I’ve always loved the Hitman games for their variety and ingenuity but the new trilogy of games always felt like something wasn’t right. Whether it was the episodic nature of the first or the overly ambitious second game they were too easily bounced off despite their excellence.
Now Hitman 3 has arrived, and finally, I understand what the developers, IO Interactive, were aiming for.
For starters, If you still have your disc or digital copies of the first two games get them loaded up before you start as this transforms Hitman 3 from a good game to a phenomenal one.
On PS5, I had a PS+ Version of Hitman 1 and a Digital complete version of Hitman 2 bought in the January sale preparing for 3. After having both these fully installed on the PS5, Hitman 1, gets a free update to the Gold edition, I could launch Hitman 3 and go to the in game store to unlock the previous 2 titles and add them to the Hitman 3 ecosystem.
For a while, this took up 200 GB on my already small PS5 SSD, but through some trickery, the developer lets you delete the original files of the old games, and you are left with just one 60 GB perfect World of Assassination trilogy. It is a technical masterpiece and one of the best value offerings in gaming.
Most people will focus on Hitman 3 on its own, yet if you are lucky enough to have the previous games or even if you aren’t you should try and get them as cheaply as possible to get the full experience all within the shiny Hitman 3 world on PS5.
The game itself, has become a benchmark for level design that only From Software can rival, as multilayered levels, allow for endless ways of eliminating your targets. Hitman 3 begins on the side of a skyscraper in Dubai and never lets up the pace over the levels that follow.
From a wet neon drenched city to an exclusive party at a vineyard the starting facade only hints at the way the level will pan out as eliminating your targets often involves intricate stealth and disguise to even get into a position to see the target. But If you are a fan of the series you know all this. The main selling point of Hitman 3 is how it brings the previous games to the party.
It would’ve been effortless for the developer to release an ultimate edition with the previous games on the same disc and indeed I would recommend they do this as soon as possible because as a standalone game, no matter how excellent Hitman 3 is, it feels a little short. It relies on multiple replays and your desire to find all the ways to kill targets in a level or make up some of your own.
For some people, playing a level more than once isn’t top of their list, so if they did release an ultimate edition with all the levels for everyone, not just those lucky enough to have been old fans, then they would get the whole package, as that’s what lifts this from good to great.
Having all the levels at your disposal, lets you play upscaled versions of the first 2 campaigns, the sniper challenges, and all the elusive targets and escalation missions from a singular title screen, that’s before you even start on the escalation missions for Hitman 3.
Once the credits roll, the escalation missions have you eliminating different targets with set conditions in each of the levels, and they escalate further, as you replay them again and again. With the addition of the original levels the original vision of the World of Assassination finally is laid bare for you to get stuck into, and it is fantastic.
From going through the campaign, with its subtle narrative, to dipping into challenges, there’s an argument that Hitman may be the only game you need for six months if you have all the levels.
Special mention has to go to the ways Hitman has you constantly refining your ability. Playing the first campaign again, I was amazed at how useless I had been originally. Not revealing the stories within levels and simply sneaking around, garrotting the targets and then running for an exit.
Now with experience and practice at the game, You sneak your way into an under siege consulate, walk around until some intel reveals itself and end up dressed as a masseuse with your targets neck in your hands. A simple button press and Agent 47 walks out the front door with the hundreds of guards in the building none the wiser.
This is a brilliant series and one that will now stay on my PS5 forever, yet had it only been Hitman 3, I may have given up on it after a few tries. The fact that finally the full realisation of the vision of the developers is now here, means that there will always be something new to try, and a new way for 47 to eliminate his targets.