There are few things in video games I'd consider as satisfying as slapping an NPC across the face with a floppy fish so hard that they're knocked unconscious. Luckily, this type of moment is the bread and butter of the Hitman trilogy and it's never been as entertaining as it is here in Hitman 3 on Stadia.
The flexibility of playing a AAA production as polished as Hitman 3 on any device from your TV and computer to your tablet or phone still feels like magic. If you haven't played either of the previous two games you really should, if for no reason other than the fact that they're two of the best Stadia games. Play them for the gameplay though, not the story.
As of the time of this review both Hitman 1 and Hitman 2 are included with a Stadia Pro subscription.
At a glance
Hitman 3 on Stadia
Bottom line: Hitman 3 is more of the same but that's not necessarily a bad thing. IO Interactive surprisingly spends more time focusing on the story here than fans may expect, but it's worth it in the end for a satisfying send-off for an excellent stealth gaming trilogy. AI is still laughably dumb, not all missions hit the same high points, and the method of accessing all past content is extremely confusing, but it's an overall excellent conclusion.
- Gorgeous visuals look amazing for a cloud-based platform
- Sprawling levels encourage creativity and replayability
- Mechanics feel polished after years of refinement
- Stadia's State Share feels like it could be a revolutionary feature
- You need to own all three games to actually get the full experience here
- AI is still really dumb
- Increased focus on story feels forced and undercooked
Hitman 3 review Story, Gameplay, and Presentation
|Play Time||15 hours|
|Release Date||Jan. 20, 2021|
Let me be perfectly clear: this is not the type of game you play for the story. After spending about 15 hours with Hitman 3 I still cannot remember any of the key character or organization names. They are so inconsequential to the actual interesting parts that I just completely tuned them out while playing. There are some shady shadow organizations doing creepy puppet master things on a geopolitical scale and you're being paid to assassinate world leaders and corrupt people. That's all you need to know.
That being said, for a game that seems to actively undermine its own realism with quirky NPCs and dumb AI, Hitman 3 sure does seem to try and take itself more seriously than the previous two entries. You can still mostly ignore the story and have fun here, but there is more exposition and "lore" than I expected. But don't let that distract you from the task at hand: trying to kill people in the most ridiculous ways possible.
If you played either of the previous two Hitman games then this controls exactly the same. The only actually new thing here is a camera feature for collecting clues and doing some light hacking. Also selfies. Everything else is basically the same and that's not a bad thing. You'll sneak around large, bustling levels as you try to follow your target, lure them away from crowds, and pounce when they least expect it. Observing from a distance, noting the sub-stories being told behind the scenes, and generally blending in and taking it all in as a shadow in the background is the best way to play, but you can blaze through things quickly with piles of bodies instead if you want.
For a more in-depth analysis of the game itself, check out our Hitman 3 review over on Windows Central. Now let's dive into the differences on Stadia.
Hitman 3 review Stadia performance and comparisons
I tried out Hitman 3 on both PS5 and Stadia and honestly couldn't really tell a difference. During heavily crowded missions, like one that takes place at a night club, I did notice a couple split seconds of frame drops and my connection quality dipped twice for around 5-10 seconds each time, but all of those instances could just as easily be chalked up to momentary lapses in my personal network's connection quality.
According to a SpeedTest I've got a 596Mbps download speed, 17Mbps upload speed, and 14ms of ping on Comcast XFINITY as I right this. Google recommends at least 10Mbps download speed for 720p streaming, 20Mbps download speed for 1080p streaming, and at least 35Mbps download speed for 4K streaming.
Personally, I pay an extra fee to have unlimited data on my personal home network. But for those without that option, data usage is a big factor for Stadia games.
In terms of data usage it will of course vary based on your quality settings. If you're aiming to play Hitman 3 with Stadia Pro at 4K then you're likely looking at around 16-20GB of data usage per hour. To complete the entire game that's approximately 160-200GB or more depending on how much replaying and experimenting you do. If you opt for 1080p instead then that should be more along the lines of 5-7GB of data usage per hour, or around 50-70GB to complete every mission. For reference, installing Hitman 3 on your game console takes around 60-70GB of space and at least 80GB of space on PC.
Visually, Hitman 3 looks utterly gorgeous and it's remarkable that it doesn't even utilize ray tracing at all. If they had said that was an included technical feature as a bullet point I'd have absolutely believed it based on how stellar the lighting and reflections look here. It's one of the best-looking games on Stadia right now for sure.
I didn't have any problems playing Hitman 3 on the various Stadia platforms, but I absolutely preferred playing on Chromecast with a Stadia controller as my favorite method. Enjoying the game in 4K on my TV felt like the proper way to experience it. Playing on mobile with a Razer Kishi was great, but some of the UI elements are a bit tough to read and it can be difficult to pick out details from a distance when observing a target on a small phone screen, even with a Pixel 4 XL.
Similar to my experience with Cyberpunk 2077 on Stadia, I do not recommend playing on mobile with touch screen controls. Admittedly, this is not a fast-paced game or a first-person shooter so it's absolutely playable, it's just not very enjoyable. The controls aren't precise enough for it to be worth the finger gymnastics.
Finally, the one major feature that Hitman 3 on Stadia has that no other platform has at all is State Share. This feature means anytime you're playing Hitman 3 you can take a screenshot or video capture with the share button and immediately have a game state archived for sharing. So if you want to send your friend the level you're playing with your exact loadout, difficulty settings, and unlocked gear that they may or may not have gotten yet, it's as simple as copy-pasting a URL to them. That's it. This should allow for creating specific, custom challenges on existing levels and contracts and then sharing that widely with anyone.
It's a great feature that should open up a lot of possibilities. That being said though, this mostly just has me excited to see how it will be used in other games down the line on Stadia.
Hitman 3 review Should you buy it?
Hitman 3 is one of the best games on Stadia, but that's only specifically true as part of the trilogy as a whole. As a standalone game it suffers from a lack of continuity and missing features, like no Sniper Assassin mode, as it seems IO Interactive expect everyone that buys Hitman 3 to already own Hitman 1 and 2. The missions are excellent here though, once again, and there are some tantalizing ingredients to create some true chaos. It's a great end for the trilogy and hopefully they bundle all three together for a reasonable price very soon.
Basically, if you like Hitman and want more stealthy action, then Hitman 3 absolutely delivers. If you're unsure, I'd recommend grabbing the first in the trilogy off of Stadia Pro and seeing how you like it. Play through the other two first and then decide if you want to splurge for the latest entry with its new assortment of levels.
Killer for hire
Hitman 3 on Stadia
Killing without compromises
Hitman 3 is just about as safe of a sequel as I've ever seen with very few changes from the previous game. It hardly warrants a new numbered entry and is arguably much more like very expensive DLC for a larger "World of Assassination" package than it is a wholly separate game. Despite that, Hitman 3 is absolutely an excellent stealth action game worth seeing through for fans of the franchise and genre lovers as a whole. It encourages experimentation and killing creatively. It's also a great showcase for the potential of Stadia's new State Share feature.
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