It’s been a while since Hitman Episode 2: Sapienza hit and there have been two main episodes and a bonus episode released since. Hitman also received some hefty patches since, but the annoying online focus is still there. This is a problem if you don’t want to download multiple patches that weigh in at about 7-10 GB every few weeks. Heck, there have been two patches released with Episode 4 itself.
Episode 3 takes place in Marrakesh in Morocco, where 47 has to dispose of General Reza Zaydan and Claus Hugo Strandberg. Marrakesh is very different from Sapienza both in terms of structure and tone. It feels grittier and is more horizontal. There are also political and military undertones everywhere.
I’m more and more impressed with how much Io manages to squeeze out of locations with every new episode. Opportunities reveal themselves as you walk around a bit and you can pick and choose as you please and even try and get into a members-only sheesha bar. The difficulty is higher here compared to Sapienza because of how dense the crowds are. My main problem with Marrakesh is how disjointed the locations feel compared to the brilliant sandbox that is Sapienza. The streets of Marrakesh are labyrinth-like and have tons of things for you to interact with and hide in for when the going gets rough. If only the locations were intertwined to feel more cohesive.
Club 27 in Bangkok is where Episode 4 takes place and I liked it more than Sapienza overall, which makes it my favourite episode so far. The first thing you notice is just how gorgeous this sandbox is. The hotel and the area around it deserves to have its own artbook released. Other games almost feel like a downgrade in comparison to just how lively and real Io makes their locations.
Your aim in this episode is to take out Jordan Cross and his family lawyer, Ken Morgan. Jordan is the frontman of The Class, who killed his girlfriend, and the family lawyer obviously helped cover things up. Episode 4 lets you do things ranging from getting to disguise yourself as the drummer and actually play the drums, to luring people into the bathroom to snap their necks and dispose of the bodies.
Square Enix also released a Summer Bonus Episode that had two missions from previous locations before Episode 4 was released. Both these missions take place in Sapienza and Marrakesh respectively, but in altered settings. The Icon involves a superhero film being shot in Sapienza at night. Instead of just making you target someone else in the same location, the developers made a lot of changes to the area and it feels very different. A House Built on Sand, on the other hand, has Marrakesh’s public area available to you but not much has been changed. There are more bodyguards but it isn’t nearly as much fun and different as the setting in Sapienza’s The Icon.
I still feel like more could be done to connect all the episodes together because I’m not feeling any overarching plot yet. Thankfully, the episodes work and play great on their own and Hitman will be a game of the year contender for sure if the next two episodes that take place in the US and Japan keep up the quality. I can’t wait to buy the full season on disc when it releases early next year. Hitman is another title that is deserving of the “next-gen” label.