This post is part of a ten day series on my top ten games of 2021. You can find previous entries here.
9. Hitman 3.
It’s hard to really talk about Hitman 3; is it incredibly derivative of the last two? Absolutely, but those last two were total bangers, so who cares! Hitman was my game of the year in 2016 (well, tied with Doom, but still) and Hitman 2 was my number ten in 2018 – I never played past Miami in Hitman 2. The formula works, and Hitman 3 is a natural extension of that, while simultaneously acting as a proof of concept for IO’s upcoming Bond game.
The ‘World of Assassination Trilogy’ is all able to move forward, meaning every level from the trilogy is available to play in 3. So, when I started Hitman 3 I looked at the breadth of content presented to me, excited to try all of the new things I missed in Hitman 2 and was yet to see in Hitman 3… And immediately decided to play through Hitman 1’s levels again. After replaying the first game and finally playing the second game, it was time to move onto Hitman 3; expecting more of the same. Somehow, three games in Hitman 3 managed to blow my expectations out of the water.
Now I’m aware I just called it derivative; I mean it on more of a mechanical level. Everything about the core gameplay is still the same – minus a fairly mediocre scanning mechanic. However, Hitman 3’s new locations are very high concept compared to the previous entries; likely in preparation for their Bond game as mentioned before.
While playing Hitman 2 it stood out to me that the thought process when designing those levels was to take the size of areas to another level, which left me feeling mixed. Hitman 3 scales back on the size of the locales but ups the density of content throughout. Dubai starts off the game with a massive set piece atop a skyscraper. Berlin flips the entire game on it’s head turning Agent 47 from the hunter to the hunted and, of course, Dartmoor’s incredible murder mystery.
Had this Hitman trilogy appeared as one release, it would be top of my list any year. However, it is the third game that plays the exact same. Don’t get me wrong – if it ain’t broke don’t fix it – but the feeling of familiarity has stopped it from climbing any higher on this list. That being said, I can’t wait for IO’s Bond game.