It’s been quite a ride for Agent 47. Over the last 20 years, Hitman has gone from a stealth sandbox masterpiece to a misguided (but still very good) action-adventure to an episodic reboot. And now it’s come full-circle, with Hitman 3 serving as a full-scope capper to the reboot trilogy that set the series back on its best course before developer IO Interactive moves on to its James Bond 007 project, which could signal the end for Agent 47 for the foreseeable future. If Hitman 3’s first mission is anything to go by, our favorite bald and barcoded assassin is going out in style.
Agent 47’s passport has stamps from all around the world in it by now, and Hitman 3’s first mission takes him to Dubai. Hitman, at its best, has always been about its player-driven creativity, and Dubai sets this game off on the right foot as far as that goes. You’re tasked with taking out bad guys Carl Ingram and Marcus Stuyvesant as you stride towards the end of this trilogy’s Providence story arc. I played the mission three different times, which Hitman 3 encourages by once again unlocking new starting locations and gear based on your choices and performance on each successive playthrough. For instance, the first time I went after Ingram, I disguised myself as a contact he was due to meet in his heavily fortified penthouse, went up with his assistant — walking all the way up from the ground floor, right past all of those heavily armed guards in the process — and listened to him salivate over the idea of 47 taking someone on his enemy list out.
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It’s a tense spot. Here I was, face-to-face with my target. I could’ve easily stabbed him, snapped his neck, or shot him, but killing him in full view of several guards and his housekeeping staff would’ve set off a hornet’s nest of trouble. And so I waited. But then our meeting ended and I was asked to leave! Should I cause chaos now or wait to see what happens? AAAH! I opted for the latter and ended up needing to come back later with a new plan: acquire an elite guard uniform to get access to the penthouse, and then in classic Hitman fashion, poison his whisky and wait. Eventually he came back around to that adult beverage while I watched from a few feet away and bolted for the bathroom, where I could follow him in before his guards got wise. I drowned him in the vomit-filled toilet water. Check one kill off the to-do list!
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Along the way, though, I spotted several other ways I could’ve taken him out. I could’ve poisoned his food, just gone in guns blazing and shot my way out of there (not that Hitman really encourages this…), or do what I actually did manage to do on my third playthrough: trap both Carl and Marcus in the same sealed room together after gathering enough intel to know where they were both going to be at the same time. Two birds, one stone.
For one of my other assassinations of Marcus, a douchebag rich guy who is hated enough to keep security around him full-time, I overheard some guards talking about the new bodyguard due to report for duty with his papers soon. I sought out this new guy in the changing room downstairs, found him arguing with a housekeeper about his uniform not being cleaned, and I swiped his papers from his locker while he stood there in his skivvies. That let me walk right up to take his place, after which I had to prove my bodyguarding worth to Marcus by showing off my knife-throwing prowess on the roof. Once I did and my new boss was suitably impressed, he gave the other guard standing with us the rest of the night off, leaving us alone. From there I just couldn’t help myself – I had to kick him off the roof of the skyscraper. No fuss, no muss. Mission accomplished.
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Even after three playthroughs of the Dubai mission, there are still many ways I didn’t unlock. Hitman 3’s sandbox is vast and filled with many toys. Sure, it still has some cheesy dialogue and voice acting, as well as some goofy animations, but overall I’m extremely impressed by what I’ve played so far. Hitman 3 will be out on January 20. Stay tuned for IGN’s full review.
Ryan McCaffrey is IGN’s Executive Editor of Previews. Follow him on Twitter at @DMC_Ryan, catch him on Unlocked, and drop-ship him Taylor Ham sandwiches from New Jersey whenever possible.
Source: IGN Video Games All