The series’ level design range far exceeds what has been seen in other stealth games including Splinter Cell and Metal Gear Solid. The levels require reflection and patience and players can spend hours exploring the intricacies of each mission to find the best ways to eliminate Agent 47’s objectives and achieve the rank of Silent Killer at the end of each mission.
Fans of spy and killer movies will be pleased to know that the games have taken their inspiration from several movie sources such as James Bond, Mission Impossible, The Jackal Day, and Leone: The Professional. While some of the games in the series were instant classics for fans, there are some entries that failed to reach their mark.
Hitman 3 finally hits the shelves to complete the World of Assassination Trilogy. Reviews and fan response have been good apart from some teething issues at launch which are all now resolved.
Although the series launched in 2000, fans weren’t bombarded with sequel after sequel to Hitman. Almost all titles, however, either improved on their predecessors or offered something entirely new. This includes game modes that run like the indie games themselves and a completely new PlayStation VR entry.
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Hitman: Sniper was launched in 2015 for iOS and Android platforms. It’s a spin-off title that works similarly to Hitman 2’s pro sniper assassin mode and Hitman’s Independent Sniper Challenge mode: Absolution.
Hitman: Sniper plays as a show shooter with multiple goals for the player to complete his mission. The player can create slots by setting traps, using dispersals and other mechanisms that Hitman fans will enjoy. However, the touchscreen controls often conflict with the zoom function and players will find themselves frustrated by accidentally shooting their rifle when trying to use the scope.
Hitman: Codename 47
Hitman: Codename 47 was released in 2000 and is the first game in the series. It laid the groundwork for what would become a fantastic series using various mechanics such as taking and using disguise, the concealed sniper rifle, and the need for stealth.
Just like its latest entry, the game rewards the most cost-effective methods of completing the mission and penalties for civilians being killed or discovered by witnesses. Unfortunately, many of these mechanisms feel outdated by current player standards which makes the game look clunky as a result.
Hitman 2: Sniper Assassin
The Sniper Assassin mode included in Hitman 2 and now part of the Legacy Pack in Hitman 3 are standalone missions that place Agent 47 at a single observation point with only a sniper rifle. While this may sound simplistic on paper, the missions keep their sandbox feel free and allow Agent 47 to cause as much chaos and distraction as possible.
In addition to the normal targets and the main targets, there are challenges such as causing environmental accidents such as firing chandeliers from hanging objects, or heavy wall-mounted speakers to fall on the target’s head and kill them.
Hitman 2: Sniper Assassin – Knight And Stone
The Knight and Stone missions were part of Hitman 2’s online independent co-op missions. Up to three players can participate in sniper missions, in which players play the roles of Agent 47, Knight and Stone.
Just like the killer sniper missions, characters have to stay in place but still the environments are sandboxes that can be manipulated according to the character’s will. Missions offer rewards for simultaneous kills, and two new characters, Knight and Stone, more talkative than Agent 47, offer players a new dynamic. Unfortunately, these missions are no longer available, as developers focus on the single-player aspects of Hitman 3 instead, but fans are hoping they’ll come back.
Hitman: Absolution was originally released in 2012 on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 and was subsequently bundled into the Hitman HD Enhanced Collection on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in 2019. It introduced loads of new gameplay mechanics and series features such as Instinct mode and decades across Internet.
However, the level design appears more linear than ever, and sites other than “hunter and hunted” lacked much of the variety or range equivalent to the chain. Furthermore, during the later stages of the game, Agent 47 often finds himself forced to engage in frustrating and unavoidable fiery battles that overlooks why fans love the series so much in the beginning.
Hitman Go was originally released on iOS and Android mobile systems in 2014 but was later released on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita in 2016. Instead of the third-person perspective found in the main series, Hitman Go was based on rotation and top to bottom. Below is a game where Agent 47 moves using grids.
Although it resembles a board game, this mobile entry has taken over the mainline series’ puzzle-like gameplay in a more simple way, ideal for mobile devices. However, there were some elements of the series that were missing such as completing missions without killing other than targets, as well as some inevitable linearity.
It was released in 2004 for PlayStation 2, Xbox, and PC Hitman: Contracts and gave players a chance to witness the events of the first game without having to put up with playing it. Contracts featured many recounted and reworked missions from the original game retold through the memories of Agent 47, the mortally wounded.
Additionally, the contracts are much darker and more violent in tone than their predecessors which is immediately evident in the level of their opening at the Meet King nightclub. The game takes players from all over the world with locations in Romania, Siberia, the United Kingdom, Rotterdam, Budapest, Hong Kong, and Paris with a heavily inspired finale from the movie Leon: The Professional.
Hitman 2: Silent Assassin
It was released on PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox, and PC in 2002, providing players with a true sandbox experience that would become a standard for the series in the future. Where the first game in the series seemed to be a rough draft or a trial run, its direct sequel, Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, polished it all to become a fan of the series today.
Disguise and concealment have played a big role in concealing as much as possible. In addition, Hitman 2 has a variety of methods to eliminate targets and achieve the silent killer score from poisoning drinks, trapping or sniping from a distance. Players can even run and use an aggressive approach but the reward comes in being the killer that Agent 47 is supposed to be.
Hitman: Blood Money
Hitman: Blood Money is the fourth entry in the series and is often regarded as a fan favorite and with good reason. As far as the narrative is concerned, Hitman: Blood Money features the most compelling story in the series and is told through a journalist’s interview with the former head of the FBI.
The sandbox level design was more flexible than ever, more than the Absolution supplement. The game features some of the most diverse and memorable missions in the series. In addition, the enemy’s artificial intelligence has seen major improvements, and the newly introduced Fame System has added to the tense atmosphere.
Hitman 3 VR
On PlayStation 4 – or PlayStation 5 via backward compatibility – Hitman 3 also comes with a very cool virtual reality mode which is currently a PlayStation VR exclusive. This mode allows players to play the game through the eyes of Agent 47 which is incredibly immersive.
Thanks to the virtual reality mode, it appears that players now have a new field of view that allows 47 to observe the environment in completely new ways. Moreover, it is one of the best-looking games on the PlayStation VR, which is surprising given the size of the game and the amount of tasks.
Hitman was released in 2016 and served as a reboot of the entire series and a sequel to Hitman: Absolution. The game is back to its roots with non-linear sandboxes with very large levels packed with content and replay value that it can rival most single player experiences.
The game was originally released as episodic content which succeeded surprisingly considering the size of each level. The curated release schedule allowed players to fully explore each level and see and do everything on display.
Hitman 2 (2018)
Hitman 2 is the second game in the replayed franchise and follows live from the events of the last game. This time, the developers of IO Interactive have abandoned episodic nature in favor of a full-fledged game and the levels are as large as the first game but are more refined and detailed than ever before.
Each mission takes hours for players to discover and understand everything that happens and where the holes are. Then there is an added restart value as new targets unlock at the end of the missions, opening up more opportunities to experiment with endless cause-and-effect scenarios.
The final installment of the assassination universe trilogy, Hitman 3 is arguably the best entry in the series. It’s a game that’s much greater than its predecessors and an epic finale to an already impressive library of Hitman games.
Dartmoor’s mission is barely worth the price of admission alone with the Knives Out-inspired murder mystery. Although the games have an Impossible Mission and James Bond makes them feel, Hitman 3 definitely feels like a thrill to the things that will come in IO Interactive’s future Project 007 game. It will allow them access to Legacy missions while replaying old games with new features that also include improved visuals in the case of playing the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.