Hitman III | game review
Once more unto the breach... of security.
Game summary: Agent 47 returns as a ruthless professional for the most important contracts of his entire career. (Xbox.com)
Hitman III is a tricky game to review and not just because of how much I've liked this series from even before the soft reboot of Hitman in 2016. It might seem like an obvious thing to say, but how much you'll like this game will depend on how much you enjoyed the previous game as it is pretty much more of the same, along with tweaks and refinements as technology has improved.
If you're a newcomer to the series, you might still enjoy the game but I imagine you'll also end up wondering what all the fuss is about with people praising it so much, and it'll be entirely understandable. It is the third part of a story after all, and you'd expect a little friction jumping into any story after missing the first two-thirds of proceedings.
That is, unless you get the DLC content unlocking the content of both Hitman and Hitman II, or own those games and get it all for free. In that case, Hitman III is the best game in the series you could hope to buy. Hell, having everything available in once place genuinely makes this a 10/10 title, so either wait for one of the packages with everything to go on sale or buy the first two games for very little and unlock it that way - which will probably be the cheapest way to do it.
On its own, this game is a little weird as, despite looking, sound and controlling better than ever, it's always been the open nature of the various locations that has been this series' biggest selling point. However, as the story has gone on to ever more exotic locations, the levels have grown more restrictive and that trend certainly continues here.
That's not to say that they have fewer ways to complete them than in previous games, it doesn't feel like Hitman III is quite as encouraging about experimenting with your own ideas as the previous games. Again, if you've gone through the previous games first, it might not feel like that big of a deal because you'll be somewhat aware of just how far you can push things close to breaking point - first-time players will certainly struggle to do the same.
Much like Hitman II, this game too often feels like you're playing as a spy rather than a... well, hitman, which bodes well for the upcoming James Bond game from the same developers, but is missing that certain sparkle that Hitman had back in 2016. Having to follow a set narrative was never going to feel as freeing as rocking up at a random event, being told who your targets and being left to get on with it.
All of this is why it's really hard to really rate how good Hitman III is, because whether you've played through the previous games or not will really change how you view this game. It looks and sounds great, and feels the smoothest to control of this 'reboot' trilogy, but how much you can appreciate the level design and the options available to will depend entirely on your experience with the series as a whole.
Hitman III is a fine ending to this 'trilogy', but it has to be said that it's not the greatest entry point for newcomers to the series, with more restrictive levels than previous instalments and a story that isn't overly intriguing even for experienced Hitman players. There's still a huge amount of fun to be had though, especially if you have access to the previous games' contents making this the ultimate Hitman package.