Hitman 3 – Cloud Version review for Nintendo Switch | Excellent game, decent streaming

IO Interactive‘s World of Assassination trilogy comes to its dramatic conclusion with Hitman 3. The game embodies the idea of playing how you want, presenting you with intricately designed sandboxes to play around in. Agent 47 is sent out on his last set of missions as he finishes off the remaining Partners of Providence, and there’s nothing quite like stalking your target, waiting for the perfect opportunity, and delivering the final blow. Switch owners are able to experience all of this through Hitman 3 – Cloud Version, and the experience pleasantly surprised me compared to previous experiences I’ve had with streaming games.

Granted, it definitely isn’t the best way to experience the game — other platforms will provide a more consistent performance. The chances are you will encounter some input lag and frame rate troubles, but Hitman 3 – Cloud Version is still playable despite these issues. It brings the trilogy to a satisfying conclusion, while also acting as a hub for all three games: If you missed out on Hitman 1 and 2, there are optional DLC purchases that unlock missions from both games.

The World of Assassination

Hitman 3 provides a set of six distinct missions to tackle. On the surface, this seems pretty lackluster. However, the game revels in the concept of replayablity. This is achieved through open-ended level design with multiple ways to eliminate your targets. Each mission comes with its own set of “mission stories,” sidequest-like objectives that allow you to discover new ways to assassinate a target. One such story sees Agent 47 posing as a detective in an attempt to solve a murder mystery. This particular piece of content has different outcomes depending on your actions. It all culminates with your target deeming you trustworthy — presenting you with the opportunity to strike.

There are extra modes to experiment with as well. Hitman‘s Contracts mode returns in the third installment, allowing you to create your own missions. You are able to select a location from the game’s mission roster and pick any NPC as a potential target. These player-created missions can then be uploaded to the server, so your friends and other players can try to complete them. Other modes include Sniper Assassin, Elusive Targets, and Escalations. Although these side activities are excellent distractions, connecting to the Hitman servers is a challenge in its own right. Occasionally, a message will pop up saying that you have disconnected from the Hitman servers. This happens more frequently than it should and can even occur during a campaign mission.

Like I mentioned earlier, Hitman 3 – Cloud Version gives you the option to play missions from the other two games, greatly extending playtime and adding more locations to explore. This does require you to pay a little bit extra, with the content being sold as in-game add-ons, but it’s understandable since this is the series’s debut on Nintendo Switch. My favorite mission is “The Finish Line” from Hitman 2, and playing this portably provided a lot of novelty. Without spoiling too much, Agent 47 needs to infiltrate a Formula 1-inspired race course and eliminate two targets.

Up in the clouds

Hitman 3 – Cloud Version on Nintendo Switch relies on a solid internet connection. Unfortunately, this means that you are unlikely to get the same smooth experience you would with another platform. The main issue with Hitman 3 on Switch is the input lag. This is especially noticeable when aiming, as it often results in your missing a crucial shot. As a stealth action game, missing a shot can often attract unwanted attention. I found this to be manageable while playing in docked mode — but an absolute nightmare in handheld.

I recommend the use of a Pro Controller when playing Hitman 3, as the Joy-Con proved unreliable. It was apparent when I was trying to pull off a headshot; the bullet often ended up in a wall instead. This subsequently alerted nearby enemies, making my life more difficult. Moments like this constantly reminded me of the restrictions of cloud gaming. However, there’s no denying how impressive it is that cloud streaming can make the game playable on Switch at all.

I also played through the entire game on Xbox Series X, to compare the performance. On Xbox, the game runs beautifully. In comparison, the Nintendo Switch version runs at a modest 30 FPS if your internet is up to the task. I found that the Switch version still looked great, partially due to the auto adjustment system in place for cloud streaming. It doesn’t have the bells and whistles that the Xbox Series X version has, but when the streaming quality is at its peak — the visuals are extremely impressive.

My internet runs at average speeds, so the performance was all over the place at times, especially on launch day. The game drops frames in larger populated areas, but as the game is slow-moving, this isn’t really much of a hindrance. It can be frustrating, but the game is still playable.

Hitman 3 – Cloud Version provides a set of distinct and entertaining missions, each with their own unique objectives and environments to explore. The Nintendo Switch version is by no means the definitive way to play, and input lag and dips in performance are likely to occur depending on your bandwidth. But if you want a brilliant stealth game on Switch, Hitman 3 definitely delivers, and it is a great finale for Agent 47.

Release Date: Jan. 20, 2020
No. of Players: 1 player

A review code was provided by the publisher.