Hitman Absolution is the most recent in a long series of games to put you in the shoes of master assassin Agent 47. This time he turns on his old companies, trying to save a young girl from living a life like his, thankfully, you do not really need to understand anything about the previous titles to get a handle on this one.

The USP of the Gunman series is that each objective is a mini sandbox, letting you finish it how you want. Killing your targets without detection is the aim, however while you can merely shoot and run away, checking out the locations reveals more innovative options: a box of rat poisonous substance, a gas cylinder, a loose wire … These tie into a rating system, with the most fancy and quiet eliminates netting the most points.

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The game can excellent fluidity (though we suggest having fun with a controller), letting you slip with numerous routes, moving from cover to cover and taking disguises. However, while the systems do make the game appear open and complimentary, they generally need a great deal of planning and irritating repetition to obtain the high ratings. It feels like addressing the mechanics of a puzzle, rather than playing as a proficient badass. Your foes do at least make life difficult for you, with improvisation required for success in the short term, and foresight rewarded if you’re choosing high ratings. There’s always enjoyable to be had, however– you can play it your way if you simply want to advance through the game’s plot.

It’s a shame, then, that the story is– to put it bluntly– unimaginitive, annoying, and sexist. We particularly balked at a scene where Representative 47 murders his old colleague while she’s in the shower, and then continues to have lots of gratuitous flashbacks to her, yes, in the shower. It’s the worst type of misogynistic titillation. The video game carries on through the ‘crap story’ checkboxes, with a sweary bad guy, a level in a strip club, and every female character existing entirely to provide ample chest, and little clothes.

Still, the core of the video game isn’t the story, but replaying the levels and choosing ideal eliminates. Variety is included though ‘contracts’ provided by other players, in which they can set jobs for you. This produces more unforeseeable situations, and with some excellently versatile levels available, it can be stressful however excellent fun. It’s a good-looking game too, with the crowd scenes being specifically outstanding.

The bottom line. Gunman Absolution is great, however the overall experience is flawed. While it can make you feel like a true badass, it nonetheless stumbles over its execrable story and some annoying levels.