Mini-Review: Hitman 3

Hitman 3
Release Date: January 20, 2021
Developer: I/O Interactive
Platform(s): PS4/PS5, XB1/XS, PC, Switch (Cloud)
Genre: Stealth

Review By: Brandon Wright
Played: On PS5, Feb-Jul 2021
Review Date: July 22, 2021

I greatly enjoyed Hitman (2016) and Hitman 2 (2018), and Hitman 3 (2021) does not disappoint. It puts forward masterful locations, even more unique scenarios, and even an interesting story of intrigue. If you’re not familiar with this recent set of Hitman games, they are stealth games set in large, complex, and incredibly detailed sandboxes. Agent 47 is tasked with eliminating a variety of targets, and has a huge variety of tools, disguises, and a myriad of assassination opportunities to knock them out. Get someone sick and drown them in a toilet when they go to the bathroom. Drop a speaker on their head after loosening it with a crowbar. Set up an exploding golf ball which will turn a target’s driving practice into an impromptu funeral. There are more scripted opportunities which are awesome set-pieces, and then there is just a huge sandbox of murder which the player can use their creativity to put together.

IO Interactive sets up a variety of helpful assists and UI elements to guide players through the various levels of simulation, pointing out many of these setpiece assassinations. These features along with the X-ray “instinct” mode are great for keeping newer players on the hook, but I actually recommend turning virtually all of them off for the best experience. Removing these assists allows you to do your own reconnaissance, piece things together yourself, overhear conversations, and more. However I know that this type of patient stealth may not appeal to everyone, so better to use the assists than to not play at all.

Everything I’ve said could be applied to the first two excellent Hitman games in this trilogy, but Hitman 3 really shines with some spectacular new levels. From the top of a skyscraper, to a German rave with a “hunted becomes the hunter” feeling, to a gorgeously lit and detailed Argentinian winery, every level in the game is rich with opportunities, beautiful sights, and generally unique mechanics for the trilogy. Not to mention, the last level is a totally different twist on the formula, and extremely satisfying in doing so. Each level continues the trilogy’s focus on detail and incredible immersion, with realistic and interesting NPC behaviors, many interactions based on Agent 47’s disguise, and more little touches

I’ll wrap things up here – Hitman 3 is a fantastic game with some of the best visuals, creative freedom, and immersion in gaming. Each level is an endlessly re-playable stealth sandbox of fun. I highly recommend it and the two previous games in the series – if you already own them, or find some way to buy, rent, or check them out from the library and install on your console, you’ll automatically own them for life integrated into Hitman 3, and playable on the updated Hitman 3 engine. In fact, I replayed every level from the previous two games in the new engine before starting Hitman 3, and it was completely worth it.

As a final note, this type of game may not appeal to everyone, or at least not be worth the full $60 to everybody. It requires more patience than the average stealth game, as shootouts usually result in your death, and honestly the most fun to be had is in the puzzle sandbox mechanics. That is: manipulating the various characters, utilizing the environment, and acquiring the best disguises is generally far more fun than shooting the place up. Additionally, if you simply plan on blitzing through the content, not taking your time or being open to replaying levels, then may fly through the story quite quickly. Hitman 3 is a game worth examining, experimenting with, and replaying for new perspectives. It is a masterpiece of design and I give all the props to IO for creating three incredible games with such a deep amount of detail back-to-back.

Verdict

Superb

  • Pros
    • Best-in-class creative freedom
    • Incredible level of detail and immersion in every location
    • Unique twists on Hitman formula in several new levels
    • Gorgeous visuals
    • Great replayability
  • Cons
    • Patience is required for many of the most satisfying kills
  • Preference-dependent
    • $60 could be a hard sell for those who will blitz through the content and aren’t interested in replayability

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