Hitman 3 Tips And Tricks: How To Be A Shadow Assassin

Here's what you need to know to sneak up on your Hitman 3 targets, assassinate them without being noticed, and get away like a shadow.

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Hitman 3 is a very big game--like its predecessors, its levels are intricate and sprawling, with a huge number of characters and locations within each one. In Hitman 3, the World of Assassination gains a few new details as well, like shortcuts that can give you permanent paths through levels that would otherwise be much more difficult to navigate. But if you're new to the Hitman series or you bounced off in the past, finding your way through the game can be difficult. Hitman 3 seems like a standard stealth game, but it's much more reliant on observation, planning, and patience. You won't see everything a Hitman 3 level has to offer on your first playthrough, but the more you explore, the more opportunities for silent assassinations or brutal mayhem you'll uncover.

We've compiled 10 tips that can help you get the most out of Hitman 3 and can send you down the path of mastering its levels and becoming an all-star assassin. While you're at it, check out our other coverage of the game--you can read our Hitman 3 review and dive into a whole host of Hitman 3 guides and walkthroughs that will help you uncover every secret the game has to offer.

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1. Mission Stories Are Your Easy Introduction

At first glance, any given Hitman mission can be completely overwhelming. You often start somewhere outside the target area in clothes that can make you stand out, and just finding an infiltration path and knowing which disguise to grab is often confusing. Doing well at Hitman is about learning the intricacies of an area and its people.

Almost every mission in Hitman 3 and its predecessors include "Mission Stories," which are more or less guided paths through the mission that lead you to assassination opportunities. You can find them either by overhearing specific conversations (they'll prompt you with "Mission Story Revealing" at the top of the screen to let you know how important they are) or by selecting them in the mission's menu screen. It's best to start any given mission by completing some or all of the available stories, as they'll help you complete your objectives without getting totally lost in a mission. You can explore as much as you want, gather additional information if you like, and learn which areas are off-limits and require different disguises, but the story will give you everything you need. And usually, a mission story ends with the opportunity to complete an Assassination Challenge (or more than one). These are great ways to ease into missions, so take advantage of them.

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2. Go Slow And Observe

The World of Assassination games are about possibilities. Mission Stories highlight a few key ways to get around a mission and open up assassination opportunities, but there's always a whole lot more to find in any given mission. Most of the information you'll glean comes from overhearing conversations, so sneaking around areas and listening closely can go a long way. Sometimes characters will talk about different means by which you can assassinate your targets; sometimes they'll share information about door codes or hidden pathways. Eavesdrop on everything you can and you'll open up all sorts of different pathways for yourself.

Watching the paths of specific characters and your assassination targets can help you a lot as well. Seeing where enemies go, when they're alone, and when they do things like eat food or drink water can give you chances to knock them out and take their clothes or execute them unseen. The worst thing you can do in Hitman 3 is try to rush through a situation--you'll probably get spotted, outed, and killed if you do. In this game, knowledge is power, and you gain that knowledge by being patient. Think of Hitman 3 and its predecessors more as puzzle games than stealth games.

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3. Your "Instinct" Vision Helps You See All Angles

You'll want to rely on Agent 47's Instinct vision mode just about all the time. It'll let you see your targets through walls so you know where to find them, show you a general sense of where other characters are if they're relatively close by, and show you anything in the nearby environment that you can interact with. Hitman 3 is about options for how you deal with any given situation, and Instinct lets you see what those options are. It's important to note, though, that while you can see enemies through walls, you won't be able to see interactable objects--so make sure you're moving around to multiple viewing angles to make sure you can spot everything you can pick up or use. Instinct is especially good for helping you find things like keys that can help you get into areas of a mission you wouldn't otherwise reach. Make use of it often, as it'll let you see opportunities that you'd otherwise miss.

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4. Have A Plan To Dispose Of Bodies

Knocking out characters and stealing their clothes to disguise yourself is the central loop of Hitman 3 and the games that came before it. But just as important as disguising yourself is keeping evidence away from prying eyes that might make guards suspicious. That means carefully disposing of any bodies you create. Putting bodies in laundry bins, wooden boxes, bushes, or standing lockers will keep casual observers from locating them, and that can help you maintain your cover throughout a mission. Likewise, bodies you leave out in the open are very likely to get discovered by characters who might show up well after you sneak off to do something else. Discovered bodies not only alert guards and send them searching for you, they also decrease your overall score at the end of a mission.

Playing Hitman 3 well usually requires careful planning, so while a patrolling guard might look like an enticing target to change your disguise, it's inadvisable to ever knock someone out or kill them unless you know exactly where you're going to put their body. Instinct Vision will help you identify places to dump bodies, so check your surroundings before committing to a knockout.

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5. If You're Firing Your Gun, You're Probably Doing It Wrong

Yes, you carry a silenced pistol with you in most missions in Hitman 3. However, this is not your usual stealth game, and more often than not, firing your gun should be used only as a last resort to get out of a sticky situation. Your goal in any given level is to kill only your targets, and to do so in such a way that nobody suspects you (or, ideally, even knows the target has died). Once enemies know you're not one of them, they'll get hostile in a hurry, and anyone who spots you with a gun will usually get suspicious.

So in getting the hang of Hitman, realize that you want to avoid conflict, not stoke it. The game is about finding the right disguise, staying out of sight of suspicious enemies, and only engaging your targets when it's safe to do so. It's not about fighting enemies or shooting your way out of bad situations (for the most part). Of course, once you get used to how Hitman 3 plays, you'll probably want to experiment with the chaos you can create--at which point, fire away. But if you're having trouble with finishing Hitman 3 levels, it's probably due to being overly aggressive.

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6. Always Pick Up Tools (Screwdrivers, Wrenches, Crowbars, Poison)

Lots of things in Hitman 3 are interactive, offering ways to distract enemies, manipulate character movements, eliminate targets, or create paths to get around. But you can't interact with many or even most of those objects with your bare hands. To open a locked door, expose an electrical wire, poison a drink, or turn a water valve, you'll need tools.

It's good practice to snag tools whenever you see them, in fact. Unlike guns or knives, tools such as screwdrivers, crowbars, and wrenches aren't illegal to have on your person or hold in your hands. In fact, you can get through a security frisk with your pockets filled with potentially dangerous blunt objects. Grabbing tools when you see them will give you more opportunities to take out your assassination targets when you're ready to do so--it's a pain to have to go hunting for a specific tool when you're otherwise all ready to execute a kill.

The other upshot of tools is they make great blunt objects for pacifying characters. Throw a wrench or a crowbar at a character and you'll knock them out cold; hit them in the head with that object and they'll go down quicker than if you choke them out. Having tools on-hand can help you escape danger, deal with guards, and pull off cooler assassinations, so make sure you're stocked up.

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7. Use The Cover System To Avoid Being Seen

Sometimes, you have to sneak past enemies and there's no avoiding it. Even if you're wearing the right disguise for an area, some guards and characters are hypervigilant and they'll recognize that you're an imposter. You can tell who these people are by a white dot that appears over their head, marking them as dangerous. They'll become suspicious if you fall into their line of sight for too long, especially up close. But it's still possible to slip right past them.

You can stick to walls and objects and take cover by pressing B on an Xbox controller or X on a PlayStation controller. Doing so makes you a lot tougher to spot than if you're just standing in the open, and you can slink around corners. Use cover to avoid enemies searching for you, to stay out of their lines of sight, and to slip past cameras. And if you do get into a firefight, use cover to keep yourself alive long enough to escape.

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8. Coins Are The Best

Probably the most important item in your possession isn't your gun--it's a coin. You can toss coins near guards and other characters to distract them; if they don't see who threw the coin, they'll leave their posts and investigate the noise. Coins are great for getting people into secluded locations so you can knock them out and steal their clothes, and they're relatively easy to come by. You always want a handful of coins in your pocket because they'll get you out of a lot of rough situations. Just know that anybody who finds a coin you threw will pick it up and take it.

It's also worth noting that lots of objects will function like coins if you toss them near characters. If an object makes a noise, usually, people will go looking for them. And dropped objects in people's lines of sight will often cause them to investigate. Just don't let people see you drop stuff--they react badly, and sometimes, they'll get suspicious of your littering and try to run you down.

Finally, know that you don't have to just throw items on the ground or drop them. You can also place objects in specific locations by pressing both bumpers on a controller. Placing objects keeps the noise down, allowing people to find them on their own. And certain objects you place down are effective in different ways than if you threw them. Place a banana on the ground, for instance, and you'll turn it into a banana peel, which will cause enemies to fall down when they step on it.

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9. Use Dropped Guns To Distract Guards

Speaking of dropped objects, guns are actually particularly useful not as weapons but as distractions. While some objects will be investigated if they make noise and other will be ignored by most people, anyone who spots a gun on the ground will immediately react. Civilians will notify guards of loose guns on the ground, and guards will drop what they're doing if they see a gun and take it to a weapons lockup, often in a security room.

All that means that you can use loose guns to distract characters and disrupt routines. Use a gun to get a guard out of the way when you need to sneak through an area or leave a target unprotected. Again, just make sure that you're not spotted dropping or placing a gun, because that will immediately make most characters suspicious of you.

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10. Search For Shortcuts

New to Hitman 3 is the shortcut system. Each of the game's levels includes several shortcuts that you can unlock, creating new paths through the level that persist from mission to mission. That means if you find a shortcut ladder or locked door, the shortcut will be waiting for you the next time you load into the level. Usually, shortcuts give you fast-tracks to different locations, disguises, and even assassination opportunities. Unlocking them also completes mastery challenges, so they're doubly worth tracking down.

The thing you need to know about shortcuts, however, is that they're always locked. Whether they're doors or ladders, you won't be able to activate them just by finding them. A crowbar or lockpick will allow you to access a shortcut, so make sure you have tools with you at all times, in case you stumble across a shortcut as you explore.

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