Hitman: Blood Money Reader Review
Stepping back into Mr 47's shoes was an experience I had been looking forward to for a long time. Worries that skipping the third game, Contracts, would leave me somewhat out of the loop with regards to plot and tactics seem somewhat silly in hindsight -one training mission later assures that most of the principles seen before are still in place. Talking of the training mission; I'd like to point out that the linear structure here isn't really concurrent with the rest of the game. Freedom of choice has always been a feature of Hitman but now there are more options than ever (just not in the training mission, which you'll probably only play once), just how do you want do conduct the business of death?
The improvements are both subtle and numerous, of perhaps greatest note is the increase in Mr 47's flexibility: he's now happy to use his head and fists to incapacitate his opponents and every item can now be thrown -good either as a distraction, disposing of evidence or, in the case of the kitchen knife, for a grim, long range take down. Bodies can be dumped over railings and in freezers, which are thankfully frequent.
The feeling that the series' odd system of logic is rather frustrating (this will work, but this similar thing won't) is far less prevalent here. You are no longer instantly shot at for tresspassing or for standing around a guard for slightly too long, for example.
So the game doesn't feel quite so trial and error any more. Of course learning the levels and their various points of interest (ranging from a cake you can booby-trap to keys to steal) can make the prospect of a silent assassin rating a much more tangible prospect. Which leads to my main point: playing blood money as a third person stealth shooter is all well and good, but perhaps a puzzle gaming mindset is more appropriate. Attaining a perfect rank often seems impossible at the start of most levels, often you'll find yourself at a crossroads when you've screwed up: do I grab that goon's gun and try to control the damage? Or do I quickload and try something else? The game punishes you very little for minor mistakes, there's no reason you couldn't kill that guy and carry on is there? Well apart from a reduced pay-out and a possibly increased notoriety rating at the end of course.
One thing I know is that 47 must have a bucket full of patience; guards and marks often have long and slightly unrealistic routines (you're going to the toilet again?)that may require you to hide, in the surprisingly numerous closets, before making a move.
But when you get it right you feel like the mystical killer 47 is billed to be, eliminating all six of the gator gang on a paddle steamer full of people being something of a highlight. At the alternative end of the spectrum, sniper rifle suitcase in one hand, absurdly expensive custom handgun in the other, you feel like the ultimate unstoppable professional, headshot after headshot, methodically executing your way to the target.
Not that I'd reccommend playing the entire game in such a manner. That sir, would be missing the point. Though the game isn't going to force your hand if that's your bag.
Blood Money is often frustrating, and if the idea of having to play a level twice before you "get it" doesn't appeal it may, understandably, not be for you. The ending is a genius if you don't predict it however.
Just remember: you mind can be far more dangerous than a gun.