At a State Of Play showcase back in August, a trailer was being shown for Hitman 3, I was already excited to see it because I loved the recent Hitman 1 and 2 games. But I had no idea that the trailer would end up revealing a VR mode, allowing you to play the entire trilogy on PSVR. Since then I’ve been highly anticipating the release of Hitman 3, but I’ve also been concerned about how it would turn out, could IO Interactive really translate all 3 games into VR well? So now that Hitman 3 is finally out, is it any good?
Hitman 3 is a stealth sandbox game that has you hunting down specific targets and assassinating them in a variety of different ways. The real appeal of Hitman is that it throws you into a large area and allows you to complete your tasks in dozens of different ways. You could slowly infiltrate your target’s location, disguise yourself as other people, go out guns blazing, or follow along with different intel you gain by exploring the level. There is also a story in Hitman 3, with cutscenes in between each level. I personally haven’t caught up with the entire story of the trilogy, so it’s hard for me to critique it. But I will say that the cutscenes look great and are well directed. I should mention now that this review will be focused more on how the VR aspect is implemented into the game.
One of the most impressive aspects of playing Hitman in VR is the visuals. I did play the game on a PS5, but I hear it’s still impressive on all consoles. Every time I selected a new mission I was so excited to see how the level would look in VR. The environments range from a skyscraper to a large city, or even a private mansion. The scale of everything is so impressive, and the amount of NPCs they can fit on the screen is incredible. I will say that a few of the textures and effects are low-quality, and you can often see NPCs fading in and out in the corner of your vision, but these issues didn’t detract from the visuals too much for me.
As Agent 47 you can access your inventory full of items, detect where your targets are located, grab or drop items, prepare items or weapons for use, sprint, crouch, and put items in your inventory by dropping them into a slot right next to you. I never felt limited in what I could do as a player, which is exactly what I wanted from a game like this. And in addition to the great variety in actions, the UI is very simple and easy to navigate. Whenever you’re scrolling through your inventory or switching between items it’s very quick and easy to learn.
But the controls are where things get a bit strange. Instead of using the move controllers, you can only use the Dualshock 4 controller. The problem doesn’t come with the fact that they used the Dualshock 4 controller, I think it works great in most VR games, but the strange part is they make the controller work as a move controller. To explain this better I’d like to compare this game to my personal favorite PSVR game, Resident Evil 7. In RE7 you use the DualShock 4 controller to control the game, but it’s not tracking your controller, your hands are moved automatically, and moving the controller has no effect on the game. While in Hitman 3 it’s using the light bar to track the controllers’ movements, so you’ll be aiming guns with the controller, punching with it, and doing several different motions depending on the action. It’s by no means bad or unplayable, but it just felt awkward when performing most actions. I’m disappointed that there wasn’t at least an option for move controllers, as I could see this game working extremely well with them. But aside from the way the controller is tracked, the actual button layout for controlling the game is great and easy to adjust to.
There’s also a ton of comfort settings to mess around with, letting you adjust turning, movement, blinders, and speed. The only thing I feel is missing is not being able to turn off the camera grid. If the game feels you aren’t positioned right it will show you a grid of where to stay inside of, and you can only avoid this by putting your camera in a specific spot. This was annoying for me because the game was already tracking great at my normal camera position, but I could almost always see the grid, even if at low opacity.
So overall Hitman 3 VR is fantastic! It’s bogged down slightly by a few issues such as the DualShock 4 controller and a few graphical decisions, but what’s here is still so impressive and engaging. Along with the impressive environments, there are tons of different ways to go about missions with dozens of hours of replay-ability, and the option to play all three games in VR is a dream come true. If you want a stealth sandbox game or are a fan of Hitman, this is something you don’t want to miss!