Hitman: Blood Money

posted June 22, 2006 12:00:00 AM CDT | 5 comments

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Hitman: Blood Money is the first Hitman game i have played in the series. Which is strange considering how much of a nerdy gamer i am. This may make the game's story seem a little bit different to me than to others as I've been told by friends that its just like the other Hitman games. However, for a first time experience in Agent 47's shoes i must say so far I'm impressed to a degree. Playing as Agent 47 you have only one thing on your mind, killing your target and collecting that paycheck. The story goes like this...

Agent 47's discovered that his contract agency is steadily becoming targets themselves so he heads to America where he gets paid in straight cash for his jobs. As a total there are 13 levels in Hitman: Blood Money including the training level which is considered the first mission. One thing i have noticed in the story mode as i continue to play all the way through is that the story isn't really something i care a whole lot about. Sure the cut scenes leading into a mission are nice or the fact that the story ties into the game and how it ends is great, but every game has these and i find nothing outstanding in the Hitman storyline. It's very simple: you have a task to do, now go do it so you can upgrade your weapons and body armor only to wreak more havoc on the video game world your slowly being consumed by. I'm not trying to take away from the story of being a Hitman by the name of Agent 47 who is being tracked to be eliminated by a man in a wheel chair in the least, but to me the story mode is not the most important thing in the game. The most important thing in the game you ask? The gameplay.

Here's where Blood Money the game, which is not to be confused by that coaster of an album put out by Mobb Deep recently, truly breaks out and becomes fun. This game is a mix of so many different genres. Its your stealth game while being your “screw this I'm killing em all” game. It's your action adventure game while at the same time being a game of choice.

The Pro's of the game are truly what catch my eye in a single player video game experience, the overall Gameplay. Lo Interactive, the developer of the game, must have had me in mind when they decided to sit down and go “let's make a game where you can take a piece of Fiber Wire and strangle a guy by sneaking up on him but at the same time if your just in a 'i wanna be a bad ass to see how notorious i can make my name' you can instead walk up to the guy take his gun away and then send a bullet of thanks right into him”.

As I've already stated this is my first Hitman game so i can't say whether or not the series has vastly improved but what i can say is this is the first time a 4th edition to a series of a game has made me want to go back and play the other 3 games that were made before this one. Reasons are simple- the fact that I have a choice in being a silent hitman or a lunatic hitman. The guns in the game are something else that is a pro. You can upgrade every single one of them thanks to that hard earned blood money and I'm not talking about little upgrades. Choices in ammo are a huge thing to me. I have the option of going with a silent bullet that causes less recoil or going with a louder bullet that's recoil is heavier but gives me the addition of going through walls. Now theres something in the thought of that, that just makes the lunatic madman part of my mind cry with glee. But the options don't stop there. You can even choose to change the butt of your guns to give them more precision or upgrade your health via pain pills. This is something a lot of games have started to do is give you as a gamer more options and choices to make.

So why am i falling in love with Blood Money's choices so easily? No reason other than the amount of difference it makes in the overall gameplay your choices in upgrades cause. Then you have the difficulties settings of which you will want to be very cautious in which one you choose. To test the jump in difficulty i started on Normal instead of the ass Pansy rookie which will let you get away with anything just about. Normal only allows you seven saves and the AI is fully functional, but if you got the balls or think your good enough try it on professional which allows no saves and has an AI that will kill you instantly for one minor mistake. Huge leap in the difficulty of the game which is not a bad thing in the least as it makes your style of play change. For example in Normal I can make my Notoriety level hit madman and still survive, but in Professional you need to be a silent assassin which gives you something to work towards if your not easily frustrated by having to redo missions or are completely anal about wanting to finish a game on the hardest difficulty setting.

While Blood Money's choices and gameplay are the good things, there are the bad things. For one this is a game on the 360 which is supposed to be the Next Gen gaming console. So can someone please explain to me why in the hell the graphics look like nothing more than an Xbox game that had a fresh coat of gloss added to it for HD? I mean c'mon Io Interactive give me some more bloody details and make the difference in what console you play the game on matter. If you don't want to do it in gameplay or story wise then at least do it in graphic content. If i wanted to play an Xbox game on my 360 id buy an Xbox game which is cheaper. I don't want to spend $10 more on a game that is exactly the same on the 360 as it is on the Xbox and PS2 minus the PS2's weaker graphics. Then you have other issues in the game which are the trial and error method of figuring out the quietest way to get through the mission. Why, if i do it silently, must it take me 5-15 minutes longer than if i just said ok theres my target I'm going to go do my job? The cut scenes of seeing what your target is doing are small subtle hints at how you can do it stealthy but the ever so long wait of having to get it in perfect timing is a little bit over done. I don't mind having to wait to for the pieces to align to do something quietly but i don't want to be stuck in position staring at my screen for 4 minutes on my 6th try of going through a mission watching the same scene i watched the last 5 times waiting for the timing to be just right as i have some opera music playing. No offense Io, but Opera music is not for me and you forcing me to sit through it that many times all because i didn't detonate at the EXACT second is a little frustrating to the point of a headache. Another thing that this game lacks in my honest opinion is a good musical score. Now I know I can listen to whatever music i want to as i play through the 360 but for single player campaigns i think the actual music score should set a tone. Halo and Halo 2 on the Xbox would be good examples of this. Those musical scores were nicely composed and added to the game, where as Hitman's musical score effects the game like the coaster of an album i mentioned earlier effected hip hop. I'm sorry Io but stealing the Splinter Cell stealthy musical scores doesn't work in a game that allows you to go crazy like a maniac.

The other thing that bothered me greatly about the game is the fact that its just got a single player. Don't think im getting pissed or belittling the game because it's focused on just a single campaign mode because the game is really solid thanks to that. However, when i look at the game and how solid it is i cant help but think why is their no Co-Op mode of any kind, no mutli-player of some sort, no leaderboards, nothing but just the single player. The 360 is online all the time if you have a broadband connection and an xbox live account. So why does a game for this console not take advantage of this. There is a lot they could have done with the online options but chose not to do, which takes me back to the why spend $10 more on a game that is exactly the same on every console.

Not to say these things are a huge negative on the game as a whole but these small things are what causes the less and less desire to pop it in and want to play it again. Yeah, there is replay value for Blood Money if your someone who feels the need to do it on each difficulty or try a mission every way possible from shooting your target to stabbing him in the head with hedge clippers. However, if you're someone that's just looking for a game that will give you hours of fun on end without really needing to do everything possible in the game, the replay value is going to be lower. It's a moderate replay value thanks to the options the game provides and the fun of reading a newspaper to see that the cops are thinking your a mad man because you executed 8 people with shots to the head. Graphically the game is nothing to drool over or even get excited over which is going to hurt it as that was the huge thing with next gen games they are supposed to be graphically stunning. Hitman Blood Money looks like an Xbox game. The controls are easy, the game is fun, and yet it still isn't something id say every gamer needs to play. Nothing ground breaking in the game. It's just built off of what was already known to be good. Nothing overly outstanding in the game, it's just a solid game that offers a lot of different ways to complete a mission and some fun in watching a guy get his throat cut all the way through via Fiber Wire.

Is it worth buying? In my honest opinion, not unless your a fan of the series already. But if its at your rental store then yeah give it a try because you will get your moneys worth out of the game if its rented just by going though the missions making sure to leave no witnesses behind. Hitman: Blood Money is nothing more than your average game that will be loved by few, liked by some, and ignored by many.

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