If you read our site a lot, you’ll know that I’ve been playing a lot of Hitman 3 lately. The game provides that sense of an open-world with just enough possibilities to keep it interesting no matter how many times you’ve replayed a level. However, I’m acutely aware that there are three games in this Hitman reboot trilogy, and there’s a story that threads them all together. While I believe that the story is a nice touch, I actually think that it gets in the way a bit. So here, I want to tell you whether or not you actually need to play through Hitman 1 and Hitman 2 before your play through Hitman 3.
The bottom line is that no, I don’t think you need to play through the story of both of the first games before you get to the third. As I said, the story is nice, but it’s far from essential. In fact, I’d go as far as saying that in Hitman 3, it actually gets in the way. I believe that Io Interactive wanted to make the story that they did, and that’s fine. As a fan and player though, it feels like the back end of the game has been somewhat compromised for the sake of fitting a story. That might be completely wrong, but I can’t help but feel that way.
The first game managed to blend story and gameplay extremely well. Each location feels like its own little mission, and the story only vaguely ties them together. For the most part, Hitman 2 is the same. It’s not the most spectacular story in games, but it does provide you with a reason for why Agent 47 is doing what he’s doing. It’s also a nice redeeming story arc that you won’t get from any of the other games.
With all of this said, I want to praise Io Interactive for not recreating the issues in Hitman Absolution. That game was very story-focused, and it led to many missions feeling like nothing more than locations that fit a story beat. That’s not what Hitman is about. If you want to replay the first two games, go ahead and do it. The missions are a lot of fun, and you certainly won’t regret it.