For players who can’t get enough of Agent 47, they can now experience Hitman HD Enhanced Collection which includes 2006’s Hitman: Blood Money and 2012’s Hitman Absolution. This is a rather odd choice of games given both of these entries are at the opposite and extreme ends of the ideal Hitman experience. Blood Money exceled in open sandbox stealth gameplay experience whereas Absolution focused on a more tight and guided gameplay. This collection is now available on the PS4 and Xbox One, so we decided to test the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X versions and stack them up against their respective original PC releases.
Let’s take up Hitman Blood Money first. On the PC, the game recommends a Pentium 4 2.4Ghz or Athlon XP/64-bit equivalent, 1024MB RAM, ATI X800 series or Nvidia GeForce 6800 series or higher video card. Obviously, these requirements are outdated compared to our test build which includes a GTX 1080Ti, 16GB of GDDR4 memory and Ryzen 1700 CPU. There is a specific reason why we are listing out these requirements which we will get into in a bit. The PS4 Pro and Xbox One X versions on the other hand feature resolution support at 4K and a rock solid 60 frames per second with increased texture resolution and heightened shadow map and mirror resolutions compared to their predecessors. These kinds of improvements are expected given the modern hardware’s capabilities. What is not expected is the fact that the original PC version still manages to top the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X versions in a couple of noticeable parameters. First up is the anti-aliasing solution. The PC version presents a crisp image quality with very little jaggies. The console versions however have noticeable jaggies on distant objects. The overall lighting effects seems to be better on the PC version as well. We are not entirely sure why such an old game is able to excel on the PC and the remastered version is filled with the shortcomings mentioned above. This is rather surprising result given that an almost 13 year old PC port is able to render better visuals than the ones found on the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X.
There is also very little to differentiate between the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X versions. Besides the resolution difference, both platforms run at solid 60 frame per second and share the same quality of assets.
So, overall, in the case of Hitman Blood Money. A 13 year old port is shockingly a better version than what we have now in 2019 on the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X. This comes off as a big surprise to us given that the recommended requirements of the PC version are simply outclassed by the hardware found in the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X. This was the reason why we mentioned the hardware requirements of the original PC build. But does this narrative continue in Hitman Absolution? But before we go into that, let’s talk a bit about the game.
Besides being a drastic deviation from the core Hitman experience, Absolution was our first real look into current generation technology. The crowd rendering tech along with crowd AI was simply put ahead of its time. The level of visual fidelity, partial support for physical based rendering and post processing effects was at an all together different level. So, it’s interesting to see how a maxed out PC build compares against the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X versions.
The PC version requires an Intel Core i7 or AMD Athlon II X4, 4GB of memory and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260 or ATI Radeon HD 5770. Our test build was similar to the one we used for Blood Money. Revisiting Absolution almost 7 years later was a rather pleasant experience. It’s shocking to see how good this game still looks. The lighting model along with detailed character models and rich environmental design makes Absolution standout even in 2019. There are a decent number of graphical settings that can be tweaked to your liking. For the purpose of this test, we notched up everything to Ultra and the results were surprising. The PC version of Absolution, just like Blood Money boasts better anti-aliasing solution, lighting model and anisotropic filtering. In fact, the anisotropic filtering solution seems to be inconsistent on the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X with distant ground surfaces showcasing broken filtering or late filtering.
Between the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X versions, there is hardly anything to choose from. Both versions target 4K resolution and 60 frames per second. Performance is solid across the board except in some intense sequences where there is a lot of explosion and destruction. The frame rate drop during these sequences wasn’t drastic but noticeable. Also, we came across a sequence in the PS4 Pro version where a loading screen popped up whilst opening a door. We are not sure whether this is a bug or not but it certainly was jarring.
So, overall, just like Blood Money, the PC version of Absolution is the better version to play on. This is not to say that this collection is a bad effort on current gen consoles. But the truth is that these consoles are powerful enough to run 7 to 13 year old games better than the original PC versions of that time. Overall, this collection seems like a missed opportunity. Hitman games have always served as benchmark for assessing the capabilities of consoles. Hitman 2016 was the perfect benchmark for the PS4 and Xbox One, and the recently released Hitman 2 did the same for the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X. This collection does not do justice to these upgraded consoles, specially when one puts the original PC versions in context.
However, this collection serves as an opportunity for players who have missed out on playing these games. The gameplay in Blood Money has aged quite well and in hindsight Absolution feels and plays like a solid package too. Overall, there is great value for players here. We only wished that developers did more with the package rather than simply improving basic parameters like resolution and frame rate.
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