Reviews// Hitman: Blood Money (PS2 + Xbox 360)

Give me my hit, man!

Posted 5 Jun 2006 07:00 by
Ah, the simple pleasures of life! A quite afternoon reading a book in the sun. A leisurely stroll through the English countryside. The feeling of professional pride when you assassinate your target and get away undetected. Two of these pleasures are not offered by Hitman: Blood Money - developed by IO Interactive and published by Eidos - guess which two?

Yes, Agent 47 is back! Bad guys of the world tremble in fear! Trembling in fear is also advised for good, or neutral, guys, or dolls, that live close to, or work for, bad guys. Sometimes to make an omelette, you have to break more than one egg.

For those of you who have not played a Hitman game before, the aim is simple, devise cunning and devious methods to cause the death of your assassination target, making use of various weapons, household objects, disguises and equipment.
Or you can just run in, all guns blazing, and shoot everybody! And therein lies the attraction of the Hitman series - the levels are so wonderfully open-ended. Do you sedate the guard, hide his body, dress in his uniform, creep through the house and poison the mark? Or do you snipe the target from across the street when he takes his evening constitutional on the balcony?

In Blood Money, unlike earlier Hitman games, those game play decisions are not just going to influence the outcome of the current level, you may also be upping the difficulty of the ones to come. You see, the boffins at IO have implemented a system of notoriety which means that if you make loud noises or are seen fleeing the scene, you will be less likely to pass unrecognised in the next level.
The word will be out - there's a tall, bald bloke in a suit with a barcode on the back of his head and he's killing people! Eventually, even members of the public will recognise you and you may have to try the "all guns blazing" approach for every hit. However, all is not lost, you can use some of your earnings on legitimate business expenses, such as bribing witnesses or the press, which will keep your notoriety to a minimum.
If that all sounds rather challenging, there are a spread of difficulty levels for play, including a rookie mode where nothing will affect your notoriety at all. Not even killing every last civilian in the immediate area.

Keeping your notoriety low has the advantage that your money can be spent on buying upgrades to your weapons and equipment. Silencers and low speed ammunition will keep your guns quiet. Pain killers and adrenalin shots will allow you to recover some health.
Long range detonators will keep you from being discovered when you drop that chandelier on someone's unsuspecting head. However, weapons can't be bought and must be picked up during the operations themselves, any guns you are carrying when you escape the area will be added to your arsenal and will be available for use on later hits. Of course, if you are going for a Silent Assassin rating on one of the higher levels of play, you won't be using guns anyway since evidence, even shell casings, can lead to an increase in notoriety. In these cases you will have to try for kills that can be passed off as accidents.
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