Currently on sale on the PSN and likely other places, the three game collection contains the three big hits from the cult favorite series. Omitting the original title, PC Exclusive Hitman: Codename 47, and the recent Hitman: Absolution this pocket change package offers up Silent Assassin, Contracts and Blood Money. Essentially it’s the only games in the series worth playing.
For those unfamiliar with the series the player steers around bald, severe looking and red tie wearing Agent 47, a hitman and largely an urban legend who is the result of a cloning experiment. Silent Assassin begins with Agent 47 trying to start a quiet life in a monastery in Sicily before he old life comes crashing in, leading 47 on a trail through Italy, Japan and other locales. Contracts and Blood Money offer a looser and (for this genre) better format by presenting a series of disconnected missions for 47 to relive. The framing device for the stories are a gunshot induced stupor and an investigative journalist interview respectively. On each mission the player guides 47 through a sand box location, donning disguises and finding secrets, before bumping off your targets. The less attention you garner the better the score, with making the hits look like accidents being the ultimate goal.
This allows the missions to feature much more variation and imagination across the levels, particularly Blood Money. You can expect to find your way through wineries, opera houses, suburban mini-mansions, old English hunting lodges, rehab clinics, hotels, Mardi Gras and stand-in for the Playboy mansion. The content is strictly adults only, with an unflinching depiction of sex and violence. Most shocking is an early level in Contracts that takes place during a drug fueled BDSM party in a slaughterhouse. It’s not for the timid.
Gameplay requires patience and experimentation. It’s easy to duck back to a previous mission and replay it, which you will because there are always multiple ways to finish the mission and a myriad of one-of-a-kind events and objects to work into your strategy. The controls and gameplay is not one of the highlights of the series, with early games in particular feeling especially clunky and occasionally frustrating. Blood Money simplifies the control scheme and the context sensitive situations are easier to activate. For the price it’s worth grabbing the collection just for the third title and only working back through Contracts and Silent Assassin if you’re a big fan.
Hitman Trilogy HD has great presentation, with a lot of thought put into each level. The classical soundtrack headlined with Ava Maria helps reinforce the high standard of the games aesthetics. This series will be long held to a high standard by fans (carefully ignoring the most recent instalment) so it’s worth checking out while it’s affordable.
Go on. Kill the clown.