Hitman III (Review)


INTRODUCTION

Hitman III continues the recent Hitman games with Agent 47 being something of a super assassin.  You take on disguises and spend most of your time in a walking simulator until it’s time to pounce.  The real question is if Hitman III adds anything new to this already pretty solid reboot series of the franchise.


GAMEPLAY

And boy does proper recon pay off.

Yes, I mentioned that a lot your time is walking around.  You have to spend time scouting your environment to really get a grasp on your options.  And boy does proper recon pay off.  In the words of a once-famous song: you can get with this; or you can get with that; you can get with this; or you can get with that.  And that’s the game in a nutshell: observe, isolate, assassinate.  The game is not for people who do not understand patience and waiting to strike might be hard for some.  That’s because your target will be right in front of you, mere inches away, but you’ll die if you do anything other than play along.  Can you just try shooting your way through it?  Possibly, but there’s an irony that Agent 47 is always shown with a pistol: not only is the game clearly designed around NOT shooting; but you are also rewarded for stealth play and ensuring the only target you kill is the assigned one.  Yea, this is definitely not a game for shooter fans.  If you can handle this, then you are treated to each map having multiple mission stories in which you are semi-guided through a chain of events that lands you multiple opportunities to assassinate your targets in all sorts of admittedly enjoyable ways.  Some are clearly intended, but sometimes you can just use the environment to your advantage and assassinate your target without even engaging in a mission story.  Options, lots of them, most of which involve not a single bullet, comprise the strategy.  What you don’t realize is that I just described Hitman and Hitman II.  And the thing is, this formula is great and without equal, but Hitman III takes no opportunities to really change it.


CONTENT

… or wait for it on sale.

This is unfortunately when the shine starts to dull.  Hitman III has less maps than the last one, and they don’t necessarily last longer, either.  In fact, because I’ve played the previous two games, I was so familiar with it I was able to clear it on a single playthrough in about 4-5 hours.  That sounds pretty bad, right?  And you wouldn’t be wrong to say this game is short, but remember: I said this game has options, lots of them.  Are you enjoying your creativity in ending lives?  With so many options, this length easily turns into 10-15 hours, and completionists will probably throw 30+ hours into finding every possible way to end someone’s life.  Still, I don’t expect everyone to go that far, but a solid recommendation is to play each map twice to really get a taste for the Agent 47 way of life… or wait for it on sale.  In summary, though, Hitman III really comes across as an expansion to Hitman II.  This feel is reinforced because the UI is the same one they’ve been using all along… down to you being able to access both previous Hitman games through it.


PRESENTATION

… it’s hard to be visually enamored outside of its very crispy, cut-your-eyes sharpness…

These words are starting to roll off my tongue too easily: last-gen-dialed-up-to-eleven.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good-looking game as expected, but not in a current gen way.  There’s currently no ray tracing (they plan to add that later): it’s all screen-space reflections.  The best way to describe the current gen application here is like playing the game maxed out on a PC.  That’s good to see when it comes to framerate which targets 60fps.  However, there are frequent micro-stutters, tiny enough that only anal-retentive people like me notice it, but it can be easier to notice in busy scenesClose inspection also easily shows its last-gen underpinnings, and while it is, indeed, a cross-gen game, other developers have already worked ray tracing into their current gen versions.  Add to that the pre-rendered cinematics that are lower quality than the actual game (seriously, they couldn’t have at least increased the resolution on these?), and some stiff 90s level animation, and it’s hard to be visually enamored outside of its very crispy, cut-your-eyes sharpness that I can only surmise is full-fat 4K and a mostly solid 60fps.


CONCLUSION

I still had fun following my targets around…

I’m not sure the conclusion I’ve come to is accurate in the sense of how a new player to the series might perceive the game.  I’m coming from playing both previous games, and since they didn’t change a thing, it felt like I bought overpriced DLC.  And yet, to be fair to the game, the sandbox design is second-to-none, and the dizzying array of options you have at your disposal will keep you hooked if you’re a crafty strategist.  I still had fun following my targets around and observing the environment, looking for moments of vulnerability, or crafting my own method for eliminating them.  Because of this hook, I can’t see myself rating this any lower, but because it’s short on content and doesn’t exactly take advantage of the hardware I’m on, I also can’t see myself rating this any higher.

I give Hitman III

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