We have to acknowledge Feral Interactive for understanding what games we want before we want them. As Mac gamers, we see the PC and console releases and often think, “That’d be nice to have.” We’d take them all, good or bad. Feral is smarter. They pick and choose, and largely make the right decisions. Hitman: Absolution – Elite Edition is one of their latest right decisions.
The Hitman games have been around for quite some time, and Hitman: Absolution is the first to make it to the Mac. That shouldn’t put you off from playing it, though, as there’s really not much leading you’ll need to know leading into this game. You’re Agent 47, a cloned assassin for hire, and you’ve been hired by the International Contracts Agency. Their assignments generally involve you killing a couple people, doing so in myriad creative ways. If you’re bored with running around in wide open battle arenas, picking up the biggest weapon you can find and killing everyone in sight, Hitman: Absolution will inject some excitement back into your gaming sessions.
In my research on Hitman: Absolution, I found that it deviates from previous entries in the series. It’s more story-focused, and I’ll call that a good thing, despite not playing any other Hitman games. The story here is laid out in numerous cutscenes that can disrupt the flow of the game, but that do a good job of providing incentive to keep going.
After an oddly ineffective tutorial level (this may be the first tutorial I’ve ever seen that makes the game harder to play), you’re sent out on missions that are mostly broken down into stages, with specific objects for each stage. How you go about completing these objectives is mostly up to, but the gameplay is still somewhat linear in how the levels are laid out. For the most part, you’ll want to sneak around undetected—you get rewarded for ghosting, or completing a level completely undetected.
That provides some replay value, but there’s enough gameplay here that you’ll likely be exhausted when you complete the game.
To go undetected, you can hide in the shadows, throw objects to distract your enemies, interact with the environment in other ways (knock out some lights, for example), wear disguises, etc. While doing so, arrows on the screen indicate whether those nearby are being alerted to your presence. Obviously, you’ll want to hide before all hell breaks loose, but if it does, that isn’t the end of the world. Rather, it’s the end of a lot of lives, as you’ll have to take a lot of people down to restore calm.
It’s doable, but it’s not as much fun, and it negatively impacts your score.
Well, I say it’s not as much fun, but there is this one really cool bit in which your “instincts” kick in and, among things, time slows ala Max Payne “bullet time” and you can pick off your targets before they even have time to react.
Of course, the vast majority of your kill methods are extremely violent and bloody. That’s by design, as it plays into the game’s style.
Agent 47 is dark and cool and wears a red tie and black gloves. The bad guys are mostly buffoons and caricatures of the stereotypes we’ve come to expect (and would like to see less of, at this point). The women are sexy and illogically dressed. Everything of interest happens at night when there’s cool lighting and annoying music. You don’t always have to kill people, though. You can knock them out and hide the bodies, which you’ll need to do a lot. The game makes this fairly simple to do, but it’ll still require plenty of patience. Thankfully, you’re rewarded with some very cool attack animations.
The Elite Edition provides the Hitman: Sniper Challenge, The Agency Gun Pack, The Suit and Gun Collection, a one-hour “making of” documentary and a 72 page artbook. In other words, only one element extends the gameplay, but it does so in a highly entertaining way. The Gun Pack and Collection offer some cool weapons and costumes (including one inspired by Deus Ex: Human Revolution), but I think I prefer the red tie look.
I can do without the artbook and documentary, but those deeply into the game will appreciate them.
The fact that all of this comes to us for only $25.00, however, makes Hitman: Absolution – Elite Edition very easy to recommend…provided your system can handle it, of course. My iMac is centered between the minimum and recommended requirements, and I still had to knock down the resolution and effects in order to get a decent framerate throughout. That’s a shame, too, because the game looks gorgeous when maxed out.
Either way, Hitman: Absolution is a pleasant change from the type of action games we normally see on the Macintosh. It’s very violent, but not in a mindless way. It requires some thought, plenty of patience, and more time in front of your Mac than you may be used to for your gaming sessions. It’s not a game I was hoping for, but it’s a game I’m glad we got.
Again, Feral, good choice.
Category: Stealth action
Developer: IO Interactive
Mac Publisher: Feral Interactive
Rating: M (blood and gore, intense violence, partial nudity, sexual themes, strong language, drug use)
Minimum System Requirements: OS X v10.9.2, 2.0 GHz Intel processor, 4GB RAM, 24GB disk space, 512MB graphics card, keyboard and mouse
Review Computer: 3.2GHz Intel Core i3 iMac, 4GB RAM, 512MB ATI Radeon HD 5670
Network Feature: No
Availability: Out now