Even though Hitman 2’s season has only just kicked off, a new Agent 47 release is already upon us. The Hitman HD Enhanced Collection bundles upgraded versions of Hitman: Blood Money and Hitman Absolution in a package that’s out now for Xbox One and Playstation 4. We tested it on a Playstation 4 Pro for this review.
It’s been almost six years since we did a review for the Hitman HD Trilogy on the Xbox 360, a system that was home to the original versions of both Blood Money and Absolution – games that helped shape Hitman into the game we’ve been playing ever since the recent reboot. For that reason alone, these games are well worth checking out. Let’s address the obvious elephant in the room right away though. At 60 euros/dollars, the package is an extremely pricey upgrade of two games that have been on sale for under 4 dollars each in the US PSN store. Sure, those are the PS3 versions, but the comparison still hurts. I wish the original trilogy had been included as well, since that would bring an entire anthology of games to the PS4/Xbox One – and that would have created a ton of extra value.
But… if you don’t have access to a last generation console, then what does the asking price get you? There’s the usual amount of visual polish you expect from a remake/remaster, and in this case that means that all the in-game graphics are natively rendered at 4K (and thus things look very nice at 1080p as well). You also get HDR support for screens that support it, and the end result is impressive – though perhaps not miles ahead of the HD version that the PS3 already got. The fact that the cutscenes didn’t get the same treatment probably doesn’t help there.
In addition to the visual upgrades, you can now also control the game with a scheme that’s similar to the more recent games – making the leap back in time easier for current Hitman players. That doesn’t mean these oldies feel as smooth as the recent two games though – especially Blood Money suffers from somewhat clunky controls at times. Blood Money’s level and mission design is still excellent though, and has stood the test of time very well.
Hitman Absolution, by comparison, is quite a difference beast. Franchise purists perhaps didn’t like it as much, but it’s arguably the most narrative-driven game in the series and its flashier, almost Hollywood-like presentation echoes through in today’s reboots. If the sandbox nature of the average Hitman game is too much for you, then Absolution’s definitely worth a look – it represents a leap forward for the franchise in terms of style. Over substance, some might argue, but I definitely enjoyed it back when it first came out.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with the Hitman HD Enhanced Collection, but I’d imagine it’s a tough sell for those who already own the games and/or weren’t longing to replay these. Unless you’re feeling really nostalgic, you’d probably be better off grabbing the 2016 reboot first – you’ll save some money and it contains the best ideas from both Blood Money and Absolution.