The Hitman franchise, which has been around for over 20 years and includes eight mainline titles and two mobile spin-offs, has taken the concept of stealth gaming to a whole new level. While stealth games have been referred to as a more cerebral type of action game, IO Interactive has taken this a step further with the Hitman series.

Compared to other stealth games like Splinter Cell and Metal Gear Solid, Hitman's level design is much more expansive in scope. The levels require careful planning and strategic thinking, and players can spend hours exploring each mission to discover the best ways to eliminate Agent 47's targets and achieve the coveted Silent Assassin rank.

10. Hitman: Codename 47

In 2000, Hitman: Codename 47 was launched as the initial installment of the series. It introduced key gameplay features such as the use of disguises, the hidden sniper rifle, and the requirement for stealth, laying the foundation for the series' success.

Hitman: Codename 47

Similar to the latest entries in the franchise, the game incentivizes players to complete missions using the most efficient methods while penalizing them for killing innocent people or being seen by witnesses. However, some of these mechanics may appear outdated by contemporary standards, resulting in a somewhat unrefined gaming experience.

Hitman: Codename 47 has solely been available on PC and was later retold in Hitman Contracts. Fans would appreciate a remastered version of the game using the current engine.

9. Hitman: Absolution

Hitman: Absolution was first released in 2012 on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, and later made available on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One as part of the Hitman HD Enhanced Collection in 2019. This edition introduced several new gameplay mechanics and features such as Instinct Mode and Online Contracts.

Hitman: Absolution

However, the game's level design felt more limited than previous installments, with only Hunter and Hunted providing some variety in location and size. Additionally, in the latter stages of the game, players often found themselves in frustrating and unavoidable firefights, detracting from the beloved stealth-based gameplay. Despite these shortcomings, Hitman: Absolution remains an exhilarating experience in the stealth genre.

8. Hitman: Contracts

Hitman: Contracts was launched in 2004 for PlayStation 2, Xbox, and PC, providing players with a chance to revisit the original game's events without having to play it again. The game features reworked and retold missions from the first game, as recounted through the memories of a critically injured Agent 47.

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Hitman: Contracts

The game's tone is much darker and more violent than its predecessors, with the opening level at Meat King's nightclub setting the tone. Contracts takes players on a global tour, including Romania, Siberia, the UK, Rotterdam, Budapest, Hong Kong, and finally, Paris. The Paris level concludes with an epilogue inspired by the movie Leon: The Professional. This entry in the series is just as good as the newer titles and is one of the darkest in terms of its story and tone.

7. Hitman 2: Silent Assassin

Hitman 2 was launched in 2002 for PC, PlayStation 2, GameCube, and Xbox, providing players with an authentic sandbox experience that became the standard for future games in the series. The game is also available as part of the Hitman Trilogy and Hitman HD Enhanced Collection, both of which feature HD remasters. While the first game in the series felt like a prototype, Hitman 2: Silent Assassin refined everything to create the game fans know and love today.

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Hitman 2: Silent Assassin

Disguises and hiding in plain sight played a significant role in the game's emphasis on stealth. Players could eliminate targets and earn a Silent Assassin grade in various ways, such as poisoning drinks, setting up traps, or sniping from a distance. Although players could also use an aggressive approach, the real reward came from playing as the assassin Agent 47 was meant to be.

6. Hitman 3 VR

Hitman 3 offers an outstanding VR mode on the PlayStation 4, and it is also compatible with the PlayStation 5 through backward compatibility. The VR mode is exclusively available on the PSVR and offers an immersive experience as players can play the game from Agent 47's perspective.

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Hitman 3 VR

The VR mode provides players with a new viewpoint that enables them to observe the game environment in unique ways. It is one of the most visually appealing games on the PSVR, which is surprising given the size and scope of the missions. Hitman 3's VR mode is now part of the game's year 2 plan on the PC. However, it is a direct port of the PSVR version, lacking any of the improvements that many PC players may have anticipated.

5. Hitman (2016)

Hitman, which was released in 2016, acted as both a reboot for the entire series and a sequel to Hitman: Absolution. It went back to its roots with non-linear sandboxes filled with content and replay value that could compete with most single-player experiences.

Hitman (2016)

The game was launched as episodic content, which surprisingly worked well considering the size of each level. The structured release schedule allowed players to explore and experience everything offered. The first part of the World of Assassination trilogy, Hitman, also took advantage of the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S enhancements that came with Hitman 3.

4. Hitman: Blood Money

Hitman: Blood Money is the fourth game in the series and is highly regarded by fans. The game's story is often considered the most captivating in the series and is told through interview segments between a journalist and the ex-director of the FBI.

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Hitman: Blood Money

The game's sandbox-level design was more flexible than its successor, Absolution. It featured some of the most diverse and unforgettable missions in the series. Moreover, the enemy AI was significantly improved, and the introduction of the notoriety system added to the game's tense atmosphere.

3. Hitman 2 (2018)

Hitman 2 is the second installment in the rebooted series and continues the storyline from the previous game. The developers, IO Interactive, decided to release the game as a complete package instead of episodic content. The game still offers vast and highly detailed levels similar to its predecessor, but with further improvements in quality and design.

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Hitman 2 (2018)

Each mission in the game provides players with hours of gameplay to fully explore and master the different approaches and opportunities available. Furthermore, the game offers even more replay value as new objectives become available after completing missions, opening up new possibilities to experiment with the various cause-and-effect scenarios that unfold.

2. Hitman 3

Hitman 3, the final installment in the World of Assassination trilogy, is considered by many to be the greatest Hitman game ever made. It takes a more cinematic approach compared to its predecessors and serves as an impressive conclusion to the fantastic library of Hitman games. One of the most remarkable levels in the game is the Dartmoor mission, which is inspired by the murder mystery film Knives Out. While previous Hitman games have felt like Mission Impossible or James Bond films, Hitman 3 seems like a preview of what's to come in the studio's forthcoming Bond game, Project 007.

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Hitman 3

Furthermore, if players own the previous two games, they can access the Legacy missions, which enable them to replay older games with new features and improved graphics on the PS5 and Xbox Series X. The support for Hitman 3 continues with its Seven Deadly Sins DLC, which offers enhanced missions centered around the Seven Deadly Sins. Each level features unique rewards such as weapons and gear for completing them.

1. Hitman: World of Assassination

In January 2023, an update was released that repackaged the Hitman trilogy as Hitman: World of Assassination. This new version provides fans with easier access to all three games without requiring them to activate season passes for legacy content. Those who own Hitman 3 can access the trilogy package, but if fans want access to the Seven Deadly Sins content, they must purchase the Deluxe Pack.

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Hitman: World of Assassination

In addition to the rebranding, Hitman: World of Assassination also includes the new Freelancer Mode. Freelancer is a roguelike that places Agent 47 in randomized missions and targets. As players complete hits and side objectives, they earn Mercer points that can be used to buy better equipment and weapons. However, if players fail a mission, they will lose half of their Mercer points, and continued failure will end the Freelancer campaign, forcing players to start again. Agent 47 can keep all the items and weapons he collects from each mission and store them at the home base.

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