Since Agent 47 took his first victim in 2000, the series has become a favorite for lots of action-stealth video game fans. Hitman’s protagonist is one of the most memorable video game characters of all time. He’s even bloodied the silver screen on two occasions. So we’d like to take a look at the series and rank the best Hitman games from least to most favorite.
The Hitman series has had its highlights through 6 installments and 2 spin-offs. Most probably every player has their own personal favorite too. Still, here’s our take on the Hitman series.
Best Hitman Games #8 – Hitman Codename 47 (2000)
Hitman: Codename 47 was the game that introduced players to Agent 47 — the famous, bald, suited assassin with a barcode tattooed on his occiput. It was a third-person game that offered some pretty tense stealth gameplay. Codename 47 was quite unlike anything else at the time. You could catch a whiff of Deus Ex, Thief, and Metal Gear Solid, but its focus on silent killing was unique.
While playing a hitman in a video game was no doubt cool, Codename 47 suffered from quite a few flaws. The lack of manual saves, a poor control scheme, and very high difficulty didn’t mix for a seamlessly pleasurable experience. Also, like later entries, the voice acting wasn’t that great either. Nevertheless, Codename 47 was still a superb start for the series.
Best Hitman Games #7 – Hitman: Sniper (2015)
This spin-off for smartphones and tablets focuses on one aspect of Hitman’s gameplay: shooting with a sniper rifle. There is very little narrative as Agent 47 travels to a posh neighborhood in Montenegro for a sniping party.
Hitman: Sniper does incorporate some interesting puzzle elements into gameplay. For instance, guards can be lured away from patrol routes by activating car alarms. It’s also possible to kill enemies in devious ways like shooting a glass railing or by turning a giant fan on, sending them rolling down a mountain with a well-timed shot.
The problem is that Hitman: Sniper takes place entirely in only one location. It gets a little monotonous when all you’re doing is shooting at things or people with a sniper rifle over and over again. It’s a cool little time-waster but we prefer Hitman Go.
Best Hitman Games #6 – Hitman: Absolution (2012)
Anticipation for Hitman: Absolution was high and it turned out to be another solid entry in the series. However, this game focused more on story and spectacle overall than in delivering open-ended assassination missions. In fact, Absolution boasts production values above all else. Its visuals are superb and there is a wide variety of locations to soak in. Also, Absolution most likely has one of the most compelling stories of betrayal and revenge in the series.
Some sections are rather linear and feature a bit too much slow motion shooting. The enemy AI also definitely leaves something to be desired. This probably annoyed some Hitman fans after the stealth masterpiece that the earlier Hitman: Blood Money was.
Best Hitman Games #5 – Hitman: Contracts (2004)
Hitman: Contracts was a great follow-up to the superb Hitman 2: Silent Assassin. It features the same good mix of stealth and action and a variety of assassination missions. These take place in locations from Romania to Rotterdam. Agent 47 goes after the usual unsavory types like arms dealers, sociopaths, and even corrupt noblemen. Contracts also totes a great musical score by Jesper Kyd and some lovely cutscenes.
Contracts didn’t bring much improvement in terms of graphics and gameplay, though. Playing the normal difficulty level, it’s still quite easy to clear levels by massacre instead of using stealth. Contracts pushed the series forward but doesn’t deliver anything particularly remarkable.
Best Hitman Games #4 – Hitman 2: Silent Assassin (2002)
This sequel to the original Hitman video game is still the best-selling game in the series to date. It seems like every aspiring video game assassin has to pay their dues here. IO Interactive took everything that was great about the original game and refined the formula to offer one of the best stealth and action titles seen at the time. Things might appear to begin innocently, with protagonist Agent 47 having retired to an Italian church in order to lead a quiet life. However, he’s soon back in action, working as an assassin and taking on contracts in locations throughout the world.
This Hitman entry isn’t without its issues, though. The campaign was rather short, and blazing through missions was sometimes as effective as resorting to stealth. Nonetheless, Hitman 2: Silent Assassin was (and still is) a fantastic sequel to the original, no doubt.
Best Hitman Games #3 – Hitman Go (2014)
This nice spin-off of the main Hitman series features turn-based gameplay. It looks and plays like a board game. The goal is to reach a designated point on each of the diorama-like levels, taking out those pesky guards along the way. Players also get to assassinate a target in true Agent 47 style in some of the levels. The puzzling action is set to the haunting “Ave Maria” song often heard in the series.
Of course, those fond of mission briefings and Hitman’s usual conspiracy-soaked plots will find nothing of that here. Still, Agent 47’s dual pistols and trusty sniper rifle will come into play. Hitman Go is a very engaging and addictive puzzle game. It’s now available on Steam in addition to mobile platforms.
Best Hitman Games #2 – Hitman: Blood Money (2006)
Hitman: Blood Money‘s great missions and variety of locations makes it one of the most inspired entries to date. Playing Agent 47 is as compelling as ever, thanks to more open-ended missions than seen in previous entries. This game also amps up the dark humor, adding to its appeal.
While it’s still possible to drop stealth and resort to the game’s arsenal of firearms to get the job done, Blood Money rewards clever thinking.
Blood Money also has some of the series’ best missions to date. These included a particularly memorable one set during Mardi Gras in New Orleans and another taking place in an Egyptian-themed casino in Las Vegas, meaning this Hitman is only second to 2016’s superb reboot game.
Best Hitman Games #1 – Hitman – Game of the Year Edition (2016)
The settings, missions, and characters of this Hitman game have been as great as those seen in the earlier entries. On top of that, this reboot arguably features the best mission in the series yet.
The game’s second episode offers a murder sandbox to relish. You have to put down a paranoid scientist and his research partner in a coastal Italian town. While taking out the duo and destroying a lethal virus is the main objective, you will also get your kill on. You’ll be able to experiment with hundreds of ways to be an assassin.
While the gameplay is as open-ended as Hitman: Blood Money, it also features fantastic graphics and art direction. This surely makes this Hitman reboot the best the series’ has offered to date.
Want to get all the best Hitman games?
If you haven’t played Hitman yet, you can now grab the first 5 installments for less than €13. The Game of the Year Edition is also an entire 58% off right now.