By Ronald Gordon
If you’ve been a part of the gaming community for a while, surely you’re familiar with characters that are the walking embodiments of shadows, characters that stalk the rich and powerful who believe they are untouchable, characters who snuff out the corrupt politicians who preach the loudest about their ideals. But what happens when those shadows must silence themselves? When their time in the darkness must end, and they’re forced to destroy who they’ve been for years or even decades? What happens when Agent 47 can be an Agent no longer?
Hitman 3 is a stealth game developed and published by IO Interactive. In it, you play as legendary Hitman Agent 47 who is hunting down the last remaining members of a secret organization known as Providence. But as you progress, things in the background start to unravel, and the foundation that supports you starts to crumble. It’s up to you to put an end to both Providence and the people who helped you get this far, because Agent 47’s time in the Hitman industry is coming to an end. And he aims to burn all his bridges.
The gameplay of Hitman 3 is simple, with tons of room for shenanigans and absurd situations. The goal is the same for every mission – kill the target and get out of there unnoticed. But the way you do this depends entirely on you and what you think is best. You can knock out anyone and disguise yourself in their clothes in order to access places you couldn’t in your usual suit. You can find different weapons and tools to use whenever you see fit, from a gun to a knife to a can of soda, or even a banana. It doesn’t matter how you get the job done, as long as you get it done.
I love this aspect of Hitman because it lets you experience the two sides to Agent 47: a Stone Cold Killer who strikes with the silence of the wind, and a Deadly Hardened Badass who mows down anyone in his way. Do you want to find a way to isolate a target and take them out quietly? Go ahead, there’s always a story mission that’ll allow you to assume the identity of someone the target doesn’t suspect, leaving them vulnerable. Would you rather not wait for the right moment to strike, preferring to just see your target dead? Then find a knife or other lethal object and throw it. That way is quick and satisfying, but you’ll have to run afterwards. Most of these targets have some pretty intense security, so if you’re looking for a gun fight, you’re gonna get one. The game balances the choices you make by giving you experience points and unlockables that you can acquire by completing the level without killing anyone besides your target, but you can ignore those if you favor the “guns blazing” option.
In addition to the action, I loved the level design of the game. Each place you go – from Berlin to Chongqing -feels like it has life breathed into it; each one is so big you can get lost three times over before realizing how lost you are. I think that’s a good thing, because it forces you to get used to the level in its entirety, allowing you to become better accustomed to your surroundings and making it easier for you to locate spots you think might be good places to hide a body or stash a weapon. Most of the music is quite tense, which fits the mood of the game as it reflects the dangerous nature of Agent 47’s missions. You should never let yourself get too relaxed when there’s a target waiting to be killed and a body waiting to be hidden.
My one nitpick about Hitman 3 is the story. It might be because I haven’t paid attention to the other Hitman games, but Hitman 3 feels like it barely has any story holding it together. The levels all have the basic premise of eliminating the last remaining members of Providence, but I’d like a little more information about who they and the other characters are. Hitman 3 feels like the end of the Hitman saga, and I might play through the other games just to get a feel for the overall story arcs. I’d like to know if the Hitman 3 story and narrative design is worse than its predecessors.
Overall, though, Hitman 3 is a great stealth game that I’d recommend to fans of Agent 47 and avid followers of the Hitman Franchise. If you’re new to the series, I’d strongly advise researching its plot before playing, so that you can fully understand – and react to – the events of Hitman 3. Of course, if you just want to dive right in and be a badass Hitman who takes out targets and slips back into the shadows, Hitman 3 would still be a worthy game for you.
Bronx native Ronald Gordon is a senior intern for The Circle.