Hitman 3 Cognitive Accessibility Review — with Stacey Jenkins

Stacey Jenkins5 minute read

Curious about Hitman 3 from a cognitive perspective? Stacey has you covered!

Watch ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS FUN | Hitman 3 | Cognitive Accessibility Review on YouTube


What’s up friends, welcome back.

Today we’re going to be taking a look at Hitman 3, the final game in the World of Assassination trilogy from IO interactive in which you get to take Agent 47 around the world to exotic locations to maim and murder people. I have somehow never played a Hitman game before which I know is freaking wild because I love stealth games and I love killing people but it was just one of those franchises that I never found the time to play but it’s been a pretty quiet month for game releases so I thought I would give it a go so thank you very much to Square Enix for providing me a copy of this game because I have literally not stopped playing it. I’m going to be taking a look at how accessible the game is not only to a new player to the franchise but also in terms of cognitive accessibility – if you want to learn more about what that is please do check out the video here or click the link in the description below.

When the game starts up, you’re given the chance to play an optional tutorial – this is the same tutorial as the previous Hitman games so if you’ve played either of the previous two, you might want to jump straight back into the game but it is there to go back and play at any time you like. This is actually super cool and quite rare these days, a lot of the games have a kind of hands-on tutorial woven into the beginning of the story which is really nice and it’s one of my favourite ways to learn a new game but if you do need to go back and play it at any point to give yourself a refresher, sometimes it’s not possible unless you start the whole game over again, start a new save so being able to replay the tutorial anytime it’s not just good for people with cognitive issues but if you’ve also taken a break from the game and you’ve come back to finish it and you’ve forgotten how anything works, it’s super cool to be able to have that option to go back and play the tutorial. I make use of that all the time because I forget what I’m doing… all of the time.

The Hitman tutorial is actually pretty great and teaches you the concepts one by one, giving you the chance to put on disguises, hide bodies, distract enemies all that kind of stuff. I definitely recommend playing through the tutorial if you’re new to Hitman because it’s really good at getting you up to speed and giving you the tools that you need to have fun and progress through the main levels. Controls are pretty standard if you’re used to stealth games, unfortunately there’s no option to remap any of the controls and you can’t change things from hold to toggle or vice versa – except for weapon aim, which was kind of weird. This would have been pretty useful for the other buttons that you have to hold like sprint. Having to hold these buttons down for long periods of time can be super difficult and super fatiguing for some players, so the option to switch them to a toggle would go a long way, so I’m not entirely sure why that was there for weapon aim but nothing else? Story missions are really really useful in teaching you the level – showing you the main characters movements, giving you an opportunity to kill them in a couple different ways. I personally would have liked some further story missions or additional objectives just to help me go that extra step further. I think that’s just my personal opinion but I’m the kind of player that likes structure and like a clear vision of what I need to do, which makes sandbox type games quite difficult for me. I feel like if there’s not enough direction in the game, it tends to frustrate me and annoy me and I end up just like falling off the game altogether. I think games where you can do anything and have to experiment to figure out what you need to do can be quite overwhelming for some players, especially those of us that have cognitive impairments but I understand that is a huge part of Hitman, that is a core part of the game so I wouldn’t want to change that necessarily. I would just dig maybe a couple extra mission stories or objectives, maybe put those missions in casual mode so that players that need a little bit more assistance can get that bit of extra help learning their way around a map.

I found the navigation in the game pretty good, especially when following a story mission you get a marker to follow and the mini map can be really useful. The markers are pretty small though, even at the biggest size which was disappointing. I really like the bright yellow and red indicators that let you know when you’re in trouble, it’s super clear and it’s not intrusive in any way. As it’s a third-person game I didn’t experience any motion sickness which was great but definitely be careful on the Berlin map in particular if you’re photosensitive because there are a lot of flashing lights in the club, so just be aware of that. Memory wise, anything that you overhear or learn gets saved in the Intel menu so you can go back and read it which is great for people that forget things quickly like me but the menu text is actually so small that I can’t really see it from my sofa, so I sometimes have to get my husband to read it out for me because I I can’t see it. The game has basic subtitles and they actually go up to really decent size but there aren’t any speaker names or any kind of visual indicator on who’s talking, which makes it kind of confusing sometimes. There can be a lot of overlapping speech that gets muddled together and sometimes important speech can be missed altogether.

Overall, although I think it has some things missing and it could definitely be a little bit better, I was able to get into it and get hooked on it super easily so I really loved it. There’s something about doing the same map and watching the characters go through the same motions over and over again but doing it in slightly different ways that my brain really clicked with… I did just get my autism diagnosis a couple weeks ago which probably explains that but I’d be super keen to know if any of you guys felt the same way about the repetitive nature of the levels.

If you have managed to have some time with Hitman 3 let me know what you thought of it in the comments, let me know if you had any barriers playing the game and I will see you next time. Bye!

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JenkinsWorkshop Developer and FacilitatorShe/They

Stacey works with Can I Play That? to develop valuable training for game developers to ensure that all content is inclusive and accessible for the whole community. With fibromyalgia and Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), Stacey has ‘pain brain’ which affects her cognitive function when it comes to gaming. She has used her own personal experience to consult on cognitive accessibility and to educate others on topics such as diversity and inclusion, life as a disabled streamer, and accessibility in gaming. Stacey has spoken at multiple TwitchCons, the wonderful GAconf, and has spoken at GDC 2021 with Courtney, delivering a special version of their a11y workshop. An aspiring assassin and lover of all things spooky, Stacey loves stealth, horror, and the occasional cozy game. Okay, a lot of cozy games.

See all articles by Stacey

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