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Hitman 3's Dartmoor benchmark is delicious, destructive fun

Its interactive map should be the future of all benchmarks, too

The recent Hitman games have traditionally come with some pretty good benchmarking tools on PC, but Hitman 3's benchmark tests (yes, tests) are arguably the best yet. The first is pretty standard Hitman fare - a glossy visual showcase that runs through the sweeping, shining interiors of the game's opening Dubai level - but the second Dartmoor benchmark is pure chaos. Everything, and I mean everything, gets shot to pieces in this benchmark, from its pristine libraries to its marble columns and statues and sparkling chandeliers. It's properly glorious. Painful (think of all those poor books!), but glorious. If you ever wanted a secret taster of what IOI's upcoming Bond game might look like, you should definitely give it a watch.

You can watch the full Dartmoor sequence below to see what I mean. It's a demanding benchmark. Even with an Intel Core i5-10600K processor, 16GB of RAM and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 inside my PC, there are several moments near the start of the benchmark where it stutters and grinds to a halt due to the sheer amount of exploding furniture flying around - and that's at a 1920x1080 resolution, too. Indeed, so far my Dartmoor benchmark results have seen frame rates get pretty much chopped in half compared to the infinitely more sedate Dubai benchmark, with my RTX 3070 averaging a massive 160fps in Dubai on max settings at 1080p, but only 80fps in Dartmoor.

Watch on YouTube

But the Dartmoor sequence is definitely a worse case scenario for Hitman 3, and something would have to go very wrong for a mission to descend into this kind of frenzied disasterzone. After all, Hitman is meant to be a stealth game, not a set piece from the latest Call Of Duty campaign, so I wouldn't worry too much if your PC can't handle it. It's a stress test, pure and simple, although the mind-boggling levels of carnage involved does make it great fun to watch. It's effectively that bit from the end of Skyfall where James Bond blows up his childhood mansion house in miniature, and it makes me excited to think about where IOI will take 007 in their new game.

I particularly like the security guards that occasionally wander into shot looking confused as they search for the trigger-happy culprit. Also, RIP the bloke who's unfortunate enough to be sitting under that chandelier eating his dinner when this all kicks off. Talk about being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The best thing about Hitman 3's Dartmoor benchmark, though, is that you can recreate it yourself by selecting the Dartmoor Interactive test. This puts you into the actual game, confining Agent 47 to the spacious study you see around the 1.40 mark. You're presented with a table full of weapons, and you're free to let rip on anything you see fit. There's even a big red button that lets you summon guards for some rather gruesome target practice.

A screenshot of Hitman 3's interactive Dartmoor benchmark, showing Agent 47 standing in front of table full of weapons in an old study.

If anything, it's probably a more accurate representation of how the game will run than the rest of its benchmark tests, as you're not only able to walk around this space as you would in-game, but you can also see just how much chaos your PC can handle in your preferred play style. Like to chuck remote ducky grenades from afar? By our guest. Prefer to fight fire with fire? You can do that too.

It's a great little test, and I think more games should include these sorts of interactive sandboxes going forward. Indeed, as I've said many times before in my CPU reviews, some PC benchmarks simply aren't very accurate when all's said and done, and our friends at Digital Foundry have a great in-depth explainer on what makes a good / bad benchmark test it if you want to read more.

It's also just quite fun to be able to play Hitman in this ultra-aggressive style when doing so in an actual mission would probably instantly result in a game over. It's cathartic, although destroying all those lovely books is an act of violence I will never, ever forgive. I'm all for blowing holes in globes, chandeliers and fancy pants chairs, but desecrating such a beautiful library fills me with intense physical pain.

It also makes me sad to think that all the work IOI have clearly put into making these very destructible environments and detailed physics simulations will go largely unnoticed by the vast majority of players, as a good Hitman run should be as smooth and suave as can be - just look at these insane speedrunners. Still, at least we've got this benchmark to remind ourselves just how great IOI's eye for detail is, and if they can pour even a fraction of this kind of mad action into their Bond game, I'll be very pleased indeed.

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