We live in an age where it’s getting harder and harder to break through to the market with original intellectual properties so we’re just reviving the old ones. At least there are plenty of solid candidates to elect such as the original Hitman games from IOI. A standout in the series has returned in new form thanks to Feral Interactive as Hitman: Blood Money REPRISAL. Put on your tailored suit and pristine shoes as you walk in the bloody footsteps of arguably the most famous assassin in video game history. This time, you can literally walk as you play it on your mobile device.
What is Hitman: Blood Money REPRISAL?
There are so many games that it’s impossible to keep track of them all, but if you haven’t at least heard about Hitman, I’d be hard-pressed to take you to school and make you sit through my prepared statements. While the more recent games have tried to follow the traditional sequel formula of adding numbers to the end, the originals were mostly the word “Hitman” followed by some random ominous phrase. Hitman: Blood Money is considered one of the best in the series and has been ported to Android and iOS devices.
It follows part of the career of the enigmatic artificially-created super killer known only as Agent 47. He keeps his noticeably distinct bald head and barcode tattoo down as he accepts contracts from the equally enigmatic ICA organization. Meanwhile, a reporter is interviewing a former head of the FBI about Agent 47 assignments as you get to play them out for yourself.
Hitman: Blood Money REPRISAL Returns
Just because being a hitman involves killing people doesn’t mean that there can’t be professionalism and elegance in the execution. Hitman: Blood Money REPRISAL executes the gameplay well and challenges you to use it well. It’s an extremely faithful recreation of the original game right down to the almost hands that can grab and hold things with all the finesse of oven mitts. It overall creates a strong feeling of nostalgia, and though modern mobile devices are capable of processing so much more, the charm of the original graphics and sounds is still there. In some ways, it deliberately keeps from distracting you from the main attraction: the game.
As you play, you’re reminded of all the things that make the Hitman series great. After a thorough but not overly heavy tutorial mission, the game lets you off the lead at the start of the first mission. All you’re given are objectives, a map, and your standard assassination kit. From the moment you arrive, it’s all up to you.
If you want to observe guard patrols so that you can take them down one by one as you make your way to the targets, go for it. You can also follow a VIP to the bathroom, knock them out, take their clothes, walk right up to the target, and hand them a poisoned drink – that works too. Of course, if you don’t have the patience for stealth or the desire to save on clean-up costs, you’re free to arm yourself to the teeth and mow down anything that moves in the hopes that your objectives are completed via a process of elimination. This calls back to one of the earliest examples of freeform stealth and it still holds up.
On the technical side of things, the transition has been pretty smooth. There are plenty of actions and items that you can do and use, but the controls are close enough to each other that it doesn’t strain the brain. It can take some time to adjust to all the different touch positions and icons, but once you do, you’ll see how the controls are responsive and fast. To assist with some of the more chaotic moments, you’ve got auto-aiming to lock on to whichever target you’re facing so that you can dispatch squads of problems with a quick double-tap.
Hitman: Blood Money REPRISAL Concessions
As with any port, there are always bound to be issues, some of which can and can’t be helped. The main issue with Hitman: Blood Money REPRISAL is that the game chose not to help the ones that could be helped. This is mainly seen in some of the asset behaviours, namely in the physics and AI behaviour. Sometimes strangled persons will crumple helplessly to the ground and other times they’ll fly off and land in the middle of a dinner party. It’s hard enough trying to get in and out alive – we don’t need bugs and glitches to add to it.
On the AI behaviour, NPCs tend to be as ineffectual as a Roomba with a bag on its head. There’s a decent chance that when you kill someone in plain view of someone else, they’ll just completely ignore you. Other times, you’ll develop a surefire routine to make more and more progress through the mission only for one of the guards to suddenly and completely change up their routine leading to all of them warping to your location and force-feeding you bullets. Thankfully, the open-ended nature allows you to circumvent any unreliable actions since these controls aren’t suited to prolonged firefights.
Face the Hitman: Blood Money REPRISAL
Hitman: Blood Money REPRISAL is a faithful port of the original version to the mobile platform with all the feels of back then. It supports all the freedom and creativity that you can bring across in your virtual career of stealth and high-end murder. The presentation is a nostalgia trip that serves as a nice backdrop to solid gameplay coming across well through touch controls. Unfortunately, the opportunity to fix some of the clunkiness in the physics and AI behaviour that may as well have come over from the original, does mean you’ll have to get used to the technical quirks beyond your control. The thing is that overall you have plenty of control, so that you can carry out your missions in such a way that you can avoid any reprisals.