The Hitman games have been around the industry for more than 20 years. It is one of gaming’s iconic franchises that has a special affection for it. It has several mainline video games including a couple of spin-offs too. In today’s era, we now have its core developer IO Interactive’s modern take on the Hitman stealth formula which seems to be perfected brilliantly. So join us as we discuss the Best Hitman games from the series and entail which is the best one for you to play.
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The Best Mainline Hitman Games
There are a total of 8 main Hitman titles to play on most consoles and PCs. They all have drastically varying elements borrowed or different from one another. But it is safe to say that the Hitman franchise continues to be a cornerstone in the stealth genre alongside legendary titles like Assassin’s Creed and Metal Gear Solid.
The Modern Reboot trilogy has a lot of ground to cover so hence why we will discuss it separately since it is by far the most accessible and complete version of the franchise.
The unique aspect of the Hitman series that makes it feel so remarkable is the creative freedom in your approach to every mission. You can just about assassinate your target using a variety of tools or unorthodox methods. They require extreme patience and commitment to master to achieve the highest rank at every level.
So without further delay, let us look at each of these Hitman titles. We will be detailing every aspect of the game on what makes it play good as well as the flaws which lower its reception among fans.
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Hitman Code Name 47
Hitman Code Name 47 was the first ever title in the series which was released back on November 14, 2000. It laid out the foundation for the series in the future as well as other stealth games to follow afterward. It introduced players to the man known as “Agent 47” and the various methodical ways you can assassinate his targets.
Whether it is disguised or using a concealed sniper from far-off distances. Fans who grew up with the game fondly remember it for laying out the groundwork for these brilliant stealth mechanics for future stealth titles.
Unfortunately, there are also some setbacks to having these mechanics. They made the game feel sort of a cluttered mess for some players, almost making it feel tedious to play to an extent. By today’s gaming standards they feel outdated and the lack of polishing done the several bugs and glitches is unappealing to new players.
The game is most notably infuriating because players are unable to save the game amidst missions. Not to even mention that it focused on a confusing storyline rather than improving the game experience. Although on the bright side, the opening missions in Hong Kong were breathtaking at first glance.
Hitman Code Name 47 was not released anywhere else except on the PC which is a good thing because it is not the best hitman game in the series at all. The game could improve heavily if the Developers potentially remake it in a superior engine with tons of Quality-of-life changes and revamps to mechanics.
Hitman Absolution was originally released back on November 20, 2012, for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. However, it would soon be bundled in the Hitman HD enhanced collection for Playstation 4 and Xbox One in early January 2019. It was the first title that introduced new features like Online contracts and Instinct Mode.
The game was quite possibly one of the most controversial releases in the series. It seemed that the Developers tried to create a different tone for the game. The result was disliked by many hardcore fans and players. It transformed the game into a blockbuster action movie filled with unavoidable and explosive sequences.
Although these changes made it an accessible entry for newcomers. It ruined most of the aspects that made the franchise special in the first place against other games at that time. There are scripted sequences that involve a lot of run and gun encounters that you will be forced to complete.
The levels and scripted missions are quite linear but are highly rewarding. The online contracts are a fantastic new addition that gets overlooked sometimes. The overall music and voice acting are also great for their time. By all means, it is still a solid choice for players looking for a balanced stealth and action game.
It is not the true hitman experience since it essentially devoids the creative nature of the game. It only sprinkles a few of the elements from the past games while destroying the integral qualities that made it special.
Hitman 2: Silent Assassin was released as a direct sequel to Codename 47 on October 1st, 2002. It was available as part of the Hitman Trilogy Bundle on the X360 and PS3. Later on, It is included in the latest bundle of the Hitman HD Enhanced Collection for PS4 and Xbox One.
The game introduced a plethora of new mechanics which laid out new permanent tools that would later evolve into future games like Food Poisoning as well as brand new weapons. It finally felt like the game was moving in the right direction after coming off the heels of a roughly aged original Hitman video game.
The story might have been convoluted and a bit dull but it heavily emphasized the gameplay aspect this time which is why the fanbase holds it deep within their hearts as one of the best gameplay-wise Hitman games.
Players heading into the game were truly put to the test this time. Since the difficulty was ramped significantly but so was the arsenal available to you and the creative freedom to compensate for it.
The genius in mission and level design reached new heights than ever before. Multi-layered environments with tons of solutions to take down the target offered a crucial change in pacing and fun factor for players.
There are only a few slight hiccups and minor inconveniences that can hinder your gameplay. But overall, it is safe to say that IO Interactive managed to broaden the horizons of the franchise with Silent Assassin. It felt closer to home with a true stealth game focused on innovative gameplay and quick-witted actions rewarding you.
“Hitman: Contracts” was released on April 20th, 2004 for the PS2, Xbox, and PC. The Steam version like every other game on our list still holds up to this day with positive reviews and performance critiques.
It was loosely interconnected with the events of the first game. It is because Contracts allowed players to go through the missions of the original hitman in a finely re-tuned & reworked format. So players would not have to go through the hassle of playing the first-ever game to catch up with the future installments.
The game is well known mostly since it has a substantial change in tone and demeanor. IO interactive made the bold move of shifting the complexity and vibe to a much darker-themed one. It is much more violent and grueling than past entries as that is noticeable right from the early missions of the game.
It is also worth mentioning that the game is the first to feature multiple locations from all over the world. Contracts take players across to different European countries like Romania, Siberia, the UK, Budapest as well as France, and Hong Kong. The levels are varied in style and can test your creativity and judgment.
The game is also famous for its “Meatking’s Party” mission being a fan-favorite for any of the diehard players. Code Name 47’s missions being playable are smoothly connected to the logic of Agent 47 being critically injured. Hence why you “relive” his memories in hopes of fixing his trauma.
Overall, the game holds excellently to the latest titles in today’s era. The gameplay has variety and a great emphasis on a grittier story which is why it is one of the few hitman games with the best atmosphere.
Hitman: Blood Money is the fourth entry in the franchise. It was chronologically released before Hitman Absolution on May 26, 2006. The game is looked upon by many fans as the single best hitman game before the reboot of the franchise which is quite a high standard.
The game features the most compelling and captivating story out of all the games. The entire narrative is dictated through the interview of a journalist who comes in contact with the former head of the FBI organization.
The game is infamously known for implementing the Notoriety System into the game. It raised the stakes of each mission needing extreme care and precise planning to execute. Having high notoriety would cause Agent 47 to be detected easily in each follow-up mission. Thus making you think twice about the consequences.
The game was easily accessible for newer players to the series. The tutorials and mechanics are simplified enough to provide basic gists on how each aspect functions. The sandbox-level are once again ingeniously designed from the past games. Each mission feels massive and has a distinctive complexity to it.
Most importantly, Blood money leaves players hungry for more with its iconic and enigmatic ending. It begins the relationship between Diana and Agent 47 that later get more fleshed out in Absolution. With so many of its characteristics being perfect in every single way. It is easily a worthy contender for the best Hitman game so far.
The Hitman Modern Reboot Trilogy
At E3 2015 it was revealed by IO Interactive that they were working on a reboot title for the Hitman series. They would release the other two games leading up in the years. The entire series would be called the World of Assination trilogy of the Hitman series. It would revolutionize the franchise and allow new feats to be achieved.
It is also worth mentioning that these games have almost identical engines and design philosophies. They are upgraded and enhanced for the PS5 and Xbox Series X. So let us discuss all three of them briefly.
The newly built Hitman was the first entry into the reboot trilogy for modern players of the Franchise. It was released on March 11, 2016, for the PS4, Xbox One, and PC. It received a positive reception upon release with some minor controversies. The game focused heavily on replayability and classic sandbox gameplay.
Just before the release, IO Interactive announced that the game would have an episodic release of content. The idea was established that it would make the game feel fresh and more in line with a live service title. The game once again brought back missions that would let you travel the entire world to exotic and unique locations.
It would prove to be a divided feature among the fanbase. Some players would love the structured content release schedule. While others would prefer an all-in-one package deal. The story felt lackluster and disjointed in between waiting for the new episodes to release.
Although, it did feature more prominent teases on Agent 47’s background and character which felt nice. The Graphics engine was stable and looked gorgeous on every console.
However, Hitman successfully merges the best of both worlds from Absolution and Blood Money. The deep and complex gameplay aspects return from previous entries. There are so many more methods to kill your targets. They are further branched out with the introduction of several new comical relief arsenals and tools.
The returning Contracts Mode allows for hundreds of hours of replayability. The developer also added the “Elusive Targets” concept which gave you only a single chance to assassinate their targets and pushed players for stealth perfection. Overall, Hitman 2016 was a success with some slight problems that can be mostly ignored.
Hitman 2 (2018)
Hitman 2 is the second game apart of the rebooted trilogy. It was released just a few years ago on Nov 13, 2018. The biggest difference with the first one was that the developers ditched the episodic content cycle release. The game offered its full content upon initial release. It picks up right after the events of the 2016 Hitman.
Once again, IO interactive manages to exceed player expectations with the craftsmanship of the game. It improves many little cumbersome errors of the last entry. While managing to blow away players again. It fine-tunes the formula yet again and provides a brand new verticality to the levels and their exploration.
There are now countless ways to interact with your environment and plan your strategies. There is no limit or roadblock to the number of imaginative ways players can end up killing their target. The six new locations are beautiful with the likes of Columbia, Maldives, and Florida.
Additionally, there is freshly added replayability with new objectives unlocking after completing missions for the very first time. These objectives pave the way for multiple different opportunities to exterminate your enemies.
The story this time involves Agent 47 and the ICA working together in figuring out the identity of the Shadow Client. Players once again work together with Diana which in doing so reveals more about Agent 47’s identity.
The new Ghost and Assassination Modes brought another added layer of content to play. Including the ability to play in online cooperative mode. In hindsight, Hitman 2 was applauded for having a robust design and managing to further improve upon its predecessor. The trial and error formula of level design was a welcomed addition.
Hitman 3 (2021)
Lastly, it brings us to the closure of the “World of Assassination” trilogy from IO Interactive. Hitman 3 was released just over a year ago on January 20, 2021, for PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Series X, and PC. The game has the grandest and most monumental finales since Hitman: Blood Money.
The main noteworthy aspect is that Hitman 3 includes content passes for the past two games of the trilogy. What it means is that if players own the past two games or purchased their content passes, you will be able to play Hitman 1 & 2 on the same game with improved visuals and performance on next-gen consoles and PC.
Knowing that fact alone makes Hitman 3 by far, the most accessible game in the series. Although with some minor setbacks with the variety of bundle packs and DLCs. Simply owning the Hitman 3 trilogy bundle will allow you to get access to endless hours of the recently released superb Hitman games.
Hitman 3 does not have any unique properties in comparison to its past two titles. However, players will be excited to know that these features could potentially lay out the foundation for IO interactive’s ‘007’ Video Game. There is even an amazing mission that takes inspiration from the hit mystery thriller movie ‘Knives Out’.
The content support for Hitman 3 provided players with the Seven Deadly Sins DLC. It added a brand new set of missions and tons of other cool-looking setpieces. As of now, the New Ambrose Island Map is preparing to launch on July 26 as it was leaked with other maps of Hitman 3.
It is fair to say that Hitman 3 and its overall trilogy are the best options out there for anyone looking to experience the series for the first time in their life.
Hitman Game Spinoffs
While we have discussed a few of the major games and the latest Reboot trilogy. Some spinoff games were created for smartphone users. Hitman became a renowned franchise in the gaming industry so it was only a matter of time before these were created to appeal to that audience. These games include:
- Hitman Go (2014)
- Hitman: Sniper (2015)
- Hitman Sniper: The Shadows (2022)
These games are available on the Apple and Android play store. Hitman Go is a puzzle-like shooter which involves turn-based combat on a chess-like board. The Hitman Sniper games are First Person shooters with mission-based variety and action sequences. It also has a few encounters where puzzle solving is key.
Hitman Sniper Shadows improved on the first game. There were some minor technical difficulties that needed to be ironed out but the overall quality remained the same. But again, the game being on mobile lacked the true charm and fun of the true Hitman shooting experience.
These games are pretty much for the casual audience. They do not hold a candle to what the true Hitman series offers on a bigger scale. But regardless you can check them out as they are pretty fun arcade-like games.
For now, this concludes our list of the best hitman Video Game titles. Be sure to let us know what your favorite game in the franchise is as well as anything you would like to know more about these games. We hope you enjoy playing the games for the first time or checking out any other titles that you may have missed of Hitman!