Every modern Hitman level, ranked from worst to best

Hitman levels ranked
(Image credit: IO Interactive)

Hitman's magnificent World of Assassination trilogy has come to an end, so let's celebrate by ranking all 21 levels from worst to best. We put it to a vote, asking the Hitman fans on the team to rank their favourite (and least favourite) levels in order, and this is the result of that poll. You might not agree with it. Hell, most of us don't even agree with it. But that's democracy, baby.

21. Colorado (Hitman 1)

(Image credit: IO Interactive)

Phil: It's not a great sign for a level when it's ranked below Hitman 3's epilogue, a literal straight line, but Colorado probably deserves it. As an environment, it's OK—although far from the most emotive or atmospheric of Hitman locations—and I actually like that IO mixed things up across the trilogy by having a couple of levels that are completely hostile. What drags Colorado down, though, is that its four targets (and bonus mission objective making you do pretty much the same thing each time) make each playthrough a chore.

Andy K: What makes this the weakest Hitman mission for me is that there's no 'safe zone' where I can wander around freely and scout out the level. I like my Hitman missions to be built around a big, public space that I can explore and figure out at my own pace, without any guards bothering me. The setting is also pretty forgettable. Still fundamentally a decent level, but compared to the others, it never stood a chance.

Fraser: There are one or two decent murder opportunities here, but otherwise this is just a dull, hostile level. A Colorado farm is also one of the least exotic locations in the trilogy, and Hitman for me is all about taking a lovely murder holiday somewhere I'd actually like to visit. 

James: Yeah, the location's an odd pick. Take us to a fancy Colorado ski resort, at least.

Morgan: I appreciate the wild concept and the setting, but a map made up of entirely enemies loses a lot of Hitman's social stealth flavour. Maybe its greatest contribution is its status as the hardest level to SASO (Silent Assassin Suit Only) on Master difficulty.

20. Carpathian Mountains (Hitman 3)

Phil: Not even really a level, as much as a short epilogue after Hitman 3's real final level, Mendoza. There are a couple of neat moments here, though, and so it's apparently better than Colorado.

Andy K: The most linear level in the entire trilogy, by virtue of being set aboard a speeding train. You get a tiny amount of freedom in some of the carriages, but mostly you're just doing what IO tells you. It's dramatic and exciting, and looks great (especially that stylish transition at the start), but it's not really a proper Hitman level, is it?

James: I appreciate the off leash approach. Shooting with reckless abandon and no penalty is nice while it lasts. And those endings have some range. 

Fraser: It's a bad Hitman level, but boy do I love a train. It's the only reason I didn't put it dead last.

19. ICA Facility (Hitman 1)

ICA training facility

(Image credit: IO Interactive)

Andy K: Basically a series of tutorial missions, but I find myself replaying them occasionally. I love the way each location is built out of plywood, like a cheap movie set, and the targets and people milling around are actors hired by the ICA. That's a neat touch.

James: Remember how scary this all felt back when? Imposing? Wild. But yeah, like Andy, I'm very into the community theater assassin training here. Are they acting when a hammer bashes 'em in the head?

Phil: I low-key love the framing: of a bunch of ICA accountants or whatever pretending to be murdered by the company's sociopathic trainee. "Aye, Derek, I know you're on a deadline to finish the quarterly report, but we just need you to, er, pretend to get ejected from a jet without a parachute."

Fraser: This probably deserves to be ranked higher, because it's just a great tutorial. So good, in fact, that IO didn't really bother making new ones for 2 and 3.

Morgan: That's true, Fraser. It's a wonderful tutorial and very memorable. I think Hitman is funnier when you think of every level as an elaborate stage play filled with actors, so it's nice that its introduction sets that vibe immediately.

18. Santa Fortuna (Hitman 2)

(Image credit: IO Interactive)

Andy K: I've played this mission a couple of times, but none of it has really stuck with me. The big mansion is fun to infiltrate, but the street area feels too small and strangely artificial. IO usually does a good job of making its levels feel like real places, but I can never shake the feeling that Santa Fortuna is just a level masquerading as one.

James: Santa Fortuna is big in the bad way, where each major section of the level feels pretty damn disjointed from the next. It can make repeat playthroughs pretty tiring. Feeding Rico to his hippo was nice, though. 

Phil: I think we've been harsh here. Yeah, it's a big, stitched-together bundle of stuff that doesn't feel particularly cohesive—you can easily complete the whole level without visiting the big drug fields or jungle section—but there's some clever level design that neatly funnels the player in ways that stop it from feeling overwhelming. 

Fraser: It's too spread out, but I agree with Phil that it still manages to direct you to the good stuff—but that's par for the course with most of these levels.

Morgan: I dig Santa Fortuna, but mostly because I was proud to finally complete its SASO challenge and fully grasp its layout. It has some stellar set-pieces like the falling statue, submarine, and cocaine bus. It's definitely better than a few above it!

17. Marrakesh (Hitman 1)

(Image credit: IO Interactive)

Andy K: A lower placing than I expected for this one. I replayed Marrakesh recently, and I think it's quietly one of the best levels in the series. I love how it's split between the crowded, colourful marketplace and the cold, austere Swedish consulate. I always find that kind of thematic split in a Hitman level very enjoyable. And the market taps into my love of wandering around a level unnoticed, dreaming up fun ways to take my targets down. The soldier-occupied school section isn't much fun, admittedly.

Phil: Yeah, you gave this the highest rating of our panel of judges, Andy. Personally, it came low for me, in part because I think the school-full-of-army-dudes section takes focus away from the best parts of the level. If they'd expanded the market instead, this would have been better in my mind.

Fraser: Phil's spot on—more market and less time back in school would have made this a much stronger level. I'm still surprised it's so low, even though I apparently put this at 17 myself.

Morgan: Andy's right about the thematic split, but I don't come back to this one often. There aren't many clever ways to infiltrate its two main locations and the school is a nightmare of sightlines.

James: Yeah, maybe I'd like it if I spent more time there, but memories of wandering the school and the drained color palette keep it pretty low in the replay queue. 

16. Hawke's Bay (Hitman 2)

(Image credit: IO Interactive)

Andy K: I have a soft spot for this level. It's little more than a single house and a stretch of beach, but I think that (as well as the moody late night atmosphere) is why I love it. I'd like to see more Hitman levels built around smaller, intricately detailed spaces. There are a few entertaining ways to sneak into this house, and I like having to escape at the end with guards roaming the grounds looking for me.

James: I thought we'd see this one higher, though I suppose it's still just a tutorial level. But the eerie, empty beach and the small scale make it the tutorial level I'm happiest to return to. It's a perfect pocket of Hitman, a murder sandbox on an expensive vacation. The ideal introduction. 

Phil: I'm with James in thinking this should be higher—Morgan rated it particularly low, which hurt its rating. As a single target, small location, it's a really fun level for chasing leaderboard scores, which is admittedly not really the point of Hitman, but is nonetheless something I do.

Fraser: Hawke's Bay doesn't really feel like a tutorial, and it definitely seems like the expectation is that new players will play Hitman 1's ICA Facility, but I still really love these tiny, self-contained spaces. Hitman levels are usually vast, so having just a wee house to play around with is a novelty I still enjoy. 

Morgan: Sorry to tank the rating of a favorite, James and Phil. You're all spot-on about its moods. It's a worthy reintroduction to Agent 47 (in Hitman 2), but I'm always going to rate the maps with more meat on the bones higher. Hawkes Bay wins the "should've become its own major level" award.

15. Bangkok (Hitman 1)

(Image credit: IO Interactive)

Phil: I'm not sure there's anything wrong with Bangkok. It is a good Hitman level. Hotels are always a fun space for IO's clockwork sandbox design, and there's plenty of neat mission stories here—including the one where 47 is just an amazing session drummer somehow. If anything hurts Bangkok, it's that it's a level that doesn't feel especially evocative of its setting. It's more hotel than Bangkok, I guess, which makes it easier to overlook.

James: It's a perfectly fine Hitman level! But yeah, it doesn't stand tall in my memory. I remember stairs, doors, drumming, hotel staff, and not much else.  That a location as resplendent as Bangkok feels middling is a testament to the overall quality of what we're working with here. 

Fraser: A hotel makes for a great Hitman level, and this one has some fun, murderous shenanigans to become embroiled in, but like James I just don't think about it much—it's fine?

Andy K: I have a thing for nice hotels. I just love hanging out in them. So getting to do that in a Hitman game is just a bonus for me. The grounds of the hotel are very limited here, which feels like a missed opportunity. But I love the building itself, and little details like being able to call up room service to steal a staff uniform. Also, Jordan Cross is one of the most satisfying targets to kill. What a dickhead.

Morgan: Yea, was happy to electrocute that chud with his own microphone. You've all already nailed it: good map, but not particularly memorable. I remember playing Bangkok in 2016 following my disappointment with Marrakesh and thinking, "Oh good, that was just an anomaly."

14. Dubai (Hitman 3)

(Image credit: IO Interactive)

James: I've been trying to 100-percent Dubai recently and I have such mixed feelings. It's simultaneously one of the prettiest and ugliest Hitman locales. A massive atrium, multiple floors of gilded architecture, an eccentric art installation, a grotesquely expensive penthouse—but you really spend most of your time in featureless backways and stairwells just getting around the damn place. Some of the kills prop it up though. Activating the alarm and picking off the targets as they skydived to safety was some major 007 stuff, a thrilling time- and reflex-based challenge I hadn't really seen at this scale in Hitman before.

Phil: I dunno, I sort of like the Hitman thing of being able to infiltrate behind the facade, into the homogenised, featureless world of corridors and toil. Also it's very funny and appropriate to me that the Dubai level takes place entirely above the cloudline.

Fraser: Finally, Agent 47 visits somewhere I've lived, and then I don't get to see any of it. This skyscraper looming over the clouds is a hell of a way to start Hitman 3, though. It's gorgeous and obscene, and you initially access it by skydiving onto it. It's all very Mission Impossible. It's got tonnes of style, some very dramatic ways to kill your targets, and though it's not one of Hitman 3's greatest levels, I love it as an introduction to the finale. 

Andy K: Dubai is fine. It feels like a tutorial level to me. It's very basic and the layout is quite simple, especially compared to a relative labyrinth like Chongqing. I like the gilded opulence of the place, and the Black Gold Bar reminds me of Deus Ex: Human Revolution in the best way, but it's not a mission I find myself wanting to replay much.

Morgan: Criminally underrated, maybe even by me, as I've spent more time in it since we voted. Dubai is incredible. Not gigantic, but dense with clever shortcuts and very funny scenarios. Behind the simplistic Mission Story kills are some real bangers that take good timing and investigation. I would've liked to actually see the city as well, but I'm glad IO went for a skyscraper in the clouds.

13. Isle of Sgàil (Hitman 2)

(Image credit: IO Interactive)

Phil: A confession: I have played this level exactly once. I think I enjoyed it, although I seem to recall it having some brutal guard patrols? And don't you have to collect a bunch of tokens for some reason?

Fraser: Thank goodness Phil said it first. I've also only played this once, and it's one of my least favourite levels. The setup is brilliant—infiltrating this gathering of the most wealthy and selfish people on the planet, to murder their masters. You can even get into their board meeting and cast a vote to determine the future of energy. It doesn't feel particularly cohesive, though, and it's got one of the worst endings to any level, where you have to escort a dickhead you'd be better off killing.

Andy K: I'm a fan of this one, but I think I'm blinded by the fact that it's a riff on Eyes Wide Shut, one of my favourite films. I love a creepy secret society, and infiltrating this gathering of masked creeps is a lot of fun. But if I'm being really honest with myself, I don't like the layout that much. There's too much shimmying around the ramparts to get from place to place. I do love the way the old castle has that big, modern building fused into it, which is another example of IO playing with contrasts (and showing off) in its levels.

James: Getting around is a pain, but posing as Janus in his own funeral and finishing Zoe as she leans into talk some final shit—pretty rad. I should play it more, but I suppose I prefer the more iconic locations for their unique flavor rather than the good, but clichéd cult vibes going on here.  

Morgan: Come on now, this is a top five map! I admit that Isle of Sgàil is intimidating, but it completely delivers as a Hitman level. Decrypting its network of shortcuts and opportunities (especially suit-only) is gratifying as hell. It's an incredible locale filled to the brim with folks that deserve to eat a bullet. It's an Agent 47 buffet. Once you guys wrap up your Hitman 3 goals, this is the one to return to.

12. Haven Island (Hitman 2)

(Image credit: IO Interactive)

Andy K: I've played through this mission once and I can't remember much about it, which probably isn't reflected by the rating I gave it for this feature. I think I just like the idea of it more than actually playing it. I need to give it another run.

Fraser: Easily top 10 for me. Maybe I just need a beach holiday. I spent ages here trying to disguise myself as a doctor, which necessitated a lot of speed and planning. I knew what I wanted to do, but I had to make a few attempts to get it right, which really gave me an opportunity to explore and experiment. Also a big fan of the scripted change in weather, even though it's mostly cosmetic. 

James: 'Secret island resort for rich criminals' immediately sucks me in as a setting, this gorgeous, serene setting besmirched with bad cocktail bars and a fitness facility. It's kitsch maximalism. You get near free reign of the whole place from the start, which is a nice change of pace, but it also means you can tail two of your targets without much trouble. It's a Hitman vacation in its own way, where you skip most of the stealth and get right to the brainstorming. It's still a challenge pulling off the hits in plain sight, which is why I highly recommend blowing up Steven on his jetski from the bushes. A cute crouch for the sake of it.

Morgan: I love James' assessment. I also haven't played this one as much as others and I've only "finished" it a few times. Triple target missions are tough, as it turns out. Still, there are some standout spots here, like the big mansion with an elaborate server dungeon beneath it and the bungalows each equipped with trap doors.

11. Chongqing (Hitman 3)

(Image credit: IO Interactive)

Phil: For me, this is too high. I think Chongqing might be the worst of Hitman 3's levels (the epilogue excepted), although that's a relative term because they are all very good. But given how atmospheric the opening streets are, it feels like a huge waste that the bulk of the level is either 1) a high-tech facility, or 2) a shitty, decrepit building full of illicit science. If there's one area where I'd love to see Hitman 3's tighter, more focused design replaced by Hitman 2's sprawl, it's here. Also, this level is the most you're forced to engage with the remote hacking camera, which never feels like a clean addition to Hitman 3.

Andy K: I have a lot of time for this level. I've seen some criticism of the underground facility portion of it, but I found infiltrating that place, with its layers of security and abundance of CCTV cameras, highly enjoyable. It reminds me of Metal Gear Solid or Deus Ex. A nice chunk of sneaking to really test my instinct for the game's AI and stealth systems. The streets above, although smaller than they initially appear, are steeped in the kind of moody, rain-soaked atmosphere that I'm powerless against, so that was always gonna elevate it for me. They definitely could have done more with it, though.

Fraser: This is a weird one, because I feel like I should love it, but it was one of my least favourite Hitman 3 levels. The lab and street-level stuff just feel too disconnected, and the former is filled to the brim with guards, making infiltration a bit too slow for me. It's just got a terrible flow. I ended up having to do a bunch of backtracking and wasted a good 20 minutes just sneaking past bullshit I'd already slipped by earlier, and by the end I was just glad to be finished. There are lots of great moments, enough to actually make me second guess myself a whole bunch, but after making another attempt, I know it's not for me. 

Morgan: I'm somewhere between Phil and Andy here. In general, I'm a little disappointed that none of Hitman 3's maps are as huge as past games and Chongqing's surprisingly limited street activity is emblematic of this for me. I'd rate it lower, but I agree that the underground facility is good. Feels like a callback to the stringent security of Hokkaido with new twists like hackable vents and keypad doors.

James: Like Andy, I'm a sucker for rainslick and neon. The mood here does a lot of work, and I like the crowded maze of the streets. It gets better as you open up more convenient starting locations, too, that streamlines the outfit hunt. I'm not sure it'll stand up to endless replays, but the atmosphere and mission stories are easily some of my favorite in the series. 

10. Whittleton Creek (Hitman 2)

(Image credit: IO Interactive)

Fraser: I do love Agent 47's adventures in suburbia, so Whittleton Creek was high on my list. It's much larger than his last trip to the land of white picket fences, and the additional objectives make the first playthrough a lot more involved, as you hunt down evidence to help you take down Providence. There's just something delightfully perverse about this stone-cold assassin hanging out in neighbourhood BBQs and pretending to be a carer for a geriatric secret agent. 

Phil: I'd probably love this more if it wasn't a reprise of a theme IO explored back in Blood Money. This version offers more bang for your buck, letting IO really take advantage of the suburban setting in lots of fun and inventive ways. It's larger, more intricate and arguably more playful, but it's hard to top an all-time classic.

James: What is it about stealth games and rooting through people's homes that's so appealing? Here's an entire level built around it. IO nailing those contrasts again even if it is an ages old cliche: White picket fences and beautiful family homes hiding some terrible secrets.

Andy K: This is another level where I love the theme and the location, but I don't find myself replaying it often. It's just lacking something for me. A certain magic that makes it stand out in my mind as a great Hitman level.

Morgan: There are standout moments in Whittleton, but its size begins to hurt it the more you play it. Like, did you ever notice that almost every house is the same exact layout? Call it a damning commentary on suburban house design, but it's not terribly interesting to sneak through. If it were more diverse, it'd probably be my favorite map. Whittleton still gets a thumbs up for sending Agent 47 into a neighborhood BBQ, but I don't think it's top 10 material.

9. Dartmoor (Hitman 3)

(Image credit: IO Interactive)

James: It's not the biggest sandbox, and far from the most complex, but I keep returning to Dartmoor for the theme. Sure, the murder mystery solves itself, but IO nails the tone here. I'm stumbling into new interactions between family members on every run, peeling back the toxicity to find some real tragic folks at the center, some slightly less awful people subject to some truly awful people. It's the best self-contained narrative in any Hitman level, and with all that pathos buoying the hit, taking out Lady Carlisle is extra satisfying. House of Usher style, this shit's gotta stop. Fix the chemistry set in the greenhouse and it's clear, Agent 47 or not, it would've stopped soon anyway. 

Fraser: Dartmoor was close to the top of my list, despite not really feeling like a Hitman level. It's IO at its most playful, fully committing to the Agatha Christie bit. I love that you absolutely don't have to solve the murder, but it lets you keep rooting around anyway. The mystery is easy to solve, but in doing so you get to sneak through hidden passages, peer through holes in the walls, uncover secret rooms and learn all about this terrible family. Few levels really let you learn much about your targets beyond what's fed to you during the briefing, but here you get an entire family history.

Andy K: It’s clear IO is really having fun with the Hitman formula here. The mystery itself seems cleverer than it actually is, but it's a great gimmick to hang a level on. And Thornbridge Manor itself is a magnificent thing, mixing dark, dusty corridors with bright open spaces, and I love the gloomy, overcast atmosphere of the endless moors outside. There’s a real feeling of isolation in the level that I really love.

Morgan: The theme is incredible, but similar Marrakesh or Hawke's Bay I haven't found many worthwhile challenges to pursue after the initial murder mystery (which is cool). That said, this is some of the best work yet from IO's talented environment artists.

8. Mumbai (Hitman 2)

(Image credit: IO Interactive)

James: Helping the inept assassin do your job for you might be my favorite mission story in the series. Hell, most of the mission stories are great in Mumbai. I love the level design too: the unfinished highrise overlooking the crowded streets, blending naturally into the residential areas and laundry business at the back. There's the sense of a city's entire ecology here. It's rad. I do get tired of sussing out The Maelstrom though. 

Fraser: I didn't expect to see this so high, but Mumbai has a lot going for it. Like James says, there's no dearth of quality mission stories, and it lets you explore a lot of very distinct areas while never feeling anything less than cohesive. 

Phil: Arguably it's another of Hitman's lots-of-disparate-environments-stitched-together levels, like Marrakesh or Santa Fortuna. Each of the bits feels rooted in the overall theme, though, and the collection of memorable mission stories elevates the experience. A classic, for sure.

Andy K: I don't love this one as much as the others. I find it a bit too big and maze-like for my tastes, with too many complicated, snaking backstreets. IO even admitted itself, when I interviewed two of its devs, that this level was too big. I never managed to build as clear a mental map of it as some of the other levels in the trilogy.

Morgan: Maybe it speaks to me playing a little too much Hitman, but I did eventually learn Mumbai's complex layout and grew to appreciate its scale. It's packed with fun missions stories and even more hidden assassinations that are a joy to finally figure out (like forcing the train to run over the targets or learning how to make all three gather in the same place). Maybe smaller levels have more mass appeal, but I think Mumbai is a real achievement. Top five at least.

7. New York (Hitman 2)

(Image credit: IO Interactive)

Phil: Even if this Hitman 2 DLC level wasn't a bank heist—already cool—this would earn its place purely for the bit where 47 gives the world's most psychotic job interview.

James: I love the bank's compact size too. There's a density to the opportunities, mission stories or not, that doesn't overwhelm like it does in a Sapienza or Santa Fortuna. Pick any hallway off that main atrium and you'll get dumped into a novel story, be it the bank robbers in the bathroom or the deranged job interview Phil mentioned. And it won't take you too long to see 'em all through. 

Fraser: The job interview means this one will always stick in my mind, but there's really so much great stuff here. It's a proper caper, whether you're trying to get gainful employment or stuffing your pockets with gold bars.

Morgan: Dense and focused. The setting is great and the layout is fun. Bigger than it seems and a successful all-indoor experiment. 

Andy K: I'd place this one higher. A bank is a perfect place to set a Hitman level. This mission is small but perfectly formed, and nothing is wasted. I played it recently and chose to locate the three drives, rather than break into the vault, and I actually enjoyed it a lot more. Isolating the people holding the drives, and getting rid of them with so much security (and so many witnesses) was really fun and challenging.

6. Mendoza (Hitman 3)

(Image credit: IO Interactive)

Fraser: I can't remember where I ended up putting Mendoza, but it was probably too low. I've given it more of my attention and have discovered that I absolutely love it. There is a lot going on, with several large sections with their own eccentricities and unique obstacles, but the story missions, in particular the wine tour, carry you through it in one graceful—and gruesome—murder spree. But that doesn't make it any less of a playful sandbox.

James: I gotta spend more time here! But I like that you can mash the person into paste like grapes.

Morgan: That's a fun one. Yea, I believe I scored Mendoza highly because I can already sense that it's classic Hitman. Two targets, lots of options, great locations, and some absurd hidden opportunities. A slam dunk, so far.

Andy K: I'm really warming to this level, but it took a while. The first run, I wasn't that impressed. It felt like a pretty by-the-numbers Hitman level. But the more I repeat it, the more layers I peel back. The layout is really interesting, with a cavernous underground space and big, long sightlines up on the foothills surrounding the winery.

Phil: The wine tour mission story is peak Hitman-as-dark-comedy design. I'd love it for that alone, but the way it transitions into a surprise new opportunity, complete with the classiest mission exit in Hitman history, elevates it further still. As the trilogy's last proper level, there's a reason the mission is called The Farewell. This is IO's curtain call. It's perfect.

5. Paris (Hitman 1)

(Image credit: IO Interactive)

Fraser: Our introduction to Hitman's World of Assassination is still one of its greatest levels. A stunning setting, a show full of spectacle, a massive sandbox that's contained within one building, so it never feels too much—it's a doozy. I keep going back to it with every new Hitman, and it never fails to impress. And Agent 47 looks very at home on the catwalk. 

Morgan: It's true, IO has said that it spent the longest on Paris as the opening level and it still shows five years later. I don't know anyone that dislikes Paris. I was sold the instant I took to the runway as Helmet Kruger.

Andy K: This is a remarkable piece of level design. The grand main building is a hive of activity, with an overwhelming number of ways to complete your various goals. It feels convincingly busy and lively, especially in the area where the models are getting ready to hit the catwalk. It's architecturally interesting, has a nicely spacious outside area to exploit, and there are so many ways into the building that I'm still finding new ones to this day. It’s also the supreme example of the luxurious, lavish, James Bond-inspired aesthetic and ambience that has come to define this trilogy’s levels.

4. Berlin (Hitman 3)

(Image credit: IO Interactive)

Fraser: I wasn't sure about Berlin at first, but it's become one of my favourites. It shelves a lot of things that have made this trilogy great, swapping traditional assassination targets for ICA assassins, and not giving you any overt mission stories. Ultimately, all that stuff is still there, under the surface, but there's a lot less guidance. You're really just unleashed on this club and you have to figure everything out for yourself. The narrative makes it clear you're on your own, and then everything else reinforces it. When I was done with Berlin for the first time, I really felt like I'd been able to put all the skills I'd learned over the last few years to the test. It's the most Hitman Hitman level. And Agent 47 trying to sell pills in a club will never cease to crack me up. 

James: And even though the training wheels are off, the abundance of targets makes it much less frustrating to root out clever kills, either via the hidden mission stories or entirely conjured from the sandbox. Berlin's a real victory lap, IO showing you how far you've actually come, how much you've truly learned. It's a testament to the open, clear game design of Hitman, a gallery of how much you're able to intuit without aid. It's also proof that the IO team knows how to party. My personal favorite level. Bravo, IO. 

Phil: With Colorado, IO discovered that making you kill four targets doesn't really work. Here, then, they make you kill five, but any five out of a much larger pool. And then, rather than making each a proper, fully guarded target, they have them act incognito—often alone, like you pretending to fit into their surroundings. The result is easily one of the trilogy's best levels, cleverly sidestepping a lot of the series' ingrained tropes in order to hyper-focus on a fun cat-and-mouse game.

Morgan: I appreciate that you're all into Berlin, but it's still not clicking with me. I don't love that every target is an uninteresting ICA agent with a fairly simple path. Instead of two targets with tons of branching opportunities, it's 11 agents with one or two good ways to take them out. It's kinda like playing a player-made contract on a larger scale. That said, the actual location is stellar. I don't know how IO arrived at the idea of an underground club in the outskirts of Berlin, but bravo.

Andy K: I think this is my all-time favourite Hitman level. I love the setting. A warehouse rave on the outskirts of Berlin is an inspired idea, and something I’ve never seen in a videogame before. I love the freeform nature of it, getting to pick and choose your targets. I love the lack of hand-holding, which extends to there being no Mission Stories to follow. For me Berlin is the culmination of everything that’s great about this Hitman trilogy, and a satisfying test of the skills I’ve built up playing it all these years.

3. Hokkaido (Hitman 1)

(Image credit: IO Interactive)

Fraser: Top three! I'm glad to see Hokkaido up here. It's another lovely place to visit, relax, get a nip-tuck and do some murders. There are just so many memorable moments—death by yoga, the puffer fish, the very fashionable stetson-kimono combo, the botched surgery job. God I love it. And it's one of those magical levels that seems nice and compact, but then slowly unfurls into this complex—but not too complicated—beastie. With some Hitman levels, you have your fun, but then you're ready to move onto the next one; not so with Hokkaido. I could spend days there. 

Phil: This is my favourite level in the trilogy, and not just because it features that thing from Hitman 2: Silent Assassin where you can prepare a puffer fish badly in order to murder some jerk. It's also my favourite level because its RFID chip conceit—where disguises determine which doors will open for you—feels like an elegantly subtle statement on Hitman's core fantasy. Throughout the series, disguises have opened metaphorical doors for you, letting you breezily walk through parts of the level you simply shouldn't be. Here, the fantasy is made literal, with the building itself acknowledging your borrowed authority. This would be a stand-out level in any era of Hitman, but it's done justice here in the World of Assassination trilogy, and marks a confident statement—even retrospective—on IO's work on the series up to that point.

Morgan: Phil's got it. Hokkaido is genius and incredibly gratifying to SASO. Maybe the most distinct a Hitman level has ever felt. It's fitting that Colorado sits at the bottom of this list, because this is the "everywhere is dangerous" concept executed perfectly.

James: I didn't care for it! What's wrong with me :(

Andy K: This is some IO’s finest environment work, and that’s saying something. This high-end hospital is an incredibly compelling setting, marrying high security with elegant Japanese luxury. It’s a perfectly sized level, with a nice mix of laid back social spaces and tense, highly secure hospital wards. I also love being able to sneak into the other patients’ rooms. If this was number one I’d be fine with it.

2. Sapienza (Hitman 1)

(Image credit: IO Interactive)

Morgan: What to say about the most famous Hitman level in modern history? There's only one mission that manages its balance of size and variety better, and it's right below it. Even more than Paris, Sapienza set the tone for Hitman's triumphant return. I think we can all agree sneaking down into the lab got old after a while, but I appreciated the extra wrinkle when I finally sat down and completed the SASO run on Master difficulty.

Fraser: An entire town, just to kill a couple of arseholes in their fancy mansion—what a massive flex. I adore Sapienza. I'm stunned it didn't get our top spot. Just on its own, it was enough to make me forgive IO for Absolution. It's really everything I want from Hitman, or any stealth game. Whenever I return, I'm floored by the scale and freedom and just how striking it looks. The lab is the only bit that stops it from being utterly flawless, but it's much smaller and less frustrating than Chongqing's lab, and I don't mind the repeat visits.

Phil: The lab is the one weak point for me, and that only really manifests on repeat playthroughs—of which I've done many. Sapienza is the showcase level of the new trilogy; a clever challenge where both targets are locked away in their mansion. The town, then, exists as a free space to find clues, hunt disguises, or to trigger events designed to draw your targets out from their secure locale. If Paris was a confident opener to Hitman, Sapienza proved that IO still had the magic, and more, could build spaces that outshone anything they'd done before.

Andy K: There isn’t much more to add. Sapienza is one of the most fiercely replayable levels in the trilogy, and IO’s detailed, colourful take on the Amalfi Coast is a real feast for the eyes. The only thing I don’t like is how everyone has a goofy American accent; an issue that plagues a lot of Hitman 1 levels. It occasionally shatters the illusion that I’m in Italy. But that relatively minor detail aside, Sapienza is an all-timer.

James: Level good. 

1. Miami (Hitman 2)

(Image credit: IO Interactive)

Morgan: The perfect Hitman level in my book. Miami is a playground of murder. Somehow a perfect introduction to Hitman while also leaving plenty of room to discover your own fun once you're an expert. IO managed to place a ton of interesting pieces on the board with a central event (the race) that closes and opens new opportunities as time goes on. I've lost count of all the hilarious ways I've ended those two jerks, the greatest of which includes fooling the dad into blowing up his own daughter. Sadistically clever, IO. Miami represents everything I love about modern Hitman. That's why it's the first level I show friends who are interested in the game. Traditional and unique, vast yet focused.

Fraser: Miami was a bit lower in my list, but it's no less deserving of being number one. It's got killer robots, a car race that you're also, kinda, racing against, keeping you focused as you try to get all your ducks in a row before the cars reach the finish line, and the layout is just complex enough so that you need to really explore the place, but not so much that you're going to get lost. And I've yet to find a route that isn't immensely satisfying—the mission stories are corkers, but there are also so many ways to experiment in an effort to knock your mates down a peg or two on the leaderboard. And there's the brilliant mascot disguise. Just an all-round fantastic level.

Phil: Also not my top pick, but a fine level nonetheless. I love how Miami is built around the race event—that you're not just infiltrating a place, but a specific moment in time. It gives the mission a sense of momentum and even urgency that's arguably missing elsewhere. Like most of Hitman 2's levels, Miami is big, although not so much that it doesn't feel like a cohesive space. It also deserves praise as the only Hitman location in which you could kill Sean Bean, courtesy of Hitman 2's first Elusive Target mission.

Andy K: As a fan of Hitman levels with big, intricate social spaces, Miami is a delight. There’s a lot of level here to wander freely in, and with lots of tunnels, back rooms, and maintenance corridors to break away into. It also feels properly busy, with loads of large crowds to take advantage of; especially when those couple of security guards who can see through most disguises start getting close.

Andy Kelly

If it’s set in space, Andy will probably write about it. He loves sci-fi, adventure games, taking screenshots, Twin Peaks, weird sims, Alien: Isolation, and anything with a good story.