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Hitman: Blood Money – Reprisal review – suited and rebooted

In our Hitman: Blood Money - Reprisal review, we find an engaging homage to a PS2-era classic, but one that could do with sharper visuals in 2023.

Custom image for Hitman: Blood Money Reprisal review with Agent 47 outlined in red on a gameplay background

Our Verdict

Hitman: Blood Money Reprisal offers a way to play a classic Agent 47 experience on mobile with fantastic touchscreen controls and a few gameplay improvements. While the graphics are not as impressive as we might like in 2023, it’s still worth picking up for fans of the series and those wondering why the original is still so well-regarded all these years later.

Ah, Agent 47. Everyone’s favorite cold-blooded killing machine. If you grew up gaming in the noughties, there’s no way you could have avoided that beautiful bald head and his habit of contract murder. Now, he’s back once again, thanks to Hitman: Blood Money – Reprisal, a mobile remaster of one of the saga’s most celebrated outings courtesy of Feral Interactive.

The gameplay is much as you’d expect. You get a contract, load into a location, and go around sneakily seeing off guards, henchmen, and the main target, or targets in some instances. There’s little difference from the original game in terms of the core experience, which is all the better, as the 2006 version is one of the best titles of its era that still stands up today. It’s quite nostalgic to play a game that goes from level to level without having to wade through an open world, acting as a subtle reminder of why so many refer to the mid-2000s as something of a golden era for the medium, myself included.

For those who don’t know, Blood Money’s narrative is an elaborate tale of bloodshed, clones, feuding contract killer agencies, and, well, more bloodshed. It’s a stone-cold classic, featuring some of the best individual levels from the whole series, with a personal favorite of mine in Curtains Down, a night at the opera you’ll never forget. I don’t want to say too much to avoid spoiling it for newcomers, but just know there’s a reason why so many fans of the series hold cherished memories of strangulation and headshots in this game.

Those returning to Blood Money after enjoying it back in the day should notice a few subtle differences, though. The UI is upgraded, with a new minimap detailing the locations of guards that your health and suspicion meters now wrap around. There’s also the addition of Instinct Mode, something from more modern Hitman experiences, offering a way of assessing an area for enemies and points of interest. I quite like using Instinct Mode as I plot my route to the hit, but if you’re something of a purist, you can choose to toggle the option and turn it off in the main menu.

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The list of enhancements doesn’t end there, with Feral Interactive going the extra mile and throwing in some improvements to general gameplay like automatic reloading – a must for someone like me who, try as they might to sneak through undetected, ends up in far too many firefights – and over the shoulder weapon aiming. These are welcome changes to the original, making combat a bit more approachable to both returning assassins and first-timers.

Of course, the biggest difference between this experience and the original is the use of touchscreen controls. I have to say, I’m impressed. I thought this might be the sort of mobile game that requires me to use my Backbone controller if I want any level of nuance in sneaking around or aiming my sniper rifle. Instead, I prefer to use touch controls, with Agent 47 responding perfectly to commands – as any good robot should – while some stellar mobile UI makes for seamless transitions between your arsenal of weapons.

Screenshot of one of the famous newspaper clippings from the original for Hitman: Blood Money Reprisal review

Better still, the touchscreen controls are completely customizable. If you find yourself struggling with the default configuration, you can jump into settings and move the icons around the screen to suit your needs. I prefer to use my right thumb just for movement, so I pushed all the interaction and weapon controls over to the left of the screen, making it easier for me to quickly maneuver through menus and switch between weapons in a gunfight.

However, this isn’t a perfect remaster. In some areas, this mobile version looks worse than the original. I’m talking about the cutscenes mainly, which are almost always muddy, especially those in outdoor locations. The core gameplay isn’t quite as bad, but it doesn’t feel incredibly improved from the original outside of the upgrades to the UI and the gameplay additions I mentioned before.

Screenshot of an early cutscene discussing the vineyard murders for Hitman: Blood Money Reprisal review

While there’s a hint of charm about the PS2-era graphics, it sometimes feels more like a port with a couple of fresh ideas than the sort of visually spruced-up remaster I hoped for. If this came out in 2017, I might be a bit more forgiving, but with the standard of visuals in mobile games so high these days, I’d have liked to have seen something a little cleaner from this recalibrated Hitman classic.

There are also a couple of issues with performance, with my game crashing on two occasions during my hours with Blood Money – Reprisal. I’m willing to give the developer the benefit of the doubt for now, but I hope to see these issues patched out by the release date or immediately after. Considering saves are limited in higher-difficulty game modes, I can only imagine how frustrating it could be to lose your unsaved progress thanks to a crash. Fortunately, I’m awful at stealth games, so the regular difficulty allows me to save more frequently and not have to spend too much time retracing my steps.

Screenshot of Agent 47 standing over the body of two gangsters for Hitman: Blood Money Reprisal review

All-in-all, Hitman: Blood Money – Reprisal is a reminder of why this series has stuck around for so long, with Feral Interactive making the experience a little more palatable for 2023 newcomers with improved UI and responsive touchscreen controls. However, the graphics do feel a little undercooked, especially in the grainy cutscenes, proving a little disheartening for anyone who might have been looking forward to high-definition kill shots and enhanced cinematics.

You can get your hands on Hitman: Blood Money – Reprisal on Android and iOS from November 30. For more on the latest games for Switch and mobile, check out our Persona 5 Tactica review, Super Mario RPG review, and Tarisland preview.