Ian “Agent 47” Hitman is a social doppelganger, built for the purpose of dishing out just desserts to awful people. A sort of ‘Karma Chameleon’, if I may coin a phrase. The Hitman has no issue mingling with oil barons, fashion moguls, and arms dealers at private parties. Trying to navigate the esoteric rules for getting into a Berlin techno club, however? All the disguises in the world are so much currywurst and Club-Mate vomited behind a bin if, for whatever reason, the bouncer simply doesn’t like your stupid bald face.
Berlin is Hitman 3’s best level. The pathway to the industrial warehouse turned hedonistic wonderland is the sort of lead-up you’d expect to end in a gothic manse, more Castlevania than Kraftwerk. Blackbirds circle overhead, the music is ominous, and a pale light beckons 47 forward. When you reach the club, it’s part underworld allegory, part subversion of the Hitman formula, and part just IO Interactive showing off. Before all that though, 47 has to indulge in some of the utter mundanity the series does so well; it’s time to join the queue.
“It’s during this period of extended waiting that 47 starts to get a bit nervous about his social skills, and decides he needs a ‘thing’.”
The queue is – predictability – glacial, likely a result of the doormen repeatedly performing their arcane rituals on every prospective entrant to confirm that, yes, they secrete the secret techno sauce, and may pass the threshold. It’s during this period of extended waiting that 47 starts to get a bit nervous about his social skills, and decides he needs a ‘thing’; a type of club ‘guy’ to be that will allow him to pass off any murdery quirks as charming eccentricities.
After some soul searching, and also bin searching, 47 decides on ‘guy who carries an iron about’. The possibilities are endless. An evolution of the ‘brush dirt off shoulders’ move? Letting out blasts of steam on the drop? Oh, you like getting a backrub while you’re coming up on two and half Mitsubishis? Ameteur hour. This bald adonis will iron your actual clothes, while you’re still wearing them.
As you do when you’re in an interminable queue, 47 takes in his surroundings.
Oh, IO interactive, you clever sausages. You’ve not only staged Hitman 3’s Belly of the Beast narrative phase in an allegory for the underworld, set up a Steppenwolfian-threshold to a hedonistic pit and beautifully referenced Blood Money’s ‘Heaven and Hell’ stage, but you’ve got a mural running parallel to the queue that shows a murderous, vengeful devil pushing their way through the throng of faceless, background shadows.
Yes, ok, I did take mine already. It’s a long queue.
As 47 approaches the entrance, I hear a bloke inside screaming the word ‘cocaine’ three times, increasingly loudly. Once, in real life, I was once sitting on a sofa in a Berlin club watching two lads rack up powder on a credit card when a very large bouncer walked up to them. He slapped the credit card away, but instead of kicking them out, he just shouted “Toilet” at them in a very thick, commanding German accent. Party how you want, is the idea, just at least pretend to be the tiniest bit subtle about it. I’m not sure how long the screaming bloke would have lasted.
On the authenticity front, though, this ‘put a sticker on your phone camera’ thing is 100% real.