Publisher: Feral Interactive
Developer: Feral Interactive/IO Interactive
Here’s the key thing to know about Hitman: Blood Money — Reprisal: as long as you go in with the right level of expectations, it’s a whole lot of fun.
To some extent this should be obvious. After all, we’re talking about a Switch port of a game that first came out nearly twenty years ago. If you go in expecting a thoroughly modern-looking and -playing game, you’ll probably be disappointed. Blood Money shows its age in all kinds of ways.
For one thing, Hitman: Blood Money — Reprisal looks very much like a game that came out late-era PS2/early-era PS3. Which is to say…it’s kind of ugly. In other words, the people look like people, and the buildings and cars look like buildings and cars, but no one is ever going to confuse the game for being photorealistic or anything.
Not only that, Blood Money’s general tone feels pretty dated. It features a lot of the character portrayals you’d expect from a game that came out between GTAIII and GTAIV – which is to say, women are often in bikinis, all black characters are gangbangers, and all the bosses are fat, jowly white guys. On top of that, where the more recent Hitman games occasionally acknowledged that it had some silliness inherent in its set-up – see: Agent 47’s total inability to act like a human being, the fact no one can recognize him in even the most ridiculous costumes, the fact you can kill a target with a muffin – Blood Money doesn’t have any of that. It takes itself seriously at all times, even when Agent 47 is running around in a bird costume.
The bigger difference between a Hitman game from 20 years ago and the Hitman reboot – which is one of the all-time greatest gaming trilogies, as far as I’m concerned – is that the latter was much more inventive in all the ways you could take out your targets. To be sure, a lot of this is because more powerful systems allowed for Agent 47’s world to become a lot more immersive and interactive, but the newer games encouraged you to go back to levels again and again in order to find out all the ways you could kill the bad guys (including, of course, the aforementioned muffin, which, if I haven’t mentioned, is one of my all-time favourite gaming absurdities).
In Blood Money, by contrast, while there are occasional steps in that direction, it never really fully embraces it. It may say that you need to be stealthy, but realistically, a lot of the time your best option here is to just kill everybody who gets in your way. While I’m generally someone who appreciates the “guns blazing” approach, even I was able to enjoy the sneakiness in the newer games of poisoning a target’s drink or causing a gas leak and then sitting back to let nature run its course. In Blood Money, the best you can do is walk up behind someone, pull out the wire, and then hope you can time it just right so that you can strangle them (spoiler: you usually can’t).
Having said all that, I’m not going to pretend I didn’t have a fair amount of fun with Blood Money. As I said, I see nothing inherently wrong with running around a level and shooting everything that moves, so from that perspective, Blood Money delivers. There’s a good range of guns to be found here that let you take a wide range of approaches, whether you want to burst into a room guns blazing, or if you want to sit back and snipe from a distance. The ragdoll physics are also pretty fun, albeit in a pretty morbid kind of way, as bodies go flying in all kinds of weird directions the moment they get hit.
And, of course, the biggest thing Hitman: Blood Money — Reprisal has going for it: it’s the only way to play Hitman on the Switch, and the first time since 2003, when Hitman 2: Silent Assassin came out for the GameCube, that you can play any Hitman games on a Nintendo console. Does Blood Money come close to the series’ later standards in the World Of Assassination trilogy? Definitely not. But as a standalone murder simulator, it’s definitely got its charms.
Feral Interactive provided us with a Hitman: Blood Money — Reprisal Nintendo Switch code for review purposes.