Despite receiving mixed reviews (here's a pretty positive one), we think Hitman: Absolution has plenty to offer for stealth action fans. Opinions aside, we're here to determine how the game runs on modern enthusiast hardware and after slamming it with over two dozen graphics cards, we have some conclusive results.
Absolution looks stunning and includes tons of highly detailed scenes. As a result, folks hoping to enjoy the game on its highest quality settings will require some serious hardware. While it's possible to get away with a single GPU solution at 1920x1200, multiple GPUs become a necessity at higher resolutions such as 2560x1600.
It's been some time since we've tested a game that makes a single HD 7970 or GTX 680 look obsolete at 2560x1600. Given how intensive the game's ultra-quality preset is, we used its high-quality setting with 2xAA and 8xAF for the bulk of our testing. Although this configuration is less demanding than max quality, it's still no joke.
For instance, benching on high at 1920x1200 demanded at least an HD 7870 or GTX 660 Ti for playable performance -- and when we say playable, we're only talking 39fps. Only one card exceeded our ideal threshold of 60fps, and that was the HD 7970 GHz Edition, with most other top-end cards lingering in the 50-58fps territory.
Many of you will have noticed that the HD 7900 series thumped the GTX 680 and GTX 670 in every test. This is largely because Absolution is part of AMD's Gaming Evolved program, meaning AMD worked closely with IOI during development. Absolution also happens to be one of the three games in AMD's "Never Settle" bundle.
While AMD's GPUs might have an edge in Absolution, its CPUs certainly do not. This was evident when testing the company's flagship FX-8350, which only allowed the HD 7970 GHz Edition to render 50fps at 1920x1200 using the high-quality preset. Comparatively, the Core i5-3470 was 16% faster and the Core i7-3770K was 22% faster.
In fact, even the four-year-old Core i7-920 clocked at just 2.66GHz was 6% faster than the FX-8350, and the FX-8350 was only 9% faster than the dual-core (four-threaded) Core i3-3220. The i3-3220, on the other hand, was faster than every other AMD processor on the market including the Phenom II X4 980 and the FX-8170.
Therefore, AMD CPU owners receiving poor performance in Absolution might find their processor at fault. For top performance, the Intel Core i5 (Ivy Bridge) processors seem like the best value options.
Overall, Absolution is an awesome looking DirectX 11 title that takes full advantage of the latest PC hardware -- a rarity these days.