Title: Hitman 3
Developer: IO Interactive
Reviewed On: PC
Publisher: IO Interactive
The Hitman series needs little introduction. Agent 47 is almost a household name at this point, and anyone who has dreamed of being a spy at any time in their life has fantasized about being this character. As developer IO Interactive brings the World of Assassin trilogy to an end with the release of Hitman 3, we see some of the developer’s best work in terms of environment design and scenario writing. This playground of activities pushes the imagination of players providing an almost overwhelming amount of content to unlock.
Hitman 3 is a final entry of the trilogy that began in 2016. We meet up with Agent 47 at a turning point in his career where he must face some of the ghosts of his past and come to terms with who he is. Being a protagonist of very few words, we see him faced with some difficult choice of who to trust, as everyone seems to want to benefit from his skill set.
Given that this is a sequel, the developers put long-time fans first when it comes to the narrative. They focus more on the story rather than explicitly detailing each character and their relationship to Agent 47. Not understanding the importance of these relationships will have a major impact on reveals and twists, so it’s recommended that you play the previous two entries first.
There are six missions to play through in Hitman 3, which at a glance isn’t a lot. However, the size of these environments is nothing less than impressive as you can absolutely get lost in navigating the field to scope out your preferred point of entry. Each of the story campaigns will give you two targets and possibly a separate objective. Easy right? Well, then things get complicated as you can’t just run-and-gun your way through and expect to live.
The targets each have a route they take, but getting them alone to take them out unnoticed takes some skill. IO Interactive has clearly invested lots of resources into making it as hard as possible to limit how much you can cheese your way through these missions. Sure, it’s possible to take out a few guards luring them around with coins, but it rarely gets you closer to taking out the targets, even with new disguises.
Hiding in plain sight is pretty much what you will spend most of your time trying to work out when you begin a mission. I’m embarrassed almost to talk about the messy nature of my first time through each mission. However, this is where Hitman 3 rewards players for investing their time into its mechanics. Suffice to say, there are dozens of ways to take out your target, but you’ll have to execute patience to find the most clever means to get the job done.
Scenarios to complete objectives are found as you explore the map, but many of them require you to be at the right place at the right time. The game organizes your intel as you listen in on conversations and determine the appropriate way to execute a plan. It’s even possible to follow people of interest and gather information for future playthroughs.
Once you complete a mission, you’re rewarded and scored by what you accomplished. During this time, you can see just how many ways you could have completed the objective. Rewards include different starting positions, extra gear, and more intel. This makes every run after your first completion of a mission arguably better across each replay.
Each mission can take around 2 hours to complete, and then replaying them will only reveal additional areas that you didn’t discover before as you unlock more content. If that wasn’t enough, each stage has additional targets added to force you to get even more creative when navigating the stages.
There are some enjoyable missions in Hitman 3 and some of the most unique and brilliant scenarios in the series. There is no real shortage of disguises here, from pretending to be a detective to a doctor to a lawyer and some others that I’d hate to spoil. Still, the best scenarios are found when exorcising patience, which is hard when it’s only you in a room with the target and two guards.
Some levels didn’t quite stick with me, one being a rave mission where you had to find targets who were after you. Also, the final mission is a bit more straightforward than I would have liked. The Hitman series has a few notable villains, but this build to the conclusion could have been more climactic. The team had all the pieces in place, it seemed, but the final standoff just didn’t pack the punch that I was expecting.
Hitman 3 is full of additional content, and with the roll-out of extra targets and optional loadouts for missions, you can play multiple times and still find new scenarios within the stages. Further, I think it was important for the team to include the entire trilogy in this release as every game is accessible on the menu for those who have purchased them before. It doesn’t stop there, though, as the contracts and even the sniper stages are including giving fans a one-stop-shop for everything Hitman.
The environments in Hitman 3 are gorgeous. Character designs are great as well, but they still retain classic Hitman series tropes. Their movement is often robotic, and the experience can waver the more time you spend following a target as they often repeat actions until you do something to break it up. Enemy AI may also make your eyes roll when they react to situations or somehow don’t change patterns after a body is discovered. However, sometimes they surprised me, such as when I left a gun on the ground, and a target reprimanded the guards for being irresponsible. Little things like the occur during the entire game that makes the experience much more immersive.
Hitman 3 builds on the structure of its predecessors but doesn’t recycle old mechanics. Its creative sandbox systems encourage multiple playthroughs with possible outcomes only limited by your imagination. Returning fans will get the most of this narrative as it ties up a few loose ends but doesn’t totally stick the landing. It’s absolutely brilliant in execution, though, as you replay missions for different results providing the most robust experience to those who spend the most time playing.
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