Back in 2000, Eidos released the first Hitman game. Some can argue that it was a flawed masterpiece. It had a great idea behind it but the execution was off due to balancing and gameplay issues. In 2002 the second one was released and some of these issues were addressed. It was a decent game and more worthy of a title. Now the third one, Hitman: Contracts is released and it’s just more of the same for the veterans of Hitman 2.
The game is more or less memories of the bald headed hitman, whose name is 47; which that means we get to relive some of our past adventures with our favorite killer-for-hire. Some of the missions are re-telling of contracts we had to carry out in the first game. Considering the issues of the first title, it is nice to see them how they were meant to be. Not all of them are re-hashes of the previous titles, nearly half of the game offers original content and they do stand up to the great open-ended structure of the previous titles.
As previously mentioned, the game is open-ended on how can complete the mission. One can take an easier route of going in there in the same fashion as Rambo would or one could do the much more rewarding and challenging stealthy route. The running and gunning part is an easier way to finish things off mainly because of a mixture of design problems and good design elements. The good is that we are given a very handy auto-aiming feature that always helps us hit our mark, added with the bad AI; you can see what I am saying. It’s easy to trick the AI into doing foolish things, such as camping out in one room and just wait for all the foes to come to you…. as soon as they open the door…bust a few caps into their craniums and repeat till they are all dead. It’s even easier with the automatic weapons you will find. This is one thing I like about the game, the large number of authentic weapons you will find, anything from piano wire up to the top of the line sniper rifles. You can kill thugs and take their garments and pose as them to help get your way inside, closer to your target. We are even given a meter to let us know how stealthy we are; doesn’t usually work as well as I would like it to though. Nothing much has changed from the second game and if you have played it before, then you should be able to pick this game right up.
The graphics in this game are not a huge improvement over the last installment. Over the past two years the graphics have actually held up pretty good. The lighting effects are still pretty good and the addition of rag-doll physics is a plus. Textures are decent and Io Interactive has done a good job with creating atmosphere. Character animations are done well, but like I said, very little has been improved over the previous title.
The audio is something that I am glad has kept its previous quality. The music is awesome, as much as I expect from Jesper Kyd, the same composer from Hitman 2 and Freedom Fighters. The sound effects are what you expect from the guns and the ensuing gunfights. The voice acting of 47 is as always very well done and miscellaneous characters voice acting is well done in all the languages that the characters speak in.
To sum up, while the graphics engine is 2 years old it still holds up nicely and rag-doll physics are always a nice addition. The great atmosphere is aided by good voice acting and great music. The ambient sounds and sounds of your dastardly deeds all sound like they should. The replay is there, only if you want the game to be more challenging. There are multiple levels of difficulty that add to the challenge but there isn’t really any reason to go back and play again once you’ve finished it. Still the same from the second installment a few more innovative ideas would have made this a much better game.