Microsoft Xbox 360 (PS3)
ESRB rating: Mature
Review rating: 4.5 stars
Living the life of a professional assassin isn't nearly as glamorous as Hollywood wants you to believe. Dead people don't drop to the ground in tidy, bloodless mounds of clothes, beautiful women aren't always one sultry look away from being seduced and enemies definitely don't look like Antonio Banderas. Fortunately, the "Hitman" series forgoes this unrealistic nonsense.
In "Hitman: Absolution," players once again take on the role of the cloned assassin, Agent 47, as he takes out enemies using inventive means. This time around, his decision to befriend and protect a young girl makes him a target of both his employers and the powerful man that sent him after the girl. If this sounds eerily similar to the plot from "The Transporter," then you're not alone.
What sets this series apart from other stealth games is the immense freedom offered to the players. Sure, it's easy to wait until a target is alone for a moment and eliminate him with the trusty garrote, but it's much more rewarding to make their demise look like an accident. With some simple exploration and observation, it's possible to fry enemies with an electrified gate, set them on fire with "faulty" fireworks and even drop a disco ball on their head.
It's just too bad that the developers felt the need to "mix it up" by forcing players to endure monotonous levels where the only goal is to escape the area by avoiding enemies. There's no real reward for these levels and players have to constantly switch between using their mini-map, regular view and enhanced Instinct view to make it through undetected.
Despite a few flaws, "Hitman: Absolution" is still a great title full of inventive game play and nearly limitless options.