Review | Hitman III

In 2016, IO Interactive changed the Hitman formula considerably. In large, open and self-contained levels, it is up to the player to track down and knock down a number of targets. Whether you do that with a bullet through the head, by poisoning a drink, or by making it look like an accident, doesn't matter. It's a setup that can hardly surprise almost five years later, but still stimulates creativity.

In essence, Hitman 3 differs very little from its predecessors. As Agent 47, you’ll traverse six levels in search of your fatal victims, who you can assassinate in many ways. Hitman has to rely mainly on the structure of the levels and fortunately this part is very good.

This is how Dubai excels because it gives that unadulterated experience of hiding yourself in plain sight. A decadent party of a very wealthy Arab in the world’s tallest skyscraper is the perfect scenario to listen in as you mingle with the mob. You look for opportunities and the right time to strike, without anyone realizing that you exist at all. The underground disco in Berlin also gives you this sensation, with the added twist that your targets are also chasing you there. This creates an exciting and funny cat and mouse game, in the midst of raving revelers.

A personal favorite, however, is the Dartmoor level. While you’re there to commit a murder, a detective arrives to investigate the suspicious death of a housemate earlier that day. That offers countless possibilities for the more creative assassin, but it would be a shame to reveal too much. Let’s just say Hitman 3 really pays off when you replay levels and test alternative approaches.

Some later levels sacrifice some creativity in order to tie the story together. In any case, Hitman 3 puts a little more emphasis on the story, with movie-like openings and intros. Cleverly enough, you can always skip those intros when replaying. For example, the Dubai level first opens with a Mission Impossible-like infiltration in which you hang on the outside of the skyscraper, but you can also start right away in the lobby for the next session or even start as a catering employee.

It is precisely these kinds of alternative scenarios that make Hitman so much fun to replay and discover what’s possible. From a “realistic” bill to an absurd attack: every level is home to everything. They actually get more fun the more you have seen the level. Because if you suddenly see on your way to the exit that there was also the possibility to blow up your target with an explosive golf ball, then you naturally want to find that golf ball next time.

Hitman 3 does not make a lot of news at the same time. Even the main flaw of the previous parts remains, you actually always have to be online to play, otherwise your progress will not be tracked. You do not unlock new weapons, gadgets, costumes and starting points in the level, while Hitman is all about that.

It is also noticeable that the cutscenes are very compressed for unclear reasons, and are therefore bursting with artifacts. Well, you will not play Hitman 3 primarily because of the story, but it is a shame. Although the game runs fine on both generation consoles, there are some minor bugs and flaws in the gameplay. Occasionally we could not complete a certain action because it did not appear that we had to press a button. In addition, when reloading, it happened a few times – in different levels – that well hidden bodies were immediately found.

Half a decade later, the formula is also showing more and more cracks. Bodyguards react mediocre when they find their employer dead and unceremoniously dispose of the body. There is no manhunt or lockdown. And in the previously acclaimed Dartmoor level, the experience is a bit bursting when the investigation is still being pretended to be in full swing, when in reality the mystery has been solved long and wide, and something else may have already happened to keep you busy.

IO Interactive certainly manages to get the most out of it one last time, and also to close the story of the World of Assassination trilogy. It is high time that Agent 47 worked in a different way again, and IO Interactive reinvented the formula. Until then, we would like to play Hitman 3 again. And again. And again. Until we’ve really seen every scenario.

Score:

8,0

+ Rewards exploration and creativity
+ replaying makes each level more and more interesting
+ Very diverse levels
+ Beautifull settings and details

– Almost obliged to always be online
– Some small bugs here and there