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Hitman 3 ray tracing arrives, kills performance, escapes in nice suit

But DLSS and FSR can at least make it look like an accident

As promised, Hitman 3 now has ray tracing support, added in a new patch alongside Nvidia DLSS and AMD FSR 1.0 upscaling capabilities. It’s no lightweight implementation either, combining both ray traced reflections and sun shadows that can really spruce up the game’s already-gleaming murder sandboxes. It’ll please shiny floor enthusiast Katharine, put it that way.

Less pleasing is ray tracing’s performance cost. I gave the patch a quick rundown on an RTX 2080 Ti and Intel Core i5-12600K, by no means a creaking geriatric of a PC, but enabling both settings at 1440p cut average FPS by about 73%. That’s down from 141fps in the built-in Dubai benchmark to just 38fps, both using Ultra quality for the rest of the settings. I wouldn’t advise approaching Hitman 3’s ray tracing without one of the best graphics cards, if it gives even the RTX 2080 Ti this much trouble.

Then again, the additions of DLSS and FSR can absorb some performance impact by rendering at a lower-than-native resolution. With DLSS on its highest Quality setting, that 38fps result became 61fps, while FSR on Ultra Quality produced 54fps. In both cases, the upscaled image was close enough to native 1440p, though DLSS looked sharper and less processed (as well as running faster).

A shiny floor in Hitman 3, showcasing its ray traced reflections setting.
2560x1440, Ultra settings, ray tracing on, DLSS Quality

Upscaling is essential if you want ray tracing at 4K, too. At this res, the RTX 2080 Ti averaged 78fps without ray tracing, but collapsed to 19fps with both ray traced reflections and sun shadows: a drop of 76%. Quality-level DLSS got this back to a playable 34fps, though on its respective Ultra Quality setting, FSR could only manage 28fps. It took a further drop down to its Quality setting to eke out 35fps.

Mind you, there's no denying the prettiness of in Hitman 3. Besides the most noticeable changes to the detail and accuracy of reflections on big, sweeping surfaces, there are smaller reflective details that you just don’t get in with Hitman 3’s standard settings. Like this little sliver of polished metal: something easily missed, but that accurately reflects both 47 and the less follically challenged partygoers behind him. Without ray traced reflections, this is just a basic brass texture.

Agent 47 stands close to a metal pillar in Hitman 3, with ray tracing effects reflecting him and his surrounds on the pillar.
2560x1440, Ultra settings, ray tracing on, DLSS Quality

RT reflections also don’t disappear around your peripheral view, a quirk to Hitman 3's non-RT reflections that can become noticeable as you move the camera around. My only grumble is that some reflections can be a little too crisp and clear – it’s nice how this glass door bounces back an image of the approaching businessman, but 47 is so distinctly visible – from much further back – that it looks like there’s a ghost of himself haunting the balcony outside. Spoooooky.

Agent 47 watches as a man approaches a glass door in Hitman 3.
2560x1440, Ultra settings, ray tracing on, DLSS Quality

But nah, I like ray tracing in Hitman 3, and so might you. Provided you’ve got the hardware, obvs.

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About the Author
James Archer avatar

James Archer

Hardware Editor

James had previously hung around beneath the RPS treehouse as a freelancer, before being told to drop the pine cones and climb up to become hardware editor. He has over a decade’s experience in testing/writing about tech and games, something you can probably tell from his hairline.

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