Hitman protagonist Agent 47 has seen the world. He’s parachuted onto the tallest tower in Dubai. He’s infiltrated manors in the British countryside and on the Amalfi Coast. He’s even been to New Jersey. But everyone’s favourite be-suited secret agent still, apparently, needs one more stamp on the passport: a dimly lit island that looks a whole lot like an Uncharted set-piece.
Yes, developer IO Interactive has added a new level to Hitman 3. Called Ambrose Island, it’s freely available to everyone who has the game, as part of developer IO Interactive’s “year two” plan. Hitman 3 came out last January with five amazing stealth sandboxes and one divisive not-stealth not-sandbox. IO has slowly introduced a wave of new content, including a series of (note: not free) downloadable content based on the seven deadly sins. It’s also getting a roguelike mode, though that’s been delayed to later this year.
But Ambrose Island is the first true-to-form new stage for Hitman 3. It’s set in the Andaman Sea, just west of Thailand (the location of one of the best levels in the series). Chronologically, as you know if you’re one of the 17 people who’s been able to detangle Hitman’s hilariously convoluted narrative, it’s set prior to the events of Hitman 3. An early cinematic, seen above, indicates it takes place before the Isle of Sgail stage at the end of Hitman 2.
The mission brief comes courtesy of longtime Hitman characters Lucas Grey and Diana Burnwood. Grey’s former ally, some generic brownshirt named Noel Crest, has tried to team up with a modern-day pirate queen named Sinhi “Akka” Venthan. Your mission, should you choose to go along with this fraught, barely relevant bit and accept it, is to kill them both via clandestine means. (Look, I just devoured the entire Mission: Impossible series back-to-back, you gotta cut me some slack.)
I dabbled a bit last night, and yep, sure enough, Ambrose Island is more Hitman. Though it looks like a third-person action game, it’s really an intricate puzzler. There are dumpsters to hide in and deadly objects to find, people to observe and tail. Since it’s a densely packed area, the environment looks so sumptuous, so real, you feel like you’re actually on vacation. I haven’t yet completed the mission, so I don’t know how exactly it stacks up to the rest of the series, but yep, yeah: More Hitman. Hell yeah.
I know there’s been a lot of discussion lately about 2022’s release slate, and how it’s been relatively thin compared to years past. But between this new Hitman level, the Into the Breach update that’s basically a new sequel, and the breezy, compulsively playable Hot Wheels expansion for Forza Horizon 5, I’m realising I don’t need new games right now. The backlog is doing its job.