Hitman 3 is the third and final instalment of the World of Assassination trilogy, both developed and published by IO Interactive. It is a third-person stealth game where the player is given various targets to eliminate, spanning over six unique locations. The player must strategise and outsmart their targets defences in order to successfully complete each mission and Hitman 3 brings a ton of options to get the job done.
Agent 47 is back and alongside his friend, Lucas Grey, they have one goal in mind, to take down the leaders of the organisation Providence, who secretly control the reins of the world’s affairs. With helpful Intel provided from both Diana Burnwood, Agent 47’s handler within the ICA (International Contract Agency), and Olivia Hall, a hacker ally of Lucas Grey’s, plus a large arsenal of gadgets and weaponry, the player must travel the world and remove Providence’s important members one by one.
The first mission sets the tone for what Hitman 3 has to offer. The player infiltrates the Burj Al-Ghazali, the world’s tallest building in Dubai, and the scenery is stunning. The setting sun brightly pings off the building’s surfaces and looking off the side, infrastructure being erected in the distance can be seen through the city’s clouds. A mass of upper-class folk crowd the interior, drinking and chatting amongst each other and the heightened security and staff keep a keen eye on the happenings, making the player’s task at hand more challenging.
Before heading in to each mission there are options that allow the player to customise how they want to approach each operation, like which gadgets and outfits to wear, or the starting location, which can be unlocked by completing some of the many mission objectives on a first playthrough. There are countless ways in which the player can proceed towards their goal. If the player wishes to disguise themselves as a guard and infiltrate the defences they can, or if they would prefer the extra challenge of remaining overt but relying on stealth and takedowns, they can take that route instead.
Stealth is the predominant gameplay mechanic of Hitman 3 and IO Interactive have made it very enjoyable. Hitman 3 prides itself on the countless options it gives its players and through my playthrough I found myself “umming” and “aahing” over what tricky move to undertake next. The number of items that can be picked up throughout each mission is almost limitless, with various tools that can be used as weapons, objects that can be thrown as a distraction and even rat poisons that can be poured into a victim’s drink if the player wishes to take out a target discreetly. On top of the items strewn throughout each location, the player can choose an item at the beginning of a mission from an arsenal of gadgets that each have its own unique purpose, like lockpicks, a camera that can hack electronic systems or a phone that emits a blinding light when answered by a non-playable character.
Gunplay, though it does not need to be used often, is very smooth and there is also a great cover system that the player can use to their advantage. Each weapon feels like it has the right amount of kick, for example, the player cannot just spray an entire magazine of rounds from an assault rifle without having to counter-act the recoil. Most enemies, unless covered with heavy armour, will fall from a single shot to the head, which is handy when trying to remain unnoticed while using a silenced weapon. One thing I noticed was that shooting from a silenced weapon was more or less ignored by the AI (artificial intelligence) as if it made no sound at all; I often shot very close to characters that would simply go about their business like nothing happened.
The NPCs, for the most part are quite alert to their surroundings. For example, if the player throws an item to knock an enemy unconscious and it falls to the ground, characters nearby will react to the sound to investigate or alert others. There are sometimes, however, where the AI can be quite simple and not react at all. As mentioned earlier, sometimes an enemy can be downed in the same room with a silenced weapon and the player does not get a response. I did find that when having to follow any NPC, it grows tiring as they all seem to walk at a snails pace and if I got too far ahead of them they would simply stop and wait for me to return.
Hitman 3 adds a lot of replayability value with its ability to allow a player revisit missions and complete them in a new and unique ways. Each mission has a set of challenges that vary from picking up certain disguises, taking out a target in a particular way or discovering a particular weapon. It is very enjoyable going back to a previous mission to explore new corridors, new areas, new ways to complete a task and finding creative ways to get a job done after having prior knowledge of that particular location.
The visuals of Hitman 3 are second to none. The lighting is some of the best I have seen for some time and whether the player is exploring a sunlit skyscraper, a small city area filled with neon signs, or a mansion with a cloud covered sky in the countryside, the setting is always stunning. The detail that has gone into insignificant game items does not differ from the items that are integral and it all comes together to create a world that feels like a real location. Character models in game also move and look great and make the world come to life, however, the quality in visuals drop heavily during cut scenes, which takes away from the story that is being told.
The sounds of Hitman 3 stick to the theme of creating a world that feels real. People converse with each other; rain drops make different sounds depending on the surface they fall on and different floor surfaces change the way Agent 47’s movement sounds. All sounds are important when playing, as there is a lot of Intel that can be overheard during some conversations and it also lends a hand in knowing when and why NPCs react a certain way. Because of the importance of the gameplay’s sound there is not much in the way of a soundtrack here, other than the menu theme.
Obviously, I would not recommend that this be played in front of any children. It is filled with violence and sometimes some gruesome sequences and is clearly made for mature audiences only. It is easy to pause during gameplay and resume when needed so as long as the kids are not around it is fair game, although Hitman 3 is much more enjoyable when remaining immersed in the gameplay.