I’m not usually very good at exploring Hitman’s intricate level design, truth be told. There’s a sense of anxiety that looms over me whenever I play a stealth game, this sinking feeling that tells me I must not fail, must not be spotted. As a result, I just feel too burdened and nervous to actually play the game. Getting caught isn’t the end of the world, but I often feel like it will be.
So it’s unusual, if not contradictory, that virtual reality would assuage some of that concern for me. I find that instead of second-guessing each turn I take and each NPC I linger near, I just move forward without concern or doubt. I turn my head, double-check if anyone is following close to my back, sneaking around the environment without a care, and then I punch someone straight in the back of the head. And I do it again. And again. And again.
IO Interactive is fully aware of what needs to be done to make a comprehensive and, most importantly, comfortable VR experience, and as such, Hitman 3 plays out very differently in VR. While playing the game usually, choking someone out requires sneaking up on them before cuddling them into submission.
In VR, having you make grand movements without your input, or turning the camera against where you turn your head, can result in catastrophic nausea. It makes you feel unwell, and you will take the headset off quickly. IO wanted to avoid that, and as such, you can just punch NPCs in the skull.
It makes so much sense, really. Making the complex animation work in VR would’ve been a fruitless chore, and fading to a black screen is a disappointing compromise – one that IO has had to do to cover other animations. But the act of knocking someone out is important, so the team knew they had to get this right. Twatting someone in the noggin is genius, and so satisfying.
It’s also far more expedient than having to cuddle and caress each guard whose pyjamas you want to steal. To punch someone in the back of the head, you hold R2 to make Agent 47 ball his hand into a fist, and then you thrust the controller forward to throw the most ineffective-looking, slapstick punch you’ve seen since Bottom Live. And just like Bottom, everyone you punch sells it as hard as they can.
A simple pop to the nose or the side of the head, and boom, they’re on the floor like a Premier League footballer in a breeze, unconscious, ready to be dragged around and undressed as you please. They sell being hit in the face more than any professional wrestler, and it is incredible.
I feel powerful and virile, and my anxieties of being caught as I explore the world around me entirely fade away as I bop everyone in sight. If anyone sees me performing my dirty deeds, they immediately get punched in the nose, and I will carry on with my day as if nothing happened. Now I understand why One Punch Man’s Saitama has to punch with such discretion: with great power comes great replayability.
Next: Hitman 3’s Dartmoor Whodunit Is The Best Level In The Trilogy
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TheGamer Guides Editor. Opinionated about Nintendo.
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