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First Look: Hitman 3 VR – PSVR

Hitman 3 in VR is a big deal and a boon for Sony’s headset. The PSVR has been out for a long time and it has been showing its age, but being able to play not only Hitman 3 but retroactively Hitman 1 and 2 completely in VR, is one of the best VR deals out there. So let’s check it out.

I spent all day playing Hitman 3 in VR, and I’ll have a full review for both the VR and flat version soon, but for now, here are my first impressions. First of all, it looks pretty damn good, even on my OG PS4. There is significant pop in, however. You’ll notice it as soon as the first level when empty wine glasses (not unlike my wife’s) suddenly become full as you walk closer. Or when wall decorations suddenly appear and spread out. Despite this, it is one of the best looking games on the platform, and while it is a little blurry in the distance and suffers from some pop in, it didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the game. But you should know, I’m the guy who played and loved CyberPunk 2077 on a PS5, so what the hell do I know?

I think we all knew it would look pretty good thanks to the gameplay video we’ve already seen, but everyone wants to know how it plays with only support for the DualShock 4. Well, it’s completely playable with some serious caveats. It has full locomotion with smooth turning, which is great, but not having full motion controls is disappointing no matter how you look at it. For me, with only the DS4 controller is in my hand, Hitman 3 becomes just a video game and not the visceral VR adventure that I wanted after playing instant classics like Half-Life: Alyx and TWD: Saints & Sinners. To be fair to the DS4, however, it handles itself admirably. During the opening tutorial, I felt pleasantly surprised about the amount of interaction the DS4 allowed. Punching out guards, or reaching up to choke a bitch, and of course, firing pistols and rifles left me feeling optimistic, despite the worst VR sniper approach I’ve personally ever played. But just a couple of missions in and the camera-based controls combined with the DS4 made it more cumbersome than I hoped.

Some of my problems here are no doubt due to me playing mostly wireless via the Quest and Virtual Desktop for the last year. It took me a long time to remember I could actually move after playing PSVR exclusively for years, and now I can’t seem to stand still. That is especially problematic here because there is a little circle in front of you at stomach height. When you have an item in your hand and you want to put it away, you hover your hand over that circle until it enlarges. Then you drop the item. It’s important to do this quickly to remain incognito, but for me, that circle was always missing because I was unable to stand perfectly still. I was left spinning around staring straight down looking for the stupid circle. If you’re gonna make us use the least immersive controller option, why not just map this action to a button?

I know there are diehard PSVR fans that are shaking their heads at my ignorant complaints right now, and I know this because that was me just over a year ago. But the truth is that Hitman 3 VR with the DualShock 4 is clumsy. Most of this was unavoidable due to the hardware, but there is no reason that they had to settle on this sniping method or saddle us with the current inventory system. With that being said, you’ll eventually spend hours sneaking around in plain sight, doing all of the dirty deeds that Agent 47 is so good at and a lot of gamers aren’t going to care about a few tracking issues.

I know plenty of PSVR gamers who are overjoyed that the DS4 is an option here, and I’m glad too, however, I hope developer IOI is able to add a Move controller option someday. But either way, Hitman 3 is shaping up to be a really good game, and I’m ecstatic that they have made it so PSVR-friendly. It may not be the ideal way to play the game for me, but it’s damn good and it’s a big deal for all of VR and frankly, a game PSVR lovers deserved.

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