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Hitman: Absolution Mac Review

Are you tired of just walking into a room or arena and shooting everything in sight? Bored with measuring success by having the biggest gun or fastest trigger finger? Do you like your killing more quiet, subtle and tactical? Well Hitman: Absolution is here to give you a run, hide and sneak for your money. But don’t worry, there’s plenty of killing along the way.

Ported to the Mac by Feral Interactive and available on both Steam and the Mac App Store, Hitman places you in the shoes of Agent 47, a genetically engineered hitman designed to take on the toughest jobs requiring both stealth and deadly cunning. Having gone rogue from your agency to protect a girl, you’ll need all your skills to complete a wide variety of missions and unravel the mystery surrounding her.

 

Enter Hitman: Absolution for Mac

Hitman Absolution Hitman is a 3rd person stealth shooter and with all the sneaking around you’ll be doing you’ll want to make sure you have a control system set up that fits your style. It is designed for a keyboard-trackpad combination, which I tried at first, but found that it didn’t suit me; there were too many times when taps and other action didn’t register the first time on the trackpad, leading to, shall we say, unfortunate results.

The game also supports most current game controllers, so I plugged in my trusty Logitech F310, which was recognized and appropriately mapped. The problem I had with that was the aim button, which you were supposed to press half way, but which was never recognized as half pressed. I probably could have remapped it to a better button, but didn’t feel like dealing with that and the 3D isomorphic movement with the dual joysticks wasn’t working well for me either.

So as a last resort I grabbed my old, cheap two buttons with scroll wheel mouse from my old computer and lo and behold I had my solution. Works perfectly for me along with the keyboard, and I think my aging brain works better remembering keyboard commands than keeping track of all the buttons on a game controller. Obviously to each their own, but make sure you find the solution that works for you, because you’ll be needing all the options at your disposal as you go through the missions.

When you start the story, you get a first mission tutorial that teaches you basic gameplay, commands and strategies. About half way through this mission the hand holding stops and it’s up to you. As discussed already above, these missions encourage you to figure out the best, quietest and sometimes quickest way to accomplish your goals. You may be able to complete some chapters by just walking in with guns blazing, but it’s never the best way, and you’ll be penalized in various ways for trying it.

Hitman Absolution Mac

As you go through the various levels you’ll have people and objects that you can interact with and use; generally the more things you try, the more points you’ll get at the end of each level. More points mean upgraded skills so you can sneak and kill more quietly and efficiently. When you complete a level, successfully or not, you’ll get a screen showing how many points you gained and lost for your various actions, as well as a set of icons showing things you did and didn’t do. This both gives you a measure of how much of the level you actually experienced and encourages you to go back and replay levels to increase your point totals and thus, abilities.

One of the great things about this game is that these points aren’t just for killing and using weapons. You can gain points for using disguises, and you’ll lose points for making people suspicious of you. Gain points for taking out a target, lose points for killing innocent civilians. Throughout the game you’ll be challenged to figure out what’s worthwhile for you to do, be it picking up objects from the environment and using them, distracting or subduing enemies rather than killing them, taking the time to hide bodies or just moving on from the kill to try and accomplish your mission and much more. This truly is a cerebral shooter if there is such a thing (actually, one of the things that attracted me to the title were comparisons I read to Deus Ex: Human Revolution).

Hitman Absolution Mac

In addition to the main story, you’ll have the opportunity to create and complete side contracts in Contract Mode: make your own or complete others’ to earn money with which to unlock weapons and skills. Share your contracts and results online to see who is the best hitman. The Elite Edition also includes the Sniper Challenge for when you’re in the mood to test your sniping skills without too much plot getting in the way.

 

Presentation

This is an A list game and it looks that way. Even on my nearly five year old iMac, with graphics set to about medium or a bit higher, things look good. Animations are smooth, the environments look great (just don’t get too distracted looking at the pretty things), and all the expected bells and whistles are there. Likewise, cut scenes provide the cinematic experience we’ve come to expect from this level of a game. That said, I do have a few minor quibbles.

Hitman Absolution Mac

These are problems I have with many 3D games, perhaps I’m just spoiled from other games and from dabbling in 3D work myself. First, and this one came as a bit of a surprise to me, while your levels look wide open and are rendered as though they can be fully explored, they can’t. You’ll run up against invisible barriers where your environment ends, and while this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it sure looked like I could explore some areas and in some levels, it seemed some of those forbidden areas would have provided a better approach to the situation. I think that’s what I found most frustrating, that I couldn’t approach some tasks the way I actually would have given the rendered environment. So beware, you do have choices in how you approach your targets, but perhaps not as many choices as you think.

My only other real quibble is that the mouths in cut scenes aren’t synced with the words characters are saying; again, I’m spoiled from games where they do do this, but would like to see it done more often. While both of these are distractions, neither is a major problem and again, the game looks great.

Hitman: Absolution sounds great too. Aside from the expected realistic sounds of weapons and explosions, ambient sounds, including background voices, are done very nicely and add to the immersive experience. The voice acting is top notch and you’ll probably recognize some names from TV & the movies in the opening credits. The only complaint I’d have here, and again, it’s common in most games, is the repetitive nature of the incidental or background conversations. This isn’t a problem if you go through a level step by step accomplishing your goals, but if you find yourself wandering through the same place more than once, you’ll hear the incidental characters repeating the same few lines. Again, not a big deal and doesn’t detract much from the otherwise excellent sound found throughout the game.

When it comes to Multiplayer, keep in mind that the Steam version of the game is Steam-Play enabled and is the only version to support online multiplayer (Mac to Mac).

 

Mac Performance

I had no performance or stability issues with Hitman at all, albeit with the graphics turned down to around medium. If you want to play with graphics cranked all the way up, you’ll need a newer machine with a better video card, but if you’re willing to compromise on graphics quality, a fairly wide assortment of machines can run the game (and people have reported being able to play it on machines below the minimum specs listed). As is the trend with high quality 3D games these days, you’ll need some hard drive space: 24GB to be exact, so make sure you have some space before you start downloading. This game is only available through Steam, but after downloading it, I’ve had no problems with it. All in all, running this on an older but at the time high end iMac was a better experience than I expected.

Minimum system requirements:

  • OSX 10.9.2 with a 2 GHz dual core processor
  • 4 GB RAM
  • 24 GB Hard Drive space
  • 512 MB graphics card
  • ATI RAdeon HD 4670
  • NVIDIA GeForce 9400M
  • Intel HD Graphics 4000 (Requires 8GB of system RAM)
  • Multi-button mouse/trackpad and keyboard or game controller

 

The Verdict

The Good

  • Good story that integrates into the gameplay
  • Various gameplay modes and difficulty levels
  • Varied missions so gameplay doesn’t get repetitive
  • Different ways to play through the game increases replayability
  • Excellent graphics, sound and voice acting

The Bad

  • Otherwise, nothing of significance

Final Word

Hitman: Absolution Elite Edition is another A list title feather in Feral Interactive’s Mac porting cap. A rare blend of stealth gameplay, violence, and plot-driven gaming, it deserves a place in every shooter fan’s Steam library. With it’s different gameplay modes, variety of difficulty levels, and open-ended methods for achieving your goals, Hitman is sure to keep you sneaking and garroting for many hours.

You can get it from the Mac App Store.

Note from Ric: This Review comes from Steven Marx, one of Mac Gamer HQ’s most loyal reviewers.

  • Ian

    I’ve had a ton of performance problems on my 3GB ATI Radeon 7950, but I must be the only one. Everyone else is saying that it runs fine…

    • Josh Hatchett

      Yeah, I haven’t been experiencing performance issues at all =/

    • Chris Tallant

      What problems are you experiencing? I literally set one of these up today, and loading Yosemite was the way to go.. I checked out this site here for help (https://discussions.apple.com/thread/5943974?start=15&tstart=0)

      • You have access to way too many Macs my friend…..I hate you 😉

        • Chris Tallant

          Eh.. Trust me, having access to them, setting them up for the engineers and developers as well as the exec’s…and being the single point of contact when things like VPN or when a password change occurred while they were in a hotel in Korea… It has its ups and downs.

          • LOL I get you man, anyhow, it all changes once it becomes work right? 😉

    • Played just fine for me…. Did you ever manage to solve the problem Ian?

      • Ian

        Sorry, I uninstalled it and I kinda forgot about this. I’m going to contact Feral and see if they can help em out.

        I do have an obscure graphics card, so its kinda understandable.

  • jwebb

    I don’t understand how a game that runs so poorly gets such a high praise. I have found a good number of recent mac games run poorly due to some poor optimization with the video cards available or are unsuitable to make the leap from direct X to Open GL. Sadly this largely goes unnoticed…why?

    I have a 3GB ATI Radeon 7950, and like Ian, this game runs very poorly. Feels like a laggy slideshow and very jerky – it is not smooth at all. I have 8gbs of ram and I am running a 2.8GHZ 8 Core Mac Pro. On the windows side using steam play, it runs perfectly with medium to high settings. On the mac side, changing settings has little to no effect. Unless you use REAL number data such as FPS rates and note when the game drops FPS telling us a game plays “just fine” is worthless. Performance of games is not trivial or a side point…it is everything, because for many like me the enjoyment of a game drops massively and frustration shoots up when games offer sub par performance, like this one.

    I love Feral, and their choice in games, and I not just pointing the finger at them…but now with steam play…it is quite clear to see how badly things are performing on the Mac side…I mean people slam WINE ports from Transgaming for offering sub-par performance compared to a native port…well Let me tell you…I have plenty of “Native” Mac ports that are running horrible on my arrays of Macs…Dead island, Spec Ops, Dirt Showdown and F1 2013…to name a few. It isn’t all bad news…I have some real gems like Dirt 2, Grid, Borderlands 2 and even the latest Tomb Raider (not the MP portion mind you) that run fantastic. I think it would be awesome if Mac Gamer ran performance articles on games that have the best Mac Ports.

    • That’s a fair comment. Performance is VERY important, in fact, I’m making some changes to how we actually make the Reviews here, to have more focus on the Mac performance side.

      The problem you mention here will always exist, in fact it always has: the review is done on the reviewer’s PC. He can’t test what the performance will be in all Macs that can run the game.

      Also, given @disqus_WTosD6fxx0:disqus below had the same issue, perhaps your GFX card is particularly giving performance issues?

      I’m not trying to defend Feral here, but the game runs great on my end for example (at 720p, mid settings while recording gameplay) and also on Steven’s (who did the review).

      Have you tried contacting Feral’s support? Because I agree with you, a card like yours should have no problems to run Hitman. Perhaps a driver issue on their end?
      Let me know if I can help you reaching out to them but their Support Team is very reactive!

      • jwebb

        Honestly I’ved tested on several macs and I’ve never seen the “great” fps people claim which is why we need numbers. I’m a designer by trade so I notice details that the majority simply do not. In the interest of comparison. I’ve tested several games in Windows 7 and Yosemite:

        To Recap I have a 3GB ATI Radeon 7950 in a 2.8ghz 8 Core Mac Pro

        Hitman Absolution

        Yosemite 10.10.1
        Windowed 1600 x 1000 (FSAA OFF)

        Low – 20.38 ave 41.33 max 10.75 min
        Ultra – 18.15 ave max 23.71 min 9.68

        Windowed 1600 x 1000 (FSAA ON)

        Low – 20.51 ave 28.19 max 8.92 min
        Ultra – 18.22 ave 23.71 max 11.02 min

        Windows 7
        Windowed 1600 x 1200 (FSAA ON)

        Low – 48 ave 60 max 38 min
        Ultra – 38 ave 66 max 30 min

        I tested under Mav and it was similar to Yosemite’s numbers before I put the game away never to play it again since it clearly doesn’t run under the Mac at least for me. Frankly Feral knows – theres a benchmark test right in Hitman that they could have simply used. What are people getting that’s coming across as “Fine”? In order to have smooth gameplay we need a minimum of 30fps and that really should be higher for some areas in the game where action may drop that even further. The Windows bench clearly using DirectX is nearly double to triple the performance of the Mac port. I think we need to use these built in game benches to really see how the game is performing. Hopefully Feral puts the work in and just doesn’t simply “remove” the benchmark option from future games. Grid 2 is at least better optimized but the Windows version has better shadows, less pixelation on the logos on the cars, and just looks better while running at about twice the fps of the mac port. I don’t expect the port to run near 100% but we should get at least 90-80% of the windows performance numbers.

        • Can’t say that you didn’t bring some cold hard facts to the table 🙂
          I would be very interested to know how you get FPS data on the Mac side of things. I looked it up a few months ago but didn’t find much…

  • 柯奕廷

    I can’t Run it !! What’s the problem!!