As with all HD collections, Hitman HD: Trilogy is a collection of old games brought to modern audiences. For all of them, it allows us to look at a piece of history with a new perspective and potentially find gems we missed out on. With the wonderful Hitman: Blood Money and the classic Hitman 2: Silent Assassin and Hitman: Contracts, we certainly get that. Not with open arms, however.
For fans of the series who are thinking about picking the game up, you don’t have to worry about game breaking glitches or insane slowdowns. As it says on the box, what you get are three Hitman games (including over 40 missions and over 70 assassinations!) with high-definition graphics, as well as the Sniper Challenge from Absolution. The graphics are as you expect: they look better than ever, but still plain enough that they certainly don’t look like modern games. The only exception is Blood Money, which gets much closer to the look and feel of a more modern game. All three games still look way better than they ever did before, but you should be sure to manage your expectations.
As a whole, the classic Hitman games are a barebones story used to carry protagonist Agent 47 from one mission to the next. And, as per the course of the series, the missions are stealth playgrounds. Using your cunning and an arsenal of weapons, you are tasked with finding the most silent way of killing a powerful, heavily guarded, target. Do you put down a guard silently and quietly kill the mob boss disguised as that very guard, do you figure out how to kill him using an item on his property, or do you simply run in, guns blazing, and kill everything in sight?
Doing the latter isn’t very fun, as the games are cerebral experiences built for the patient strategists. Furthermore, while Absolution changed this a bit, the older Hitman games simply aren’t designed as third-person shooters, and as such, gunplay is quite unwieldy in extended use. Despite this, every single assassination is masterfully crafted, unique, and a load of fun — if this style of gameplay is appealing to you. If you aren’t very good at being patient or strategic, these games will seem boring and abysmal to you. Likewise, if this type of thing specifically caters to you, you can easily see why this legendary series deserved the ports to begin with. In other words, it is all a matter of taste.
In saying this, however, I must mention that the first two games in the collection (don’t worry about playing the actual first Hitman game, which isn’t very good and not included) show their age. Especially in Hitman 2, the controls and camera of these games leave something to be desired. The camera can get messed up occasionally, and gunplay, as previously mentioned, is quite spotty. More problematic is that guard detection is very wonky. You can perfectly take out a guard and don his disguise, and after acting perfectly, have these minions shooting at you almost arbitrarily. Contracts and 2 are both great, but they certainly suffer from this. Blood Money, however, is just as good and near-perfection as you remember it.
Like I said, buying this package grants you three great games in high-definition, and there really isn’t much more to say than that. The graphics are not unanimously wonderful, and the earlier two games show their age a bit more than I would like, but should this slower type of game be for you, I recommend it wholeheartedly.