For most games — and especially for reviews — I try to play through them without a guide. I like to go through the tailored experience that developers set out for a player and go from there. There’s special cases like Hitman 3 where you make the fun.
There are some breadcrumbs and “mission stories” found on your way to every assassination attempt, but it’s mostly about finding creative ways to dispatch your targets. It’s been like that for every game in the series and every time I’ve given them a shot at running through the Hitman games blind.
Turns out the third time was not the charm with Hitman 3. As much as I dig the clean look, impressive in-game locales — cut scenes look a little dated, on the other hand — and the beautiful typography in mission briefings, I found myself reaching for a guide about 20 minutes into the first Dubai mission.
You can reload a save, get caught, and not really know what to do only so many times, after all. With a video guide? It’s damn good fun for someone needing a little more direction and focus in his games.
It’s great that part of the Hitman series is trial and error and that it lets you save anywhere, but I kind of just want to know how to take the target out. It’s sloppy — opposite of what it would feel like to be Bond, I’m sure — and the chaos that reigns from my carelessness is a beautiful mess to clean up.
Playing through it with guides allowed me to at least play through the six new maps and make me appreciate some of the finer details of the storied franchise. One of those finer details? It’s how cool it is that the game actually expects you to “complete” the mission by escaping, as well. Not just prepping for the actual hit and mission over. No, how are you going to escape the events matter too.
Accomplish your mission while blending in to your environments, donning new outfits, using unconventional weapons and no one being the wiser really does make your inner James Bond come to life — even if it was more Jason Bourne for me than the MI6 agent.
I also got a taste of “accidental” kills that leave NPCs aghast in a particularly hilarious assassination attempt in the whodunit Dartmoor scenario. I would not have made it that far had I not secured a guide and left to my own devices; would’ve still been stuck reloading the same save from the first mission.
I know, I know. The Hitman series is all about replayability. I get it. I just…don’t wanna. If a game doesn’t give me a critical path, I will just look up a guide and make one. Now that I’ve got the critical path out of the way, though, I might just go back to see how far I can get with the level mastery challenges…