Most of the basic game mechanics are properly explained in the tutorial, so not everything will be mentioned here. Only some of the less-clear aspects of the game will be covered.
Many new features were introduced to Hitman: Blood Money. These include the capability to climb through more obstacles, improved character animations (example-face, eyes, etc), a new game engine and the ability to upgrade weapons and equipment. However, only five of the featured weapons in the game, as well as assorted pieces of equipment such as bombs and armor, can be upgraded. Every level contains some sort of method to make the target's death look like an accident — for example, tampering with someone's grill to make it explode when they turn it on, or the target 'accidentally' falling off a balcony. There are also improvised weapons, like a nailgun and a pair of hedge clippers.
A gameplay feature new to the Hitman series was also added, the "Notoriety" system. If the player, during a mission, kills innocents or civilians, gets caught on CCTV or is witnessed committing murder, Agent 47's notoriety will rise. Conversely, if the player executes the mission perfectly with none of the aforementioned events occurring, 47's notoriety will be minimal. The higher Agent 47's notoriety is, the easier it will be for NPCs to identify him. Players may use the bribery system to negate accumulated notoriety. The notoriety system is not enabled in "Rookie" mode, which also allows unlimited saves and a lower level of general difficulty.
Health boosts are available in the game, such as Painkillers. Though the in-game store description claims they heal a "small amount of damage," they actually replenish about 2/3 of Agent 47's life bar. The other, Adrenaline, gives you a smaller health boost, and only lasts for a certain amount of time.
When each mission has been completed, a newspaper article is displayed regarding the hit, in which the content varies depending on the investigation results and the player's notoriety. Sketch drawings are also sometimes visible of Agent 47's face, which grow progressively more accurate as 47's notoriety grows. The article's title relates to the player's mission rating, whether it is (not in any specific order) "The Eraser", "Gangster", "Terrorist", "Loose Cannon", "Murderer", "Mad Butcher", "Mass Murderer", "Berserker", "Hoodlum", "Hired Killer", "Contract Killer", "Specialist", "Professional", "Beef Eater", "Skull Splitter", "Silent Assassin", "The Cleaner", "Hitman", "The Ghost", "Thug", "Deranged Slayer", "Sushi Chef", "Insane Florist", "Needle Pumper", "Slugger", "Psychopath", "The Phantom Killer" or "The Russian Hare". "Silent Assassin", in which you assassinate the targets as cleanly and quietly as possible, and draw no unnecessary attention to yourself (blow covers, leave no extra bodies, etc.), is the best rating possible on all missions. It ought to be added that certain ratings are only available on certain levels, by performing a certain prerequisite, like killing the majority of people with a knife.
Upon completing a level, you will receive a rating title and bonus cash, depending on how well you carried out your objective. Although you can definitely approach each mission with a "shoot first, ask questions later" style, the game discourages this kind of behaviour by giving you less cash and lower rankings. On the other hand, if you manage to get through the mission stealthily, only killing your targets and escaping unseen, you will get more money to be spent on upgrades (see table of contents for more info).
The smallest sum of money you can get as a Ranking Bonus is 0$, which is basically what you'll receive for a massive body count and plenty of witnesses...interestingly, if you kill everyone in the level, you actually receive a 1000$ bonus reward. The highest amount of money you can get is 150,000$, which is awarded for the coveted and difficult to obtain "Silent Assassin" ranking, which can apparently only be obtained if you kill only the specific targets (no bystanders or guards) in a minimum amount of time.
Generally, if you wish to obtain high rankings and obtain more money at the end of the level, you'll need to keep your body count as low as possible, and definitely make sure not to get caught killing someone. Setting off a bomb that kills several people will lower your ranking, obviously, but opening fire with a gun and killing that same number of people will hurt your ranking even more.
You should also note that the two primary aspects of your ranking are Noise and Violence. While you will obviously need to use a little violence in order to complete your mission, unnecessary violence involving non-mission critical NPCs will lower your ranking. Noise is quite self-evident: firing shotguns or high powered rifles will get you noticed. Bombs are a major hurt to this category, since they cause a lot of noise, raise much attention, and can likely cause a bit of collateral damage. Even so, they are the best way to finish off a target in certain cases, so you should use them in some situations, but carefully.
|Armed Madman||Only kill armed people||6||6||$0|
|Assailant||Knock out many people||8||1||$1,000|
|Berserker||Kill atleast 38 guards, brandish gun on camera||10||5||$0|
|Cleaner||Killed targets with bombs.||3||2||$15,000|
|Contract killer||Mostly undetected, 1-3 witnesses allowed and no more than 3 non-targets killed||0||2||$50,000|
|Deranged Slayer||Kill many people whilst having bodies found||2||6+|
|Dr.Death||Kill lots of people with poison syringes. (Can only be used with an infinite ammo cheat)||2||6+||$100,000|
|Eraser||Shoot all targets and witnessess with silenced MP5||1-2||4||$15,000|
|Evil Eye Gouger||Kill lots of people with Screwdriver||2||10|
|Exhibitionist||Shove some people into water, disarm guards, knock everyone out||8||0||$10,000|
|Frenzied Firefighter||Kill everyone with a fire extinguisher||4||6+||$55,000|
|Gangster||Use a mine, have some witnessess||4||1||$25,000|
|Garrotteer||Kill many people with fibre wire||4||10||$70,000|
|Ghost||Kill targets with gun, not silenced||0||2||$50,000|
|Hired killer||Kill targets any way you want, kill some bystanders, some witnesses allowed||0||2||$75,000|
|Hitman||Kill half-a-dozen non-targets, use silenced pistol. No witnesses and no body discoveries||0-1||0||$100,000|
|Hoodlum||One witness, knocked him out but didn't kill him||1||$25,000|
|Insane Florist||Kill lots of people with the Hedge Cutters|
|Insurance Agent||Many accidents, few witnesses||$100,000|
|King of the Jungle||Kill most people with a bowie knife||4||6+||$50,000|
|Lean Killer||Kill people with unsilenced gun, try to avoid witnessess, about a dozen kills in total||1-3||5||$10,000|
|Lunatic||Kill dozen guards, with guns, have most of the bodies discovered and have a few witnesess||5-6||4||$5,000|
|Mad Butcher||Kill lots of people, leave lots of witnesses.||7||5||$0|
|Madman||All kills with silverballsSD magnum ammo and knock people out||7||4||$1,000|
|Man In Black||0||3||$75,000|
|Maniac||Disarm all guards, take potshots at civilians, kill few||10||4||$0|
|Mass Murderer||Kill everyone||6+||8+||$0|
|Messy Murderer||Knock everyone out, have lots of witnesses, get caught on camera, target = accident|
|Murderer||Blast your targets, ignore everyone else||5||0||$50,000|
|Perpetrator||Run up to your targets and just kill them, kill no one else. One or two extra kills allowed, one or two knock outs allowed||4-5||1||$15,000|
|Phantom Killer||Only kill in self defense, no witnessess||1||3-4||$25,000|
|Pianoman||Kill many people with fibre wire||3||10||$90,000|
|Prince of Darkness|
|Raging Bluecollar||Kill almost everyone with the hammer, mostly stealth kills||5||6+||$40,000|
|Russian Hare||Use mostly the sniper rifle, must be all headshots.||3||6+||$75,000|
|Serial Killer||Kill everyone on the entire map without being seen with a melee weapon, have a large damage control||0-1||6+||$10,000|
|Shadow Killer||No bodies found, No Innocent's killed||0||4||$50,000|
|Silent Assassin||No bodies found unless it's one of the targets, end with your suit, don't bring any weapons||0||0||$150,000|
|Skull Splitter||Kill lots of people with the Hammer.|
|Slugger||In 'a new life' kill everyone with baseball bat + take out dog.||2-3||6+||$55,000|
|Sociopath||Kill many people without making a sound, no bodies found, no covers blown, no witnesses, not caught on camera.||0||10|
|Stalker||Silently kill targets, shoot few guards who stand in your way, no bodies found, no covers blown, no witnessess||0||1-2||$75,000|
|Sushi Chef||Only use kitchen knife||3||6+|
|Swashbuckler||Kill lots of people with the Cane Sword|
|Terrorrist||Killed a few guard without silencer, left witnessess but no appearance discription||4||6|
|Thug||Kill handful of people, allow witnessess||5-6||1||$15,000|
|Undertaker||15+ kills, no witnessess||1||5|
|Violent Criminal||Have low stats, but many witnesses||2||6+||$5,000|
In addition to the rankings, you can also get extra cash rewards based on your performance during a mission. Factors which determine your final cash purse include:
- Objectives: Obviously, completing the primary hit gets you money...this is the biggest factor in your cash reward, even more so than ranking. For this reason, even if you make critical mistakes in a mission that kill your ranking, but still complete the hit, you'll still rake in a fair sum of cash. Certain missions have optional objectives that will get you more cash.
- Damage Control: The more civilians you kill and the more people witness your acts, the more bribe money the Agency has to pay to cover your tracks. Note that this is a penalty. You start off with no sum of money in the Damage Control category, but you'll start losing money, depending on how much chaos you cause (if any). With enough damage done and enough people killed, this penalty can quite possibly surpass 100,000$. If you cover your tracks well enough, this should be a minor sum, or cost you nothing at all.
- Custom Weapons Retrieval: If you leave behind one of your custom weapons in a mission, you will be charged 5,000$ to retrieve it. This fee will be multiplied per weapon. If you can restrict yourself to the Silverballer and SMG, there should be no problem here, as both weapons are easily concealable.
- Suit Retrieval: If you exit a mission wearing anything but the custom-made suit you always start off in, you will be charged a penalty of 5,000$.
During each mission, you have the chance to earn "notoriety" based on your actions. The more witnesses you leave to your actions, the more likely the press and police will publish information about your crimes. The more notoriety you get (and this adds up level by level), the easier it will be for police, guards, civilians and pretty much any other NPC to recognize your face. Thus, if you have high notoriety, you can expect the authorities to be much less forgiving of any odd action on your part. If you manage to max out the notoriety, then most guards or policemen in any given area will simply open fire when they spot you, regardless of what you're doing, thus rendering the possibility to play through the game stealthiliy essentially impossible.
Here are some key strategies for finishing a mission with little or no notoriety gain:
- Leave no witnesses to your crimes. Try to commit murders out of the line of sight of anyone but yourself and your target. If someone happens to see you committing a murder, kill them before they manage to escape and raise the alarm. If you don't outright kill a witness but rather knock them out with your fists or a syringe sedative, make sure to dump their body in a location that isn't regularly visited by NPCs where the body shouldn't be found. The knocked out NPC will never wake up of his/her own accord, but will be revived if their body is found, and then you've got a witness on your hands and a raised alarm. More trouble than it's worth, so either hide them well, or if that's not an option, finish them off with a silenced pistol headshot. The witness rule does not apply if the person is knocked out from behind, as they do not see your face and therefore can't identify you.
- Avoid cameras and CCTV monitors. If you get caught on tape in the vicinity of a murder, regardless of whether the crime is actually caught on tape, you'll raise some unwanted attention. Either completely avoid cameras (a feat difficult to accomplish on a first runthrough of a mission, as you're not familiarized with the map), or find the security office and steal the tape there to prevent it from being checked.
- If you happen to obtain a large amount of notoriety during a game, then you'll be able to pay for your sins, so to speak, by purchasing indulgences from the Agency. If your amount of notoriety is small, then a little hush money paid to the civilians at the scene of the crime should guarantee your security. If you've been downright genocidal, you'll need to purchase a complete identity makeover. Very expensive (in the neighbourhood of about 200,000$), but it will wipe the slate clean and allow you to resume your criminal career carefree.