Hitman 3’s an odd one, though if you’ve been along for the ride thus far you’ll know to expect as much. Just as Hitman 2 wasn’t really a sequel in the traditional video game sense, so too Hitman 3 isn’t so much an excuse to fold in big new features and bold new ideas as it is simply a third season of new murderous playpens to participate in, and what amounts to a conclusion to the World of Assassination story which IO Interactive began with 2016’s reboot. It feels like something of a victory lap, though there aren’t many contemporary series more worthy of their moment of glory than Hitman.
What you’re getting here is a series of fresh theatre sets through which to guide Agent 47, and after a half dozen hours with a handful of levels I’m thinking these might well be the best batch yet. Dubai, which Ian Higton explores in all its murderous detail in the video below, is a visual tour de force – the gilded halls of its hypertech skyscrapers are the kind of thing that has me salivating for the raytracing update that’s coming post-launch – and its glitz and glamour whets the appetite for IO Interactive’s future take on the world of James Bond. There’s even a new gadget to play with that might well have come from Q’s lab, a high-tech camera that opens up whole new possibilities.
Dartmoor, meanwhile, has more of a Knives Out vibe – or, more classically speaking, something of Agatha Christie in the delightfully contorted murder mystery that plays out within its polished walnut interiors. It’s a masterclass in the kind of storytelling that Hitman has excelled at across its history, and has refined once again with this most recent trilogy; there are stories unfurling amongst those in the servants quarters, and stories unfurling between the family they serve, allowing you to pick your way through it and bringing threads crashing playfully together. It offers the same sort of thrill as some of Punchdrunk’s finest productions.