Title: Hitman 3
Developer: IO Interactive
Publisher: IO Interactive
Genre: Third-Person Stealth Shooter
Release Date: January 20, 2021
Version Tested: PC
Official Site: www.hitman.com/global
I’ve had an interesting relationship with the Hitman series, going beyond the World of Assassination Trilogy. My first foray into the franchise was back in the days of Absolution, played at a time in my youth where patience to that level was virtually non-existent. As much as I hate to admit it, that sour taste in my mouth kept me away from the trilogy for all this time. The first of the three has laid dormant in my backlog for a year now. That was my perspective going into Hitman 3, one I was skeptical about due to my already iffy relationship with the stealth genre and the series in general.
Hitman 3’s Beauty and Finesse, Wrapped in One Fine Package
To my very pleasant surprise though, the World of Assassination trilogy, and especially Hitman 3, goes well beyond the aspirations of its earlier days. While retaining that core identity that Hitman is known for, the trilogy itself is a masterclass in how to make the patience of stealth engaging, tense, and satisfying all at the same time. This is all true of Hitman 3, a title that ends the trilogy beautifully offering the stealth gameplay you’ve come to fall in love with all these years, along with concluding the stories of Diana Burnwood, Lucas Grey, and of course, Agent 47.
If there’s one thing that the World of Assassination trilogy has made a name in, it’s offering in-depth sandboxes across beautiful worlds. If that’s what you’re craving out of Hitman 3, you’ve come to the right place. Rather than looking to add intricacies to its sandbox, Hitman 3 opts to go the route of not fixing what isn’t broken. That works very much in its favor, as what the Hitman series offers is fantastic in its own right. Instead, IO Interactive focuses on the sheer detail of its worlds. The previous two Hitman games do this very well, but Hitman 3 takes it to a whole other level with some beautiful setpieces and a brilliant atmosphere.
One particular standout was the Thornbridge Manor, a map that transitions beautifully from the grim skies of the English outdoors to the rich detail of the manor’s interior. To be completely honest though, nearly any map of Hitman 3 could be considered a masterclass in beauty, and every map in uniqueness. The high skies of Dubai and bright streets of urban China have never been more stunning to sneak through. While I wasn’t a big fan of the aesthetics of Berlin, I appreciated the change of pace in both objective and environment.
Serious Work with Perhaps a Little Hilarity
It all works in tandem so perfectly with Hitman 3’s use of various objective paths. It feels as though neither the maps nor challenges were designed with reliance on one another, and rather like an elaborate painting where everything fits right where it should. Likely because it’s the first map you experience, Dubai showcased this perfectly with objectives that feel part of the environment. It all helps as part of Hitman 3’s focus on leaving the puzzle pieces scattered on the floor, and letting you figure out which pieces go together best for you. I’m a huge fan of games leaving the player to determine their best path to success (partially why I consider Dishonored 2 a masterpiece) and Hitman 3 not only hits that mark but exceeds my expectations with its mastery level system.
Strangely enough, I found Hitman 3’s best moments came in the hilarity of some of its assassination methods. It was difficult to not notice the wealth of hilarious kills posted online from the previous entries. I never could’ve expected it to feel so satisfying though. As a particular standout method (and one I even posted to Twitter), it involved a game of golf that was a blast. I won’t spoil much to keep your experience spoiler-free, but the lead-up to it is just about as fun for reasons I should probably get checked out for.
Realistically I only had one gripe with Hitman 3, and it was one that the game never tries to make more important than it actually is: the game’s story. While many have come to love the stories of Agent 47 and Ms. Burnwood, I felt it all moved along a bit faster than I would’ve liked. For that case though, it’s worth noting that probably matters very little to the vast majority of you. You aren’t here to see an emotional and heart-wrenching story, you’re here to be an assassin and send someone out in the most ridiculous way possible.
Verdict: Hitman 3 brings a fantastic end to the World of Assassination trilogy, offering more of what you’ve come to love over the years. The environments are a masterclass not only in awe-inspiring visuals but in-depth options and player choice as well. There’s so much to love about Hitman 3, with many many hours for those wishing to experience every last part of what’s available. The story may not be as intriguing as I would’ve wished, but Hitman 3 never prides itself on its plot and therefore it’s much less a detriment. If you’ve loved the Hitman series thus far, Hitman 3 shows the beauty of the assassination trilogy at its finest.
- Masterclass in player choice
- Beautiful locations
- Intricately designed atmosphere
- Endless amounts of content
- Varied objectives
- A beautiful conclusion to an excellent trilogy
- Exploding golf balls
- Story pacing was a bit off