IO Interactive’s Hitman 3 came out Jan. 20, not with a whimper but with a bang. The third and final game in the rebooted trilogy, Hitman 3 not only wraps up the story that’s been slowly unravelling since 2016, but it does so with some of the best gameplay and levels that the series has to offer. Though the levels in the last two games have had a lot to offer —Hitman 1’s Marrakesh and 2’s Whittleton Creek were some of the best in the series — 3 has managed to top its predecessors in just the first couple levels of the game and the momentum doesn’t seem to stop the further into it you go.
The premise of Hitman games is simple. You play as Agent 47, one of the greatest hitmen in the world and assassinate targets through each level. How you choose to do that is up to you, and that creative freedom is precisely why Hitman is so entertaining. To get the most out of the self-driven levels, you’re expected to play through more than once. While playing through the same content over and over again might sound boring, each time you’ll see new parts of the location you had never seen before and unravel new information about the story.
The flexible levels give players so much control to tell the story however they want to. For example, on the second level, set in an old English mansion, my partner snuck up the pipes on the side of the building, crawled into the target’s lawyer’s room and dressed up as him in order to trick the target and finish the job. On my turn, I went to the other side of the house and dressed up as the funeral photographer. Then I placed some exposed wires and water on the ground next to a metal chair the target would sit in so that when I took her picture she would be electrocuted. Mission complete. The next time we started the level, we dressed up as her hired private investigator and played through an actual murder mystery, à la Clue, and saw parts of the game that we had never seen the first two times we had done the mission.
If you pick up this game, do me a favor. Before you step foot in the first location, go into your settings, and turn off both hints and your mini-map. This might feel overwhelming at first, but the beauty of this franchise is the way it rewards you for thinking creatively. Without the game holding your hand, completing a level feels so much more satisfying.
Though IO Interactive is going to release an actual James Bond game in the future, this game is the closest I have ever felt to being the savvy aforementioned character. Play Hitman 3 if you want to exercise your creativity and feel cool as hell while doing it.