Hitman 3 review

If you’re in the know with Hitman, then you know it’s one of the best series out there. Hitman 3 was a game I missed in 2021, however given it’s the new year and it’s a relatively slow time for video game releases at the moment, I thought it high-time to get back to the Hitman series with their latest entry, Hitman 3.

The Hitman series creates great moments. Each mission has a collection of scripted and free-form systems that create tense moments, present intricate puzzles, and allows us as the players to create often hilarious and perilous situations. The general idea with Hitman levels is you play them over and over so you know ever minute detail, which allows you to set off a chain of events like dominoes, culminating in the death of the target, and you not getting caught.

You could argue Hitman 3 is more Hitman. On the surface the gameplay looks the same, although we are treated to a few quality of life improvements and graphical upgrades. Hitman 3 continues to produce excellent mission design, which is no easy task considering the high-bar of the previous levels. Much of the stealth, the way you interact with the world and enemy AI remains the same. Hitman 3 manages to elevate the experience and demonstrate why it feels so good when all the systems click into place.

Your objective in each of the locations is to find a way to eliminate your targets and then escape without getting caught. This can be done in a variety of ways; knocking enemies out, hiding their bodies and stealing their clothes. The latter point can be important because where you can go depends on what you are wearing, so if you can get yourself some new clothes that allow you to go into (and potentially escape through) a restricted area, then all the better. Some enemies are smarter than others and will see through your tricks, so those enemies are best avoided. Agent 47 has an ability called instinct, which allows us to see through walls and see people and interactive objects.

As well as eliminate your targets, first you have to gather information that’s going to help you get close to your targets. You can do it the old fashioned way, for example, with a gun, or you can strangle somebody. But a gun is going to make noise, and drawing attention to yourself isn’t a good idea. You might want to try something a little more elaborate, like electrocute someone via a power cable and puddle on the ground. The more stealthy the kill and the less danger you put non-targets in, the better score you’ll get. Each level is full of challenges and you’ll be encouraged to remove your targets through an ever increasing creative number of ways. The more challenges you complete, the more the level opens up, which includes more starting locations and different load outs.

Hitman 3 takes it up a level in terms of storytelling, with levels telling stories that fit into the overall narrative arc of the Hitman series. The early titles levels tended to be isolated and didn’t really fit together in the larger narrative. IO Interactive have done a better job this time round weaving an over-arching story together. Back in Hitman 1 and 2Agent 47 and his contact Diana Burwood realised they were unwittingly taking part in a war against the Shadow Client, someone who was manipulating them through various contracts via Providence, an Illuminati-like organisation full of the super rich. In Hitman 3 Agent 47 and Burwood are in all-out war against Providence. This has the effect of making the missions feel much more impactful. As you progress through the game, the characters and enemies you eliminate have consequences for the story, which means they start to fight back against Agent 47.

There is an excellent mission, which follows a similar script to the move Knives Out. Set in Dartmoor, England you’re trying to assassinate a target at a huge mansion. You are planning a murder, then another murder takes place at the same time, and you can even jump into the role of detective. While you are helping to solve this other murder, you are all the time gathering clues and information related to your real target. It all feels like playing another game inside of Hitman, which goes to show how powerful the game is, and how flexible it can be, playing these two similar roles. Plus IO pull it off wonderfully well, demonstrating their mastery of the genre.

If there’s a slight drawback with Hitman 3 then you coudl argue the game feels smaller than its predecessor Hitman 2. Hitman 3 is streamlined with less bloat, whereas Hitman 2 contained some experimental content, that’s gone in Hitman 3 and IO are focusing on the content they know their players love, which makes a lot of sense for the core Hitman audience. The recent Hitman games since 2016 have done a great job with their post release content; DLC, location packs, target missions. Hitman 3 is no different with Seven Deadly Sins DLC, with each mission names after a sin like Greed, Pride, Lust etc.

Hitman 3 does introduce interesting new ideas into the mix. However, it doesn’tf undamentally change the way Hitman is played. The brilliance of Hitman 3 is to provide you a sandbox in which you can perfect your assassinations. If you have played the Hitman series before then its highly like you’ll get more out of the game.

On that note, IO Interactive did announce they are merging the Hitman experience all into one game called Hitman: World of Assassination. Hitman 3 is going to get an update, and will include all content from Hitman 1 and 2. previously it was confusing for the audience to know which copy to buy, and what content was included. IO aims to simplify the purchasing of Hitman into a single base game called World of Assassination.

Hitman 3 feels the culmination of all that hard work gone into Hitman 1 and 2. IO inject new creativity into the gme, providing another set of excellent levels. Plus now owners of Hitman 3 are going to get this free upgrade to World of Assassination. If you haven’t jumped into Hitman before, now is a great time to do so.

Developer: IO Interactive
Publisher: IO Interactive
Platforms: PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X and Series S, Microsoft Windows, Google Stadia
Release date: January 2021