The Enthusiasm for Hitman 3 Rekindled My Own Love for the Hitman Series

Hitman 2

Agent 47 and I go way back — not quite back to the very beginning, since I started the series with Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, which came out in 2002 (not to be confused with the similarly titled Hitman 2, which came out in 2018), but pretty far back. And, truth be told, I have had a mostly loving relationship with the bald-headed killing machine ever since.

That’s not to say we haven’t had our ups and downs — I was not a fan of the direction Absolution had taken at the time. But despite not being fully onboard for Absolution, I did still acknowledge and understand why the series was changing. After all, Splinter Cell, another beloved stealth series of that time, had also begun to lean into a more stealth-action approach (something that arguably did the series very few favors).

Up until Absolution, I was a Hitman purist through and through. Minimal saves, no disguises, no kills other than targets, no knocking people out, no getting discovered — I was a Silent Assassin aficionado. I, like my barcoded friend, wanted nothing but efficiency when killing targets.

So when the Hitman reboot launched in 2016, it seemed like IO Interactive had really fallen back into that old groove, and boy was it nice. I was even a fan of the episodic release approach, doling out one level at a time, giving each one room to breathe, encouraging replays and experimentation. Even so, for the 2016 version of myself, Hitman ended up being the death knell I had hoped it wouldn’t be.

I fell off. Hard. The first time I played the Marrakesh mission, I just… well, let’s just say the magic was gone. And so I ostensibly swore off Hitman games.

I felt that my younger self’s trial-and-error, shoot-for-absolute-perfection approach no longer fit my now-older self’s schedule and approach to gaming. I had my blinders on. I couldn’t shake how I used to play; I couldn’t adapt to a fresh playstyle. So I let the rest of Hitman and all of Hitman 2 completely pass me by.

Hitman 3

As Hitman 3‘s launch approached, it was barely on my radar. I mean, I was of course aware of it (and other Half-Glass Gaming staffers were greatly anticipating its arrival), but the days when I would get excited over a Hitman release seemed all but over. Admittedly, the addition of VR support had me intrigued, but not really enough to shell out $60 for it.

The tides began to change when Half Glass Gaming’s owner, Josh, someone who wasn’t previously a Hitman fan at all, told me he was pretty hyped for it. That certainly caught me off guard.

And the more he played it, and the more he wrote about it (and the more he would message me about it), the hotter those old Hitman flames would burn inside me.

In a matter of days, I went from lukewarm to curious to enthused. And about $85 later, I also found myself the owner of Hitman, Hitman 2 (which I think I had purchased dirt cheap on a whim sometime ago), Hitman 2‘s Expansion Pass, and Hitman 3. I imported all that content into a single game, assembling the World of Assassination trilogy like a long-dormant Voltron. I suddenly wanted to play this trilogy from start to finish (even after having already exhausted myself on the first couple of levels of Hitman all those years ago).

Hitman 3

And the crazy part is, when I look back on my disdain for Hitman Absolution, some of the features I hated back then have been implemented into the World of Assassination trilogy, and I actually find myself enjoying them. I’m specifically referring to what I wrote off as “hand-holding” features, which now usher me along and keep me from falling into the grueling trial-and-error approach that initially burned me out.

I was a bullheaded perfectionist back then, young and foolhardy. It is only now, in my wise old age, that I see the true virtue of features such as Instinct Mode, or having clear paths to assassinations via guided story missions that can be discovered in each stage.

So now I guess it’s fair to say I am suddenly head-over-heels for Hitman again, in a big frickin’ way. And if not for Josh and his clear-eyed (if not also clinical) approach to enjoying the series (which simply brimmed over every time we discussed the game or he wrote an article about it), I doubt I would be in the shoes I’m in today. And those are Agent 47’s shoes, the shoes that are carefully stepping over yet another corpse after a hard day’s work.

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