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Welcome Back Agent 47

Arup Das | Print Edition: December 2012

HITMAN: ABSOLUTION
FOR XBOX 360
Price: Rs 2,799

The last time we saw the suave assassin, Agent 47, was almost six and half years ago. He is back in his sharp suits, ready to take down targets. Hitman: Absolution is like a fresh breath of air in the assassin gaming world because unlike most killers who go all guns blazing, Agent 47 needs to plan carefully and blend in with the crowd.

Game developers Square Enix have brilliantly put the onus of how you carry out your contracts on yourself. So you are spoilt for choice. You can set a bomb and quietly walk away or sneak up and slit your target's throat or do it in a good old gunfight. Then you can cover up your tracks by nonchalantly changing your bloodied clothes and casually walking into police stations and courthouses. Agent 47's chutzpah, if ever so cruel, makes him morbidly attractive.

The Hitman franchise has, for the first time, added a multi-player mode called Contracts. What happens in this mode is that players replay the single-player stages but can mark three targets.

With all the awesomeness of the game, the weakness is the storyline. The protagonist has to kill his former handler at the Agency, Diana Burnwood, because she has downloaded information and wants to take down this set-up. Killing her isn't the let-down part. Before dying, she forces Agent 47 to promise that he will protect a girl, Victoria. Then on, the game simply becomes a me-against-the-Agency exercise. What can be a irritating is the AI which looks dumb. For instance even after you have given the cops pursuing you the slip, they will continue shouting "stop" or "halt". Worse, during a gun fight, you will find a "smart" AI shooting at the empty spot where you had hidden earlier. Niggling irritants of these sort exist, but Hitman Absolution on the whole is definitely one of the best games out this season.

BAG IT OR JUNK IT? Impeccable planning, plotting and graphics make the game a live.

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