Sure, it had killing and baldness, along with a great score and tale of revenge, but a good Hitman game needs more than that. Absolution tried to be all things for all players, and it lost its identity in the process.
When I look back fondly at past Hitman titles, I don’t think about the trails of dead bodies left in Agent 47’s wake. I think about the painstaking task of being a silent assassin, and how much satisfaction that brought me.
Gunplay was never a big draw factor for me; I just saw it as a means to an end. I focused on stealthy infiltrations, and rarely resorted to just mowing people down. In fact, in earlier Hitman games, that was a surefire recipe for failure. Slow and stealthy was how you won the race.
Playing Hitman used to feel like a game of chess and chance rolled into one. I damn sure didn’t need bullet time, fire trails that indicated NPC movements, or the ability to see enemies through the walls. All I needed was a clown suit, a knock-out syringe, and fiber wire to have a good time.
Hitman: Absolution, with its ridiculous checkpoint system and hand-holding gameplay mechanics, makes me long for Hitman‘s earlier days. Absolution did offer a “purist” difficulty, but it was poorly implemented, and the levels felt uninspired. For me, the “Attack of the Saints” level is the game’s only saving grace.
But even that level isn’t without its annoyances. Anathema it is not.