Agent 47 has been a permanent fixture in the hearts of gamers everywhere for more than 20 years at this point, but the success of a Hitman game is not necessarily guaranteed. While it’s certainly true that almost all of the games in the series are excellent, there’s always Hitman: Absolution to remind us that even the most suave assassin can fail to hit their target.
Thankfully, that’s not a problem that Hitman 3 need concern itself with. This is the conclusion of what developer IO Interactive is calling the “World of Assassination Trilogy”, which began with Hitman back in 2016. All three games have interlinked functionality; you can play maps and challenges from Hitman 1 in Hitman 3, so buying them all on the same platform is advisable.
Narratively, the new Hitman games are a bit of a wash, frankly speaking. 47 is tasked to hunt down a series of individuals with a mysterious connection, and as the trilogy progresses, the nature of that connection is revealed, as are complications that arise from it. The way the story is told is muddled and difficult to follow, but by Hitman 3, we’re pretty sure we know who to root for and who the bad guys are.
Of course, it’s entirely possible to simply ignore the story completely and focus on the gameplay, which is just as good as it’s ever been. At its core, Hitman is a series of puzzle games; deciphering the huge maps full of interlocking NPC patrols and pathways in order to reach your target is a large part of the fun. These aren’t action games; if you’re looking for kinetic, high-octane gameplay, Hitman won’t give it to you.
Instead, you’ll need to take a careful, measured approach as you explore some of the best maps the series has to offer. Dubai is a dizzying skyscraper, its glitzy interiors juxtaposed with the dingy corridors in which the maintenance staff work. Dartmoor is a delightful Agatha Christie throwback in which 47 can solve a complete murder mystery, while Berlin offers a high-octane club environment that sees the stakes thrillingly raised and turned on 47.
We don’t want to spoil the myriad surprises Hitman 3 has to offer, but we will say that this is probably the best Hitman game IO Interactive has ever made. When taken as a holistic whole, the World of Assassination Trilogy easily trumps any of the Hitman experiences that have come before it. The PS5 renders 47’s final journey (in this trilogy, at least) in breathtaking detail, too; you’ll frequently stop just to marvel at the scenery.
If you love shooters and action, you probably won’t get along very well with Hitman 3. Its gameplay can demand too much patience from players at times, and figuring out how to isolate some of the targets can be a little tricky. However, if you’re willing to experiment, find new pathways and routes to your goal, and take failure in your stride, Hitman 3 is just as thrilling as any triple-A blockbuster game.