Marrakesh me if you can
HIGH Posing as a masseur for a not-so-happy ending
LOW Sharper difficulty than previous episodes
WTF Why are non-silenced weapons rewards? Who uses those?
So far, each of the new Hitman’s episodically-released chapters has been better than the last in terms of scale and creativity, but I knew that eventually one wouldn’t be able to raise the bar. This is that episode, and although it isn’t bad by any means, it’s probably my least favorite.
After trips to Paris and Italy, Agent 47 is now on assignment in Morocco to eliminate a crooked banker and the general who’s protecting him. The area in A Gilded Cage is large and features several city blocks, as well as a consulate building and abandoned school to explore. Despite this large area, IO don’t make the most of it since big chunks of the city are comprised of winding, mazelike bazaar streets with little to do or explore.
High security in the primary target areas (the school and consulate) means the difficulty is slightly more aggressive than previous chapters, but even with the stiffer challenge I had some satisfying kills. One involved a moose statue crashing down onto a target during a TV interview, and another target perished after I dropped a toilet on his head. What a shitty way to die, huh?
Those kills were the only high points, though. One of the new features in Hitman is an XP system that unlocks weapons and gadgets for future plays, but it’s obvious that IO is running out of ideas for awards. Upon reaching an unlock, I received a combat knife. If I already have a silent fiber wire, why would I want a knife? The only advantage it has is it can be thrown at targets, but I have bullets I “throw” at targets from gun barrels.
Another reward allows Agent 47 to start a mission in a disguise and in a different area of the stage—in one case, wearing a military uniform in the school. It’s great because the outfit gets 47 access to most of that location without suspicion. Another option? To start in an alley with no disguise on, but why would I choose that if I can start in the school with a more effective outfit? I also unlocked a full automatic pistol without a silencer. No one who wants to finish a level in one piece would use a loud gun, so why’s it a reward? Considering how fragile 47 is in straight shootouts, I’d prefer a bulletproof vest or some kind of armored suit instead.
On a more technical level, two things—first, I’m frustrated to see that Hitman’s secondary game modes still don’t feature auto or manual saves. Second, it seems that the same few voice actors were hired to do all of the NPCs in each Hitman episode (so far) without attempting to alter their tones or accents. Because Episode 3 is in Morocco, the voices stick out as distracting and inappropriate for the environment.
Although my tone and criticisms might not suggest it, Episode 3 is still a solid addition to the Hitman universe. Marrakesh is an interesting place to explore, but IO just doesn’t do enough to make it a standout here. Considering that there are still three episodes left to go, I’m hoping that the next installment will keep enriching the game and not just coast on fumes from the first two excellent episodes.
Disclosures: This game was developed by IO Interactive and published by Square Enix It is currently available on Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC. This copy of the game was obtained via paid download and reviewed on the PS4. Approximately 14 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the episode was completed 11 times. The PS4 exclusive Sarajevo Six mission was completed once. There are no multiplayer modes.
Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated Mature and contains: blood, drug references, intense violence, strong language and suggestive themes. Although stretches of this game can feature none of those descriptors, the ultimate goal is to murder people, so it’s best for mature audiences.
Deaf & Hard of Hearing: Subtitles are available and visual cues for enemies detecting the player and trespassing warnings are available. The HUD makes Hitman a smooth experience for hard of hearing audiences.
Remappable Controls: X and Y axes can be standard or inverted, vibration can be toggled and Aim Assistance is offered. However, no button remapping is available for the controller.
Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes available in the options.