It wasn’t too long ago that Hitman 2: Silent Assassin was released and it garnered some positive reviews from gamers. Now the same team of Eidos and Io Interactive are back at it again, sneaking around, taking out enemies, and looking good while doing so. They have just released Hitman: Contracts for the Xbox and it ends up being quite a solid title.
For those that have been with the Hitman series since the beginning know that this series has been solid from day one. When I first heard about Hitman: Contracts I must say I was a little bit of a skeptic, it kind of sounded like a slew of missions thrown into a game. No real story, just a game with a bunch of missions. Well that is not really the case in this game.
The beginning of Hitman: Contracts is kind of weird, where you find Agent 47 with a serious wound and is in desperate need of a doctor. He starts having flashbacks of previous encounters he had. You do get to play through these levels, many of which you have played in previous Hitman titles. The story goes from this point and never takes off. Personally with a Hitman title you would think creating a deep story would be a must but Io Interactive really didn’t go for much with this one,
So you have these missions that can be found in previous Hitman titles and you get some new ones too. I was really impressed with IO Interactive’s new missions in this game. The difficulty level you choose at the start of the game determines how you play the game. For example, on the easy difficulty level you can just run through the levels with no problems at all and not having to worry about stealth very often at all. On the higher levels you are going to find that using stealth is the only way to progress and ultimately complete the missions.
I was really impressed with a lot of Hitman Contracts but there is also somethings that I wish they would have done differently. To start with the cons of the game, you have the computer AI, which is the one thing that really hurts Hitman: Contracts. Instead of having smart AI you just have a lot of computer characters. This means you’re not going to have to worry about 1 smart guard but ten dumb ones. This really takes the fun out of the stealth elements of the game. Except for on the hard difficulty setting it is almost necessary to go through this game more like a shooter rather then a stealth action title.
As I was playing through Hitman: Contracts I was really having trouble realizing what IO Interactive was really going for in this game. I was noticing that even on the normal difficulty setting you can run through this game like a first person shooter.
On the flip side to it all, no one is forcing you to play the game that way - it is just easier. When you play the game in the stealthy style like you should with a Hitman title you will find that this can be a pretty solid title. The weapons have had a nice size upgrade from the previous Hitman titles. With these new weapons opens up a lot more diversity from the normal generic weapons that had been found in previous Hitman titles.
Overall the gameplay in Hitman: Contracts really has its ups and downs. This is one of those games that is solid but has problems that should have been addressed. With Hitman I would expect much more finesse, rather then the sloppy computer AI we get to deal with. The levels have their moments, although it would have been nice to have all new levels and not reminiscing in previous titles.
The one thing that the Hitman series has never really been strong in is the graphical department. Each game has about the same amount of detail, and the character designs never seem to stand out. Unfortunately for Hitman: Contracts it doesn’t fall too far off the same track.
In Hitman: Contracts you have some pretty average stuff. The character models do like a little better from what they have in previous titles. The environments in which you will play in are a mixed bag. You have some that accurately define the word "bland" and others that have quite a bit of detail and look quite colorful!
Overall Hitman: Contracts has some good and some bad that kind of cancelled themselves out to create a pretty average looking game, that’s defiantly not going to win any awards for its visuals.
Some people love this series others find it boring, depending on what you thought of the previous titles will probably give you a good idea of what you will think of this one. Personally I found Hitman: Contracts to be a pretty amusing game, it had some issues with the computer AI, but overall this is a pretty fun game to play.
If you are looking for a good action title for your Xbox and have enjoyed the previous Hitman titles then you should definitely think about purchasing Hitman: Contracts. For all of the others out there, this one can make a great rental!
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