With the release of Hitman 3, the latest Hitman trilogy has concluded. After three games and two DLC levels, the new entry has over 20 levels set around the globe and countless ways to kill people. Let’s rank them!
This story first ran on Kotaku Australia on March 1, 2021. It has been retimed as a weekend read (and because I really like Hitman).
Just a bit out of housekeeping before we go on our merry murder global tour. We are only ranking the main levels featured in Hitman, Hitman 2, and Hitman 3. We also are including the two DLC levels from Hitman 2. None of the special missions or variations of levels are on this list. We also aren’t ranking the sniper assassin missions, which are fun but very different things.
With that out of the way, put on a nice suit, grab your favourite small object to throw, and find out what Hitman level is the best.
21 – Untouchable, On A Train – Hitman 3
Most of the levels in the modern Hitman trilogy are great, which made it hard to put this list together. Luckily, this train-set level is here to give me an easy last place. Thanks, terrible level. At least you are good for something. (Some folks around here liked this level.)
20 – Freedom Fighters, Colorado – Hitman
This area has an interesting setting: A militia camp in the middle of nowhere. But it has too many targets and no safe areas to relax as Agent 47, letting you ponder and plan. And if a level doesn’t let you ponder or plan, that’s no good. It’s what the series is all about…
19 – A Gilded Cage, Morocco – Hitman
The biggest sin a level in Hitman can commit, besides being annoying like the last two, is to be boring. And a Gilded Cage is boring. Sure, there are some excellent kills, like one involving a massage gone wrong. But every mission location has neat kills. That’s not enough. Nothing about this mission sticks out, and when the Kotaku staff put this list together, nobody had any strong opinions about Morocco beyond the fact that it was better than the train level and Colorado. Probably.
18 – ICA Training Facility, Greenland – Hitman
We are combining two missions into one for this entry. The ICA Training Facility is a big tutorial spread across two different locations. But while both missions are simple, they are perfect introductions to the world of Hitman. They also utilise fake sets and actors, creating an odd vibe, unlike any other level.
17 – Nightcall, New Zealand – Hitman 2
Hitman 2’s tutorial mission is a bit better than Hitman 2016’s ICA facility. It’s a more traditional Hitman level, ditching the actors and sets and replacing them with some seriously cool vibes. Set in a modern beach-side mansion at night, this is another simple but perfectly executed intro to Hitman. If you only played it once, go back and play it again. There’s more to find in that small home.
16 – On Top Of The World, Dubai – Hitman 3
Rounding out the intro levels from the modern trilogy is On Top Of The World, set inside the tallest building in the world located in Dubai. Unlike the last two tutorial levels, this is a full-on world complete with all the details and options you would expect from any other Hitman mission. It could be argued that On Top Of The World is too big and intimidating for new players, but once you master this spot, it’s a nice treat of vertical possibilities and wild kills.
15 – Situs Inversus, Japan – Hitman
The final level of Hitman 2016 is also one of the best looking. Set in a high-end, luxury medical facility in Hokkaido, Japan, this mission has one of my favourite kills. As 47, you can sneak your way into the control room for a large surgical robot and use it to kill your target. It’s a perfect example of combining the lore of a level, the wackiness of Hitman, and a dark bit of humour. The rest of the assignment isn’t as strong as others on this list, but it’s not a bad way to end the first entry of the trilogy.
14 – Club 27, Bangkok – Hitman
Look, there are a lot of things to like about this level, which is set in a fancy resort in Thailand. It looks great, contains a really strange Easter egg, offers some great level design, and has targets that are perfect arseholes. But what elevates Club 27 for me is the fact that Agent 47 can dress up as a replacement drummer for the target’s band, sneak his way in and pass the audition with flying colours. If it wasn’t clear yet, Hitman is a good series.
13 – End of An Era, China – Hitman 3
This level is connected to a big narrative moment in Hitman 3, one which I assume any possible future Hitman games (should IO Interactive venture back to the series) will have to contend with. I won’t spoil it. But the level the locale, set in China, is interesting. It feels like two levels glued together. Normally, this would be a bad thing, but both sections of the large map are fantastic. One moment you’re executing a kill in the gritty streets and dingy buildings on the surface of the map. Later, you’re underground in a futuristic facility. A lack of cohesion keeps this level down the list a bit, but the contrast is entertaining.
12 – The Ark Society, Isle of Sgàil – Hitman 2
In this level, set on a private island in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, Agent 47 sneaks into one of the most secretive gatherings of rich people in the world. There, he becomes Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg’s nightmare as he kills the rich in some inventive and odd ways. It’s a fresh spin on Hitman’s love of exotic locations, and it serves as a satisfying conclusion to Hitman 2.
11 – Death In The Family, England – Hitman 3
Setting a Hitman level on a Knives Out-inspired estate was a great decision. Letting players play detective to solve a murder, like Daniel Craig in the film, was genius. The Dartmoor mansion is the kind of level where you dig around each room, devouring all details rife with little secrets. It’s a shame that the ending is so heavily tied-into the meta-narrative, as it kills the atmosphere of the mission. But before that, it’s brilliant.
10 – Three-Headed Serpent, Colombia – Hitman 2
Hitman levels that feature three or more targets can be a mess. Three-Headed Serpent is a good blueprint for how to pull this off correctly. Each target feels separated enough that if you make a mistake killing one, you can still pull off eliminating the others without running around and shooting everything that moves. It accomplishes this by having a level that feels spaced out and diverse enough to make each area distinct. Oh, and Agent 47 can once again play the drums, this time for an audience. He’s the best. Truly.
9 – Golden Handshake, NYC – Hitman 2 (DLC)
Many of the best Hitman levels consist of large, sprawling maps. That’s not the case with Golden Handshake, which takes place entirely inside a bank. It’s a large bank, sure, but it’s still a more locked down and focused location compared to others in the Hitman trilogy. This level has some inventive kills, but what I absolutely love is figuring out how to sneak out of the bank with a valuable data drive. The first time I pulled that off, I felt like a master assassin and bank robber rolled into one. That’s a great feeling and something only a Hitman game could pull off so perfectly.
8 – Chasing A Ghost, Mumbai – Hitman 2
On the opposite end of the spectrum is Chasing The Ghost, set in Mumbai. This is a huge area that, with a few extra streets and buildings, could easily work as a map in a last-gen open-world game. But it’s not just the size that has this level ranked so highly. The diversity in kills and the number of spots to explore really elevate this mission on our list. Adding a mysterious third target that has to be hunted down before you can kill them is the cherry on top of this murder sundae.
7 – Apex Predator, Berlin – Hitman 3
What if Agent 47 had his back against the wall and had to fight his way out of a situation that he didn’t plan for properly? What would that be like? It would be the Apex Predator mission, set in a sprawling dance club in Germany. Again, no spoilers, but in this level,47 is hunted by numerous assassins with no real support or intel. It reminded me of a scene out of a yet-to-be-made John Wick film. Pulling this level off flawlessly is tricky but extremely rewarding. And it’s a great reminder of how good Agent 47 is at this whole assassination thing.
6 – The Farewell, Argentina – Hitman 3
I could write about how wonderful this level looks. I could talk about how it has many different, varied areas to explore and the way it blends the meta-narrative of the trilogy with a fun murder-filled winery and party. But instead, all I need to say is this: Grape press. Big, giant grape press. It can kill everyone in the level (yes, everyone) in one button push. Have I mentioned how great this series is? Because it’s amazing.
5 – The Showstopper, Paris – Hitman
The trilogy’s first real mission, Showstopper, set the tone and blueprint for future Hitman trilogy levels. Set in a large-scale fashion show and party in Paris, Showstopper has some of my favourite moments in the series. Walking flawlessly down the runway dressed as Helmut Kruger then leaving the runway and killing my target, still dressed as a world-famous supermodel, is an experience that I’ll never forget.
4 – The Last Resort, Haven Island – Hitman 2 (DLC)
Everyone deserves a vacation. Even an expert, cold-blooded assassin like Agent 47. But like most folks I know (including myself) 47 can’t stop working, even while he’s supposed to be relaxing. Lucky for us, his dedication brings us Last Resort, a level so good that I can’t imagine spoiling it. I will say it includes some great kills and an interesting twist involving one of your targets. While you saunter around the island, killing and relaxing, a growing storm gets worse and worse, adding a bit of tension to an otherwise relaxing level.
3 – The Finish Line, Miami – Hitman 2
I can’t prove this, but Finish Line, a level set across a race track and tech conference, feels like the designers of Hitman 2 got together and said, “Let’s put as many wild and cool deaths in one level.” The result is a mission that lets you: kill people dressed as a mascot, eliminate your target by kicking him in front of his daughter’s racecar, or even poison one of your targets dressed as a literal Flordia Man. Finish Line in Miami is a level I spent hours and hours in, and I’ll probably come back to it the next time I get the urge to kill.
2 – Another Life, Whittlehorn Creek – Hitman 2
One of the best levels in Hitman: Blood Money is A New Life, a mission set in the suburbs where you have to take out a mobster hiding in witness protection. It was a classic level that I played a lot back in the day. In Hitman 2, IOI finally gets around to doing a proper spiritual successor to that mission, and it’s wonderful. Take that Blood Money mission and crank it up to 11. There are more areas to explore. More fun ways to screw around with a quiet suburb. And best of all, even more, dark secrets lurking below the surface. There’s only one Hitman trilogy level I’ve spent more time in and it just so happens to be our top pick…
1 – World of Tomorrow, Sapienza – Hitman
The first time I played World of Tomorrow, I was sold on this new take on Hitman. Remember, 2016’s Hitman was released in episodes. So after the first episode, Showstopper, we had to wait for this follow-up. I was concerned. Would IOI be able to pull off a level as good as Paris? Turns out, it could.
Sapienza is a gorgeous map, filled to the brim with secrets and hidden details. Setting a map in a quiet coastal Italian village is a marvellous choice. It makes it so easy to spend hours and hours walking around the world, taking in the sights. Sapienza features some great kills, including an option that lets 47 seduce one of his targets as a golf instructor. This level is soooo good-looking, so cool to explore, and filled with so many great moments that I can overlook the fact that its two main targets are kinda boring. Doesn’t matter. You can kill someone with an exploding golf ball dressed as a priest. Hitman is a fantastic franchise, and Sapienza is all the proof you need.