I love the Hitman games and have logged many joyous hours into the older titles such as Blood Money and Absolution, but I haven’t spent much time with the more recent World Of Assassination trilogy. So when it came time to review Hitman III, even though I was familiar with the basic beats, I was still somewhat out of my depth with so many systems at play.
Playing through the game I learned so much about how this new breed of Hitman gameplay works and picked up many tips along the way that could help new players who may be experiencing the series for the first time.
Even if you think you know everything there is to know about modern Hitman’s systems, I’m confident you’ll learn a thing or two along the way. Read on to pick up some useful Hitman III pointers so you can make the most of your absurd international assassination missions.
1. The planning phase is very important
If you rush into a mission without consulting your equipment, you’re going to have a bad time in Hitman III. In the same way that you should never overlook Diana Burwood’s pre-game briefing, you need to check that all of your items are in order before you start the party. It’s here where you can designate special items like lockpicks, keycard cloning devices, poison vials and even explosive golf balls if you’re feeling reckless.
You get two main gear slots and the option to swap your weapon at first, and then once you complete the mission, you’ll get the opportunity to switch your starting location, and subsequently, the ability to smuggle an item into the map. With the tools at your disposal – unlocked by increasing your Mastery Level in missions – carefully consider which pieces of gear will benefit the kind of assignment you’re about to embark on. Will you need subtle concussion devices or weapons-grade explosives?
2. The humble coin is your new best friend
One item that I would consider essential in the early game of Hitman III is the humble coin. Under the Distractions tab in the planning phase, you’ll find some currency, three pieces of silver to be exact. You can throw these coins in an arc to control an enemy’s movements, luring them into concealed tall grass or an environmental hazard that will neutralise them, potentially in a covert fashion. It’s a bit Looney Tunes but trust me, it’s always handy to have coins on your person, especially if you’re stuck with a target on a tricky patrol. The best part is that you can find them in pretty much every level if you run out. Other throwable items lure targets, but the coin is so subtle that it doesn’t draw unwanted attention, which makes it the perfect distraction.
3. You should always save before you do anything risky
But before you throw that coin and snap a poor sap’s neck – save your game. As mentioned in my review, the Hitman III auto-save system still feels wonky, to the point where it feels completely arbitrary when the game will decide to give you a restore point. It’s usually when you discover a new area or experience an important event, but that is usually vague, so don’t rely on it. Make manual saves before you engage in risky behaviour, so you’re not stuck with the consequences. Plans can, and often will, go wrong so make sure you’re prepared for that eventuality. This can come in handy for completing challenges too. Drop a save right before an assassination and then take out your target in a number of different ways to rack up the XP.
4. Complete as many Mission Stories as you can in your first run for extra XP
In the same vein, you should use your save spots to complete as many Mission Stories as you can in one run if you’re keen on upgrading your Mastery Level and earning all of the unlockable gear quickly. You can usually complete two Mission Stories in one run, with the third locked off. In many cases the Mission Story ends when you’re in a precarious position with the target and not the actual kill, so use this to your advantage. Of course, you have to unlock each Mission Story first by overhearing a conversation, but these events are signposted, and you can usually tell where you need to go on the map by checking the tab in the game’s menu, which will offer an image or some contextual information.
5. Watch out for permanent shortcuts
One of Hitman III’s best new features is the addition of shortcuts that can open up permanent back doors in the map. On your first run of any mission, keep a watchful eye for any crowbars as you’ll need one to crack them open. The shortcuts are quite easy to spot, marked by giant yellow bars on a door or ladder. When you find one, simply head over and crack it open to create a permanent shortcut through the map. These can come in handy for future runs.
6. A good disguise can unlock an entire mission
One of the best things you can do in a mission if you feel like you’re stuck in a rut is to seek out the level’s most powerful disguise. In most cases, this is usually afforded to the NPCs who guard a marked target. It’s nice to ascend through the hierarchy of costumes, from waiter to chef to guard for example – but making the effort to ensnare one of the top dogs in any mission is a great way to help with your exploration efforts. For example, if you manage to disguise as a Biker in the Berlin mission, you’ll be able to roam most of the map without trespassing. Then when you’ve figured out all the Mission Stories and acquired the optional items, you can return to the lesser disguises to execute plans.
7. Make an effort to listen to NPCs
One thing I learned way too late is that NPC dialogue can lead you down some awesome, absurd rabbit holes. You can usually tell when NPC speech is unique as it will trigger – much like an event – when you approach them. Instead of just a short quip, if you hear a conversation or a diatribe out loud, listen in with the captions on and you’ll get some secret clues that can flip a mission on its head. For example, in Dubai, there’s an NPC near the maintenance room who has a phone conversation about how they feel out of sorts and have been considering using an explosive golf ball but ultimately chose to leave it in a nearby room. You can then go pick it up and use it to off one of the main targets of the level. Smell the roses, 47!
‘Hitman III’ is now available on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Stadia – under the title ‘Hitman: World of Assassination’, and Nintendo Switch.