It’s been 18 years since Hitman: Blood Money came out and while it may not have the massive open levels or graphical sheen of the more recent entries, the brand new Nintendo Switch incarnation of this murder sim is still a joy to play. And in some ways, Hitman: Blood Money – Reprisal, to give its full name, is a better introduction to the franchise than its big brother.
Hitman: Blood Money – Reprisal casts you as Agent 47, on a mission to… you know what, none of that is important. There’s a sketch of a story here, but what matters is the many murder playgrounds you’ll get to roam. Go in guns blazing if you want, but waylaying someone for a disguise and waltzing past guards is much more rewarding. I mean, it’s not as if Santa’s going to kill anyone, right?
If you have been playing the Hitman: World of Assassination games you’ll be struck by Blood Money’s smaller map size. But each of the twelve levels is more memorable and more focused than any found in 2016’s Hitman. The same is true of many of the kills, too. I played Hitman: Blood Money when it first released, and I can still remember shattering a suspended hot tub, sending my target plummeting into the abyss. You can bet I recreated that in this Switch remaster – again, and again, and again.
I’m not going to spoil every single mission. But you’ll get to infiltrate a Playboy-style Christmas party, a vineyard tour, a New Orleans Mardi Gras parade and more. That last one is one of my favourites because you’re also protecting a politician that your rivals have been tasked with assassinating. Dawdle too much, and he’s deady-bones, ending the mission instantly. And let’s just say that if you’re planning a barbecue in your quiet suburban neighbourhood, you might want to take extra care will the grill.
Another treat, present only in this entry, is the ability to shove people anywhere, regardless of physical location. Yes, you’ll look suspicious as hell just shoving someone to the ground and running away, but the option’s there. Plus, it turns any staircase into a murder weapon. Forget waiting for someone to lean on a balcony, just shove them down the nearest flight of stairs and hope they break their neck. Making sure there are no witnesses, of course.
Developer Feral Interactive has done a top-notch job porting and tweaking Hitman: Blood Money – Reprisal. There are a handful of improvements, including the addition of a mini-map and the Hitman-o-vision Instinct Mode. It shows its age in places, the pre-rendered cutscenes in particular. However, when you’re poisoning someone’s doughnuts or throwing your fourth wedding guard to the alligators, you’ll barely notice.
Hitman: Blood Money – Reprisal is a superb Switch stealth outing, especially if you get your kicks from hiding in plain sight. Its price tag, a good chunk of cash more than the mobile version, may raise an eyebrow or two. But with so many ways to dispatch your thoroughly deserving targets you’ll get your money’s worth out of this murder-em-up.