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Hitman 3

GOTY 2021: #10 - Hitman 3

IO Interactive's stealth title remains as an example of one of the finest games of 2021.

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It's that time of the year again, when we at Gamereactor like to count down what we think are the top games of the year. Like we did to wrap up 2020, this year, we've had a chat and boiled down a list of what we believe are the Games of the Year. In this list, we'll count down from our tenth favourite (starting today), all the way to our personal Game of the Year, which we'll crown on December 31, ahead of the New Year.

Kicking off this annual series, we have a game that was one of the first major releases of the year, a game that took a beloved franchise and perfected it, making for one of the most engaging and enjoyable stealth action experiences we've had. It's of course Hitman 3.

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Developed by the Danish studio, IO Interactive, Hitman 3 saw the return of everyone's favourite apathetic assassin in an all-new set of adventures where Agent 47 was tasked with eliminating targets over a variety of beautiful and complex locations, by any means necessary. Despite being a threequel, Hitman 3 showed IO Interactive's learnings of working on this series for 20 years, as it remains as the most refined and impressive take on a Hitman game to date.

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Whether you head to a golden shimmering skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, or instead favour the dark, cold streets of Chongqing, China, Hitman 3's range of levels were so unique and finely crafted that even after replaying them several times, there was always something new to discover beneath the surface. Add to this the broad array of weapons, tools and costumes that allow Agent 47 to blend in and tackle his objective in unfathomably creative methods, Hitman 3 displayed a masterclass in sandbox design, a masterclass that remains entertaining 11 months later thanks to plenty of post launch support.

But despite Hitman 3 being a great example of a polished and well-designed stealth game, this title still had a daft and light centre that alleviated the viciously serious outer nature of the series. We might not see a banana or a rubber duck as a weapon of lethal scope, but in the hands of Agent 47, even a toy tank can be used to dispatch a target. Add to this silly nature a variety of complex assassinations, which can see you eliminate a foe with an exploding golf ball or rather take the more direct approach of crushing a mark in a grape press, and you get a stealth game with almost unmatched sandbox depth.

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Whether Hitman 3 was your first outing as Agent 47, or just your latest adventure with the skilful slayer, this game was designed to be easy to understand and approach, and yet had a high skill ceiling to even keep veterans entertained. IO went one step further by also ensuring replayability was at the forefront by creating a vast list of objectives to tackle in each level, objectives that required players to approach dispatching a target in ways that probably would never ordinarily stand out.

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For those who managed to get their head down and complete these vast checklists, IO even made sure to keep fans entertained with an entire year of post launch content that brought a range of Seven Deadly Sins related activities and challenges to Hitman 3 to complete. And IO Interactive even went one step further as of late by reassuring fans that the future of Agent 47 is still bright, revealing that an entire second year of content is on the way, including more anticipated game improvements such as Ray Tracing support on PC.

Hitman 3 also served as the way for IO to unite its rebooted Hitman series, with all the content from Hitman and Hitman 2 able to be played through Hitman 3. Granted the process of uniting these games saw various challenges initially, including seeing the IO Interactive Account Site crashing due to the high demand on its services, but this marked a hiccup in an otherwise successful launch.

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Whichever way you look at it, Hitman 3 remains one of the finest video games of 2021. The Danish developer has once again reaffirmed its proficiency in crafting stealth games, a proficiency that only gets us more excited for what's to come in Hitman 3, the Hitman franchise, and how the talented team will handle an all-new 007 adventure down the line.

While we adore this game and have since it first graced us in January, the competition between the top titles of 2021 is very tough, with the margins between the best games of the year being incredibly fine. In another year, Hitman 3 might have found itself further up the ranks, but for 2021, this game deserves to be recognised among the very best, and we have nothing but commendation for IO Interactive on the impressive project they have delivered to fans this year.

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