‘Hitman 3’ review: The enigmatic Agent 47 returns in this killer endgame

After racking up a body count across the globe, Hitman 3 finally closes the World of Assassination trilogy with that familiar but refined formula

Think what you want about the live-action films starring Timothy Olyphant and Rupert Friend as the red-tie toting character Agent 47, but the World of Assassination series has always been a killer game, literally. The games often gift players detailed sandboxes, or episodes, in the form of intricate assassination simulations. While the Hitman series has played around with storytelling in the past, the World of Assassination trilogy comes with an engaging story, which comes to a satisfying and emotional conclusion with Hitman 3.

Starting with 2016’s reboot of Hitman, Agent 47 and his handler and friend Diana Burnwood have been contracted to take down high-ranking members of a mysterious organisation known as Providence. These missions take you around the world in pursuit of high-profile targets while uncovering the secrets of a shadow client and their link with Providence and Agent 47. Sounds complex but intriguing, right?

Hitman 3

  • Developer & Publisher: IO Interactive
  • Price: ₹1,499 on PC (Epic) ; ₹3,999 PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X & S

Hitman 3 strings together a series of memorable episodes, which are large, deviously designed, levels. The most notable and widely-discussed one takes place in Dartmoor, England, where you go undercover as a private detective commissioned to solve a murder at a mansion, while planning your assassinations. This sums up everything I love about this trilogy, especially its dark sense of humour that occasionally veers on goofy, though Hitman 3 slightly more serious compared to its predecessors as it digs deep into 47’s mysterious past.

Subterfuge and sabotage

At its core, Hitman 3 is a third-person stealth-action game with anobjective to enter a level unknown and escape, having undertaken your kills. The best outcome, of course, is to eliminate just the target and leave the scene clean like a professional. You can also go in guns-ablazing, but that is not where the fun is. Hitman is all about subterfuge and sabotage as you can factor disguise and the environment in your plans. Hitman 3’s non-playable characters’ AI is fairly competent in discovering you, so you have to be careful.

Though there are still gaps in plausibility — don’t people see the same chiselled jawline and barcode-tattooed bald head appearing in a suit and then as a waiter, or that he is pointing a camera — a new gadget in this game — at random objects?

A screenshot of ‘Hitman 3’ setting in Dartmoor | Photo Credit: IO Interactive

Think of the trilogy as one large game, with Hitman 3 being a refined version of that open-sandbox formula. It makes you use every trick you have learned to get the best outcome. While most of the mechanics stay the same, the game takes it for granted that you have played through the past games, and made things more challenging. The aforementioned camera takes pictures to pinpoint elements or clues, to hack or take snapshots of the gorgeously-designed levels featuring gold hallways in Dubai, UAE, neon-drenched streets of Chongqing, China, a crowded party in Berlin, Germany, and more.

A screenshot of ‘Hitman 3’ setting in Chongqing | Photo Credit: IO Interactive

While the environments look exceptional, the characters move stiffly and still look a tad dated. Yet, given the crowds in this game, some trade-offs are acceptable, and not too noticeable. To top it off, the game has excellent reflections and lighting, which shine, especially in HDR.

Hitman 3’s levels are the real star here. Even the ambient storytelling can serve as a clue, so take the time to eavesdrop to find opportunities. While Hitman 3 does have fewer levels than the previous games, the levels have high replay value.

A screenshot of ‘Hitman 3’ setting in Dubai | Photo Credit: IO Interactive

Voiced by South African-born BAFTA-winning David Bateson, Agent 47’s deep rumble is a welcome and familiar sound, consistent across all the games since the first in 2000, adding some warmth to an otherwise cold-blooded game.

Hitman 3 is the closest you will get to travel in this pandemic, and it is the most fun you will have in a game. Just make sure to play it from the beginning, if you are a newcomer, especially since IO Interactive has overhauled the 2016 Hitman to the same fidelity. Happy hunting, 47.

The writer is a tech and gaming enthusiast who hopes to one day finish his sci-fi novel

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