Day 3. Hitman: Blood Money
If you’re into stealth action, you can’t be bored this summer because Eidos Interactive has released another title in the series of games about a hired assassin that goes under the name of 47. The maps in this game are limited in space, but the developers have taken care that you could pass each mission in several different ways. The graphical aspect of the game has changed since the previous parts, but in an evolutionary rather than revolutionary way. Hitman: Blood Money cannot boast such hot features as HDR, dynamic lighting or high-resolution textures, but the fans of the series are sure to appreciate that the level designers have managed to keep the atmosphere of the previous parts of the game intact.
If you are going to pursue the carrier of a hired killer, you should definitely acquire a GeForce 7900 GTX SLI platform since ATI’s Catalyst driver cannot yet enable CrossFire mode for Hitman: Blood Money. This is a matter of time, of course, but right now the pair of GeForce 7900 GTX cards is unrivalled and is sufficiently fast even in 1920x1200 resolution.
The dual-GPU GeForce 7950 GX2 card looks much better than the closest opponent from ATI. The ring-bus memory controller helps the Radeon X1900 XTX catch up with the GeForce 7900 GTX in 1920x1200, yet it is a fact that ATI hasn’t yet released a product that could match the GeForce 7950 GX2.
Hitman: Blood Money being a third-person shooter, an average speed of 30fps is quite enough for comfortable play here. Owners of a GeForce 7900 GTX have to limit themselves to 1600x1200 resolution. If you’ve got a Radeon X1900 XTX, you have to use the lowest resolution among the tested ones.
Although Hitman: Blood Money is a multi-platform project, like Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory for example, it behaves quite differently, overtly preferring Nvidia’s products to graphics cards on ATI’s GPUs. The difference between the average and minimum speed is considerably bigger with the latter than with the GeForce 7900 series models.
Generally speaking, Hitman: Blood Money is a demanding application since it is based on an advanced engine called Glacier 3.0 which supports parallax mapping and self-shadowing and uses version 3 shaders to create special effects. The lack of polygons in the models is compensated with normal maps whereas the use of soft shadows and the depth of view takes your attention away from the not-very-detailed textures. The lighting is good in the game too, but HDR is not used.
All these niceties come at a cost, so there is no comfort in resolutions above 1280x1024 with enabled full-screen antialiasing. The speed of the cards is too low, so the GeForce 7900 GTX is the single card that is more or less capable of providing some comfort in that resolution. Owners of other products from this category should either disable FSAA or lower the level of detail and lose in the quality of graphics.