Hitman HD Trilogy review: A bloody look back at the history of Agent 47

hitman hd trilogy review artifacts of an earlier era in gamingThe title Hitman HD Trilogy is a bit misleading. While the newly released HD collection from Eidos Interactive and Square Enix does indeed pack together the three Hitman games for consoloes released prior to 2012, it does not qualify as a complete set since the first game in the series – Hitman: Codename 47 – continues to be exclusive to PC. It’s not fair to hold the absent PC game against this Xbox 360 and PS3-only collection, but it’s a glaring absence that deserves mentioning. If you’re looking for a fully comprehensive collection of pre-2012 Hitman games, this is not the set you’re looking for. It’s likely the best that you’re going to get, however, and that’s okay.

The Hitman HD Trilogy gathers together Hitman 2: Silent AssassinHitman: Contracts, and Hitman: Blood Money into a single box. Blood Money is identical to the current-gen 2006 release. It comes on its own disc, it uses the same set of Xbox 360 Achievements, and it appears to be completely unchanged in any conceivable way.  There’s just a new title image printed onto the disc. The game continues to hold up very well. It lacks the improvements introduced in last year’s Hitman: Absolution, but levels like the opera house or the Christmas party are just as memorable as they’ve ever been.

hitman hd trilogy review artifacts of an earlier era in gaming 1

The two earlier games are lumped together on a disc of their own. The HD refresh, which also of course includes support for widescreen displays, is a welcome improvement, but it’s still impossible to ignore the fact that these are old, old games. Hitman 2 suffers the most, unsurprisingly, with a control scheme that feels awkward and poorly optimized for current-gen gamepads. It’s more a product of the game than the quality of the port; Hitman 2 certainly works in the context of what it is, but you can definitely feel the 10-year gap since its release peeking through.

Contracts fares better, with the original game’s improvements on Hitman 2 carrying over just as well here. The gamepad controls make much more sense and the addition of an easily accessible map improves the playing experience considerably. Contracts is also likely the reason that we’ll never see a properly comprehensive Hitman HD collection; many of the first game’s levels were refreshed in the 2004 release, and those same sections of Codename 47 have always suffered by comparison.

On the technical side, the two older games don’t seem to have been put through any kind of significant remastering process. The resolution is upped to 720p and widescreen displays are now supported, but the textures and character models don’t appear to have been swapped out with new ones. If any remastering work was done at all, it’s very subtle.

The only real flaw with this collection is the fact that these games, even Blood Money, are as imperfect as they’ve ever been. Hitman: Absolution is a nearly perfect execution (no pun intended) of the ideas laid out in the original game, but the titles released between Codename 47 and Absolution serves as snapshots of both the technology available at the time of their development and the evolution of the series as a whole. None of them, not even Blood Money, deliver capably on the promise of putting players in the shoes of a smooth professional killer.

hitman hd trilogy review artifacts of an earlier era in gaming 3

Achievement and Trophy hunters will no doubt appreciate having new awards to shoot for, though Gamerscore junkies ought to note that the 1,000 points of cheevos splits evenly between Hitman 2 and ContractsBlood Money still uses the same Achievements that it did before, but note as well that it’s a brand new release on PlayStation 3 with this collection.


Given all of that, newcomers to the Hitman series should probably just stick with Absolution to see what 47 can really do. There’s definitely value in revisiting these three older games, particularly the superior Blood Money, if you have fond memories of playing the originals. You also might want to take a peek if you’re freshly done with Absolution and would like to see how the series developed into last year’s release. The Hitman HD Trilogy is an artifact, however, capturing three earlier moments in video games when things weren’t quite as shiny or artificially intelligent as they are now.

Hitman HD Trilogy was reviewed using an Xbox 360 version of the game, as provided by the publisher.

Editors' Recommendations


Still trying to unlock your main in 'Super Smash Bros. Ultimate'? Try these tips

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is Nintendo’s biggest entry in the series to date with over 70 characters to unlock, but the process can feel tiresome. Here are our tips to unlock your roster as quickly as possible.

How do Nintendo Switch, Xbox One X compare to each other? We find out

The Nintendo Switch is innovative enough to stand apart from traditional consoles, but could it become your primary gaming system? How does the Switch stack up against the Xbox One?

Check out the best Xbox One deals and bundles for December 2018

Microsoft's consoles are just as capable of streaming movies as they are of playing the latest games. Check out our top Xbox One deals and bundles, which include new and upcoming triple-A games like Battlefield V and Fallout 76.

The hottest Nintendo Switch games you can get right now

The Nintendo Switch's lineup started off small, but games have steadily released as the console continues through its second year. Here are the best Nintendo Switch games available now, from Super Mario Odyssey to Fortnite.

How to make a clan in ‘Destiny 2’ and where to go from there

Want to know how to make a clan in 'Destiny 2'? Here's everything you need to know, including how to design your clan's banner, earn extra loot, and help other players with guided games.

Put down the controller and pick up the best phones for gaming on the go

Which phones are the best if all you want to do is play some mobile games? We've done the hard work and put together a list of the best gaming phones on Android and iOS, so you can keep playing and winning.

Ditch the meditation app. 'Katamari Damacy Reroll' is pure gaming zen

Katamari Damacy Reroll brings the magic of the PS2 classic to Nintendo Switch and PC. With updated visuals and the same great, singular loop, Reroll stands the test of time. Katamari Damacy is the ultimate relaxation game.

Need help getting the Sleeper Simulant in 'Destiny 2'? We’ve got you covered

The Sleeper Simulant is one of the coolest new Exotic weapons you can unlock in the Warmind expansion of Destiny 2, but it's an involved process that will take awhile. Here's everything you need to know.

Xbox One S vs. PlayStation 4 Slim: Which console is worth your money?

Microsoft's new Xbox One S and Sony's PlayStation 4 "Slim" have bucked the generational gaming console trend. But which of these stopgap systems is worth spending your paycheck on?

Best Products of 2018

Our reception desk has so many brown boxes stacked up, it looks like a loading dock. We’re on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. We get new dishwashers more frequently than most people get new shoes. What we’re trying to say is: We…

The NES Classic is back in stock just in time for the holidays

The NES Classic is back in stock at multiple outlets at its original launch price of $60 in time for Christmas. Retailers offering it online are Walmart, GameStop, Target, and Best Buy -- if you're looking for the perfect holiday gift for…

Some ‘Fortnite’ players aren’t too happy with the new Infinity Blade weapon

The most recent update for Fortnite added the Infinity Blade melee weapon to battle royale, and some players aren't happy with how much it has changed the game during competitions.

Soulja Boy’s ‘new’ console appears to include stolen Nintendo games

Rapper Soulja Boy recently released his SouljaGame console, and it includes several emulated games that appear to be stolen from companies like Nintendo, SNK, and Capcom. A handheld version is also available.

Razer’s classic DeathAdder Elite gaming mouse drops to $40 on Amazon

If you're looking to pick up a new gaming mouse for the holidays, Amazon has you covered with this great deal on the classic Razer DeathAdder Elite gaming mouse with customizable buttons, RGB lighting, and a 16,000 DPI optical sensor.