“Look up in the sky, it's a bird, it's a plane!” No, it's just Agent 47 dressed as a flamingo coming to murder you with a pair of garden shears. I mean, what are the chances of that actually ever happening? Well, I wouldn't hold your breath, because anyone who knows the master of disguise will know that, if the price is right — nobody dares to stand a chance when confronting the chamber of an ICA19 Silverballer. “No job too big, no disguise too small,” 47 would say, you know, if he happened to be a local plumber working off of Craigslist.
From the comfort of our own homes, without the added threat of being throttled with fiber wire, we've had the absolute pleasure of watching an elite hitman go to war with some of the most corrupt figures in the known world. For years, Hitman has flushed countless tales down our throats for us to digest — and we've loved every single one of them. However, certain missions have stuck with us over the years. Five, in specific. But what are they, and what made them so special, to begin with? Well, let's run them down from the top. Here are, in our opinion, the five best Hitman contracts, ranked.
5. Dartmoor — Hitman 3
Prior to drawing up the design for Dartmoor, it was almost as if IO Interactive reached out to Sherlock Holmes, grappled him with garrotte, and then forced him to spill every last dirty secret on how his franchise was able to crack the murder-mystery formula. As a result, the Dartmoor level was infused, and so came an entire playground of murders, mysteries, and quality detective work.
Admittedly, Dartmoor travelled at a much, much slower pace compared to its sibling missions. Instead of giving you targets and shoving you towards them, it requested that you took on the role of a private detective, using skills to solve a family murder while gaining insightful knowledge about the primary suspects. Like Holmes himself, Agent 47 swept the stunning country estate for clues, raised hundreds of questions, and eventually, as expected, went in for the eventual kill before vacating the premises. Stylish, and oh so satisfying.
4. Miami — Hitman 2
Many would argue that Miami was the best level from the series overall, no questions asked. And while it does boast some of the most visually appealing landmarks, it does falter ever so slightly in terms of gameplay. Disguises, check. Picturesque location, check. Noteworthy targets? Meh, you could say that.
Regardless of where you stand, Miami still holds one of the best designs in the modern trilogy. Rather than having you bundled in a claustrophobic city suburb with limited routes to take, Miami ushers you to explore its enormous sandbox region. With a secret on every corner and a boatload of unique assassination techniques, Miami secures a foothold on the Hitman wall of fame, straight up.
3. Hokkaido — Hitman 1
Do you know how there are some locations that you can just sit and gawp at? Well, Hokkaido is exactly that. It's snow-soaked Japanese mountaintops are quite the sight to behold, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't spend the first twelve minutes of my contract skating through its icy peaks and perching on a balcony.
But let's talk about the mission itself, as opposed to the surroundings that, may I say, completely steal the show for all the right reasons. Hokkaido wasn't the enormous sandbox level that we might have hoped for, but it was incredibly busy. From the moment we took the place of a patient in the mountain-top hospital, obstacles hurled at us left, right and centre. Again, having the classic two targets to execute and a whole facility packed full of tools, muscle memory soon started to kick in. Before long, it was goodbye Tobias, and hello 47.
2. Berlin — Hitman 3
Watching Agent 47 try and peddle drugs in a back alley warehouse rave on the outskirts of Berlin will never not be funny. It's whack out of character, even by his standards, which is what makes it even more hilarious. And let's not forget the fact that the Berlin contract also contained one of the most brutal structures of all. Again, adding to its overall appeal.
Having to infiltrate a rave with no training wheels to course us to our targets was a challenge well worth taking. It was as if IO Interactive had spent all this time preparing us, just to have us saddle up and hit the ground running. Berlin was jam-packed full of interesting locations and characters, and its methods of execution were true to the classic Hitman style.
1. Sapienza — Hitman 3
As much as we adore the prime real estate and towering mountain locations, nothing quite beats a quaint town with a few well constructed buildings and a whole lot of underground secrets. Sapienza, thankfully, bundled in the lot, and it paid off remarkably well. Most would even agree that it was IO Interactive working to their fullest extent, using every tool in the kit to build a location worthy of making the video game hall of fame.
Not only could you dress as a golf instructor and seduce one of your targets, but also take on the role of scientist to infiltrate an underground research facility, where you had to destroy a virus that had the power to turn the world on its axis. Sapienza had it all, and it was beautiful. It was, in all fairness, the most memorable mission in all of the modern series.
So, what's your take? Do you agree with our top five? Let us know over on our socials here or down in the comments below.