(Square Enix for Xbox 360)
By Mike Delano
It’s funny how this current wave of HD collections of old games reminds me of my high school days of record collecting. With every album I bought, the first thing I would do is jump into the liner notes and see if there were any new bands I could discover. Did the artist thank any artists I hadn’t heard of? Cite any inspirations? Cover any songs by bands they loved? I’d use it as a jump-off point. Sepultura covered a New Model Army song? Guess I need to check out the New Model Army discography. Sometimes I’d start from the first album and other times a greatest hits compilation would suffice.
Hitman HD Trilogy acts as a greatest-hits of sorts, compiled to educate the curious on the history of Agent 47 and the Hitman series and how it has maintained its reverent status through last year’s Hitman: Absolution. Its creators definitely don’t think you need to start from the very beginning – the original Hitman isn’t included here – so it starts with the sequel, Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, and also collects the follow-ups Contracts and Blood Money. It’s a good package, but it might have been more fun to have a grab bag of Agent’s 47’s best missions and remixed them in a fresh new sequence rather than reproducing these three separate games in such a faithful, but rigid, fashion.
That’s because the draw of the Hitman series has never been the self-contained storyline in each of the games, but rather the incredible variety and toolset that the player can use to carry out the various assassination contracts. Dressing up in disguises, finding secret passageways to avoid patrolling guards, finding a creative use for whatever non-conventional item you swiped from the kitchen you just crept through: This is the kind of tell-a-friend-how-you-played-it gameplay that makes the series great. Of course, that’s all here in HD Trilogy, so no matter how it’s packaged, you still get more than 40 fascinating missions to tackle, from those in the showing-its-age Silent Assassin to those in the triumphant Blood Money, the full realization of the series’ potential.