Feb 08, 2021

HITMAN 3 Review

Lights Off
5 Incredible
Retails for: $59.99
We Recommend: $59.99
  • Developer: IO Interactive
  • Publisher: IO Interactive
  • Genre: Action, Stealth
  • Released: Jan 20, 2021
  • Platform: Windows, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4
  • Reviewed: PlayStation 4

I have a special spot in my heart for the Hitman series. Hell, Hitman was my Game of the Year in 2016, and with good reason. It was amusing, creative, packed with content, and most important of all, fun. Hitman 3 brings the World of Assassination to a close with a swan song; it takes what made the series great and gives us more.

Sitting here saying I enjoyed the first Hitman honestly feels like an understatement. I completed all the trophies and even went to great lengths to create Silent Assassin, Suit Only tutorial videos for a website named Saving Content; maybe you’ve heard of it? You can find those videos on our YouTube page, and a lot of the strategies still hold up in Hitman 3’s imported levels! With Hitman 2’s release in 2018, I was excited about Hitman’s return, and I was not disappointed! Except when I was; I panned the reliance on an active internet connection for challenge unlocks, breaking the game’s core replayability feature. The first game also required an active internet connection, but my internet situation was not ideal at Hitman 2’s release. So 95% of my time playing was done offline, meaning that I would make no progress towards unlocks if I continued playing after the story.

Because of that, Hitman 3’s feature of migrating Hitman 2 progression barely had anything for me to transfer over. Using the transfer website IO set up, I didn’t encounter any issues. Still, it did feel as if the whole process was needlessly convoluted. I’m no programmer or engineer, but my question is, if you already have to log in with a persistent internet connection, why isn’t your progression saved server side? Why doesn’t Hitman 3 just know what you’ve completed after you sign in? It’s a small issue, especially for me since I had so little to transfer over, but it seems like a lot of negativity the game received in its early days could have been avoidable. Also, a quick note. If you are looking to transfer progress from Hitman 2. Please make sure you have everything you want unlocked or completed because they only allow you to transfer once. You’ll also need to make sure that you haven’t made much progress in Hitman 3 because the transfer will overwrite your Hitman 3 progress back to 0%. To unlock your levels, you have to use Hitman 3’s storefront to download content unlocks for each game. 

With that stuff out of the way, your biggest question going into Hitman 3 might be, “Will I still get to play Hitman and Hitman 2 content?” If you couldn’t tell from what I’ve mentioned already, the answer is yes. It’s all there, minus a few missing pieces of content that I’m sure will get re-released for special events. The one that stands out is the Holiday Hoarders missions. I imagine IO will have the missing content return with new challenges, escalations, or elusive targets in the future.

So what about the game itself? Well, the story continues right where Hitman 2 leaves off. Agent 47, Diana, and Lucas Grey are on the hunt for Providence’s top brass, and as your story progresses, things get messy. I never thought I would be so into the Hitman lore when Hitman was re-introduced in 2016, but I am genuinely invested. Hitman 3 continues the tale of 47, and it does so very well. I enjoyed how the story bobbed and weaved through its narrative. Unfortunately, I felt as if the ending fell flat. Don’t get me wrong; it’s not a bad ending. You may enjoy its simplicity, but to me, it felt as if the writers in the room just said, “eh… put a bow on it, and it’s done.”

The story takes you to many new locations, 6 in the base game, and a few of them bring about some new ways to play. You’ve probably heard a lot about Dartmoor and its detective mystery aspect. While that’s cool, another level will test your ability to navigate a linear focused map, something different than players in this series are used to. Also, in the Berlin nightclub, the story sends you hunting for targets who are actively pursuing you. Because a few of these maps have new tricks up their sleeves doesn’t mean you cannot play in your Hitman style. Most of this is tied to the story focused, first playthrough. Subsequent playthroughs will open up and become more like the Hitman maps you’ve become accustomed to navigating.  

One of the newest features to add variety to Agent 47’s arsenal is a camera. 47 has a digital camera always in his inventory, and you’ll use it to uncover clues, hack objects, or take pictures for evidence. Now that I type it out, I’m not sure it’s a Digital Camera; it may be his phone’s camera. Either way, it’s a neat feature, and at least one or two levels take advantage of the hacking aspect frequently. Also new to the series are permanent shortcuts. As you explore, you’ll find that some doors and paths are locked and can only be opened from one side. If you manage to find a way around and open that path, it’ll be unlocked for future playthroughs, potentially making things faster and easier for you.

Also new are more cinematic openings to levels. Take the game’s first map, Dubai. You enter the level by parachuting in and climbing the rafters outside the world’s tallest building. It’s a beautiful site to see and quite cool to experience. But if you’re like me, you’ll want more practical starting locations. Luckily, these are mainly tied to your first run through a level, so you don’t have to start with those every time.

Visually, Hitman 3 and all its destinations look amazing, even on my launch PS4. It may not have all the graphical enhancements of its current gen console siblings, but the game is no slouch on the older hardware. Some visual standouts are the fancy reflection pool in Dubai and the lighting & rain in Chongqing. As with Hitman 2’s use of Hitman 1’s destinations, all the graphical upgrades carry over into the older content, so places like Sapienza look even more gorgeous, and the lighting around the stage & bar in Paris is magnificent.

While the game is easy on the eyes, the best that the Hitman series offers its players is giving them free rein to be creative. Hitman 3 continues that trend, giving you the opportunities to plot routes, utilize in-world hazards, and use various outfits to reach your goal. You’ll still have access to the baked-in mission stories that can be unveiled by listening to chatter or finding clues. Alternatively, if you want to go on your path, you’re more than encouraged to experiment and find your own way to play. For me, some of the most fun, challenging, and occasionally frustrating ways to play is attempting to do a suit only, silent assassin run. There’s something so satisfying about being able to make your way into restricted areas, kill your targets, and leave unseen without so much as adjusting your tie.

There’s a vast amount of content in each destination to see and experience; you’ll actively want to try various ways to play. It’s a game that’s meant to be played repeatedly, and combined with Hitman 1 and 2; you’ll have a near-endless World of Assassination to explore. As with the previous two titles, an internet connection is required for challenge and progression unlocks. So if you’re looking to check off everything there is to do in the game and earn rewards, you’ll want to be connected to the Hitman servers. If Hitman 3 is your first entry, I wholly recommend picking up the unlocks for the older games; the phrase “worth the price of admission” couldn’t be any more accurate when speaking of the Hitman series. The World of Assassination continues to thrive, so be its savior or its terror 47, I leave you to prepare.

PlayStation 4 code was provided by the publisher for review purposes