Hitman 3 is the first major video game release of 2021, and it’s also quite a nice way of ending the World of Assassination trilogy. The Hitman series has been around for over two decades now, celebrating a lengthy tenure. It follows the story of the infamous paid assassin, Agent 47, as he takes out targets all around the world. Each new mission always seems more unforgettable than the last. Year by year, game by game, 47 has managed to sneak into our hearts and gave us almost unlimited possibilities in a beautifully crafted sandbox. It’s not the story that makes it incredible, but the gameplay that made the series what is today.
The story follows Agent 47 during the most important contract of his career: eliminate all of Providence’s partners. As you might imagine, hunting them down won’t be an easy task. Luckily, 47’s handler Diana Burnwood and his old friend Lucas Gray will be aiding him in the pursuit. Of course, that doesn’t mean there won’t be challenges and conflict along the way. The storyline will take players to varied locations that are simply incredible. This goes from underground clubs to moving trains, and even breathtaking skyscrapers.
For those of you that might be new to Hitman, to understand the craftsmanship behind all of it, you have to know all of the game’s missions follow the same formula. The gameplay puts focus around one location at a time and has three major parts. You’ll have your starting location, the target you have to assassinate, and then the escape route. While you can’t leave your main target alive, you have the liberty of choosing all details of their death. This formula has been improved and slightly modified over the years, concluding in the masterpiece Hitman 3 is today.
Each mission can be approached in several ways, with more and more options being unlocked after each playthrough based on how many challenges you unlock. One example being the London based mansion you’ll be visiting in the first missions of Hitman 3. Here you’ll have the option of disguising as a detective and uncovering a murder mystery before you conclude your business. You’ll have to carefully look for hidden clues, interrogate all possible suspects and finally decide who to blame. But if this feels way too boring for you, don’t sweat about it. There’s plenty of other options to approach missions, which I’ll let you discover yourself so I won’t ruin the experience. There’s also the option of going guns blazing and pretty much kill everything and everyone you see.
Mindlessly killing everyone truly does ruin the spirit of the game, and I strongly advise against it. Going the hidden routes and being stealthy will reward you more and won’t get you hunted throughout the entire mission. And as I mentioned earlier, completing challenges will unlock even more parts of the missions, increasing the game’s replayability. The new shortcuts make it easier for players to skip portions of missions for the second, third, or twentieth playthrough they’ll make. They actually work very similar to the Souls series. Just unlock a certain door mid-level and next time you’ll be able to skip big parts of the mission. You also have the new camera, which helps Agent 47 gather intel on missions. You can even use it to remotely open certain doors or windows.
The level design will force players to adapt. Large buildings will give you enough time to plan out your assassinations and more room for mistakes. On the other hand, smaller missions, including the previously mentioned train, will force players to quickly react and take life or death decisions. It’s not only that every map feels like a fresh experience, but the graphics make it look even more realistic. The game takes players to locations such as Dubai, Dartmoor, Berlin, Chongqing, and Mendoza, each having a unique theme and fantastic scenery. I was also very proud to find that my home country of Romania makes a comeback in the series with the beautiful Carpathian Mountains.
Sadly, there are also a few problems with the game that somehow impact the experience. While they’re nothing major, I still have to consider them in this review. One of them being the save import tool that doesn’t seem to be working consistently. When it works, you have the option to import all your save files from the previous Hitman games on the same platform… when it works. IO Interactive is still working on fixes, but it definitely hurts the Hitman 3 experience.
The second gripe I have with the game is the menu. While I appreciate the unified experience the developer wanted to give us when they merged all three games in the series under the same menu, the overall user experience is not on par with the rest of the game. It takes a while to find things in the menu, and I feel like some of them are way too hidden under several layers. Of course, after a few hours scrolling through it you’ll learn it by the heart. Unfortunately, that’s not something most people are usually patient about, including myself.
Thankfully, with everything the game has to offer, the pros outweigh the cons in Hitman 3. It’s one of the first games I played on the newly released console generation, making for a great first impression. I may even dare to say that it will surely stay in my top five list for the entire year. When you think of how many heavy-hitting games are coming soon, you’ll understand how much I enjoyed my time in Hitman 3.
Final Score: 9.5 out of 10
A digital copy of Hitman 3 was provided to GotGame by IO Interactive for this review.
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