Remember the year 2000? Some of you probably don’t, so let me tell you: it was a magical time. We’d just survived the potential apocalypse of Y2K, a new President was about to be sworn in, and somewhere in the middle of all that, a new game called Hitman was being released. Sounds kind of familiar, now that I think about it.
In the two decades since then, the Hitman series has outlasted countless imitators, and it’s consistently innovated a genre that most other game studios have abandoned. The latest (and possibly last) entry in the series is Hitman 3, a game that’s out to change everything.
I’m Scott and today, Scarlett Media Presents the top ten ways that Hitman 3 SAVED the Hitman franchise. So put on your leather gloves, shave your head, and don’t forget to assassinate the like and subscribe buttons–just don’t get caught.
10. Defining a Genre
The “stealth” genre, as we know it today, got its start in 1998 with the release of a little game called “Thief.” It featured some truly unique sneaking action, and people loved it. That year also bestowed Metal Gear Solid upon us, and 2004 saw the release of Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell, which gave stealth a tactical edge. People loved these series, too.
Hitman was born in the same era, and though it featured similar ideas to its peers, its unique charm and singular focus on eliminating a target in whatever way the player wanted really set it apart.
It’s now been many years since any of these series released a new game–that is, except for one. With Hitman 3, IO Interactive has continued to push the boundaries of its own series and besides making bald cool again, they’ve shown just who the king of stealth really is.
9. A True World of Assassination
In 2016, IO Interactive took off in a bold direction. The most recent game in the series, Hitman Absolution, had a lukewarm reception, and they needed a change. They decided to release a trilogy of games, but in a slightly different way; rather than three standalone games, they would all be tied together under one overarching experience. They called it: World of Assassination.
It’s almost like having three seasons of a single show, and the experience is flawless. Thanks to its episodic format, not only can players jump between the games at will, but subsequent games are able to introduce new items and gameplay mechanics into the whole trilogy.
Though it was a risky move at the time, with Hitman 3, IO Interactive was able to deliver on the World of Assassination promise in killer style.
8. Retroactive Optimization
If you’re a gamer, you know that modern triple-A video games take up a lot of hard drive space. Like, a lot.
Fortunately, if you’ve already installed the first two Hitman games in this trilogy, IO Interactive has you covered. In quite a feat of engineering, they’ve managed to optimize the files for all three games in such a way that together, they’ll only take up around 100 gigabytes of space combined.
This is quite a feat of software engineering–right now, the first two games take up 97 gigabytes of space just by themselves.
But that’s not all! Hitman 3 features some impressive graphical upgrades, such as screen-space reflections. If you have either of the first two games installed on your system, these visual updates will also be applied to them. This is crucial because after all, nothing says “immersion” like being able to wistfully gaze upon your chrome dome in a pool of water. Right before you shove your target’s head into it, of course.
7. Stealth Perfected
Though the Hitman series has been around for over twenty years, it was the 2016 reboot that really breathed new life into the struggling franchise. With Hitman and Hitman 2, we saw impressive, sandbox-style locations that really let us unleash our murderous creativity.
As a series, Hitman defined the genre. Now, with the release of Hitman 3, we see the culmination of the gameplay that defined itself. The locations are more interactive, the NPCs are smarter, and the strategy it takes to successfully pull off your mission is more important than ever.
In a world where games like Assassin’s Creed seem to have completely lost their original vision, Hitman 3 is a breath of fresh air. It’s not just more of the same; it’s the destination of a multi-decade journey.
6. Cool New Gadgets
The Hitman series has always drawn inspiration from James Bond, and Hitman 3 is no exception. And just like the Bond films, Hitman 3 continues the trend of equipping you with the latest advancements in stealthy killing equipment.
Specifically, you’ll be given a camera. Well, it may not seem like much, but this is the first gadget in the game to truly take advantage of the team of people who guide you through your missions.
For example, if you approach a keypad lock, you can simply take a picture of it and have your remote team come up with the code. Plus, thanks to the graphical upgrades that allow for full reflections, you’ll be able to use the camera for what it was truly intended: mid-mission selfies.
5. New-Gen Power
In the time since Hitman 2 was released, we’ve seen the launch of the Playstation 5 and the Xbox Series X–two next-gen gaming powerhouses. Hitman 3 is one of the first major releases to truly take advantage of their upgraded hardware–in more ways than one.
For both consoles (and PC, of course), you get full 4k graphics running at 60 frames per second, as well as full HDR support. Plus, thanks to their solid-state drives, you get greatly decreased load times–which is great news if you don’t exactly have the most cautious play style.
For the PS5, specifically, Hitman 3 takes full advantage of the Dualsense controller in some really creative ways. When firing a weapon, for example, the controller will simulate recoil for each gun differently, whether it’s fully automatic or silenced. These are innovations that previous games in the series could only dream of.
4. Assassinate in VR
Hitman 3 has one more trick up its well-tailored sleeve for PlayStation owners: full support for the Playstation VR headset. Amazingly, you’ll be able to use virtual reality to fully immerse yourself in the Hitman world–including the dizzying heights of that first level’s skyscraper encounter.
Using the PSVR headset introduces a couple of new game mechanics, like the ability to reach out your arm to shoot around walls, and even tap unwitting victims on the shoulder before stealthily guiding them to the afterlife.
And thanks to IO Interactive’s stellar work on this trilogy, the virtual reality support extends to both of the other games in this trilogy. For fans of VR who haven’t tried Hitman at all, Hitman 3 is a way to reach an entirely new audience.
3. Introduction of New Mechanics
First, queue up your violins, because we’re starting with the sad news: Ghost Mode, the player-versus-player mode that pitted two players against each other in a race to pull off an assassination as quickly as possible, will not be returning in Hitman 3. In fact, though this mode was only just introduced in Hitman 2, it has already been retired from that game as well.
It’s hard to say many players routinely used this game mode, but for those who did, we can only imagine the unbearable sadness you must feel.
Now, for the good news. From the beginning, the Hitman series has always been about replayability. Each level features numerous ways to eliminate your target, and part of the fun is going back in and finding each of those creative methods of murder.
Hitman 3 makes this even easier, while also encouraging exploration. Certain in-game shortcuts, like ladders, can only be accessed from one specific direction, meaning that once you’ve explored a new area, you can unlock that shortcut for future playthroughs–sometimes saving a ton of time. For those assassination purists, this is a very welcome feature, and it ups the already immense replay value of all three games.
2. Bigger, Badder Levels
From the very first level in Hitman 3, you know this game is going to take it to a whole new… well, level. The Dubai skyscraper is gorgeous, with lighting, cloud, simulations, and of course, the reflections we’ve talked about so fondly.
All of this is the culmination of years of work from IO Interactive, who have made sure that their final outing with Agent 47 is their best yet.
And as if to flex their creative muscles, the very next level takes place in a luxurious, old-school mansion, like something straight out of Clue.
But beyond the level design, you’ll notice that the crowds seem even more immersive, with each NPC seeming to have a mind of his or her own. And that’s because they kind of do.
IO Interactive has built its Glacier game engine from the ground up, and this time, it’s made it possible to have 300 active NPCs in a single room, each with their own artificial intelligence. As a player, no playthroughs will ever be 100% the same. You’ll have to think on your feet, and it allows you to be more creative than ever.
Before we sneak our way into the number one spot, be sure to hit the like button, and if we missed any reasons why Hitman 3 was truly the pinnacle of the series, be sure to let us know in the comments!
1. A Storyline Concluded
After more than 20 years, the Hitman series, along with our beloved Agent 47, has come to a fitting end. Though the 2016 Hitman gave the series a soft reboot, it’s still bittersweet; we’ve watched Agent 47 grow from a bald, stone-cold killer to a… alright, well, he hasn’t changed that much, but you know what I mean.
Though IO Interactive has branched out into a few other games, Hitman will always be their magnum opus, and with Hitman 3, it shows. From the big new levels to the graphical upgrades to the conclusion of a five-year storyline, the third game in the World of Assassination trilogy has managed to live up to its own high expectations.
And though Hitman’s audience isn’t as large as some of the bigger titles out there, they are a loyal and passionate one. Ironically, the last game in this series could be the biggest, since the hype alone drew in thousands of new fans and cemented the series’ legendary status.
As the studio moves on to work on other games, there’s one thing for sure: we’ll miss you, Agent 47. But who knows? Maybe we’ll see him again. Just… hopefully, not right behind us.
And so, much Agent 47’s targets, our list has met its end. Have you been playing Hitman since the beginning? Or are you joyously discovering it for the first time? Let us know in the comments! And as always, thanks for watching. See you next time!
Writer: Grant Herbel
Editor: AB Scarlett
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See Hosseinzadeh v. Klein, 276 F.Supp.3d 34 (S.D.N.Y. 2017); Equals Three, LLC v. Jukin Media, Inc., 139 F. Supp. 3d 1094 (C.D. Cal. 2015).