- Brilliantly designed locations with great atmosphere.
- Engaging, inventive mini-scenarios of specific contracts.
- Small innovations in the gameplay formula.
- Gorgeous visuals with impressive light reflections.
- Huge mission replayability.
- A much more cinematic experience.
- And generally a greater emphasis on story....
- ...which, however, is still overshadowed by specific contracts and isn't very thrilling in the end.
- Recurring problems with artificial intelligence.
- Disconnecting from servers often.
Finally, after five long years, we got the finale of the Agent 47 episodic trilogy. Hitman 3 may be a full-fledged installment in the series and the culmination of the reboot that launched in 2016. However, it's hard not to notice that only all three games together form the proper, full experience. The developers from IO Interactive sort of admit it themselves, as all the maps released this far can be combined into a single, complete game, and all the mechanics and menus haven't changed since the beginning.
One thing to get out of the way right off the bat is that Hitman 3 is primarily a bundle of six new missions, which work identically to every previous mission in Hitman and Hitman 2. The backbone is formed by large, sandbox maps and heavily scripted scenarios with spectacular ways to eliminate targets. The game doesn't emphasize stealth very much, but rather focuses on changing disguises and impersonating different characters (which even Agent 47 himself comments in the game with amusing irony).
Fortunately, the long wait and all the experience resulted in a set of likely the most interesting and atmospheric missions in the entire trilogy. The authors have even added a few small gameplay innovations, and the quests themselves are much more coherent with the main plot thread. Despite the fact that the game necessarily repeats the pros and cons of the previous installments, thanks to these few details, Hitman 3 is the best set of new Agent 47 jobs and a worthy, satisfying conclusion to the entire trilogy.
Hitman 3 allows you to combine all three Hitman games into one complete experience. For now, however, the process is complicated and unclear because the series has since moved from Steam for the Epic Games Store. For now, the developers are trying to clarify the process of combining games from the two platforms, so that people don't have to buy the same games again, which they obviously wouldn't.
This issue does not apply to the console versions of the game, nor the GOTY version from Epic Store.
More story less plot
Although Hitman 3 focuses on the storyline a little more, it remains the weakest element of the game. In every mission, you can see and feel that the creators tried to keep control over the story and the narrative, improve what they could, but some damage was permanent. Five years and three games is far too much for a plot that could be summarized in a couple-minute-long recap. The scenario served as mere excuse for putting us on the sandbox maps and giving us people to assassinate; it wasn't at all gripping, and on the rare occasions it started to seem like it was, the lengthy intervals herein referred to as "missions" effectively killed any excitement.
It's a pity that the film didn't feature a recap of the events from the previous parts – the authors limited it to a few lines of text on a black background, assuming that the players know and remember everything. Someone who does not follow the Hitman universe on a daily basis, however, will have to learn the relationships between secret organizations of the ICA and Providence, or a character called The Constant.
Fortunately, the ending itself is a little easier to grasp. Most notably, full-fledged, animated cut-scenes return, and 47's relationship with Diane Burnwood and Olivia got some more depth and human qualities. There's a few small gestures here, surprising sequences and spectacular mission introductions worthy of a Hollywood productions. The contracts are also based on taking down targets directly related to the finale of the Providence storyline, and you finally feel a direct connection between the plot and the gameplay. Anyway, this installment doesn't revolutionary changes in terms of plot, and the only people that may really appreciate it are die-hard fans of the series.
The art of deduction and techno parties
The greater emphasis on the main storyline finale made the smaller scenarios related to specific map assignments pale a little, but not in every case. The available scenarios combined with spectacular elimination of targets are seemingly less numerous than before, but this is compensated by their quality, ideas and nicer, more compelling locations. Each of them provides a slightly different experience and a completely different setting – from an underground techno club in the suburbs of Berlin, through a picturesque vineyard in Argentina, a modern skyscraper in Dubai, the backstreets of a Chinese metropolis, to the icing on the cake – the Victorian Dartmoor residence somewhere in the UK. The landscapes and color scheme immediately evoke Skyfall associations!
But instead of playing James Bond, 47 will take on the role of a Sherlock Holmes, or Hercule Poirot-like detective and solve a family murder mystery not entirely related to the Hitman's assignment. You can see that even despite many simplifications, the creators have polished the mechanics of their mini-stories to perfection and have fun with the convention. Dartmoor also impresses with its interiors and hidden passages with various secrets.
The same is true in other locations. The Chinese city is drowned in rain and neon lights, taking us from dirty streets full of homeless people, to sterile, state-of-the-art laboratories. Berlin, on the other hand, offers a multi-level techno club in an old power plant, where raw industrialism and lasers mix with dirty graffiti and stickers on every wall. The locations in Hitman 3 are incredibly authentic and convincing – you just don't want to leave them too soon, which encourages returning to complete the quest again in a different way.