It's pretty crazy to think we're fortunate enough to get three Hitman games over what is essentially five years. From when the World of Assassination trilogy kicked-off back in March 2016, all the way to its exciting conclusion coming in a few weeks, launching precisely on January 20. It's fair to say IO Interactive has spoiled us. With Hitman 3 coming soon, I've recently had the chance to dive into the game a little early, seeing what this final iteration of the storyline is bringing to the table, and if it once again can captivate us like its predecessors beforehand.
Hitman 3 follows on from the events of Hitman 2, and if you aren't up to date with the happenings of the storyline, this might be a little spoiler heavy. Unlike the previous games where Agent 47 is well... a hitman eliminating baddies across the globe: In Hitman 3 he's turning the tables and focussing his efforts on the people behind the curtain of the ICA agency he works for. Essentially the idea of working a contract is out the door, as now Agent 47 is a man on a mission, and as you'd expect, it brings his particular set of skills back into play.
From what I played, Hitman 3 takes the iconic style of gameplay that has been delivered over the past few years and perfects it, offering the most refined Hitman experience to date. At its core, you can still be very direct with how you approach things. You can waddle up to a contract and eliminate them right then and there, or you can be creative and look to the environment for less obvious solutions. This is exactly what Hitman 3 seems to hammer home on, as I frequently got lost in the alternative storylines built into each location, becoming consumed by how they might affect the target.
For the sake of this preview, I was able to head to two locations, the glistening golden skyscraper towering over Dubai that serves as the first mission location, as well as a prestigious mansion nestled in the Dartmoor hills in England. Both had very different appearances and mission objectives, and quite frankly, the two couldn't have been more unique, making my approach to eliminating each target about as different as it could be.
I'll refrain from dipping into the details regarding the target's identities to prevent spoilers, but let's just say I dealt with my Dartmoor mark in a much more refined manner than how I approached Dubai, mainly because I found it easier to sneak around in the Dartmoor mansion, courtesy of a handy disguise and corridors hidden behind many of the antique walls.
The great part about Hitman 3 is that it not only gives you all the necessary skills and opportunities to be creative from the get-go within its deep and expansive sandbox-type locations, but it also encourages it, as the checklist at the end of a level for completing a variety of unique objectives returns again. This, alongside levelling to unlock new ways to smuggle items into each location provides plenty of reasons to head back into each mission to test out a new approach, which is often just or even more fun than playing the mission the first time.
This is only accentuated by the permanent shortcuts that can be unlocked that allow you to open up new ways to move through a level, and once completed, will remain there for future playthroughs. Essentially it's another way to differ your approach, so you can challenge yourself with refining each contract to the most advanced level.
On top of this, Agent 47 has an ingenious new item in his kit that allows him to document sensitive information and even bypass certain locks. Now, you might be letting your mind run wild as to what this could be, but let's just make it easy - it's a camera. Yep, seems pretty basic right? But, this handy little gadget allows Agent 47 to explore each location in ways like never before.
Considering this game looks incredible (baring in mind I played the preview version on PC) and even plays to the signature high standard we all expect from an IO Interactive title, it's hard to not be excited for what is probably January 2021's biggest release. The best part is that Hitman 3 is a full game at launch, meaning no more having to wait for pesky episodes to drop to explore the story further. Plus, you can transfer all of your Hitman 1 and Hitman 2 saves to this game, for one mega Hitman experience, all neatly packed and easy to reach within booting one game up. And all of this doesn't even cover the fact that Hitman 3 will make the World of Assassination trilogy more available than ever before, as its launching on both old and new-gen, PC and even Nintendo Switch (albeit a cloud-based version). Crazy, right?
You might be like myself, a little impatient with the way you play games. But, if you give it a chance and look to truly dive into Agent 47's shoes, experiencing the Hitman gameplay as it's intended, Hitman 3 will undoubtedly captivate you in a way you don't expect. Even with myself only playing a few of the available locations coming at launch, I found myself enthralled by what it offered, as Hitman 3 is looking to bring a world more alive, more diverse and more engaging than ever before.