The third and final game in IO Interactive's Hitman World of Assassination trilogy has finally arrived for next-gen and it's great.
Fans of the recent Hitman games have been eagerly playing and re-playing contracts from Hitman 1 and 2 that debuted over the past 5 years while they wait for the next instalment and it's finally here. My reviews for the previous couple of games were stellar so I was hoping for more of the same stealth action with some gorgeous new scenery to take in and Hitman 3 surely delivers in this regard. From climbing the upper floors of a skyscraper in Dubai to hanging out within a giant wine cellar in Argentina, the new locations are beautiful, varied, and contain large multi-levelled maps to sneak around. In fact, the maps are so big that it's entirely possible to miss large sections if you happen to be particularly efficient with your assignment.
The campaign is structured similarly to Hitman 2. When playing through for the first time, you can't do much to set yourself up so you dive right into the action but when replaying a level, perhaps to take on an escalated version of it, you can switch up the starting location, weapons, and agency drop-offs to modify the challenge. There are 6 new locations which means 6 new maps to enjoy in campaign mode or when taking on an escalation or a contract.
These modes aren't new for Hitman 3 but it's still great to know that once you complete an area as part of the campaign, there are multiple reasons to return. The sniper assassin mode also returns with 2 new maps: one set on a shipping dock where you must execute 3 bad guys before they kill or kidnap the hostages and one in a prison. These are just as much fun as the introductory sniper assassin map in Hitman 2 although 3 maps in total is still pretty small. Ghost mode is actually excluded completely in Hitman 3 where you could race to reach a target against someone online. This is unfortunate as it had promise even though it was introduced with only 2 maps. I would have loved to play it more and see it expanded in some fashion.
Taking a sidetrack from hunting down your targets gives you the opportunity to unlock all areas within a location, collect unique items and weapons, fulfill challenges such as taking someone out in a specific way, or scan everything in your surroundings with your camera. This camera is new and it does more than take photos to add to your intel as it also allows you to hack certain items such as turn glass opaque to perform a takedown without alerting those in the area or open up vents in the walls so you can easily sneak around behind the scenes. The areas that have camera interactivity are shown on the map as well so in a sense, this offers a new collectible.
As I played Hitman 3 on PlayStation 5 with my 65" OLED C9 TV, I was treated to higher fidelity graphics than the earlier games. The levels and characters look very sharp and there's plenty of detail in your surroundings. Unfortunately, when a cutscene plays to introduce a level, you're reminded of a time when FMVs were something to look forward to because they boasted better quality graphics than the gameplay except here, they look like they belong in a PlayStation 3 game. These clips clearly should have been done with in-game graphics because they would have looked great, especially with the interesting cinematography that some of them have.
I would have also liked to see Hitman 3 take advantage of the DualSense controller. I felt it rumble a couple of times to enhance tense moments but I didn't experience use of adaptive triggers which could have fit nicely given the variety in Agent 47's arsenal.
As Hitman 3 is basically an extension of the previous 2 titles, it shares some of the same problems. There's still a little too much sass coming from NPCs as you walk by or bump into them although there were a couple of moments when I walked too close to thugs and they were surprisingly polite. These provide solid moments of levity in such a serious game but when it happens multiple times within the same minute, it feels unnatural. Also, the AI struggles to remain real at parts such as when you hit someone on the head with a shovel then hit a second person right in front of them without them having any idea of what you just did. For the most part, it makes sense but I sometimes had to shake my head at the silliness of what I just got away with. I also experienced audio glitches and the game froze once and crashed another time. Thankfully, for such a huge and high quality game, these rare issues can be easily overlooked.
Hitman 3 follows in the footsteps of its predecessors by adding 6 new beautiful locations and some smaller additions and improvements. On the downside, it lacks any sort of multiplayer mode. Regardless, it's a must-buy for any fan of the series.
- + 6 new scenic locations with large and impressively intricate maps to enjoy
- + Hacking adds even more replayability
- + Gorgeous in-game next-gen graphics
- - Like its predecessors, there are audio issues and occasional glitches
- - Removal of multiplayer is unfortunate
- - Cutscenes look worse than in-game visuals