Review – Hitman HD Enhanced Collection

After being greeted with the excellent Hitman 2 at the end of 2018, we were surprised to find out IO Interactive and Warner Bros had another little treat for fans of gaming’s most famous hair-deprived assassin. The Hitman HD Enhanced Collection features both Blood Money and Absolution, the two games released during the previous generation of consoles.

Ironically enough, those are also the only two Hitman games I haven’t played prior to this review, giving me the perfect opportunity to finally tackle them and see what the fuss was all about. I can start off by saying that I liked both games, but I did enjoy one of them a lot more than the other. If you’re familiar with these titles, you’ll probably be surprised by which one I thought was better.

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My stealth skills are so advanced that the enemy can’t even notice I’m right next to him.

Let’s start off with the weakest game of the collection: Blood Money. I know this is a favorite among the Hitman fanbase and I did talk about this with other fellow Hitman fans in the WTMG staff, but this was easily the less polished and less entertaining game in this compilation. Now, I have no idea if this is due to the porting process or if it’s just  related to the game’s age (it was first released twelve years ago), but this version of Blood Money was quite clunky and disappointing.

More than once was I able to get past undetected by enemies even though I was literally bumping them and/or standing right next to them. I’ve seen objects and NPCs phase out a couple of times. I once died from falling damage nearly twenty seconds after falling from said high ledge. The game itself isn’t bad, as the scenarios are fun and the level of freedom for you to tackle each mission the way you want to is impressive for a 2006 release, but these glitches and the game’s overall inferior graphics and voice acting were more than noticeable. Let’s all remember that, despite being released on the Xbox 360, Blood Money was, first and foremost, a sixth generation game, looking, sounding, and playing like a PS2 game, not a 360 game.

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Say what you want about Absolution, it was the most entertaining half of the collection.

The same can’t be said about Absolution. I’ve heard from a lot of people that this is one of the most maligned games in the franchise, but to be fair, I had a lot more fun with it than with Blood Money.

Granted, it is easier, more streamlined, and a lot more newcomer-friendly than the other Hitman games, but there is one thing that nobody can deny about this game, especially when comparing it to this specific port of Blood Money: it has aged a lot better. Absolution features better controls, taking advantage of how gamers got used to the typical third-person control scheme from that generation. Its UI is less confusing, its graphics are a lot more detailed, and its voice acting is superb. While Blood Money featured voice acting that threaded between passable and laughably bad, Absolution sounded a lot more professional, not to mention that its story was a lot more engaging than just a series of unconnected assassinations.

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Whaddya looking at?

At the end of the day, after playing both games for the first time, I have to commend Absolution for managing to stand the test of time, while not being able to praise Blood Money in the same way. To be fair, I still prefer Hitman 2: Silent Assassin to it due to having a more interesting narrative. The Hitman HD Enhanced Collection is a great way to enjoy even more stealthy assassinations on a modern console, but I can only truly recommend it to die-hard fans of the franchise. Those are the ones who’ll surely look past the fact one of the games included in this compilation hasn’t aged as gracefully as the other.

 

Graphics: 7.0

The improved framerate and textural quality are neat additions for both games, but Absolution still manages to look fantastic to this day. Blood Money looks dated and even a bit clunky.

Gameplay: 6.5

Absolution‘s gameplay has managed to stand the test of time with intuitive controls and physics. Blood Money still features a more dated gameplay, control scheme, weird aiming, and physics from two generations ago.

Sound: 7.5

The sound department in Absolution is still fantastic, and its great voice acting still holds up. Can’t say the same about Blood Money.

Fun Factor: 7.0

Both games are still fun to play (one a lot more than the other). It’s a good collection for fans of stealth games, even if the cost is a little bit too overblown for what the compilation actually offers.

Final Verdict: 7.0

Hitman HD Enhanced Collection is available now on PS4 and Xbox One.

Reviewed on Xbox One.

A copy of Hitman HD Enhanced Collection was provided by the publisher.

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