By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on January 22, 2021
It is time for us to, once again, don our dark suit and venture out into the world of disguises, stealth and, of course, assassination. January 20, 2021 marked the return of one of the world's most beloved masters of death: Agent 47, as he sets out to bring down shady characters around the globe. Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the third installment in the World of Assassination series: Hitman III!
In this game, we join Agent 47 as he sets out, together with his friend Lucas Grey and his handler Diana Burnwood, to eliminate the leaders of an organization called Providence. The top dog of this organization is a person simply called the Constant, who is backed by a man called Arthur Edwards and his three colleagues: Carl Ingram, Marcus Stuyvesant, and Alexa Carlisle. Agent 47's hunt for these people will take him all around the globe. He will visit Dubai, England, Germany, China, Argentina and Romania before all is said and done. Plus, if you own Hitman and Hitman II, you can import your saves and levels into Hitman III, expanding the mission count even more.
Now, if you've played either said first or the second (or even both) installments in the World of Assassination trilogy, playing Hitman III will feel like slipping into a pair of well-worn but utterly comfortable shoes, seeing as how gameplay didn't really change at all. And why should it? You never, ever change a winning combination, am I right? Agent 47 is still the highly trained covert operative he has always been, dispatching his foes with the utmost of style and finesse. All of this without being noticed, as per usual. Now, getting spotted when taking someone out or being in a place that's off-limits will earn you the acute attention of local guards. Now, if this were a FPS game, you'd simply start blasting your way through these enemies and think nothing of it. Well, Hitman is (and has always been) a stealth game, so while you may be able to dispatch one or two guards when spotted, you will not be able to hold out against more than that for any prolonged period of time.
So, does that mean that if you get spotted, it's game over? No, not quite. If you manage to get away from your pursuers, which is reasonably easy to do in the sprawling levels that are one of the defining traits of the three latest Hitman games, you can hide until the guards give up their search. After this happens, you can resume your assignment, although you might want to consider a change of clothing. Luckily, there are people enough about and, seeing as how they all wear clothes, it's like having your own personal, ludicrously huge walk-in closet. Of course, people will not just hand you their clothes, so you'll have to get them alone and knock them out before simply taking what you need to disguise yourself. The same goes for weapons. If you manage to overpower an armed enemy, you can not only take his suit, but also his weapon. Also, if you drag the body out of the way and hide it, don't forget to also pick up the dropped weapon, as it might alert patrolling guards to the fact that something is amiss here.
Okay, so we've knocked out an enemy, stole his clothes and weapon, and stuffed his unconscious body into a nearby crate or closet. What now? Well, you can now move about the place rather more freely than you would have been able to wearing your own clothes. But be careful though; there are high-ranking personnel members who know their staff by heart and will have no trouble spotting you as being not one of their own. It's always best to either eliminate or avoid these individuals, as they can blow your cover in an instant, forcing you to run, hide and even change disguise. Luckily, the levels of Hitman III are filled with all kinds of deadly traps, which make your kills look like accidents. For instance, why not poison the water bottle of a certain enemy, or drop a piece of rigging on their head? This way, you will not be the center of attention, but still down one troublesome enemy.
Visually, Hitman III looks absolutely brilliant! The huge levels are filled with tons and tons of tiny details, which really help to bring this huge and dangerous World of Assassination to life. The characters in the game are also highly detailed and follow their own path during your missions. Keeping an eye on them will mean that you might discover opportunities you can use to your advantage or even alternate approaches to solve your current problem. And talking about taking alternate approaches; this is something the game (just like its two prequels) urges you to do.
You see, after you've completed a level, you'll get an overview of all the things you've discovered in that location, the so-called Location Mastery. You can then replay the mission and take a different approach, trying to unlock other items on your location mastery list. In doing so, you'll also receive special rewards, like a new starting location in the level, a hidden stash, a cool item or even a suit. All these things are meant to make your life as an assassin somewhat easier and to urge you to try multiple approaches before moving on to the next level. This location mastery challenge also hugely expands the replay value of the game. While the goal stays the same, the mission variables can be hugely different when attacking the problem from another angle. Plus, it's pretty cool to see in how many ways you can eliminate your target.
So, all in all; if you're a fan of the stealth genre, Hitman III is a definite must have and a truly welcome addition to your game collection. If you're only into playing fast-paced FPS games, you should probably stay the hell away from Hitman III. If you're only into playing soccer games, then... I feel really sorry for you! But I digress. Let's get back to the game at hand. Hitman III features an intriguing story, cool locations, intricately crafted missions, more weapons than you can shake a stick at and, of course, the man himself: Agent 47. What more could a fan of stealth games possibly want, right? Nothing, that is the right answer to that question, if you were wondering, by the way. Hitman leaves nothing to be desired and is a truly fitting conclusion to the World of Assassination Trilogy!
January 20, 2021