Hitman is an iconic stealth series that developer IO Interactive has stuck with through thick and thin. Though its latest entry, Hitman 2, launched just few months ago, the studio decided to surprise fans by announcing a collection of two other classic titles in the series, Blood Money and Absolution, to be enhanced for current-gen consoles. On paper, this sounds like a wonderful gift, but in reality, it ends up being a letdown hindered by dated gameplay and a ludicrous price.
Better left in the past
Not worth the price of admission.
The games were great for their time, but nothing in this HD Collection warrants another purchase. You'll find more value picking them up individually for Xbox 360.
The good: Hitman nostalgia
Both Hitman: Blood Money and Absolution are good games by themselves, but Blood Money doesn't hold up as well as you'd like. Because of this, Hitman: Absolution shines bright. Absolution plays much like the most recent Hitman games with more fluid controls and a similar button layout, so players who are new to the series should find themselves right at home.
And for series veterans, it's another way to revisit some of your favorite games, even if it's maybe not the best way. Nostalgia is a hell of a drug.
The bad: Hitman: Blood Money, price, dated gameplay, graphics
When the Hitman HD Enhanced Collection was announced, IO Interactive boasted that it would feature "updated controls for a more fluid experience." Frankly, it doesn't. Hitman: Blood Money is just as janky as you'd expect, with an old controller layout to boot. To give you an example of how frustrating the controls can be, holding down the left trigger allows Agent 47 to crouch. Not pressing it, holding it. It would have been nice to have seen crouch mapped to another button so that it could be toggled easily. And the responsiveness of these controls is nothing to write home about either. I can't begin to tell you how many times I've walked to a window trying to escape, only for Agent 47 to stand there motionless, finally jumping out several seconds later once I fiddle with the thumbstick enough.
Though Absolution is by far the highlight of this collection — ironic considering Blood Money generally garnered a more favorable opinion when it launched — it only features half of its original content. Due to licensing issues, IO Interactive does not have the rights to Absolution's Contracts Mode servers, so it's been completely removed for the time being. The company is working to resolve the situation, but that doesn't change that people are being asked to pay $60 up front for only part of a product, nor does it mean anything will come to fruition.
New techniques have been implemented to improve both games' lighting, shadows, and textures in order to produce a higher quality overall experience, but you don't get that sense while playing it. There's nothing mindblowing about the visuals. As with a lot of remasters, the colors look a bit brighter, certain objects are a bit clearer, but that's about it. You won't be seeing any drastic improvements, as you would with a remake.
Again, $60 is way too expensive for this collection. I don't know the cost of development or what went into the pricing decision — maybe for the amount of work, $60 is justified on IO Interactive's end — but I can't recommend anyone actually go out and spend that kind of money on this. For what the product is, it's not worth it to players.
Should you buy Hitman HD Enhanced Collection?
The Hitman HD Enhanced Collection leaves a lot to be desired, despite supporting 4K resolution on Xbox One X and running at 60FPS. I'm not discounting each game's greatness for the time that they first launched — they were regarded as solid entries and still are — but as an HD collection they fall flat.
- Nostalgia factor
- Hitman: Absolution holds up
- Hitman: Blood Money's controls are too dated
- Unimpressive graphics
- No contracts in Absolution
If you're truly dying to replay these games, pick up Hitman: Blood Money and Absolution for Xbox 360, both of which are backward compatible. If this pair of games doesn't quite tickle your fancy, even for a cheaper price on Xbox 360, then your best bet is to pick up Hitman 2. It provides a quality stealth experience with the benefit of originally being designed for consoles in 2018.
Jennifer Locke has been playing video games nearly her entire life, and is very happy Xbox is growing a stronger first-party portfolio. You can find her obsessing over Star Wars and other geeky things on Twitter @JenLocke95.