Hitman game series returns with bold, stylish Absolution

Agent 47 is back: ‘You don't play for the violence, but for the cold satisfaction of a job well done'

LAST UPDATED AT 07:22 ON Wed 21 Nov 2012

What you need to know
The fifth in the Hitman stealth video game series, and the first since 2006, Hitman: Absolution is released in the UK this week. The popular game series, developed by Danish game designers IO Interactive, has also spawned two novels: Hitman: Enemy Within by William C. Dietz and Hitman: Damnation by Raymond Benson.

Set in the US, the third-person stealth and shooter game sees the return of cloned assassin Agent 47. Betrayed by his agency and hunted by the police, he tries to uncover the truth behind the conspiracy and take revenge on those responsible, while protecting an innocent girl.

Gameplay involves a series of assassination and escape missions over 20 levels, offering around 20 hours of gaming. Lost actor William Mapother is the model for Agent 47, and Keith Carradine voices Agent 47's new nemesis Blake Dexter.

What the critics like
Agent 47 is back to remind us he is the undisputed king of the silent kill, says Tom Meltzer in The Guardian. But while the game offers more than 80 improvised weapons and over 50 "accident" opportunities, the score system discourages indiscriminate killing. In the end, "you don't play for the violence, but for the cold satisfaction of a job well done".

Hitman: Absolution provides hours of assassin-y gameplay, intriguing challenges and excellent replayability, says Carol Pinchefsky at Forbes. It's a "bold, painstakingly detailed, and stylishly executed experience that will give you hours of bang for your buck".

Absolution looks good, and is a darker and grittier than past Hitman titles, says Luke Reilly on IGN. But the true pleasure is that it lets you tackle it from multiple angles. It's nice to have a game that doesn't just encourage improvisation; it requires it. "More please."

What they don't like
When everything comes together in ghoulishly delicious harmony, Absolution is enormous fun, says Tom Bramwell on Eurogamer. Unfortunately, the tired, simple story about protecting the girl means it sometimes becomes just a simple game of hide and seek, "and not a brilliant one either". · 

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