With Hitman 3 launching today, contract killers around the world will descend upon this final chapter in IO’s fantastic World of Assassination trilogy. It’s a superb conclusion to the reboot saga and one fans will be probing for weeks to come, concocting brilliant ways to kill their targets.
Whether you’re a lapsed assassin or completely new to the series, we’re here to help. Having recently replayed all three games in their entirety, we’ve pulled together a handy list of tips and tricks every ICA agent needs in their locker.
1. Create manual saves often. It may sound counterintuitive to Hitman 3’s slick, fluid presentation, but covering your steps via a cheeky manual save can save a lot of time and stress. Making a bold assassination attempt on your target? Trying to take out multiple NPCs without nearby guards noticing? Sure, it feels a bit scummy, though it’s all part of Hitman 3’s trial and error design.
2. When playing a level for the first time, don’t immediately reach for the guided mission stories. Try to explore every part of the map, identify which disguises can get you into which areas, memorise guard patrols, and pinpoint key items. Each location in Hitman is its own murder maze, designed for you to keep coming back, whether completing bonus contacts, Escalation missions, or simply replaying them to increase your Mastery rank.
3. If you’re truly lost or simply want to fast-track your way through a level then mission stories are there to help. These can be discovered and highlighted for you via exploration or traced via an option in 47’s notebook. Each mission is comprised of several steps that will usually leave you face to face with your target, lining them up for clean kill.
4. Don’t be afraid to dial down the game’s difficulty from professional to casual. This won’t alter Hitman 3 too drastically, simply making NPCs a bit less alert without comprising the flow of gameplay. Clearing a location on casual before upping the difficulty is a nice way of easing you in, especially as you unlock Mastery bonuses (which we’ll discuss later).
5. As you play Hitman 3 you’ll become reliant on a core set of tools that will grant you access to all areas while also ensuring you can interact with everything you see. You should try and locate the following items: a screwdriver (to tamper with electronics), a wrench (to tamper with machines), a fuse (to powers electronics), and a crowbar (to opens doors/crates).
6. Sticking with crowbars, these become even more essential in Hitman 3 thanks to the sequel’s new shortcut mechanic. Scattered through each location are special doors that can only be opened from the other side and ladders that can only be dropped from the top, both of which will need the use of a crowbar. Doing this is a permanent change to the level, leaving these shortcuts already open for you to use on subsequent playthroughs.
7. As in Hitman and Hitman 2, each location has Mastery ranks. By completing certainly stage-specific challenges you will earn experience and rank up, unlocking additional gameplay options. Some of these will apply to the location in question (such as starting position and disguise) whereas others can be used throughout the entire Hitman trilogy. Some tools we’d recommend focusing on are the lockpick, remote explosive, tranquiliser pistol, scrambler, and silenced sniper rifle, as well as all types of poison (lethal, emetic, and sedative). Having these in your arsenal will allow you to idly breeze through a mission with much less resistance.
8. Always check Mastery challenges before planning a mission. Different challenges pay out different amounts of XP so it’s important to focus on those most lucrative ones first while also trying to cram in as many miscellaneous tasks as possible in a single run. One quick way to blast through those first handful of Mastery ranks is to complete all five Master Assassin challenges. These include killing a target with 47’s fibre wire, a headshot, by drowning, using a lethal poison, and via an “accident”. Make sure you have the necessary tools, complete a mission story, and then manually save just before killing your target. The trick here is to kill using one of the five aforementioned methods then reload and do the next, and so on. When you finally complete the level, these challenges will pop while also netting you a huge wad of bonus XP for completing all five.
9. Introduced in Hitman 2, long grass can be used to not only conceal Agent 47 from prying eyes but dead/unconscious NPCs too as well as any illegal items that need hiding such as guns and exotic melee weapons. This is a particularly useful tactic on tougher difficulties as well as during specific Escalations/Contracts.
10. Learning to manipulate Hitman’s AI should come naturally over time. Each of Hitman’s delicately crafted levels is like its own clockwork device that can be poked and prodded at. NPCs (including targets and guard patrols) all have routines that can be anticipated. By throwing objects (coins being a reliable choice) you can interrupt a character’s flow and have them investigate. Other distractions include switching off generators, overflowing sinks, and causing other environmental anomalies. Emetic poison is great too, forcing a target to find a convenient (often isolated) place to chunder. One last trick is to deliberately place illegal items, like guns, attracting guards who will then go out of their way to transport suspicious items to the security room.
Of course our most essential tip for enjoying Hitman 3 is to explore, allowing your curiosity to take the reins. In our review of Hitman 3 we scored Agent 47’s final act an impressive 8 out of 10, praising IO’s superb approach to level design alongside clever gameplay refinements.