Review – Hitman 3
I’ll admit, I have never been the biggest fan of Hitman series; I dabbled with the franchise here and there, mostly enjoying Blood Money for what it offered, but I never truly appreciated the franchise until the release of the 2016 reboot of the series, which vastly expanded what the Hitman games could achieve in terms of graphics, storyelling, and most importantly, freedom of how to tackle your objectives in massive pseudo-open levels. Now here we are with Hitman 3, the finale in what is called the World of Assassination trilogy. Let’s see if it delivers.
Hitman 3 picks up after the end of the second game, where Agent 47 and his team successfully managed to uncover secrets regarding Providence, a secret organisation that controlled a lot of the world’s affairs, which were also pulling the strings of the ICA, getting them to assassinate anyone they want. Together, 47, his childhood friend Lucas Grey and ICA Handler go rogue in an attempt to dismantle the higher echelon of Providence.
I wasn’t expecting much from the story. Previous games in the trilogy had an overarching story, but they felt more like an excuse to push you from level to level, which was fine; we don’t exactly play Hitman for the story, but I really appreciated the effort put in here. IO added a little bit more humanity to the character of 47, and I actually wanted to see what happened next. They used a bit more of that story-driven approach from Absolution ,with none of that game’s baggage, and I was really impressed. With that being said, it’s not the most elaborate or amazing story in recent memory. It just gets the job done.
The core gameplay of Hitman 3 is exactly what you would expect if you’ve played the previous two games. It’s all about silently infiltrating a place, either through disguises or other means, and assassinating a target. As always, the game gives you tons of different ways to complete your tasks, with a surprising amount of freedom. The mission stories return as well, giving a more structured approach to the game’s main story whilst still letting your creativity go wild. This is where the biggest changes lie. Hitman 3 won’t hold your hand through each and everyone of them. More emphasis has been placed on exploring the world rather than an objective marker.
There aren’t that many additions to the gameplay, making the game feel more like a new map pack than a full-fledged sequel. If you didn’t like the previous two games then this isn’t for you. It’s the exact same game as Hitman 2, which was already much identical to 2016’s reboot.
However, there are a couple of new features. Agent 47 now carries a camera by default, adding some very light hacking mechanics into the game. You also have keycards and codes that you will need to find to get into restricted areas, and fuses that can open a few more opportunities. These are welcoming additions, but as you can already imagine, they aren’t exactly game changing features. The camera, for example, is only used a few times in all of the maps. I was expecting for IO Interactive to experiment a bit more with these additions, but that ended up not being the case.
Hitman 3 has six new destinations in total, all with their own unique visual flavour and elements that keep the game fresh along its roughly 10 hour campaign. Not to mention the same insane level of replayability that the series has offered before. Strong level design is pretty much the hallmark of the Hitman series and it’s the same story here. Much of my first playthrough was spent exploring these maps and trying to figure out the most efficient ways through each environment. A few examples are the Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai, with an intro heavily inspired by that one famous scene from Mission Impossible: Fallout. Dartmoor Manor takes 47 into the wet and cold English countryside. There’s also a mission set in Berlin, and as expected from the choice of city, it takes place in a night rave.
These levels are fine and all that, but two others take the cake: Mendoza and Chongqing. One of them takes place is a winery in the Argentinea countryside, while the other is a visually stunning take on a rain-soeaked Chinese city, full of explorable streets, buildings and other surprises.
As a whole, Hitman 3 provides an incredibly strong set of missions with no real misses unlike the previous games. There’s a good variety of classic Hitman-styled levels, but often mixed up with unique objectives to keep things interesting. Sometimes your targets aren’t known, so you will have to find them out yourself and other times you have an extra objective to complete. Each mission offers something different, and IOI make the most of it. It’s going to take many hours to discover all the secrets and unique kills that you can accomplish and I’m looking forward to digging deeper into these missions.
The biggest of all is a very annoying “always online” requirement, meaning that you can’t progress through master ranks or complete challenges while offline. This has been problematic at launch, when the servers were a bit inconsistent, but this should be smoothened out soon, or so I hope.
Also, although this has been, for the most part, a very polished experience, I did find a few annoying bugs, such as one occasion in which poison didn’t work on my target. A simple reload fixed the issue, however. In another occasion, the game forgot to trigger a set-piece sequence, making the target forget to move to a specified location, but once again, reloading fixed the issue. Other than those instances, the game ran smoothly.
Perhaps best of all is the ability to play the entire World of Assassination trilogy within Hitman 3. This means every single map, mission and contract has been ported from the previous games into one launcher (impressively, with a reduced file size). A fully unified progression system allows you to carry over your save information from Hitman 2 without a hitch. All of this makes for one complete World of Assassination package and a perfect time for newcomers to come into the series.
As we go into the next generation of consoles, the Glacier enginer continues to impress, with its dense crowd population making the maps feel even more alive than before, and stunning reflections that are some of the best that I’ve seen. There’s a vast array of locations that take you all over the world and each one feels remarkably different with unique visual effects present.
Sound design also holds up really nicely. Agent 47 returns with his same dark and witty comments that make him the world’s most lovable assassin. Missions are filled to the brim with dialogue. Guards will not only offer hints whilst eavesdropping on them, but will often have hilarious conversations. Weapons all sound impactful and the sound on each level does a great job of immersing you into the world.
Hitman 3 is an absolutely stunning ending to this trilogy, finally delivering a story that, whilst not mind-blowing, did subvert my expectations in the best of ways, all while delivering the same high quality gameplay and level design that fans have come to expect. It may not innovate on the previous titles’ core gameplay, feeling more like an expansion than a new standalone game, but it’s still worth your while, offering plenty of new content to dig into.
The Glacier engine continues to impress with stunning reflections, crowd density and lighting.
Hitman 3 is all about its level design and the core gameplay hasn’t seen many changes. That’s possibly for the best.
Excellent sound design with surprisingly good voice acting throughout.
The final chapter of the World of Assassination trilogy may not be an innovative one, but it is still a highly entertaining game I’d recommend to anyone.
Final Verdict: 8.5
Hitman 3 is available now on PC, Xbox One, Series X|S, Playstation 4, Playstation 5 and Switch (via Cloud play)
Played on PC with an RTX 2060, Ryzen 5 3600X, 16GB RAM at 3440×1440
A copy of Hitman 3 was provided by the publisher.