So Many Dumb Ways To Die
My only experience with the Hitman franchise is the original Hitman 2; “Silent Assassin”. This game had a cheat called “Nail Gun Mode” which caused any enemy you shot to fly across the map until they hit a hard object, which they would then stick to. It was pretty impressive technology actually, they would actually stick to the wall from the bodypart you shot.
Needless to say it was hilarious fun, but that’s all I knew Hitman for, other than the movie which was… Just okay, needed more Nailgun.
When the series was rebooted I was certainly impressed, Especially Hitman 2. The games looked fantastic and I watched many-a-playthrough on YouTube. There were just two things that stopped me picking the games up for myself; They were episodic – an idea I can’t believe works in the binge-watch world of today – and they had no Platinum trophy.
Well, those two off-putting factors of the previous titles are exactly why I picked up Hitman 3. Not only does it have an enticing Platinum Trophy, but the game is released in full, too!
Hitman 3 Platinum Review
I expected that the game might take me into the tutorials as part of the story, or at least ask me if I want to do them, but when I selected the Campaign from the main menu it threw me right into the first level unprepared, clearly through an assumption that if I’m playing the third game I would have played the other two… Which I guess is a fair assumption but not one I think developers should be making, really.
So, naturally, I backed out to the main menu and then went through the “Campaigns” tab where I found the training stages, which is where I would earn my first few trophies…
I didn’t need to complete every tutorial mission, just the two with trophies tied to them, but I was keen on ensuring I got a good introduction to the game’s mechanics. Which are basic stealth-game mechanics; don’t get seen, use quiet weapons, etc.
I did enjoy playing with the disguise mechanics though, as they add a new level to the stale stealth gameplay which finds its way into most games these days. It’s cool working your way through the ranks of the location’s staff until your disguise is good enough to get you near the target(s).
I also really like the fact that there are so many different ways to solve a mission and achieve your assassination, from poison to sabotage to straight up physical violence, there’s just so many avenues to explore. At this point I was really looking forward to how the trophy list would play into this by encouraging me to discover all possible routes to mission completion.
I did run into a couple of bugs surprisingly early. For one, the audio kept cutting out completely, which wasn’t much of a big deal to be honest. It was just a little jarring.
The other bug was something I came across during the “Final Test” prologue mission, whereby I had to escort my target to a location but he just wouldn’t follow. Each time, he would just stand there… Completely still. The only way to fix it was to walk far enough away that the target “lost” me and walked off.
I then had to repeat this process 3 more times before he actually started following me. Not a great first impression of the series…
After earning a simple progression trophy in the Freeform Training mission and 4 whole trophies in a single run on the “Final Test” mission, I was starting to feel confident I’d be ready for the rest of the game. There was just one more reason to replay the Final Test.
There’s a trophy for completing Level 5 of the mission in Ascension Mode. This pretty cool game mode adds a new requirement to your objective each time. It will start off with you just killing the target, but by the end of it you’ll need to kill the target in a specific location, after taking out a second target and stealing something from a safe.
It was fun but certainly challenging, my confidence was actually a little shaken after that, but my excitement for the rest of the game was unwavered. You can see the footage of my attempt in my video guide for the “Training Escalated” trophy:
I just had one last game mode I wanted to cross off the to-do list before I began the full game…
If I’m honest, I don’t have a whole lot of interest in creating contracts, or playing ones that aren’t part of the game. That being said, the feature is actually really cool and I love how it works – it’s pretty genius.
So yes, I did play Contract Mode for a little while, to get a few of the trophies I needed. The first thing I did was to complete the tutorial; first trophy in the bag. Then I created my own level, set a score on it, and then beat that score. I obviously made the level insanely easy by setting one of the guards at the beginning as the target. Then I wasted time for a bit when setting my first score, then beat it by completing the mission in 10 seconds.
All that was left then was to beat a featured Contract. Something someone somewhere has created that the developers deemed cool enough to feature (or an algorithm based on user interactions, I’m not sure how it works).
I selected one in the ICA Facility called “No Weapon, No Problem”. This seemed like the easiest one to be honest with you. The requirements were that I don’t get spotted, I kill only my target and nobody else, and that I hide the body once I’m done, but these were mostly optional.
Regardless, it was easier than I expected, and I completed all of the objectives with ease, picking up the remaining trophy and – finally – moving on to the main game…
My plan was to approach the story in order, but replay each level until I reached level 20 mastery. Whilst in each level I wanted to explore as much as possible to try and unlock the Discover Challenge trophies, and then complete as many challenges as I could in each run.
In my initial stabs at each mission, I would do my best to complete story missions along the way as these proved to be excellent ways to get to know a stage, opportunities within, and the habits of the targets too. Another important factor is background dialogue. Staff, security, and civilians would often reveal crucial bits of intel that I could use to get the upper hand.
Starting with Dubai, I completed a story mission which led to one of the targets trusting me to throw knives at a broken balcony with him… Big mistake because obviously as soon as I was alone with him I “This is Sparta”-d him off the edge off the building. So far so good!
I then tried to complete a second story mission but, for some reason, I couldn’t enter frisk zones because I apparently was carrying an illegal item. Even after dumping everything I had except my camera in bins around the building, I was unable to enter the frisk zone whilst wearing the costume I needed (I’d later discover that this was normal and I actually just needed a good distraction). So, I gave up on the original plan, got a security disguise and poisoned the target.
I followed him to the bathroom where he vomited quite violently and – while his guards stood outside the bathroom door – I drowned him in the toilet.
It was quite funny strolling out of the bathroom, mentally nodding to the guards as I strolled past them as bold as brass, before skydiving from a nearby balcony to mission completion. I was already itching to go again, ready to see how many challenges and objectives I could cross off the list in my next attempt.
My first run took 50 minutes, my second was just 14 minutes. I replayed the mission fully about 5 more times until I had enough manual saves to pretty much check off all of the challenges I would need. As it turned out, I didn’t need to complete all challenges and so after finally earning all of the trophies for Dubai, I’d completed 52 challenges in this one stage. This included getting every possible assassination challenge, finding all locations thanks to some handy GPS-pin icons on the map, achieving most of the feats with a bit of exploration, opening all shortcuts, and completing a few more challenges here and there – Such as knocking out the Sheikh with a Solid Gold Bar.
The assassination challenges are probably the most fun. Finding out the best way to get 2 headshots with a single sniper bullet, dropping a chandelier on both targets, electrocuting one at an art installation and making another blow himself up with an explosive golf ball, among many other methods of murder.
One of the best things I did throughout my playthroughs was to be constantly making manual saves wherever I accomplished something which takes any particular length of time to set up, through this I could exploit the save system and drop in and out of the mission at pivotal points to secure more challenge completions. This is something I would continue to do for the rest of the game.
The only problem with the challenges is that they can only be earned while you’re online. This is so dumb as they’re an integral part of the game and I don’t understand why I have to be connected to a server in order to enjoy that mechanic of the game I spent £60 on. This also means that the game’s platinum cannot be earned without an internet connection.
Additionally, the servers don’t appear to work very well. My gameplay was constantly being interrupted by pop-ups loudly proclaiming that I had been disconnected from the server and should try to reconnect…
Anyway, with the Dubai mission mastered and the 6 related trophies in my pocket, I excitedly moved on to the Dartmoor stage, where I could start fresh in gathering intel, exploring the mission, and tackling challenges – all with glee.
I have to say; the cutscenes don’t… look very good. There’s an absurd amount of compression, leaving gif-like artefacts everywhere, which is overlayed with an uncomfortable amount of noise/film grain to try and cover it up and soften the blocky dark shades. On top of that, the animation is pretty awkward, especially the mouth movements when characters speak. It all feels very PS3-Era.
Fortunately, all that doesn’t matter very much for while there is a story to the game, it’s hardly the unique selling-point.
Plus, in the actual game, the graphics are pretty good! The lighting is the best thing about it, which I guess we can thank the PS5’s raytracing for? It’s hard to tell if it’s really being used because while there are often very realistic reflections – especially in the Dubai stage – they’re sometimes completely replaced with an awfully low-res reflection map. I guess it’s conditional, dependant on how much guff there is in an environment.
My first run at Dartmoor went a lot better than my first run of Dubai. Better prepared and with a better understanding of the game, I was able to complete 14 challenges and earn 6 mastery levels as well as a Mission Story in one attempt. It did take just over an hour, but I felt I had an excellent understanding of the manor for my next few runs.
I was breezing through the game by that point, I had a good process and it worked fairly well in all instances. The challenges were like riddles but very satisfying to resolve.
Berlin was, in my opinion, the best level. There was just so much to do and so many ways to progress. There were 10 targets and the mission would end once you killed 5 of them. Each of them had many available assassination methods, many required for challenges. It was just a lot of fun to Master.
Throughout the remainder of my playthrough, though, technical issues permeated my experience with a sour taste. Frequently, the game froze or stuck on infinite loading screens forcing me to reset. Often, challenges wouldn’t complete despite me fulfilling their requirements, and the always-online nature of the challenges screwed me royally with the Chongqing stage.
On my first attempt of clearing Chongqing, I cleared 15 challenges, which is an ungodly amount of exp. However, when I finished the mission, the game disconnected from the servers while loading the results screen. The results never displayed and the game got stuck in a loop of error messages about how it cannot load the next menu.
After being fed back to the main menu and then working my way back into the game I was devastated to see I’d earned no Mastery experience for my accomplishments. The challenges showed as completed but I was still mastery level 1/20. I loaded the mission again, hoping I’d be able to earn the exp on the next results screen, but after another couple of hours when I reached the next results screen with ~15 challenges complete, the challenges I’d finished before had disappeared. This meant I would have to do them again.
My entire Chongqing playthrough continued like this, burdened by crashes and disappearing challenge completions. Every time I made progress some bug or glitch would set me back again until I finally mastered it.
I found myself – though I was addictively playing and finding new solutions – growing more and more frustrated with the amount of waiting that some solutions required. For example, in Chongqing, one of the assassination methods require that you wait around for NPCs to slowly walk to the floor below and back again 3 times. And each wait period is around 3 minutes at a time. There were some missions where I’d be waiting 5 minutes or more just for an NPC to do a specific thing and it’s just silly. The developers should give you more agency over things like this, more ways of baiting NPCs.
This game is a pretty perfect example of how to use PlayStation’s trophy system correctly. Instead of filling the trophy list with egregious collectable-trophies and time-wasting grind trophies, the trophy list for Hitman 3 encourages you to experience the game to its fullest and fully explore every possible avenue of the game’s 6 missions.
Those who just hope to experience the game for its story or just see their way through to each mission’s conclusion a couple of times will spend less than 10 hours in the game, but with the trophy list there to encourage you, the game’s replayability takes the spotlight for the next 40 hours of your life.
It’s unfortunate, then, that the game has so many problems. I couldn’t care less about the poor quality of the cutscenes and story-telling moments because – in my opinion – it’s not a unique selling point of the series. However, restricting challenge completion to online-only gameplay is a huge no-no, as players who are trying to enjoy the game they purchased without having an internet connection will not be able to earn trophies or even unlock tools and weapons helpful for progression and level diversification.
On top of that, the bugs which are weaved throughout the game are serious experience-dampeners. The insanely fun time I was having in the game was brought to a screeching, frustrating, tear-inducing halt as I had an awful time wrestling with bugs and glitches for about 8 hours in Chongqing.
Hitman 3 Trophy Guide
Have my adventures in espionage piqued your trophy-hunting glands? Well… Gross.
But also, I came prepared for this, at the link below you’ll find a very detailed Trophy Guide filled with all the mission intel you could hope for, in an effort to get you as close as possible to picking up that plat. Good luck, agent.
That concludes my Hitman 3 review. If you enjoyed reading this review, please do let us know, it means the world to us when we hear feedback and we love engaging with people over the game we just platted. It’s basically the only thing motivating us at the moment!
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