Hitman: Blood Money is, still to this day, one of the most beloved entries in the series. This game went above and beyond anything made by its predecessors. With a gripping storyline, highly detailed levels and better controls, this game can be summed up in one word: consistency. The gameplay and AI is more consistent, giving the player more control when solving the mission's puzzles and such. Blood Money added a pre-mission preparation, where the player has a wide latitude in the way he can choose how to tackle the levels. Another great addition was the implementation of accidents, so you can kill pretty much anyone as long as they cannot pin it on you.
Levels are now highly detailed, with really crowded parties with many NPCs to interact with. The mission "Death on the Mississippi" has 109 NPCs, and 120 NPCs in "Dance with the Devil". The lights are much better and no longer blind you (a persistent nuisance in the previous game), there are more complex environments and impressive effects – even today. The AI is smart, capable of seeing blood and will no longer attack you on sight when catching 47 tresspassing.
The ranking system is now more detailed and the number of shots stopped affecting your rating. Another great idea that was used in this game is that sedating people is now permanent (finally).
The controls are better with a sensible system of using Space, E and G, with the options appearing on the top left corner of the screen. The compass is now an integral part of the hud. Agent 47 handles that much better and everything is now more dynamic and smoother. He can easily climb, run and perform actions like attack or interact with objects. A coin was introduced, thus giving you the ability to lure NPCs away or towards you. This can also be made by throwing weapons, like the mine. Combat is much better, with melee attacks and better aiming. You can now run towards your targets, from behind, and knock them out before they can react; being more realistic.
Weapons are now fairly easy to collect, since you can play individual missions within a player profile and you can visit your "armory" in the new hidout the devs gave 47. You can also upgrade your weapons with the money from your hits. You now can use NPCs as human shields.
The game also added two new features: a newspaper and the notoriety system. You must avoid witnesses or else you will start to appear in the newspaper covers and random NPCs will recognize you during missions. The newspaper is also hilarious, with odd stories, foreshadowing, easter eggs and a brief description of how you killed your targets. You can also get plot points and foreshadowing by listening to conversations or radio broadcasts in-game.
Amid completing contracts, 47 discovers a shadow organization called "The Franchise" that is intent on destroying the ICA and plans a palace coup in the United States. The game finally revisits South America, with a mission in Chile, and goes through the most iconic missions in the series, like "Courtains Down", with its many creative ways of eliminating the target without being noticed; or "The Muder of Crows", with the Crows gang, where the female in the crow costume can be killed by dropping a piano over her; and the Mardi Gras crowd (127 killable NPCs). Agent 47 can also disguise as a priest and celebrate a marriage; dress up as Santa in a Playboy-style ice party, and even as a US Marine in the White House. This game goes out with a bang in one of the most epic endings in a video game, with Agent 47 dressed in his now venerable white suit.
The relationship between Agent 47 and Diana is greatly expanded; giving more depth to 47's character. Before just a briefing voice, she becomes far more than that.
Even if the ragdoll physics are showing its age in this 2006 game, Hitman: Blood Money is a masterpiece, one of the most fun and replayable entries in the Hitman franchise and the stealth genre in general.
I wrote this review on Steam, give it a thumbs up if you liked it.
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