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 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.
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).
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.
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.
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).
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
- 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
- Otherwise, nothing of significance
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.