Developer: IO Interactive
Publisher: IO Interactive
Platforms: Xbox Series X , Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, PC (Reviewed), Stadia, Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 20 Jan 2021
Price: $99,95 AUD – Available Here $59,99 USD – Available Here
Another year, another game to check out. And what a start of a year this is. Here is a fun fact about my playstyle: if a game (any game) offers me even a hint of stealth as I play, you’re damn sure that I will squeeze it to the max. There is something incredibly rewarding and enjoyable in picking off enemies one by one as I’m being outnumbered. Either from a distance or up close. Sniper Elite series knows that so they made a whole game just to cater to my needs. That is how I play Deus Ex as well. And the Hitman series offers me a bonus of absolutely murdering everyone on the level whenever I mess up my stealth play. Nobody can notice if there is nobody to notice, right? In front of me, I have right now the closing chapter of the “World of Assassination” trilogy in Hitman. Is this the magnum opus for IO Interactive or will they follow the infamous “rule of three” from cinema (that’s when the last movie in the trilogy is usually the worst one)? Let’s find out!
While the earliest Hitman games delve deeper into the past of Agent 47, the latest three would go on to shed some new revelations. While we know from before that Agent 47 is a genetically engineered human, created from secret experiments led by Dr Ort-Meyer. In the first Hitman of this trilogy, we learn that Agent 47 wasn’t alone during his upbringing. The primary antagonist of the game is revealed to be a childhood friend of 47 known as Subject 6. Together they hatch a plan to take down all of the Providence and its members (the ancient secret society that pulls the strings behind all of the world’s affairs). So with that said, Hitman 3 continues exactly where Hitman 2 left us. With Subject 6 (also known a Lucas Grey), you and your handler Diana Burnwood, set your final plan in motion.
For all of you that played the previous two games, the premise and execution are pretty much the same. At every level, there are one or more targets and how you eliminate them is entirely up to you. You can go in there guns blazing, you can poison them, stab them, strangle them, drown them…….you get the picture. If you want to be even more creative in your eliminations, there are mission stories on every level. By following the tasks in them, you end up disposing of your targets in a pretty satisfying way. For example, in one mission in Argentina, you can manipulate the enemy snipers into killing your target instead. Another mission in England offers you the option of taking a disguise of a private detective and solving a murder (on top of eliminating a target). To make sure that the gameplay isn’t just a carbon copy of Hitman 2, IO Interactive added some new stuff now. Every level in Hitman 3 now features shortcuts. The first time you work your way to the target, you can open a secret passage or unlock a ladder along the way which is incredibly useful for subsequent playthroughs of levels. Some new tools and gadgets are introduced as well, but the most useful is a camera. It’s always in your inventory and you can use it to scan people and documents (and learn new intel) and sometimes to open electronic locks. The more you replay the levels, the more gadgets you will unlock (along with some new suits). Hitman 3 is a game where replayability is not just a neat bonus feature, it’s a mandatory gameplay mechanic in order to experience everything that this game has to offer.
Saying that Hitman 3 visuals received a boost would be a disservice to what actually happened. I admit I don’t know or understand a lot of what happens behind the scenes on this front, so I’ll just attribute this to some voodoo magic. It’s easier that way. While you might be in awe the first time you start the Dubai level or enter the nightclub in Berlin, it’s when you walk the rainy streets of Chongqing and notice that something incredible is unraveling before your eyes. It genuinely feels like the game ships with its own version of raytracing. Everything looks more polished now, with sharper edges and detailed character models. The best news is that just like during the Hitman 2 release, all of this visual upgrade is retroactive. If you already own the first or second Hitman in this series, you will be able to access the levels through Hitman 3 and play them with upgraded visuals and the inclusion of new gadgets.
I always saw voice acting in video games as one of those things that you only notice if it’s remarkably bad, and just accept and go with it if it’s good. But there were few moments for me where the voice acting stood out so much that now I can’t even read the text from some character without hearing their voice in my head. If you played even one game of the whole franchise, you’ll know who David Bateson is. He is to Hitman series what Davi Hayter is to Metal Gear Solid. However, all the praise shouldn’t go to him alone. One of the antagonists of the trilogy, The Constant, has quickly become a fan favorite and that’s mostly thanks to the bone-chilling voice acting of Philip Rosch. These two folks, along with Jane Elizabeth Perry (voice of Diana Burnwood) are the reason why I never skip any mission briefings – no matter how many times I’ve seen them so far.
Putting the final notes on this review feels kind of bittersweet. The way the story ends in Hitman 3 pretty much tells us that we shouldn’t hope for any new games from the series for quite a while. Agent 47 isn’t retiring but instead goes on a long-overdue vacation. This game is a worthy sendoff for him. It’s quite rare that I see a final game in the trilogy that learned to improve itself with each sequel, whether it is visually, story-wise, or in gameplay. Hitman 3 exceeds in each field and assures us that their upcoming 007 game couldn’t be in better hands.
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