Easily the gem of the series.
This game is awesome, I have played the previous Hitman incarnations and even though I did enjoy them, for some reason they just didn't seem like they were making a major impact on me, so I was a little leery when I came across Blood Money. I originally bought this game in a bargain bin for $9.99 new so my first thought was "Oh crap, bad game", but boredom was overtaking me so I picked it up and popped this in and let me tell you....I was floored.
The graphics are gorgeous, the tropical scenery, the dark shadows and mood of some of the locations throughout the game really give it an atmosphere and I love the many variations of locations (Chile, Paris, a suburb, casino, etc.). The detail was immense and the way you can take out your target by any means with no real linear objective, just eliminate and escape really does this game justice, not including the newspaper at the end of a mission giving you details (a nice little touch that I really loved).
The story was very enjoyable, I didn't really get into the previous Hitman storylines, but this one was really enjoyable through past missions that you play leading up to the present day and the acting and AI is incredible. The weapon upgrades are very useful, including the standard equipment and the variety of weapons really does this game justice, anything from fiber wire, to kitchen knives, the trusty Silver Baller and Assault Rifles to even a nail gun. And the easy accessibility of items and map screen really make it another plus.
To put it bluntly there is a lot to love about this game.
Well, there were a few little hiccups and a major (to me) hiccup. One of them is just a lack of inconsistency when it comes do damaging objects and shooting people. For example: you can shoot someone in the stomach, the bend over like they just ate a bad hot dog from Dairy Queen, but then again shoot them in the leg and the same reaction. I would love to see them try to limp off when shot, giving a bit more realism, but I guess now with the technology it can be done. Another one is some glass items can be destroyed but others can't, example: in A New Life, you can shoot the mirrors and glass doors in the house and they will shatter, but you can shoot a bottle, nothing, a bullet hole and a glass shatter sound, kinda like Goldeneye 007. Just a minor quibble I guess, but something that does bother me.
There is one glitch I did see, or hear, in the casino mission if you run through the casino floor shooting at people with an assault rifle, the sound will decrease dramatically, you can still hear the shooting and people screaming, but it sounds like your listening to the game with your fingers in your ear.
There is one more, to me Agent 47 just seems....weak. His only moves really are to shove from behind, headbutt and grab a gun from his enemies. Now I have to admit that grabbing the gun is very useful, but half the time the gun goes off trying to grab it and grabs the attention of nearby enemies, so it seems useless sometimes. It seems like he relies more on just shooting, it would be nice to have some counter moves like grabbing and arm and breaking it or a roundhouse kick, something else besides a schoolyard bully shove. Plus I can't figure out why he can only drag and not pick up and carry bodies like in Metal Gear Solid, with his speed and stance when he is dragging, you could take out the dead body and he would look like a zombie walking.
The Bottom Line
All in all, this is a great game despite is small quibbles and Agent 47's lack of personality and weakness. If you haven't got a chance to play this game, play it now, it is one of the best games I've played in a while. Hopefully the next-gen Hitman will be a bit stronger next time, nothing major like a Chuck Norris or Steven Seagal upgrade and maybe even a bit more ways to take out your targets like making it look like a suicide or stranger ways like throwing a hairdryer in a bathtub. But enough rambling, three words....Play it now!