Over the weekend, I was nosing around the video game section at Best Buy and happened upon a lonely copy of the Hitman HD Trilogy, resting on the shelf by itself next to a bunch of copies of Hitman: Absolution. I had initially planned to get the discounted $29.99 copy of Borderlands 2, but when I saw that the Hitman compilation was still one of the first-print premium editions I just had to get it, especially since it was the only copy in stock and I hadn’t seen the game at any other local stores.
I already knew what came in the HD Trilogy Premium Edition, having first reported about it at the beginning of the year prior to the game’s January 29 release, but from the original description I simply expected it to be a copy of the game in a regular case with an art book on the side. What I didn’t realize until I tore through the shrink wrap is that the hardcover art book actually is the case, with the game disc secured in a holder affixed to the inside of the book’s back cover. The book/case then slides into a nice slipcase to keep it closed.
The packaging looks great and the book itself is of excellent quality, containing more than 20 original pieces of artwork, my favorite being a retro interpretation of what the golf club killing of Don Guillani in the Anathema mission from Hitman 2: Silent Assassin might look like had the game been made in 8-bit.
Beyond the art book, the package includes HD versions of past Hitman titles Silent Assassin, Contracts and Blood Money on a single disc along with a few trailers for Absolution, in addition to a voucher to download a standalone version of the Sniper Challenge mode. I’ve only been able to sample play a mission from each game, but so far the progression in playability from game to game is what you would expect. Being the oldest of the lot, Silent Assassin‘s pacing is rather sluggish and the mechanics are a little clumsy and overly complicated, while Contracts and Blood Money incrementally improve the interface and all-around presentation, such that they are both more immediately comfortable and enjoyable to play.
The only thing that ticks me off is the inability to quit back to the main selection menu. If you want to switch between games, you have to quit back to the XMB and relaunch the disc. This is actually the one pet peeve I have with all of these HD compilations. Is it really so difficult to code in a “quit to game selection” option on each game’s main menu? It must be, because I’ve yet to play an HD collection that has offered such an option.
Other than that, I’m happier than Agent 47 with a fiber wire wrapped around a thug’s throat.