Once you play through Hitman 3‘s main story, you’ve seen a good chunk of each level. You’ll probably remember where the important items, areas, and traps are located. And if you did most of the Mission Stories, or went through multiple attempts to complete some unique challenges, you have a decent grasp of how the clockwork-style design of every level works. Even then, you’re missing out on a big chunk of what the modern Hitman games offer.
You may have seen the “Escalation” option in the menus of Hitman 3 (or any of the three games), or maybe you haven’t since it’s off to the side when you select a destination, or cycling through the main menu like an event notification. If you’re not sure what they are quite yet, Escalation missions drop the normal objectives of their levels and instead give you all-new targets to eliminate, but that’s not all. Each Escalation comes in multiple parts, gradually increasing the difficulty and complexity of the objectives by setting specific conditions that build off the previous part. Most conditions consist of assassinating certain targets with a specific weapon or trap while wearing a particular disguise–often with a restricted loadout and without saves. And I’d argue this is some of the best content Hitman has to offer.
Escalations aren’t new to Hitman, of course. As someone who adored Hitman 2016 (and advocated to make it high on GameSpot’s ‘Best Of’ list that year), I’ve been captivated by how they force me to examine and navigate levels in new ways, and challenge my ability to manipulate the game’s systems. Those who are new due to the recent release of Hitman 3, I’d like to share this experience with you.