A new coat of paint improves both Blood Money and Absolution but with few other additions, Hitman HD Enhanced Collection is a hard sell.
Amidst this busy first portion of releases in 2019, no release is perhaps stranger than that of the Hitman HD Enhanced Collection. Announced by IO Interactive and Warner Bros. out of nowhere, the Hitman HD Enhanced Collection contains both Hitman: Blood Money and Hitman: Absolution remastered at 4K resolution with both games running at 60 frames per second.
At a base level, this is the selling point of the Hitman HD Enhanced Collection and while improved graphics might be enough for some folks, the bundle’s high cost of entry and lack of anything all that new will likely put a real damper on those looking to get in on these two games for the first time or the fiftieth.
As a whole, both Hitman: Blood Money and Absolution hold up pretty well in 2019. Blood Money, perhaps the most beloved of all the old-school Hitman titles, still contains plenty of enjoyment. Even though the locales are much smaller than what we’ve become accustomed to in modern Hitman games, returning to Blood Money was a fun reminder of how far this series has come while still providing plenty of laughs and fun in its own right. Plus, the body physics in this game are hilarious. I encourage you to just start shooting everyone up from time to time just to see their bodies fly all over the place. It’s a good time.
Absolution, on the other hand, I have never found to be as bad as some others say and I think it remains relatively solid to this day. While it’s far more linear than previous Hitman games, I think what I liked about revisiting Absolution in this package is that you could start to see many more of the ideas that IO Interactive was playing with that would then carry over into the latest entries in the series. Absolution feels like a testing ground in a lot of ways. That said, the game doesn’t come without some rough patches, especially in the story department.
I do have to say that both Blood Money and Absolution are a bit harder to return to after having played Hitman and Hitman 2. Again, that’s not to say that the games in this HD Enhanced Collection are bad, because they aren’t. It’s more just a struggle since the more recent installments have improved on the formulas seen in Blood Money and Absolution in nearly every way. While each game still has perks in its own way, on the gameplay front, I couldn’t help but wish I was playing the newer Hitman 2 instead.
As far as the highly-touted 4k visuals and 60fps look, they’re pretty well done. I played this collection on my PlayStation 4 Pro and the clarity and smoothness in both games stood out quite a bit, especially upon first booting each up. Still, I do have to say that I found the textures to be rather rough looking. I think this is a common complaint that I have with most basic remasters of older games nowadays, but it holds true here as well. Still, character models and the overall performance of both Absolution and Blood Money have been improved markedly, and it stands out.
As for other new additions in Hitman HD Enhanced Collection, there’s really not a whole lot to write home about. There have been a few control scheme updates to better adapt the games for modern control layouts, but even those still feel a bit clunky at times. Other than these control mixups and the visual improvements, there’s nothing to really encourage you to pick up Hitman HD Enhanced Collection.
This is one of my larger problems with the collection as a whole and many other modern remasters. If you aren’t going to include any noteworthy extras whether it be new concept art, behind the scenes videos, or anything of this sort, then I don’t really understand the incentive behind pushing these games out again. Remasters are an easy cash grab a lot of times, but with most of them, I’m always looking for some extra goodies other than just that of the improved graphics. Hitman HD Enhanced Collection has none of this.
Above all else though, my biggest issue with Hitman HD Enhanced Collection is the asking price. Even though it is $59.99, which is the standard fee for most games, there is nothing in this bundle that warrants that value. Without anything new other than the upgraded visuals alone, it’s an incredibly hard sell. I’m usually not one to push back harshly against prices of games in my reviews, but I really feel like it’s a point of contention here with this remastered collection.
In a time where the Hitman series is better than ever before, I struggle to recommend revisiting some of the franchise’s roots with Hitman HD Enhanced Collection. While neither of the titles in this bundle are outright bad, the lack of anything drastically new outside of the improved visuals combined with the steep asking price is strange to me. The fact that you could likely go pick up both Hitman and Hitman 2 combined for the same price as this HD Enhanced Collection makes me say it’s worth passing on unless you’re an incredibly hardcore fan of the series. Even then, I’d still say you’d be better off waiting for a price drop.