Hitman III review: A sensational sandbox of sneaky stealth action

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Agent 47 is back once again – for the third and final instalment in the Hitman trilogy – where this time his mission is to seek out and destroy the partners of Providence.

Hitman 3 takes the tried and tested format of the previous two Hitman games – Hitman was super, Hitman 2 was next-level impressive – and promises to build upon it with new puzzles, an interesting persistent shortcut system, a full-blown virtual reality mode (on PlayStation VR anyway) and much more besides. 

So, is the third Hitman instalment an advance on the stealth game formula or just more of the same that you know and love? We’ve been busy committing various accidental deaths in order to find out…

The entire trilogy in one package

Like the previous games, Hitman 3 consists of a campaign, contracts missions, side missions, and the sniper challenge mode. What makes things different this time, though, is if you buy the Deluxe Edition – or if you already own the previous games – then you get access to Hitman and Hitman 2 inside Hitman 3. Though this is a bit trickier on PC due to the Epic Store exclusivity.

This is interesting, not only because it keeps everything in one place, but because you can carry your progress over from Hitman 2 into Hitman 3. This includes unlocks, XP rank, suits and equipment.

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Also things you unlock in the new game can then be used to replay previous levels from the other games in the series to make things even more interesting. This already hints at one of the main appeals of Hitman – the replayability of the sandbox design. 

Sprawling sandboxes

Hitman 3 once again features six different missions in the main campaign. These missions take place in variety of impressive locales from around the world. One moment you’re exploring the grounds of a large rustic mansion in England, next your in the busy night-time streets of Chongqing, China, or in a make-shift nightclub in Berlin. 

Hitman 3 Reviews

Six locations might not sound like much, but in each of those you’re primed to take out one or two targets as well as look for story missions or side quests. We found it took us around nine hours to complete the main campaign, but we’d barely scratched the surface of all the content at that point. 

For each location, Hitman 3 offers up a number of choices for not only how you get to the target, but how you finish them off.

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From our play time with the game it felt like there’s a lot more options for elimination of the victim than ever before – and that’s saying a lot as there’s always been loads of them.

So whether you’re poisoning someone, garrotting them, spiking their drink and then drowning them in a toilet, or simply using a trusty silenced weapon to despatch them, there are plenty of options open to you.

This is Hitman’s signature sandbox style – and it’s always a pleasure to get stuck into. Following targets and tracking their moves, working out when to strike and whether or not you can get away with making it just look like an accident for that coveted Silent Assassin rating is a thrill. But one that requires patience and planning. 

Mischievous opportunities  

A perfect example of how it works was demonstrated by our various sessions with the mission “Death in the family”. Here, Agent 47 has been sent to the grand and imposing manor in the murky English countryside.

The goal here is – as it always is – to assassinate a target. But the plot thickens when you discover a private detective has been hired and is in attendance on the day of your arrival. A murder mystery follows, for a crime you didn’t commit, but one you can investigate if you manage to don the clothes of said detective.  

On our first playthrough of that mission, we broke into the grounds, shimmied up a drainpipe and through a window while the detective was being ushered through the front door.

The initial plan was to take the clothes by whatever means and have a poke about the grounds for clues. But when the target walked into the room and stood by a window wistfully staring off into the distance, it seemed too good an opportunity to miss. That led to the perfect hit – so as long as we completed the mission and exited without being seen we’d get the Silent Assassin award – meaning the ultimate prize. 

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