Please allow me to start this review with a few additional lines and a personal confession. Ready? Here goes: Bundled remasters are my guilty pleasure. As an example, I recently bought Resident Evil 4, 5 and 6 for my PlayStation 4 despite having all three on my Xbox One already… Why? The price was right and I just couldn’t resist. This time around I had the chance to review two games (bundled remasters, yay!) I’ve never played before; two games I always wanted to play and for backlog reasons, I never could. That, and knowing Blood Money and Absolution are two iconic games in the Hitman franchise, can only mean my expectations are a bit too high.
The reason why I love remastered collections so much is fairly obvious; it doesn’t matter if I’m a newcomer or a veteran, the experience has allegedly improved at least both visually and gameplay-wise, giving the chance to either discover or re-visit said games at their finest.
With all that being said, let’s dive into my Hitman HD Enhanced Collection Review and see if this package is worth it or not!
‘Requiescat In Pace’
I’ve been enjoying both stories due to not knowing anything at all, so in order to avoid spoilers, I’ll give you a general idea of what to expect in both games plot-wise. Think of Agent 47 as someone who is the ultimate killer, a silent assassin that always achieves the impossible. Hitman games plot is usually focused around contracts and targets, having many different locations and side stories tied together within the main plot.
As I said before, I’ve not played any Hitman games previously, but that doesn’t mean I’m diving in completely blind. Part of my Hitman knowledge comes from casually watching some Hitman 2016 gameplay and also reading this Hitman 2 review and location’s guide. So yeah, I’m only familiarized with modern Hitman games, which leads me to my next point…
…When I first launched Hitman Blood Money I could tell it was a ‘classic’ just by looking at the graphics, despite the HD treatment. It really feels old and a bit dated but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it’s just another way of playing. Trust me, my favorite game is GTA Vice City and I’ve played GTA IV and V and that didn’t change my mind.
So, is it a bad thing in this case? Well, controls have been tweaked but still not enough in my opinion. Most of the time I wasn’t able to interact with a certain object if there were several together, and the same goes for actions. That is a bit game-breaking considering it could happen in the middle of a guard pathway.
I can’t really tell if these controls were worse back in the day anyway, but the feeling of this particular remaster is a little bit primitive overall, even more, when you realize cutscenes are as blurry and pixelated as they were originally… Which are a shame and a huge missed opportunity to show the fans some love.
Different sides of the same coin
Most successful gaming franchises tend to stick on their base formula and improve upon it, but Absolution is a drastic change of direction in the series, so Warner Bros are presenting us both Hitman extremes gameplay-wise with this package.
As I spent time on the older game, I started getting used to it, or better said, settled with how everything worked. I also appreciated other stuff that the modern and serious Hitman lacked. It’s pretty cool having the chance to upgrade equipment and weapons with the Blood Money earned based on efficiency and completion. Absolution’s approach on this is way, way different; there’s no preparation, you have standard equipment that you can’t level up, and the rest you have to find it in the levels. I like both ways, but I prefer the older one due to it being a much deeper system.
As far as the scoring system goes, Blood Money gives currency instead of points, as mentioned earlier, and Absolution, on the other hand, divides each mission into sections usually by area and awards points for stealth, non-lethal actions and hiding bodies but also punishes aggressive gameplay.
While both games feature plenty of ways to kill or proceed on each mission, it’s undeniable that Absolution feels the one with ‘less freedom’, sticking to a script, but to be fair, it may be due to the higher chance of getting caught and the changes in the disguise system. In comparison, Blood Money felt easier in this sense, giving the player almost a free pass as long as the right disguise was being used.
Hitman Blood Money also featured more crazy, twisted situations and scenarios than Absolution. Don’t believe me? Let’s compare the tutorial levels. Blood Money tutorial takes place on the typical amusement park next to a dock. Nothing weird so far. Near the entrance, there’s an attorney car parked with blood stains around it. Inside the amusement park lives the owner of it, who has rented some space for a Mafia to cook drugs, having the whole place filled with gangstas. On the other hand, Absolution tutorial takes place on a nice looking mansion and the target is an ex-agency employee.
Definitely, that indicates a more mature approach in both the plot and storytelling as time passed and Hitman games developed, at least when it comes to comparing these bundled titles. That’s quite an evolution if you ask me. The good thing is a more solid and cohesive story, and the bad thing, having less scenario variety.
Will keep coming back for more
The most remarkable thing both have in common is the insane amount of replay value. For instance, difficulty settings tweak completely the experience by modifying conditions such as saving times and a harder Al among other stuff, as a result, demanding evolution from the player in new playthroughs or simply becoming a testing playground for the hardcore purists.
In Absolution, story missions have an impressive amount of objectives related to disguises, weapons and such, providing a real reason to come back for more, as well as a good challenge.
There’s also worth mentioning there’s no Contracts mode here since it apparently belongs to Square Enix.
Dress to kill
Over time the Hitman franchise has earned a high position on the best stealth games list. If you have the patience, passion and skill for this type of game then Hitman HD Enhanced Collection will easily appeal to you, even more, if like me, you missed these classics back in the day. Overall, Hitman HD Enhanced Collection works pretty good as a package, offering a good time to be spent as Agent 47 and enjoying some of the most memorable moments in higher resolution.