From a technical perspective, this game is stunning.
The sunlight streaming into Dartmoor Manor’s mahogany hallways, the reflections in mirrors, and the shadows are gorgeous.
The bonus of Hitman 3 is that you can experience the two previous Hitman games in the same level of clarity and richness, as developers IO have upgraded the graphics on I and II.
I would recommend finishing these before embarking on this latest release. I can imagine for those who aren’t familiar with the story will feel like they’ve dropped in halfway through the movie.
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For a gun-for-hire, in the second mission of Hitman 3 it sure feels like you spend a lot of time solving a murder mystery.
I’m debating whether to silently take a security guard out or wait for him to move. There are other security guards close by. Better not. I wait until he leaves to pry the doors to the greenhouse open and continue my investigation.
I don’t need to be doing any of this, by the way. As Agent 47, my assignment is to eliminate the matriarch of the Carlisle family, Alexa Carlisle. She’s an executive head of Providence, a powerful, supposedly ancient (and fictional) secret society that pulls the world’s strings.
But she and my superiors can wait because the mysterious death of Zachary Carlisle, which I learn of upon my arrival to Dartmoor Manor, is too intriguing to ignore.
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A suicide note was found, and the door was locked from the inside, but Alexa suspects foul play. It’s the Detective she summons that gives me a chance to sneak past the guards at the gate and into the property. Then, while no one’s watching, I subdue the Detective, disguise myself in his clothes, stuff his naked, unconscious body into a hallway cupboard and the masquerade begins. Classic Hitman mechanics.
For the next hour and a half, I explore the mansion, examine the crime scene, question suspects, and hunt for clues, all the while my main quest objectives sit unattended to in the top left-hand part of the screen.
This entirely optional, Nancy Drew-esque part is a masterfully composed distraction, and although lengthy, does eventually take you to the mission’s conclusion. But I could have just saved some time and drowned the old lady in the toilet.
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It’s the seemingly infinite ways in which you can complete each level that makes Hitman 3 a really strong game to come out of the gate in 2021.
It not only challenges you to flex your creative murder muscle but offers replayability the likes of which you rarely see in games. I could take an entirely different approach next time and skip the investigation, relying on other methods of discretion and disguises to take out my target.
This is, after all, a stealth game. Patience, planning, and the ability to hide in plain sight are virtues, while walking around to eavesdrop and observe are paramount.
Then again, the often-hilarious naivety of the NPCs (non-player characters) is pretty easily exploited. They quickly forget if they catch you trespassing in a study to steal files off a laptop, and don’t seem to think twice when the person they were just talking to is suddenly a bald guy with a barcode tattooed into the back of his head.
But the game is very self-aware and never takes itself too seriously. As with all Hitman games, murder and espionage come with somewhat of a comedic undertone.
All in all, the World of Assassination trilogy reaches a sensational crescendo in this final instalment. Hitman 3 is a fitting farewell to Agent 47, who makes way for IO Interactive’s next project: 007 himself.
I have no doubt James Bond is in very safe and capable hands.
PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Stadia, and Nintendo Switch
Publisher: IO Interactive