Hot on the heels of the release of Hitman 2, Warner Bros. and IO interactive announced the Hitman HD Enhanced Collection. This was a pretty surprise announcement, not just because it was announced and released so close to Hitman 2, but also because both titles are now available on Xbox One via backwards compatibility. Since Playstation 4 doesn’t have a backwards compatibility program, this may have played a role in the release.
Hitman: Blood Money was the title that introduced me to the Hitman franchise, so we’ll start there. Originally released back in 2006 for Playstation 2, Xbox, and Xbox 360, Blood Money wasn’t something I could wrap my head around. As a fan of the Metal Gear Solid franchise, that was a style of stealth I understood. Giving players absolute freedom to take out their targets in unique and creative ways without any sense of direction didn’t click with me at the time and I gave up after a few missions. Now, years later, after spending a significant amount of time in the franchise, I get it.
Blood Money doesn’t haven’t the same type of freedom that new players might be used to in the reboot, and moving back to that style of gameplay is jarring to a point. The main concept remains intact, but there aren’t as many options in each level, and areas are limited to smaller locations. This might not be a bad thing though. The reboot can result in lots of lost time when trying for completely stealth runs, while Blood Money alleviates some of that with shorter and contained stages.
The nice thing about the Hitman HD Enhanced Collection is that both of the included titles have received some pretty great quality of life updates. The most apparent are obviously the visual improvements. Both titles have gotten the 4K treatment, and run at a smooth 60 frames per second. Updated controls and improved texture formats help these older titles make the jump into the current generation of consoles.
Blood Money still shows the age of a 13-year-old game though. I think it’s hard to get any title meant to look realistic at the time to the point it needs to be for current consoles, though. So this isn’t an issue isolated to Hitman: Blood Money. That being said, I booted up my 360 copy of Blood Money to take a look how it aged, and this release looks head and shoulders above the original version. Clipping on busy textures is gone, improved lighting effects help bring the world to life, and anti-aliasing helps smooth down some textures. It’s a decent upgrade for an aged title, but compared to Absolution, it’s downright ugly.
At the time that Hitman: Absolution released, it was a title I really enjoyed. It was a divisive title, and longtime fans of the Hitman franchise thought it was a step back from Blood Money. It was a simpler title, and definitely felt more linear than Blood Money, but I think that was what I needed at the time. Absolution feels more like a title that could introduce players to the way the franchise works. At the same time, Hitman: Absolution seemed like an interim title.
While feeling more linear, Absolution seems to be the natural evolution towards the franchise reboot. Agent 47 blends in with crowds, utilizes an arsenal of gadgets, and much like the reboot, rewards players for being slow and decisive. Trial and error is the best way to learn in Absolution, much like the direction the reboot took. Hitman: Absolution plays great on current-gen consoles, and even though it looked great when it launched, Absolution is absolutely the showpoint for this HD Collection. The upgrade that Warner Bros and IO Interactive gave this title breathe new life into it. Stages are bustling with people, and environments are incredibly detailed. Seeing it all in 4K with the new lighting effects makes Absolution feel like a PS4 or Xbox One title, let alone a remastered one.
While both titles are great for different reasons, the collection feels limited for a $59.99 price tag. Adding in a remastered Hitman 2 might have eased a little bit of that burden, but without it, Hitman HD Enhanced Collection feels overpriced for what it is. Hell, Far Cry: New Dawn launches this month for $39.99, and that would have been a better price point for this collection. That being said, there’s a lot of love built into these remastered titles, and anyone who has missed either of these titles and is a fan of either stealth or the Hitman titles should check out the Hitman HD Enhanced Collection.
Hitman HD Enhanced Collection is available now for Playstation 4 and Xbox One. This review is based on an Xbox One copy provided by the publisher.
Hitman HD Enhanced Collection
- Stellar visual upgrade, especially for Absolution.
- Control updates to modernize these two titles.
- While both games are great, $59.99 seems like too much for whats here.
- Missing extra modes from Absolution.
- A few bugs on each title.