2021 has finally kicked off properly. The Capitol Building hosted a The Division 2 fan meet. A pile of cheesy wotsits in an ill-fitting suit was impeached again. The political equivalent of Mr Rogers is now the president, and we still in fucking lockdown. I digress, the 2021 release schedule is kicking off strongly with IO Interactive latest entry into the series and the last of the “World of Assassination” trilogy – Hitman 3. As I adored the last two games, I had high aspirations for this one and boy does it pay off and some.
Hitman 3 carries on from where the Hitman 2s DLC left off. With Agent 47 and his “brother from another test tube” Lucas Grey going after the heads of Providence. An organization that effectively runs the world by proxy. Media moguls, high-ranking politicians, billionaires, dodgy fixers, etc., etc, and also had a hand in the creation of Mr. 47 himself. So, 47 and Grey made a pact as kids to take Providence down, but The Constant, who up till now has just been 2nd in command, machiavellian his way to the top of providence (with a little help from 47) get back at him via his only weakness. 47s longtime handler and friend Diana Burnwood, whose parent’s deaths were caused by 47 himself, really pushed the limits of their relationship to its limits. Out of the 3 games, this is the more story-heavy of the 3, and does a good job of tying all the loose ends. It is nice to see 47 more of his own man, and not just a contract killer following orders like a simp. Though one issue (arbeit a small one) though is as it is the last in the trilogy is that the cutscenes have no continuity in terms of style. Hitman (2016) had pre-rendered cutscenes, Hitman 2 2 years later had slightly animated still images, and now with Hitman 3, it’s in-engine cutscenes. Sure it got the story across but in hindsight looks a bit indecisive.
The locales themselves, now with the “World of Assassination” trilogy, they’ve become themselves in their own right the main attraction. And there have been some absolute bangers. Sapienza, Whittleton Creek in Suburban Vermont (AKA Bernie Sanders Country), and personally I would put the likes of Miami, Marrakesh, Mumbai, Bangkok, and Columbia up there. How do Hitman 3 locales stack up?
Well, it all kicks off in the United Arab Emirates in Dubai at the world’s tallest building not called the Burj Khalifa for its grand opening. As Dubai is a capital of excess (twinned with Monaco) you are going to see a lot of gold. Much like Paris but much improved, high profile event, a good amount of exploration, and many ways to discover in eliminating your targets.
Up next is something straight from Knives Out, or a Hercule Poirot novel. An old stately home in the middle of Dartmoor, England. A relatively mundane day really with maids and butlers roaming the house. Family members dotted about and oh and slight spoiler– A “supposed” suicide and the family patriarch (your target in this case) has hired a PI. You can see where this is going, do you? all and all very good indeed.
Then onto a disused power plant in Berlin, which has been converted into a Nightclub. Oh, and a team of “highly-Trained” clandestine spies out to kill you. Good thing we are planning on killing them first. Remember Hitman: Contracts and the very first proper mission where you’re infiltrating a disused slaughterhouse which has been converted into a nightclub, then to off Jabba the Hutt’s brother and his lawyer. I’m getting that kinda atmosphere but with a particular “Bond” feel to it if you catch my drift.
Moving on to the streets of Chongqing, China, which out of the bunch is my favourite out of Hitman 3. Dark, seedy, a hint of rain, and it has what I love about Hitman. On the surface of things it just looks like a normal day, but look ever more closer things aren’t what they seem. Whole apartment building’s being used for depraved mind control experiments, which I imagine is having a “high” turnover of Candidates. Oh and a harmless Dumpling Restaurant, which is a front for a secret underground base, and frankly, my bond senses were tingling.
Then just before concluding, a small trip to a party at a vineyard in the hills of Argentina. Which is a strong level with many ways to discover in a tux, and lastly and rather sadly it ends on a train in Romania. Where everyone on board is fair game to kill it can easily turn into a shooting gallery. All for an easy objective. If this was the midpart I wouldn’t have minded, but as the climax of 3 games work? It just felt rather cheap, and easily the weakest of the lot. Then again, each of the previous games had a level that was not as good. So it is to be expected, but out of the 3 games, Hitman 3 has the strongest set of locales. And if you’ve played both hitman 1 and 2 then good news you get them as well, so it’s not a bad time to get on the hitman train.
As for gameplay, there are a couple of changes. Firstly 47 has got a camera that also doubles as a hacking tool so if you need to get through let say a vent then simply point and scan and voila. It’s taken a couple of pages out of Dark Souls’ book. Within Hitman 3 there are a few unlockable shortcuts that will stay unlocked for future playthroughs, and while it’s extremely handy if you need to get around quicker.I feel it takes something away from the experience, allow me to explain (and try and spoiler alert as a precaution).
In one mission where while you have two targets, there is an ally who you need to keep safe, but at some point, she will be taken away by some guards to be shot, and you’re on a timer to stop that. Bearing in mind it’s a first-time playthrough, I came across one of these shortcuts which were locked from the other side, so I had to rethink on my feet and having to take another route through much heavier security. Got the job done and when I worked my way back I unlocked the shortcut. So if I’m in this situation again it’s much more straightforward and easier. I don’t exactly like this feature as such, it doesn’t really work with the format I think. For new players, it could be quite handy.
Also noticeable is the lack of mission stories in the recent missions. Mission Stories are opportunities to get closer to your intended target. While it’s a handy feature if you’ve learned the map. It can be very handhold on some occasions. Now in Hitman 3, there is a considerable amount less. So it’s down to you to get the job done. New gadgets to unlock with the mastery trees for each level. If you’ve played Hitman 2 and unlocked a bunch of fun toys to use then you can carry them over to Hitman 3 – Via IOI’s website, which does seem a rather complicated way of doing things. At launch, the website had a few problems so it did take a while to get my progress carried over.
Other than that not much else has changed from Hitman 2 to Hitman 3, even the homing briefcases are a thing (and a running joke), I’m ok with that because Hitman 2 was fucking brilliant still. Though the last mission on the train and doubles as a shooting gallery. It is a bit timid the shooting mechanics. Normally you’re shooting someone once and that’s it, but when it’s in a full-blown shootout, it’s not the smoothest experience. And it’s counter-intuitive in regards to Hitman, where you’re encouraged to sneak around rather than gun everything down with a pulse., these little niggles aside plays wonderfully
Other things to mention? Aside from the main story, there are Escalation missions. That get progressively more complex and trickier. Elusive Targets which you’ve only got one chance to kill your target and you fuck up that it. Sniper Assassin mode which as the name implies is eliminating your targets from distance, in multiple ways of cause. And likely with future updates and DLC expected. There is plenty of content to keep coming back to.
— Matthew Clements (@mr_clements22) January 24, 2021
Graphicly as I’ve played on Xbox One X. It’s completely spectacular. It’s so beautiful that it’s almost hard to describe. Technically very solid, a couple of NPCs clipping through walls or hovering 5ft off the floor, and one moment when a target just walked through the walls and kept going through until he was walking on thin air, above a river, and with no one about. Other than that very solid and silky smooth framerate, and the music score is *chefs Kiss* brilliant.
Hitman 3 is the best send-off for one of the more criminally underrated series of games of the last generation. With a strong set of missions offering endless replayability in “unfortunate accidents''. Tying up the story of the trilogy very nicely, and graphics which on previous-gen consoles look just as brilliant as the next-gen consoles that no one can get. It’s a very strong candidate for GOTY.
- Very good story, and does tie the trilogy up nicely
- Brilliant gameplay with replayability for days
- Amazing graphics
- Cutscenes across the trilogy don’t have a continuity of style
- Last mission is a bit of a squib
- Combat mechanics are a bit sloppy
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- Graphics 0
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