contrary.
kev987  +   686d ago
$40???

Sounds like the US got a raw deal on this one. I pre-ordered this for £17 ($27) from Tesco.
Forbidden_Darkness  +   685d ago
Well, right now both Best Buy and Amazon are selling it for 25 bucks, so that isn't too bad, sucks for those who bought it day one though.
Zechs34  +   685d ago
Yeah, I just got it for 25 for the premium edition and don't even want to open it. It has a fantastic box.

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Hitman HD Trilogy

Average Score 7.1 Reviews(27)
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