Hitman: Blood Money

From assassin to target

The Hitman series has always been about finding creative solutions to problems, specifically the "problems" its protagonist is hired to kill. As the bald assassin named 47, players have been able to run around with guns blazing, sneak through the shadows and garotte guards from behind orslip on a disguise to poison or smothertheir targets, all to more or less equal effect.

Due in May, Hitman: Blood Moneyups the ante not only by giving players inventive ways to kill, but also by giving them incentives to use them. In addition to his usual third-person skulking-around/shooting-up-everything tactics, 47 will be able to pocket random objects for use as improvised weapons, take human shields and throw stuff around to distract watchful eyes. All ofwhich should come in handy, given the witness-filledcasinos, theaters and hotelshis new missions will take him to.

As Blood Money opens, 47 has become the target of a rival assassin agency and goes more or less into hiding. As a hunted man, it's vital that he keeps a low profile, and the new notoriety system gives you a tangible reason to do so. Shooting everyonestill gets thejob done, but it's sloppy, and sloppy killings draw headlines. To drive the point home,you'll be presented with a newspaper that details the damage you've done atthe end ofevery mission; make a mess and leave witnesses, and a police sketch of 47 will be right there on the front page, leading to wanted posters and recognition by everyone who sees him. But if you're smart enough to stay quiet andmake your hits look like accidents, then that's exactly how they'll be reported, and you'll fade from the public eye.

This willalso affect the amount of money you get for your missions; clean work means bonuses, while your agency will actually charge you if they have to clean up after you. Cash will play a very real role in the game, too, as it can buy weapon upgrades and bribe witnesses.

Promisingmore versatilityand online rankings, Hitman: Blood Money already looks like an improvement over the so-so Hitman: Contracts. Whether it plays like one remains to be seen, but if nothing else it shouldletplayers kill more creatively than ever.

The Hitman series has always been about finding creative solutions to problems, specifically the "problems" its protagonist is hired to kill. As the bald assassin named 47, players have been able to run around with guns blazing, sneak through the shadows and garotte guards from behind orslip on a disguise to poison or smothertheir targets, all to more or less equal effect.

Due in May, Hitman: Blood Moneyups the ante not only by giving players inventive ways to kill, but also by giving them incentives to use them. In addition to his usual third-person skulking-around/shooting-up-everything tactics, 47 will be able to pocket random objects for use as improvised weapons, take human shields and throw stuff around to distract watchful eyes. All ofwhich should come in handy, given the witness-filledcasinos, theaters and hotelshis new missions will take him to.

As Blood Money opens, 47 has become the target of a rival assassin agency and goes more or less into hiding. As a hunted man, it's vital that he keeps a low profile, and the new notoriety system gives you a tangible reason to do so. Shooting everyonestill gets thejob done, but it's sloppy, and sloppy killings draw headlines. To drive the point home,you'll be presented with a newspaper that details the damage you've done atthe end ofevery mission; make a mess and leave witnesses, and a police sketch of 47 will be right there on the front page, leading to wanted posters and recognition by everyone who sees him. But if you're smart enough to stay quiet andmake your hits look like accidents, then that's exactly how they'll be reported, and you'll fade from the public eye.

This willalso affect the amount of money you get for your missions; clean work means bonuses, while your agency will actually charge you if they have to clean up after you. Cash will play a very real role in the game, too, as it can buy weapon upgrades and bribe witnesses.

Promisingmore versatilityand online rankings, Hitman: Blood Money already looks like an improvement over the so-so Hitman: Contracts. Whether it plays like one remains to be seen, but if nothing else it shouldletplayers kill more creatively than ever.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

After graduating from college in 2000 with a BA in journalism, I worked for five years as a copy editor, page designer and videogame-review columnist at a couple of mid-sized newspapers you've never heard of. My column eventually got me a freelancing gig with GMR magazine, which folded a few months later. I was hired on full-time by GamesRadar in late 2005, and have since been paid actual money to write silly articles about lovable blobs.
We recommend