Review: Hitman 3 – Agent 47 was in dire straits after the release of Hitman: Absolution. According to the fans, the game was far too linear and relied too much on a substandard and too dramatic story. Reason enough for the iconic assassin to go into hiding for no less than four years and give developer IO Interactive the chance to get back to the essence of the franchise. This eventually resulted in the reboot called simply ‘Hitman’ that would deliver content in an episodic way. This approach eventually paid off, and Agent 47 rose like a phoenix from his ashes. The Danish studio decided to continue this path and at the end of 2018 Hitman II was released, which garnered praise from players and critics. Now, more than 2 years later, IOI brings the ‘World of Assassination’ trilogy to an end with Hitman III.
Hitman III– BIO
|Release date||January, 2021|
|Genre||Action / Stealth|
|Platforms||PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S, Microsoft Windows|
In need one gets to know his friends
To answer that question, let’s start with the story first ( note: this paragraph contains Hitman II spoilers ). After the events of Hitman II, we know that the mysterious Shadow Client is none other than Lucas Gray, an old acquaintance of Agent 47. Both gentlemen are clones of Dr. Ort-Meyer to create the perfect assassin for the Illuminati-esque group Providence, and they, of course, are not happy with the suffering that has been done to them in the past. Along with Diana Burnwood, Agent 47 and Gray set out to end Providence for good, which of course will not go without a struggle. Of course you will also visit the necessary exotic locations such as Dubai, Chongqing and Berlin.
We’ll get straight to the point: just like in the previous parts, the main story is by far the great dissonance in Hitman III. The still images have been replaced by normal cut scenes – which is of course a step forward – but at the bottom of the line we baked pancakes that are less flat than the majority of the characters and the story functions purely as a vehicle to take you to pilot your next target. And that is not bad at all, Hitman never liked the story and so it would not be fair to suddenly expect that from Hitman III. Still, it must be said that the story is probably the last reason to buy this game.
Dial M for Murder
However, this kite does not apply to the different locations and the smaller stories they contain, an aspect that IO Interactive has clearly put a lot of time and effort into. Every place you visit has one or more events that you, as befits a good hitman, can sift through to learn more about your target or even offer an opportunity to get the coup de gr âce.to hand out. For example, Agent 47 is at one point on an estate in Dartmoor, UK (clearly inspired by the Bond estate in Skyfall) for the next target: Alexa Carlisle, who faked her own death and subsequently a organizes ‘funeral’ to keep malicious parties at a distance. At the same time, a private detective is also on site to investigate the murder of another person.
This ultimately puts you before the choice, for example, to pose as the private detective in order to get closer to your target, which in turn leads to an extensive investigation where you question members of the family, find clues on the estate and thus get the puzzle pieces. to solve the mystery. You may also decide to check on that funeral and see if you can manipulate the events so that it is no longer just for show. Of course you also have the option to sneak through the estate like a real professional and complete your contract unnoticed. These events and mini-stories make the world seem alive, every character is there for a reason and it is how you navigate or manipulate your way through these events that determine whether your mission is successful or not.
That is Hitman III’s modus operandi: deadly freedom and creativity. Are you a real Rambo and do you not care if there are innocent victims? Grab your assault rifle and start mowing. Or are you the cold professional, who has a pure eye for the target? Then watch the cameras and listen to the guards’ conversations, who give little hints about ways to set up an ambush. Then there is the angel of death, who spares no effort to bend the world to his will to cause such an ‘accident’. There are countless ways to work and the great thing is: no way is wrong and every way has its consequences. IO Interactive also encourages this through the countless weapons, entrances, hiding places, outfits, distractions and Challenges that they have spread over the different locations. Hitman III is the epitome ofplayer agency and this really makes the game a relief to play.
Ever since Hitman: Absolution (then under the wing of Square Enix), the studio has been using their own in-house Glacier engine, which they then further developed and returned for Hitman 2016. Also for Hitman III the Glacier engine returns. For returning players, the last part will then bring few surprises in terms of graphics. The technical basis of both Hitman 2016 and Hitman II was extremely strong and it is good to see that they are building on this for the final game. After all, Hitman III still looks excellent and is mainly characterized by its ‘clean’ look, there is no film grain or chromatic aberration that pollutes the image quality. Apart from a single graphical glitch – the texture of a washing machine was not loaded – the graphical presentation is top notch.
The so-called ‘screen space reflections’ in particular have been given a major update, which ensures that the neon lights of Chongqing bounce off the ground in a realistic way. The animations have also received minor improvements, but luckily the (almost stiff) movements of Agent 47 have remained intact, which are so characteristic of his sociopathic attitude. The PlayStation 5 pumps a frame rate of 60 frames per second onto the image without any problems, in a resolution of 4K. On the PlayStation 4 you still have the choice to unlock the framerate and you also have the option to go for a quality option or a framerate option. With the latter, the game will reduce the resolution to achieve a higher framerate, which, together with the unlocked framerate, should ensure a smoother image. However, if you choose the quality option, the game will hang around a stable 30 frames per second. So multiple configurations are possible and it is just what you prefer.
From start to finish, including the improvements
For the real Hitman fans there is even more good news. If you already own Hitman 2016 and Hitman II, then in Hitman III you can go through all levels and challenges from the previous parts again – including all the improvements that are present in Hitman III – such as the previously mentioned updated screen space reflections. This means that the levels have also been adjusted in terms of look and feel, which is another reason to take a step back in time. You can also take the weapons and items you unlock in Hitman III with you to older levels, which opens up new, creative possibilities for dealing with your contracts.
The Contracts mode also makes its entrance, allowing you to create your own composition of targets. This system is quite extensive, because you can not only determine who the victim is, but you can also decide under which conditions he or she must die (for example: you must wear a certain outfit or use a specific weapon). This in turn opens new doors to play the game and can significantly extend the playing time, depending on your fanaticism as a cold-blooded assassin. Building your ‘Mastery Track’ for a location is also no longer tied to just completing Challenges, making it easier to build your Mastery and unlocking special things, such as the possibility to change the starting location at the start of the mission. to choose.
For Hitman III, IO Interactive has developed a VR mode. This is not a separate mini mode where you only have to take down your target with a sniper, for example, but a full VR experience that allows you to play the game from start to finish. At first we were a bit skeptical about this mode and we expected that we would have to use the Move controllers for this, so that we could ‘jump’ through the levels as we saw earlier on No Man’s Sky, but that turned out not to be the case. Instead, they have opted for the DualShock 4, an implementation more like that of Resident Evil VII. You move around the world with the left poker and you can of course use your head to look around. With the right stick you can still change which way Agent 47 goes.
However, that doesn’t make Hitman III in VR less of a physical experience. The motion sensors and gyroscopes in the controller allow you to move the ‘hands’ of Agent 47, as it were, allowing you to perform various actions such as opening doors, strangling your targets, holding firearms and firing. This is a nice hybrid implementation of the habituation of the DualShock 4 and the physical immersion of the Move controllers. Every facet of the ‘normal’ Hitman experience has been transformed for PlayStation VR and it works really well. You really feel like you are in the body of Agent 47 and there is little more satisfying than personally building a shot after your plan has gone smoothly from A to Z. Fortunately that is not the only good news, because IOI has gone back to the levels of Hitman 2016 and Hitman II and they can also be played completely in VR. It was also a surprise to us, but Hitman III is definitely one of the best to play in VR.
Hitman III – Conclusion
Don’t expect any revolutionary changes from Hitman III, and why should you? The third part in the World of Assassination trilogy is simply more Hitman, an elaboration on the rock-solid foundation of the earlier two parts where there are even more possibilities to hunt your targets in a bizarre and creative way. For the story you don’t have to play the game and towards the end the game dips back to the less loved Hitman: Absolution (i.e. a more linear level where you follow a freely defined path), but that shouldn’t be the fun to press. The presentation has remained nice and clean and there is not an ounce of unnecessary fat in it, and Hitman III also delivers a great performance on both the current and the previous generation consoles. Paired with the retroactive improvements on the previous parts and a fantastic VR experience, this is a game that is definitely worth a try. It’s a good thing IO Interactive is going to get its teeth into Project 007, before they start milking the Hitman formula. Nevertheless, Hitman III is a worthy conclusion to a beautiful trilogy. Take a well-deserved vacation, Agent 47, and let us see you again in the future!
Positives of Hitman III
- Excellent mission design
- Intriguing Mission Stories and events really bring the locations to life
- Freedom and creativity in your approach
- Simple yet effective graphic presentation
- Fantastic and comprehensive VR mode
- Improvements and integration with the previous parts …
Negatives of Hitman III
- … which may entail additional costs
- Weak story
- Technical defects