Hitman HD Trilogy Review

If you're a Hitman fan of a certain age, then you may remember this rather convoluted procedure:

  • Connect your Xbox 360 using a component video cable
  • Set the switch on the cable to "TV"
  • Switch your Xbox 360 on
  • Go to your Xbox display settings and select PAL-60
  • On the component cable switch from TV to HD-TV
  • Switch off your Xbox 360
  • Switch on your Xbox 360
  • Launch Hitman Blood Money

If not, you're probably asking yourself why we're opening a review of what should be a very welcome return to 47's glory days with technical babble. The reason is this: a lot of you buying Hitman HD on 360 may need it sooner rather than later.

Why? Back in 2006, the above workaround was how you got Hitman: Blood Money to work on PAL 360s. The game wouldn't run on PAL-50. This was how you fixed it.

Annoying, yes. But hey, that was a simpler time. Recession was a word used only by concerned barbers. HDMI was something that only PS3 owners cared about. And Hitman itself wasn't a massive joke.

Fast-forward to 2013 and – you've probably guessed this already – it hasn't been fixed for the Hitman HD Trilogy re-release. (The 360 version comes on two discs, the other one being for Hitman 2 and Contracts, so they're fine.) It should have been corrected - and if such a fix wasn't technically possible, then you'd have hoped for a little more guidance from Square on how to get around it.

Hitman: HD Trilogy screenshot

Sadly there's not, bar a rather vague warning on the back of the box about 'older TVs'. Not much help if you've never run into the issue before, or disposed of your old leads. It's an unacceptable scenario, really, and smacks of a publisher just hurrying some of its back catalogue IP out the door for a quick buck.

If you're inclined to press on past this – and we wouldn't blame you for not bothering - you'll find a package that contains three of the best assassin sims ever made. They have their problems, sure. As stated these are essentially slightly polished, up-res'd versions of what was already there: no major changes, for better or worse. Those that lamented Absolution's action focus, however, will be far more at home here.

First sequel Silent Assassin fixed many of its PC-only predecessor's faults and nicely wrapped a revenge/redemption story around 47's globe-trotting exploits. From Kuala Lumpur to St Petersberg, it features some wonderful hits: double headshotting whispering generals from a church tower, feeding a Japanese target Fugu fish, and sneaking into a Russian high society party are some of the many highlights. It's a massive game, and although it stumbles through some of its larger stages Silent Assassin still encourages invention, imagination and sheer player agency.

Hitman: HD Trilogy screenshot

Contracts followed 2 years later in 2004, repackaging some of the original game's levels for console consumption while introducing all new stages in the process. The graphics engine was updated, mechanics and controls tweaked – 47's sneaking pace was no longer torturously slow – and it ramped up the gore. It starts with 47 gutshot and bleeding and gets worse from there: rescuing human hostages about to be hunted for sport, anyone?

Despite the darker focus, the missions themselves are just as engaging, if smaller in scope. Again, absolute discretion is key, and this is a decent sequel nicely updated – bar the low quality cutscenes which, maddeningly, haven't been fixed.

Both of these earlier games can't hold a candle to the later installment in terms of mechanics – 47 is oddly useless in close combat, and actually getting him to do what you want can be fiddly and frustrating. There's also a sometimes poor sense of internal logic: those that bemoaned Absolution's AI will be spitting blood here at times here. But they're still stylish, addictive, and exciting.

Hitman: HD Trilogy screenshot

And then there's Blood Money, the best of the bunch – and by that we mean the whole series. Moving 47's exploits primarily to the US (including a hit in the White House) it amplified what we already loved about the series: 47 is handier, the assassinations are more varied and devious (including the ability to frame them as accidents) and players have to clear the scene of evidence they left behind. Already a 360 title (albeit an early one) it looks far better than the other two, even without any new polish.

Each of the three will infuriate as much as they excite, and there's no denying they are now very clunky and at times monstrously unfair. They are also, however, games that appeal to the creative and reward the patient: darkly satisfying and utterly empowering.

Three very worthwhile games then, in a package sadly marred by poor decision making from the publisher. With a bit more care this could have been essential. As it is, there's a load of nonsense waiting for players to wade through before they get to the good stuff. Which seems to be a fitting description of the franchise as a whole these days.

Version Tested: Xbox 360

Played for 50+ hours (original releases), 3 hours (HD Trilogy)

5 / 10

  • Loads of classic missions
  • Blood Money is the best in the series
  • Infuriating 50Hz issue
  • Can be fiddly and frustrating

Click above for enlarged Hitman: HD Trilogy Screenshots

12 Comments

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User Comments

Wido's Avatar

Wido@ rbevanx

IGN are terrible, period. I've been banging the same drum for a while now and the reviews is definitely lacking on here. It'll be 6 or 7 years this July, and seeing the site transform is a beauty. Of course I prefer the Pro-G days :)

The console wars were pure jokes.
Posted 12:29 on 31 January 2013
rbevanx's Avatar

rbevanx@ Wido

The videos have been really good but yeah...the outsouced reviews have been a total shambles recently.

They have been so bad they have made some on IGN look good in comparison!
Posted 12:20 on 31 January 2013
Wido's Avatar

Wido

It wasn't the content about the game itself, it was the introduction what done me in at the start and the confusing 5, when the previous games were big hitters. Of course each to their own for the reviewers, but I'm really baffled by the quality being pumped out on here as of late.
Posted 12:18 on 31 January 2013
Njeezy's Avatar

Njeezy

I thought the review was easily informative enough, it's the exact same games as before with a lick of paint, I agree with Munkee if you wanted in depth reviews you could find them although I suppose VG could include links to the original reviews if they have them, then people wanting to find out more could click on the blue writing.
Posted 09:47 on 31 January 2013
dav2612's Avatar

dav2612

Each to their own but I don't have an issue with the review.
Posted 09:00 on 31 January 2013
tvr77's Avatar

tvr77

So this is not a review of the actual game, its more of a review for the HD port job with a light splash of gameplay, i suppose if you want to know more you need to revert back to the original Hitman reviews.
Posted 08:53 on 31 January 2013
munkee's Avatar

munkee

Maybe the review is letting on more than you think. Ie. the games are exactly the same as they always were, so just find the original reviews and read them (you're all competent Internet users. Don't be lazy). The mechanics are mentioned. Ie. they don't hold up too well against today's videogames. Lastly, it's a rushed release to make money.

You're seemingly looking for an in depth review and to sit wasting your own time reading something you already know. The new information, the bit that isn't included in the old reviews and needed to be mentioned here already has been: it's the same ***** you've already played. Just find a second hand copy down at the carboot sale. This release adds NOTHING. Or, buy it and don't be surprised when you end up with an old game.

5
Posted 22:40 on 30 January 2013
Marink's Avatar

Marink@ rbevanx

Hehe. It's been an amusing day.
Posted 20:49 on 30 January 2013
BC_Animus's Avatar

BC_Animus

Tried Blood Money a while back on the 360, but seeing I had a first gen model with no HMDI ports (and considering my TV didn't have any HDMI inputs back then) the whole PAL50/60 issue wasn't an issue for me.

Anyways you mentioned Hitman 2, Contracts, Silent Assassin, Blood Money, and Absolution in this review. I'm a bit confused as to which games are actually included in this collection, as well as what version of which game you were referring to at times.

I know this is a review on a collection of old titles, so it's probably not worth the attention of a full review - but I WOULD love to see more info on the actual games themselves, would be good for folks like me who isn't really that familiar with the series. What type of games are these? How do each of the games play? How are each of these games structured? For example I remember playing a demo for one of the older Hitman games back on the PSOne and it was more of a run and gun 3rd person shooter, whereas Blood Money had more of an open structure seek-and-reach-then-kill-a-specific-target gameplay?
Posted 19:18 on 30 January 2013
Wido's Avatar

Wido

Skipped to the score when I saw the same rinse & repeat of a news post yesterday of the same thing telling people what to do. A review is a review of the game, not how to connect a flipping TV.

I like how HD remake gets a 5 whilst going back when these games released, they were big hitters. Whats changed? I'm confused a little.
Posted 18:14 on 30 January 2013
rbevanx's Avatar

rbevanx

What a pathetic review, not worth the space on the site.

Read for 1 minute, typed in 30 seconds.
Posted 17:56 on 30 January 2013
Neon-Soldier32's Avatar

Neon-Soldier32

Are you joking - 3 hours with the HD release? This seems more like a review of the three games than of the trilogy. (Which I guess it is as it's a HD coat, not remake.) I'd much have preferred if there was more than this trivial amount of time spent with the game, however. 3 hours is barely enough for a quarter of Blood Money if done stealthily.

How come there's no mention of the Sniper Challenge (which I read was also included).

The score seems a little harsh: Just because games from 2002 and 2004 respectively look as though they're from that period and too much emphasis seems to have been put on the Blood Money issue. I'm not sure what you were expecting; by now everyone knows what HD re releases are like - ported versions which have been upscaled.
Posted 17:19 on 30 January 2013

Game Stats

Hitman: HD Trilogy
5
Out of 10
Hitman: HD Trilogy
  • Loads of classic missions
  • Blood Money is the best in the series
  • Infuriating 50Hz issue
  • Can be fiddly and frustrating
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 01/02/2013
Platforms: Xbox 360 , PS3
Developer: Io Interactive
Publisher: Square Enix
Genre: Stealth
Rating: TBC
Site Rank: 587 106
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