Hitman 3 is here. The World of Assassination trilogy that began with the Hitman reboot back in 2016 is one of modern gaming's great achievements – but while critics love the series, it feels like IO Interactive's series will never truly get the credit it deserves from a wider audience. These three stealth-action games make you the ultimate assassin, giving you a target in a bespoke location but letting you take them out your own way.
Will you dress protagonist Agent 47 up as a waiter and poison your target's food? Or will you pretend to be a barber and slit your target's throat during a wet shave? Maybe you'll go to a race track and push a target to their death on the circuit, using their body to crush another target who's driving by in a racing car. Hitman somehow makes these situations darkly funny, with substantial rewards for player ingenuity.
While the three Hitman games feature no true duds when it comes to their locations – except maybe Colorado from the first game, which no one seems to like – some levels from the trilogy stand out above the rest. Below, TechRadar's Samuel Roberts and James Peckham reveal their collective favorites from this phenomenal trilogy of games.
10. Isle of Sgail: 'The Ark Society' (Hitman 2)
James: Ever wanted to attend an Eyes Wide Shut party, but without the whole sexy bit? Hitman 2 makes that possible with the Isle of Sgail level, inviting you to an exclusive party taking place in a castle on a remote island near to Scotland. I found this level hard to navigate at first with its high security areas and vast array of outfit choices, but once you’ve got the hang of Sgail, you’ll find yourself milling around the big castle and performing murders in every possible way.
9. Mumbai: 'Chasing a Ghost' (Hitman 2)
James: I’m not certain if Mumbai is the largest Hitman level to date, but it certainly feels like it. This sprawling map includes a half-built skyscraper and tight, bustling alleys. There are three targets dotted all over the map for you to hunt down, and just seeing how far away some of them are at the start of the mission immediately hammers home how massive this backdrop is. I’ve spent hours heading into each little shop to explore every inch of this city, and while tracking down the Maelstrom on later playthroughs can prove frustrating, this is still remarkably replayable.
8. Berlin: 'Apex Predator' (Hitman 3)
James: I’ve queued up for Berlin’s infamous Berghain nightclub on the outskirts of the city and failed to get in - Hitman 3 finally let me through its doors (or, more accurately the Club Hölle) and then let me even take to the DJ decks. Berlin’s story mission is experimental – you have to take down five targets, but first you need to identify who they actually are before making your move. But I’ve found this level is even more fun when you return for a second playthrough, and you can see all 10 potential targets through your Hitman vision from the start. They’re all milling around from the dancefloor to the top of the club’s structure, and figuring out how to off them in quick succession is one of the series' greatest challenges.
7. Miami: 'The Finish Line' (Hitman 2)
James: This reintroduction to Agent 47 at the start of Hitman 2 could have been a weaker choice as you just settle back into the game’s format, but this is actually one of the sequel’s best levels. I feel this is the most kinetic level of the whole trilogy, with lots of moving parts to figure out. The introduction of a target that’s zooming around the race course while you try and assassinate them adds an extra level of excitement to proceedings. Either that, or I’ve just been blinded by the fact you can dress as a big flamingo before you do a murder.
6. Whittleton Creek: 'Another Life' (Hitman 2)
Samuel: A spiritual successor to a very well-liked Hitman: Blood Money level, Whittleton Creek takes you to the American suburbs to track down a heavily-guarded former KGB operative living in witness protection. As well as having the opportunity to explore the houses of the families who live in this picturesque locale – and attend a lovely garden party – you can blow up your main target by planting explosives in the mole holes spoiling the turf of his back garden. The sense of place in this location is fantastic, and the suburban Americana vibe is very different to anything else in the three Hitman games.
5. Hokkaido: 'Situs Inversus' (Hitman)
James: What a way to end the first part of this trilogy. Everyone loved those vast open spaces like Sapienza and Paris that are packed full of NPCs, with large-scale public events and lots of space to run around. In this level, IO Interactive changed tack entirely, swapping them for tight corridors with difficult-to-access locations and lots of tiny interconnecting rooms to explore. Hokkaido is one of the hardest levels to navigate in this entire series, but once you’ve clicked with it and you understand how it all works, it can also be one of the most satisfying.
4. Dartmoor: 'Death in the Family' (Hitman 3)
Samuel: It's too early for me to say if this one is as replayable as some of the others lower down on this list – I suspect not, although I'm looking forward to trying the escalation contracts in more detail – but your first run at this Hitman level is almost unbeatable. Most players will rightly take on the role of a private eye from the start, and help figure out who murdered an old, reclusive member of a rich British family – before assassinating the matriarch yourself. Finding the clues around this gigantic country estate is something you can only enjoy once, but it's perhaps the most memorable mission strand of the entire series. I would play a whole game that was just focused on this kind of detective work.
3. Mendoza: 'The Farewell' (Hitman 3)
Samuel: I personally think this is the best Hitman 3 level for replay value, because it's such a massive location broken down into many different-feeling areas. It's basically the only one in the new game that feels comparable to the likes of Sapienza, Miami or Mumbai in how sprawling it is. You're essentially attending a party on a massive vineyard that's hiding a James Bond-style villainous lair – and some of the ways your two targets can die here are genuinely hilarious. This feels like a victory lap by IO Interactive to see out the trilogy, a perfect example of what this sandbox simulation approach to stealth game design has done to elevate the adventures of Agent 47.
2. Paris: 'The Showstopper' (Hitman)
Samuel: The first Hitman level released in the World of Assassination trilogy, and probably the most intensive when it comes to timing everything correctly. I love this level – this big Paris mansion where a fashion show is taking place is gorgeously realized, with lovely ceiling textures and incidental props around the mansion. Upstairs, meanwhile, an auction is taking place, with a room of total bastards bidding for sensitive military secrets. It set a high standard for other levels to come, and gave you numerous fun ways to infiltrate the space – including becoming a male model, and taking to the catwalk.
1. Sapienza: 'World of Tomorrow' (Hitman)
Samuel: The king of Hitman levels, even if I know some diehards consider it a little overrated these days. The Sapienza level is a small Italian coastal town, where the relevant mission area is mostly limited to a single big mansion with an underground Bond villain-style lair – except the various opportunities around the map give you great reasons to explore. Even though repeating the final quest step on each run can grate a little, this is my favorite place to revisit by miles in the Hitman series. It's a gorgeous slice of an open world, with a ludicrously ambitious 10 mission stories to unpick. Sapienza is basically a whole game in itself.