Hitman 3, impressions: Agent 47 prepares for the new generation

We tested the first couple of levels available in Hitman 3. Agent 47 is back, this time ready for the next generation of PS5 and Xbox Series X | S.
IO Interactive and Hitman have gone hand in hand almost forever. The misadventures of Agent 47 have been on the industry horizon for more than a decade. Given the longevity of the brand, the success of the Danes stems from having managed to reconvert when the saga needed it. We talk about the classics, the arrival of Absolution, and the subsequent reboot, which would begin the current stage.

In 2021 we are on the verge of being participants in the conclusion of this trilogy. Hitman 3 is the end of a journey towards a new (and updated) way of understanding the sandbox ecosystem woven since 2016. Because the road has not been easy. During these five years, we have seen a different business model compared to the one it started, raising the flag of independence after the end of its ties with Square Enix. This third installment in the conclusion, the finishing touch to a succession of works, each more outstanding.

Dubai, a high stage

As is already known to all, the first level of Hitman 3 takes place in one of the skyscrapers that are part of the Dubai skyline. 47, with the help of certain friends that we will not reveal, manages to infiltrate the highest floors of the building. He does so after a spectacular sequence in which the murderer jumps from a plane wearing a suit made for the occasion. Those first 5 minutes of the story phase change the record of what we had seen so far. The team has substantially improved the initial moments, in which control is limited to give us the situation report on the spot, instead of on video.

It should be noted that this sequence is far from extended during the real level. After those moments you will start the hunting phase, just as you have always done these years ago. In fact, you can skip the entry in later rounds. It is a way of packaging the situation, both upon your arrival and what you will face throughout the phase.

The structure of the first level is based on a vertical design divided by security layers. Think of it as a reinterpretation of Paris, for example, of the first Hitman (2016). During our impressions, we have gone through two phases. In the first, which coincided with that contact, we saw a level whose main thread was too obvious. Each step of the story (as murder opportunities are called) left an easy resolution, far from complications. In that story, you can finish the double objective in a matter of 15 minutes. It left us cold, with the feeling that we had already seen everything.

However, it was through repetition and the discovery of new avenues that we saw the true face of Dubai, even in those alternative storylines. Although we cannot enter into sensitive revelations, we can say that one of them implies being the bulldog of one of the targets, while in the other we must pass a marksmanship test … peculiar, to say the least. These ways of getting close to the goal are designed to take advantage of the final score and achieve higher grades. At the end of the day, completing the mission is the tip of the iceberg; the really important thing is to do it with style.

Nintendo Switch

We found much more chicha than it may seem during those hours of discovery. There are also moments for metagames. One of them, for example, invites us to observe the environment to determine which server to deactivate without triggering a silent alarm. Before long (and after a few failures), you’ll find that you need another secondary item carried by some maintenance members. Those kinds of interconnected stories with the game’s NPCs are the norm in Dubai. If up to now it was vital to be attentive, we have observed that at this level it is even more important to listen to the comments of the characters. An ordinary telephone conversation can serve as a clue to an exclusive item.

During the preview, we were able to access the second level: Dartmoor. Unfortunately, we can not talk all you want about this detective plot. What we can say is that it aims to quickly enter the top 5 of the best levels of the trilogy. It’s a creative waste that reaffirms the playable maturity the studio is going through.

Playable news and changes

We must be clear: Hitman 3 does not evolve the formula, as if the first installment of the trilogy did. IO Interactive has chosen to mature a playable scheme that has already proven to be a perfect fit for the type of game they want to create. The changes are closer to debugging errors, along with the introduction of certain mechanics that allow us to delve into the possibilities of the environment.

We are talking about a mobile camera. The inventory of 47 will start with a smartphone that poses no risk to hostile detectors. When used, the camera will switch to a first-person view. It is a tool that serves beyond taking pictures. If we point towards an electronic element, we can hack it to change its function. The most common use in Dubai is for the huge windows that separate the interiors from falling into the void. By opening them, you can create alternative routes with which to pass between several floors without being detected. On the other hand, the smartphone is necessary for certain steps in some stories. In one of them, we will be asked to photograph certain objectives; its uses go further. The study itself explains that despite not being a complete photo mode, It helps players get creative and take their own snapshots, just as they would in real life.

It is not the only change that affects scrolling through the levels. Now we will find certain elements, such as ladders or doors, that can only be opened from one of the two sides. Unlocking these shortcuts will make them available in future games, increasing exploration and the chances of tackling objectives. During the advance, we were caught murdering an enemy. That ladder we deployed near the helipad allowed us to flee, get a new uniform, and return to anonymity. Otherwise, we should have faced the enemies face to face. We are looking forward to knowing its possibilities in future scenarios.

Artificial intelligence has had a small boost to the research places of conflict, especially when search efforts regarding several people. It happened to us that when we sneaked out of a room, an employee who had been hiding in the bathroom noticed our presence, only to flee shortly thereafter while alerting the soldiers around. Very few times, if not almost never, had this happened to us in the previous ones, or at least not naturally what happened. And speaking of improvements, the NPCs have gained in detail and diversity. There are more different models and they are of higher quality, keeping the scenes where several hundred faces accumulate. The graphic muscle is similar to the one seen in the previous one, although we can see improvements in the reflections, in addition to that plus that we have already commented on in the characters.

Great sensations

Our passage through Hitman 3 has been excellent, at the height of what we expected from it. We want to discover the next scenarios, and use the elements of the previous ones within the levels of 3. As you already know, all the progress of Hitman 2 can be carried over to the new one, including items, levels, and more. And if you have the first Hitman, you can also play his levels with the improvements that come with it.

For its part, Hitman 3 will arrive on PS5, Xbox Series X | S, PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Google Stadia on January 20. It will also be available for Nintendo Switch, through the cloud streaming service.