You know exactly what you’re getting with Hitman, but that familiarity is what makes the series so replayable and enjoyable. Every level is meticulously crafted to allow for multiple methods to get the job done, with locations so vivid and alive you’re left awestruck exploring every inch of them. In many ways, Hitman 3 is no different. IO Interactive‘s World of Assassination trilogy has been a superb ride, and with the final stop in Agent 47‘s journey finally here, I can tell you with all certainty that it doesn’t disappoint. Some levels are better than others, but overall it has some of the best settings to date.
It’s finally time to eliminate the shady organisation known as Providence, and with the help of long-lost friend Lucas Grey and ICA handler Diana Burnwood, you’re tasked with putting an end to their powerful global rule. There are some major twists and turns, but it never does anything to elevate Agent 47 to anything other than the cold and calculated assassin we all know and love. I was hoping for some revelations about who the man is, or at least some detail on the character beyond the obvious. Going into Hitman 3, I struggled to remember any of the narrative from the previous two entries, but in all honesty, that’s not why I play them.
Much of the gameplay remains the same, but there’s a new tool at your disposal that helps with hacking doors, windows, and keypads. You cannot use the camera with every locked entrance, but Lucas Grey talks you through particular areas and lets you know when it can be used. Movement is fluid enough and staying in the shadows feels easy enough to do. If anything, stealth has been refined, but it’s seldom been an issue in the entirety of the trilogy.
The first level takes place in a huge skyscraper in Dubai, and it was within minutes that I fell deeply in love with Hitman 3. The bright sun shone through the golden chambers of the building, majestic pillars stood tall, and immaculate marble flooring lay at my feet, and hundreds of people from all walks of life passed me by, all unaware of what I was doing there. As with every Hitman game so far, I explored the area and waited until an opportunity arose to find my targets. It didn’t take long to find one, and from there I pursued one which led me straight to my mark. There are the mission objectives available to you which give you a foot in the door, or you can simply find your own way.
The first time I played the mission, I took one of the targets out on the roof after he invited me to be his personal guard. There, he wanted to see how well I could hit some moving targets with a knife. On the secluded area of the rooftop, I lodged one of the blades in his throat, then kicked him off the building. The second target was a bit trickier. I arranged a meeting with him, where he wanted me to kill someone who’d been a thorn in his side. Once I’d taken the new target out, I returned to the room and gained his trust, then escaped to his private quarters with him and managed to put a bullet in his head.
On my second playthrough, I did things completely differently. After using the new camera feature to hack open the electronic windows, I scaled the building and found the computer systems where I scheduled a meeting between the two targets. I took out a guard and dressed in his outfit, then joined the meeting as everyone else but the two targets were left the room. I activated the security for the room and shut it down, leaving me with the perfect opportunity to kill them both and leave the building without anyone suspecting a thing.
This is why I love Hitman 3. You can play it exactly how you want to. There’s a multitude of ways to kill your targets, distract guards, gain the trust of unsuspecting NPCs, or just have some fun. I dressed as a drug dealer and supplied pills to technicians, disguised myself as a chef and slipped poison into someone’s food, took a photo of someone and electrocuted them in the process, pushed a guard off a moving train, deejayed at a German club, threw an apricot at a maid, and squashed someone with a mechanical grape press. There are tons of outcomes and plenty of choices to make, with endless possibilities and playthroughs that make Hitman 3 an absolute hoot.
Of all the levels in Hitman 3, Dartmoor stands out as the best. It manages to encapsulate every element of gameplay so perfectly. Sneaking around the mansion, taking out your target with a range of smart and creative ways, using the wide range of opportunities to distract NPCs, and using your brains to solve an intricate puzzle. On top of all that, the layout of the grounds and the mansion are crafted superbly. Berlin isn’t quite as fun to play. It’s much harder to take out your targets as you’re walking around a huge nightclub with tons of people scattered around everywhere. It’s also a fairly bland environment, especially when compared to the grandeur of Dubai and Chongqing.
In a series that requires precision, patience, and careful planning, Hitman 3 breaks the mould slightly as it approaches the end. Of course, you can still attempt to achieve the ‘Silent Assassin’ rank, but it’s much more fun to use the variety of guns that are available. It gives us an insight into what IO might do with the James Bond franchise, as much of the combat is precise, constricted, and full of style. It feels more ambitious than Hitman and Hitman 2. Yes, there’s little difference in gameplay, but the levels and ideas at play make Hitman 3 the best so far.
Hitman 3 is a satisfying farewell to the world’s most famous assassin. The locations offer intelligent opportunities to take out your target, with plenty of replayability and moments of humour along the way. Berlin may not be the best of levels, but that’s only because the others are so exceptional, and thanks to the Mastery Ranks, you can replay every one over and over again to see how each mission objective plays out. There are tons of ways to gain XP, and completing the varying challenges gives you even more reason to play each level more than once. The visuals are stunning, the gameplay is smooth as silk, and although the story does nothing different to the everyday spy novel, you’ll still find plenty to enjoy.
Superb level design
Tons of replayability
Plenty of opportunities to assassinate
Berlin is the weakest level
Story is rather generic