I’m sure fans of Hitman are well aware that it’s latest release has been out for quite some time but if you’re like me you’ve probably been sleeping on it for some time. That wasn’t out of any conscious thought though, more to the fact that it’s exclusivity on the Epic Games store meant that I simply wasn’t aware that it was actually released until a month or so ago when I finally got around to building my new rig and reinstalled all my various game stores again. Indeed Hitman 3 was the first game (well, apart from DOTA 2…) that I really sat down to play with my new rig for an extended period of time. Whilst it might not have made full use of the new power at its disposal Hitman 3 continued to deliver the experience I’ve come to expect from the series.
PLOT SPOILERS FOR HITMAN 1 AND 2 BELOW
Hitman 3 picks up right after the events of 2, putting you side by side with your brother, Lucas Grey, as you set out to start dismantling the global secret elite society known as Providence. The captured Constant has revealed the identities of the 3 partners who currently lead it: arl Ingram, Marcus Stuyvesant, and Alexa Carlisle. As luck would have it your first mission will see 2 of them in the same place; atop the gleaming Scepter tower in Dubai. Your mission then, 47, is to do what you do best: track down and eliminate the targets before anyone knows you were there.
Hitman 3 comes with some upgrades to its Glacier engine and whilst these might not be immediately apparent given the tilt towards lower detail modelling for most things it was certainly noticeable on my new rig. The lighting effects were just on a whole new level, making the game’s numerous vistas really come to life. Of course IOI’s penchant for incredibly detailed environments and levels shines through here as whilst it might not be the pinnacle in terms of graphical fidelity it most certainly is up there in terms of the level of detail they cram in. As you’d expect from a game that’s building off a 5+ year old engine performance was good and glitches were minimal, usually only resulting from me deliberately trying to break something.
The mechanics are the same as they always have been: you’re an elite agent tasked with eliminating a target and you’re given a multitude of ways to do so. If you’re playing this on anything but the hardest mode you’ll have story missions made available to you which will, in essence, guide you from start to finish in dispatching your target in fun and creative ways. However there’s likely dozens of other ways to go about your mission, from straight up run and gunning (something which the game enjoyably encourages you to do in one particular mission) through to setting up elaborate scenarios that will see your target’s demise. I didn’t see anything new, mechanically speaking, in what Hitman 3 put forward that the last two didn’t but then again, that’s not what this franchise is about. It’s about giving you new canvases to paint all sorts of absurd assassination masterpieces on.
In that respect the new levels that Hitman 3 do it extremely well, taking you to a wide variety of different places in which to practice your craft. As always they’re brimming with detail for you to pick through and you’ll likely spend the first hour or so walking through the level just to get a sense of how everything is strung together. One thing that seems to be changed (and forgive me if this isn’t the case) is that if you happen to stumble across the beginning of a mission story it won’t be highlighted for you to kick it off, instead you’ll have to go to the mission screen to start it. I seem to remember being able to kick them off directly when you overheard someone talking about the key point for it, but I didn’t get that at all for Hitman 3.
There are, of course, all the other usual trappings with a Hitman release for those who just can’t get enough of IOI’s levels. I personally haven’t bothered with any of the elusive targets, timed missions or challenges but I’m sure that if you’re looking to sink as much time as you can into Hitman those are all likely up to the same standard you’ve come to expect. You can also carry your progress over from previous games into it but I didn’t and the experience wasn’t really impacted that much.
PLOT SPOILERS BELOW
This is the conclusion to the current Hitman series run and honestly I quite liked the overall arch. Whilst there’s nothing especially surprising in the narrative itself, the main reveals a game and a half ago kind of laid it all out for us to see, it was great to see it played out in true Hitman form. Indeed this is why I’m pretty excited to see what they do with the Bond IP as IOI have shown a real talent for grand set design and larger than life stories, even if the outcome is pretty much ordained from the start. It’ll be interesting to see if IOI wants to grow this version of Hitman further, or if they’ll start from scratch once again.
PLOT SPOILERS OVER
Hitman 3 is more of the same which, in this very rare case, isn’t a downside at all. The continued dedication to level design with both eyes fixed on filling out every detail showcases IOI’s mastery of the craft, shining through in each of the levels that you’ll play through. There’s no changes to the core game loop and that’s because they’ve basically perfected it, not needing any extraneous elements to continue making the Hitman series engaging. As a latecomer to IOI’s work I’m very much looking forward to what they’ll bring in the future, especially if it means I get to really indulge in the 007 fantasy.
Hitman 3 is available on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and Nintendo Switch right now for $84.95. Game was played on the PC with approximately 8 hours of total play time.