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Lifewire / Erika Rawes
Tons of replayability
Cool locations and levels
Several game modes
Lacks multiplayer (as of launch)
Hitman 3 is a fun stealth adventure with exciting challenges and excellent replayability, but the campaign is a bit short.
Our reviewer purchased Hitman 3 for PlayStation 5, so they could put it to the test. Keep reading for the full product review.
The best PS5 games have an interesting story, good controls, and they take advantage of the console’s next-gen features. Hitman 3 for PS5 is a third-person sandbox-style stealth game with a heavy emphasis on player choice and slow, methodical pacing. This third entry in the series aims to be what Hitman fans have been waiting for while also being accessible to new players. Does Hitman 3 live up to its reputation? I played Hitman 3 on PS5 to find out.
Hitman 3 drops us back in the world of Agent 47 to wrap up the trilogy in a nice neat box. If you haven’t played previous Hitman games, there’s a catch up so you won’t get lost in the story. You play as Agent 47, an assassin who previously worked for the ICA (International Contract Agency) but has now gone rogue along with his handler Diana Burnwood and a fellow assassin and childhood friend Lucas Grey.
The game will have you jet setting around to some fun and unique locations including a skyscraper in Dubai, a mansion in Dartmoor, a club in Berlin, a city block in Chongqing, and a vineyard in Argentina.
The small team is on a mission to destroy the agency known as Providence, a shadow organization that runs much of the world. Lucas Grey and Agent 47 were both created by Providence. They want to end their reign, while Diana Burnwood has her own motivations for wanting to get closer to the head of the organization, mainly surrounding the fate of her parents, who were killed in front of her when she was a young child.
The game will have you jet-setting around to some fun and unique locations including a skyscraper in Dubai, a mansion in Dartmoor, a club in Berlin, a city block in Chongqing, and a vineyard in Argentina. You will even spend time on a speeding train. Each location is detailed and interesting.
The characters are solid but a bit basic. Agent 47 is the archetypal stone-cold killer who approaches his targets in the most business-like manner possible. He is not one for jokes or any sarcasm—he is a solemn individual who takes his business seriously. Mr. Grey is a stern friend, and Diana Burnwood plays a strong role. Each character is well written, but not super interesting, which can also be said of the whole story—very well done, but nothing too exciting or revolutionary.
Hitman 3 is a stealth action game that plays out from a 3rd person perspective. Each level is presented to players as an open sandbox, with a ton of choice on how to approach each target. Two tutorial missions allow you to sharpen your skills, and these mini levels teach you all you need to know to be successful.
You usually have multiple targets in each mission, and you can complete the targets in any order you choose. This truly is an assassin’s playground.
Once you get into the full game, each mission is presented to you through a menu, allowing you to select any mission you like. Once you choose a mission, you get a briefing, and you can select from a few options to prepare. You can choose items to bring with you, like coins for distraction or a bit of emetic poison to get people out of the way. You’ll unlock more choice as you repeat playing the mission, such as new starting points and different stash spots for more gear.
You can also look at a long list of challenges for each mission. There are plenty to shoot for, and you can't really complete them all in one go, encouraging multiple playthroughs. Once ready, you jump into the mission. You usually have multiple targets in each mission, and you can complete the targets in any order you choose. This truly is an assassin’s playground.
You’ll often be walking through the levels in disguises (that you’ve stolen from knocking out people walking around the world). Each different disguise will give you access to different areas, and depending on the disguise, may prevent you from going into some areas. You cannot go in the security room as a cook because that would raise suspicion, but a security person could be in the kitchen without raising an alarm.
The levels are exciting and gameplay keeps you locked in. You will be constantly diverted by exploration, looking for tools, and distractions.
Even though you are in disguise and most people will ignore you, there are some dressed like you who might notice you if you get too close. The people dressed like you and your targets can be identified using the instinct vision, which is an x-ray-style view of the level showing you dangers, tools, and your glowing red target.
The levels are exciting, and gameplay keeps you locked in. You will be constantly diverted by exploration, looking for tools, and distractions. There are also mini-story opportunities that present themselves in the level.
For instance, you could disguise yourself as a new security guard who is assigned to personally protect the target, spend time proving yourself to the target, and wait for your perfect opportunity to do your job. These side stories are fascinating diversions that lead you directly to your target and give you a great opportunity to achieve your goal.
Gameplay can feel a bit slow at times, as you are sometimes forced to sit and wait, so patience is important in Hitman 3. Much of the real character in the game comes from the story the player creates in how they approach missions and the way they choose to perform the assassinations. There is some humor in the game, but much of the humor is what you make of it. Can you throw a bottle and knock someone out from across the room as a distraction, or can you do the mission dressed as a clown?
When playing through levels, you will come across areas and items which will make you excited to replay the mission and try out something different next time. This is a rare feeling in games—that feeling of actually wanting to play the same mission over and over to see how you can do it differently, faster, or better.
Controls in the game are tight and well done. In the events where I got into shooting matches, the gunplay was predictable, which kept frustrations lower. Thankfully, I did not run into any major bugs in Hitman 3 either. The whole game ran smooth and felt like a solid and well-crafted package.
There are six main missions, and each mission takes about an hour the first time you play through. The whole story takes around five to seven hours to play through, depending on how fast you go.
Hitman 3 wants you to replay the missions several times, and you are also provided with several game modes. Elusive Targets gives you difficult targets and a limited amount of time, with limited HUD. Escalations ramps up the difficulty by giving multiple targets, and increasing things like cameras and making certain disguises less effective. Contracts mode is a fun way to make your own contracts, and then play that contract yourself. Once you are done, you can share your contract with the community, play contracts created by others, and attempt to beat their score.
Then there’s assassin mode, which is a long-distance mode putting your timing and shooting to the test. All of these modes are fun and extend the amount of time you will stay with the game, although they are not destination modes by any means. You can also import in levels from Hitman 1 and 2 if you have owned those games, which gives you a good reason to play those levels again.
Graphics are one of Hitman 3’s weaker areas, but the game is still immersive and engaging. The locations are detailed and attractive, and there are a lot of interesting things to see. The mansion in Dartmoor is appropriately dreary and beautiful at the same time. The club in Berlin felt like a shady underground club. The skyscraper in Dubai was shining and glorious to look at. This was highlighted by the lighting effects, which looked amazing.
Graphics are definitely one of Hitman 3’s weaker areas, but the game is still immersive and engaging.
There was a bit of an issue with some in-game engine cutscenes, which made some of the speech and characters feel stiff. This was a bit jarring and unexpected when so much of the game was done so well. This was not all the time, but when it did happen, it was quite noticeable. Hitman 3 is not a resource hog though, and it was able to easily run at 60fps on the PS5, so no worries there.
Hitman 3 is comparably priced with other titles, coming in at $60 for the standard edition. When you buy the standard edition through the PlayStation Store, it includes both the PS4 and PS5 editions and nothing else. The Deluxe edition costs $80, and it includes extra suits and items, escalation contracts, a digital soundtrack and “World of Hitman” digital book, and director commentary. All of which are definitely nice-to-haves, but not must-haves to enjoy the game fully.
Hitman 3 falls in a unique space in that there are not many sandbox-style assassin games in a modern setting out there. But, if you’re just looking for other stealth games, Metal Gear Solid V is a good comparison. It involves a heavy dose of stealth with an interesting story. The Metal Gear Solid franchise is definitely not afraid to break out of the mold when it comes to storytelling, but you will be hard pressed to find a more perfect game to recreate the experience of assassinations with tons of choice and fun gameplay than Hitman 3.
An assassin’s sandbox worth playing.
Hitman 3 is a game that is worth diving into, delivering on its promise of a solid sandbox game with a lot of replayability. While a bit short, there is plenty here to make it worth paying full price for, and you will get your money’s worth.
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