Thank you to IO Interactive for the review copy on Xbox Series X.
The Story In Four Sentences:
Hitman 3 has one of the best stories that we have seen from the Hitman franchise in a long time. There will be no story spoilers here so it is going to be kind of vague, but Hitman 3’s story is a lot more emotional and personal. It is focused more on Agent 47, rather then the bigger picture. Cutscenes are a major step up from Hitman 2 which helps the game deliver a satisfying storytelling experience and proper conclusion to Agent 47’s story.
Now this is something that I can talk more in depth about without ruining the game for you. Just like in any other recent Hitman game, there are many ways to complete a mission. Think of the map like its one giant sandbox for you to play in. I obviously want you to be able to discover some of these murder sequences for your self so I am not going to mention every highlight but here are two in particular that I thought was awesome. Have you ever wondered what Knives Out would feel like in a video game? I never did until I saw Dartmoor where you have the opportunity to become a detective. This level looks and feels so much like the mansion in the movie and has multiple references to it. Now obviously, you can become the detective and take out your target when you get her alone for a few seconds or you could spend an hour solving a murder mystery by gathering clues and evidence throughout the mansion. After you solved that murder mystery, you can go kill your target. Same result, but just a new way of getting there. On a different mission, I eliminated a target by having an AI fire different employees in an order that would cause a chain of different events to occur leading to an explosion.
Essentially all of the maps are open (besides the last one which acts as more of a conclusion to the story) which allows tons of replay value. There are shortcuts which act similar to something you would see in Demon Souls which can end up saving you time when you replay the level. Maps from the first two games of trilogy have been ported into Hitman 3 which can give you even more gameplay (I do have a few problems with this that I will talk about later in the article).
From a technical standpoint, the game runs amazingly. As stated above, I played on the Xbox Series X and had a solid 60 fps while at native 4K. Other reviewers did mention that there was one spot in particular with a ton of flowers that caused some dips but they were very minor and only for a small part of the level. I personally never walked through the flower field because it is a tiny part of a much larger map. There is a very good chance that they have fixed it by the time you play it so you may not even realize it.
Some of these issues are major and a decent amount of them are minor but here are all of the flaws that I found through my time with the game.
- There is anti-consumer friendly pricing for DLC. The standard edition of Hitman 3 retails for $59.99, while the deluxe edition retails for $79.99 on consoles and for some reason $89.99 on the Epic Games Store. The deluxe edition includes 3 outfits, extra escalations, a digital artbook, a digital soundtrack, and a commentary video for the intro of the game. I have no problem with that price. The problem that I have currently is with the price of the upgrade. If you buy to upgrade from your standard edition to a deluxe edition digitally via your Xbox, IO Interactive wants $35. I can’t say I agree with charging someone an extra $15 for DLC because they decided they wanted to wait for getting the extra content until after purchasing the base game.
- The other problem I have with the DLC pricing involves the Hitman 2016 and Hitman 2 content which is playable in Hitman 3 with some enhancements. Now this is an awesome feature for people who bought Hitman 3 on the same platform where they got the first two games. However, that wasn’t my case. I played Hitman 2016 and Hitman 2 on Steam, but played Hitman 3 on Xbox. This was not a major issue for me. I was going to purchase the levels for a second time on console just because I was enjoying Hitman 3 that much. Here is where the problem comes into play. The Hitman 3 Access Pass for Hitman 2 Standard costs $59.99 and includes the base game locations. The Hitman 3 Access Pass for Hitman 2 Expansions costs an additional $39.99 for people who want to play the DLC that was released for Hitman 2. You could also just buy the Hitman 3 Access Pass for Hitman 2 Gold which bundles the previous two items together. Now for my friends who got the game on Epic, you get the Hitman 2016 content for free and can currently buy the Hitman 2 maps on sale for $19.99. However once that sale ends, you will need to pay $99.99 if you want all of the Hitman 2 maps. So to summarize for anyone who is just as confused as I was: It can cost you up to $194.97 (prior to tax) if you want all of the content in the game. You can save $15 if you buy the deluxe edition upfront rather then buying the standard edition and then the deluxe upgrade after the fact. This gives me major flashbacks to when I had to look a graph to see all of the versions of Anthem. Even if you disregard how confusing it was, I still have problems with it. Charging MSRP for content from an old games screws over digital consumers. Anyone who has a console with a disc drive can go to their local store and buy a sealed copy of the standard edition for $19.99. They can then get the free upgrade to Hitman 3 by just putting the disc into their console once. So why is IO Interactive charging their digital fans three times the price? A digital copy of the game costs them less money to sell compared to a physical version that they are selling at stores.
- Now exclusivity isn’t something that is going to affect the score I give Hitman 3 but it is something I want to mention to consumers who care. First, Hitman 3 is exclusive to the Epic Games Store on PC. Second, VR is exclusive to PSVR. I personally didn’t see a problem with the Epic Games Store deal this since Hitman 2 had a ton of financial problems throughout its development. At the end of the day, its a free download (and I know some people still won’t download it and that is perfectly okay). What did tick me off was the PSVR exclusivity especially when VR files have been found in the PC version of the game. Having console exclusives is one thing (Xbox vs PlayStation). Having PC exclusives is another (Steam vs Epic). Having VR exclusivity tops everything. There are so many platforms and the average consumer isn’t going to buy all of them when a lot of times they cost more then next-generation consoles. Off the top of my head, I can think of 6 major VR headset developers that support bigger budget games (Valve, Oculus/Facebook, HTC, Samsung, HP, and Sony). Out of all of those, Sony has the worst one. On top of that, Hitman 3 requires you to play with the PS4 controller rather then motion controls.
- On paper, there are less mission stories. In Hitman 3, only 4 out of the 6 levels have mission stories with 3 each for a total of 12. Hitman 2016 had 64 total mission stories. Hitman 2 had 34 with an additional 10 coming from DLC. It is worth noting that there are a decent amount of hidden mission stories (such as the legendary exploding golf ball). This might be a positive for you because I know there are people out there who like less hand holding in games but I still prefer the option to know how many of the mission stories I have experienced. I don’t want to be walking around the map searching for another mission story if I have already completed all of them.
- On a certain level, you can make a ton of wine flood a room. I am not sure if this was a visual glitch but all of the containers were still full with wine even after leaking it all over the room. On top of this, walking in a giant puddle of wine doesn’t cause any red footsteps (I get it, I am really nitpicking here but it would be cool if Agent 47 would have red footsteps for a few seconds after walking in the wine.
- There are quite a few visual bugs. As mentioned in the point before, there was the wine that may or may have not been a visual bug. Here are a few additional ones that I recorded. There was a missing shovel during this cutscene (no major spoilers, you can see the target name but they are all new characters who you meet at the start of each level). There was weird zoom in glitch when climbing on the ledge of a building. There was a missing cigarette but smoke was still coming out of their mouth. There was this random lady standing on a desk for no reason. Are all of these things immersion breaking? Yes. Are they at anywhere near the level of visual glitches that Cyberpunk 2077 had? No where near it so I guess I can’t complain that much.
The Score: 8/10
I loved my time with Hitman 3 and I don’t want to “punish” the developers by dragging down the score due to certain decisions that they couldn’t control. But when reviewing a game, I need to account for both the quality of the game but also the decisions of the publisher. All things considered, it is a 8/10 in my eyes which means it is still a game that I recommend buying. Now should you go and pay almost $200 on the game to get all of the content? No. If you are someone interested in playing the Hitman 2016 and Hitman 2 content, I would recommend grabbing a physical copy or waiting for a sale on the digital versions.