Killing people for money as a profession has been around for as long as there have been bakers, firemen or police men, but it’s only after IO Interactive made a fully immersive game about contract killing, did it achieve such a "OMG, being a Hitman is so cool" status. You can’t help but be in awe (scared shitless may be the appropriate word) of the protagonist of the Hitman games; a bald stone-cloned (pun intended) killer clad in black suit, red tie, barcode on the head et al.
In Blood Money, Agent 47 is now the 'hunted' as a rival agency is gunning for his blood in an attempt to wipe out all competition. To get to the bottom of this conspiracy, he travels the globe leaving a trail of blood, mayhem and destruction.
Unlike previous games, Blood Money’s first level serves as a tutorial of sorts, so you don’t have to play all three Hitman games to understand this game’s mechanics. Since you’re a contract killer in Blood Money, expect to kill… a lot, but remember; this isn’t a mindless shooter, it takes skill and a hell of a lot of patience to 'get the job done' neat and clean. Sure you could go in guns blazing, racking up the body count a la John Rambo, but you’ll probably end up dying before you reach your target or generate more attention than you bargained for.
This particular philosophy has been implemented well in Blood Money, with the help of the new Notoriety System. After every level, the game calculates your stats and depending on how silent or violent you were, ranks you out of 100. The more discreet your were, the less people recognize you, making your next mission a bit easier; play the game like Charles Manson and bystanders will make life hell for you. Even though you’re not entirely human, there will always be margin for error and keeping that in mind the game does cut you some slack. Let’s say you get caught on CCTV or leave a couple of bodies behind, you could always bribe civilians or cops to lower your notoriety.
Gameplay hasn’t changed much since previous iterations; sneak around, kill someone, wear his clothes, slip by guards unnoticed, kill the mark, head to the exit. While this sounds simple on paper, it’s totally the opposite in the game but to even out the odds, Agent 47’s got a couple of new tricks up his sleeve; he can now take people hostage a la Sam Fisher, peep through key holes, disarm people and pistol whip them into submission.
Killing someone by merely shooting him in the face is so 2000; creative kills are the in things these days and the more creative your kills, the more money you make. Sure you could push your mark off the ledge, but why take the easy way out when you could detonate a chandelier squashing him, making it look like an accident. Even though accident kills are most rewarding, they’re a bitch to pull off well in the latter levels and they will push your exploring skills to the limit.
Even though the game encourages you to be creative and patient, it provides you with a plethora of upgradeable weapons to complete the job. Work of caution though, if you’re gunning for the Silent Assassin status, you may want to ditch the hardware.
Visually the game’s received a major boost thanks to IO’s Glacier Engine. Not only does the game look mind-numbingly good, the engine can now generate hundreds of people on screen at a time giving you the feeling that you are sneaking around a living, breathing crowd. Audio gets top marks, as usual, thanks to Jasper Kyd and his most excellent orchestral score.
In conclusion, Blood Money is a must play for Hitman fans and newcomers to the series. If you have the patience, it’s a most rewarding game; and even if you don’t, it’s always fun to murder 5,000 innocents during Mardi Gras.
Minimum System Requirements
- Pentium 4 1.5GHz
- 512 MB
- 5 GB Hard Disk Space
- Direct3D 9 compliant cards supporting pixel shader 2.0 (GeForce FX or ATI Radeon 9500)
- DVD ROM drive
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