|Hitman: Blood Money|
|Platforms||Xbox 360, Xbox, PlayStation 2, Windows|
|Genre||Deadly Stealth Action|
|MtAMinutes to Action||10|
|Buy from Amazon|
Hitman: Blood Money is a stealth, action game for the Xbox, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, and Windows. It was released in 2006 and is the fourth game in the Hitman series. I was actually convinced to buy this game after watching the Hitman movie a few months ago. Yes, video game movies are good for something, I guess. While the movie was okay, the concept of playing an open-ended assassination game more focused than something like Assassin's Creed seemed incredibly intriguing. By a recommendation from a friend, I decided to jump to the latest game in the series. Might as well exercise my Xbox 360.
Here's the first hour of Hitman: Blood Money for the Xbox 360.
(minutes are in bold)
00 - I start a New Game, enter my name, select Normal difficulty (from rookie, normal, expert, and pro), and the first hour of Hitman: Blood Money begins.
01 - A cutscene of a sparkling city, the camera swings in on to a ferris wheel with a carnival surrounding it. Suddenly, the ferris wheel's hub explodes and the wheel falls off! Carriages crash to the ground and the focus switches to newspaper clippings of the event. Thirty-six dead.
02 - Another newspaper shows that the Swing King is not guilty. The scene switches to a man at his home office, he's looking deeply at a picture of what is probably is his son, who undoubtedly died in that horrible accident. He picks up the phone and says, "I would like to place an order."
03 - A kind of loading screen now, but it shows me my target, Joseph Clarence, the Swing King. Agent 47, the star of the Hitman games appears on a dock. The first level is "the training level."
04 - The game features both health and tension bars, wonder what the tension bar is for?
05 - I finally get control and navigate my way around the dock onto dry land. Agent 47 climbs automatically on top of things if you push the thumbstick towards them. I'm told I need to enter the park.
07 - At the game, I begin a conversation with the guard. He's swearing up a storm and obviously annoying Agent 47. Our anti-hero grabs the guard through the bars and slams his head against them. He's knocked out cold. I walk through the open gate.
08 - I'm told that not only do I have to kill the Swing King, I also have to show him the picture of the guy's son right before he dies. Kind of odd, will he even recognize him?
10 - The game instructs me to move from building to building, I first need to get past two guards who are arguing. The game tells me to toss a coin to distract them. Okay... the instructions are kind of vague, or the controls are super awkward. How do you do this? Oh, you have to hold in the stick for a few seconds until you throw it. That's the weirdest thing, why can't I just aim it like a gun and press the shoot button? Or do you even shoot guns like this?
11 - Well, even though I threw the coin, I get caught and am forced to kill them. I gun the two guards point blank (gun controls are pretty normal).
13 - My tension bar is now maxed out, and my health is definitely not, the guards got a few good hits in before they went down. The game instructs me to climb a trellis, and jump to another balcony, pretty easy to do. There's an innocent riding a bull machine, was he being tortured?
15 - I find a shotgun in a small room and am told I need to bust into the room next door and take out the guards. Won't this be kind of loud? Well, it was easy enough, and no one else was alarmed. Hey, there's a Tomb Raider poster on the wall. Tricky Eidos. My next task is to dispose of the bodies in the chest and ice box in the room. Even trickier!
16 - Hide in a closet? Oh, someone is coming. I peek through the closet doors as a scientist enters, I open it up and knock him out and then steal his clothes! Oh, I'm going to dress up as him to blend him.
20 - I walk around the complex a bit in the white lab coat. No one seems to be bothering me. I'm told to conceal a gun in a crate... wait, why? I attempt to follow the instructions and then I am scanned by a guy with a handheld metal detector. He says I'm still packing. I'm pretty sure I only have a gun in the crate I'm carrying. He scans me again and this time pulls his gun out!
21 - A firefight begins and I'm killed quickly. I die in slow motion as I fall to the ground.
22 - The level is restarted... yes, the whole level. Well, it shouldn't take long to get caught up.
25 - I'm not caught this time by those distracted-by-coin guys, hey, doing better already! I let my tension go down before I move on.
28 - Since I'm in a hurry, I run through the corridors with the lab coat on. Bad idea. It seems that gave away my disguise (scientists are never in a hurry). Another huge firefight ensues but this time I come out unscathed. I must have killed about 10 guards but all of them went down in about one hit. I finally make it through the door guarded by the metal detector guy.
31 - Next tutorial is learning how to strangle people in an elevator shaft. That seems rather specific. Basically you climb on top of the elevator, wait for someone to go in, and then pull them up and strangle them. Ouch.
33 - Now I have to make my way through a crowded room full of prostitutes and gangsters, now how does a secret agent get past them? By turning the power off and just walking by! I hit the big switch in the corner and the lights go out, I can still see well though, all the baddies are stumbling around like chickens with their heads cut off. It's not that dark in here.
34 - I head into the bathroom and am taught how to make a human shield. Feels very Metal Gear Solid-like. I take out a few bad guys and then kill my own shield. Poor guy. A cutscene of the Swing King begins, he's arguing with the mob bosses or something that he owes money. He's kind of a loser.
35 - I'm in a tower now, there's a briefcase up here, with a sniper rifle in it! How convenient. I assemble it and point it out the window.
37 - Three guards to shoot, they're well spread out across the carnival park. How is standing on the ferris wheel... well, not anymore. I drop the rifle and head back into the park.
40 - Oh no, I need to shimmy! I hate shimmying. It's soooo slow. Well, not too bad here. And I'm rewarded by being able to push a guy out the window he's standing by. Agent 47 is brutal.
43 - Right outside the Swing King's office now, just the secretary stands in my way. She's in with the King at the moment, my job is to poison her drink so I can sneak by. As I'm trying to figure out the poison controls, she comes out and sees me. She sees the syringe, and runs off. I don't bother giving chase.
44 - I enter the office and a cutscene begins. I hope this doesn't turn out to be like the Assassin's Creed like cutscenes where they beg for their life for five minutes. Nope, just showing him the picture.
45 - As he's lying on the ground, I kill him. Quite easy. I pick the photo back up, this would be very damning evidence indeed.
46 - The game shows me where to find a bomb, who planted all these items? I blow up a winch in a theater and the walkways come crashing down on the last few guards standing in my way of escape.
47 - And that's it, I escape and it's the end of the level. The newspaper tells me I killed 20 guys, fired 38 shots, and even mentioned me hiding some of the bodies. This is pretty interesting, you can actually read the articles!
50 - The game shows a cutscene of a guy reading a newspaper, who was that?
52 - Agent 47 is now in his hideout. There's a bunch of guns on the wall that I shoot at various stuff. Is there anything really to down here?
55 - I leave the hideout and another cutscene begins, this one is interesting. A man approaches a mansion, it's Rick Henderson. He enters the house and begins speaking with an old man in hospital bed. Rick thinks he's just here to interview him, but the old guy wants to talk about something else, specifically Agent 47's past.
57 - There's one incident that he wants to talk about first, and we cut back to Agent 47 and a briefing on the next mission. I need to kill Don Fernando Delgado and Manuel Delgado, father and son.
58 - Before the mission begins, I get the option of selecting my weapons and whether I want to upgrade them or not. I just leave the default configuration.
59 - "A Vintage Year" begins. A seaplane makes a water landing and the Don gets out and greets his son. I get control of Agent 47 somewhere else.
60 - I enter the main complex, there's tons of people walking around, I guess I blend right in. This mission could be pretty cool. But that's the end of the first hour of Hitman: Blood Money.
Minutes to Action: 10
What I liked: The open ended assassination plot is pretty fun, though the initial tutorial level is rather canned and linear. Some of the actions are complex enough to warrant the level so I understand why it was included. There seems to be a ton of ways to kill people, and getting a rundown on your actions after the level in the newspaper is pretty awesome. The controls are pretty tight also, I read a ton of complaints that it was really hard to wire strangle people, but I pulled it off my first try. Finally, the graphics are actually pretty good for being a 2006 title.
What I didn't like: It all is a bit complex... there are a lot of actions and moves. Do I remember now how to strangle people in the elevator? No. What about using a human shield? Forgot that too. That doesn't mean I'll never figure them out again, but I also wouldn't know how to make them more intuitive without dropping them altogether.
Gameplay: Complicated controls to handle the game's wide range of actions, but most of the core stuff is simple and well executed. And yes, even shimmying isn't that bad.
Fun Factor: If you've never played a Hitman game, then I think you would love the concept. A living, breathing level at your fingertips, ready to allow you to investigate, explore, and assassinate any way you can think of. That right there is pretty awesome.
Graphics and Sound: Well, I can never consider a game's graphics that bad when I can figure out what everything is, but actually this game looks pretty good. The framerate never suffered during the gun battles, and some of the environments were huge. The cutscenes were also well done for the number of them that the first hour had.
I wish I had an ear for music so I could really comment on it, but at least the voice acting and sound effects were effective.
Story: Definitely intriguing, Agent 47's latest missions are going to be "explained" by some unknown man. Does he know how Agent 47 is? Is he an enemy or a friend? I'm actually interested in finding out.
Would I keep playing? Yes! I've never played a game like this before, and I love the game so far. Here's hoping the momentum keeps up.