Our new Hitman is back with its third episode, Marrakesh, and… well, it’s more of the same. But, before we go further, it must be pointed out that this review follows on from the review of the previous episode (which in turn follows on from the episode before that) and consequently it may behoove the reader to check out the last article.
At this point, it seems clear that the episodic version of Hitman is precisely what it appeared to be in the earlier episodes – single locations with a large number of people, a couple of whom 47 must kill. Some rooms are open, some rooms are locked, some ways of executing the mission are easier than others. There is no real story that exists within each level, only in cutscenes between them.
To me, this is a gross disappointment as it makes the entire affair feel like Candy Crush – I struggle and strive to beat a level only to be told I have to wait for “x” amount of time before I’m allowed to play the next. By the time I’m unleashed once more, I’ve kind of forgotten where the story was and how best to control my character and the various other tricks I learned last time out.
Each individual level is better or worse depending on what it asks and how well the layout meshes with a player’s skillset. For me, Marrakesh was the most fun I’ve had. It not only did it take me longer to get through than previous levels, but as I went through it, I felt definite, incremental, progress.
Sapienza, I blasted through the first time I sat down with it, exacerbating that Candy Crush thing. Marrakesh made me slowly take my time, consider my moves, and think about what was coming. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, I lucked into a couple of moments that greatly advanced the mission, but it felt like I earned that luck by building a solid foundation.
One of the problems I still find I have with Hitman, however, is the very peculiar rules that its reality puts forward. How close can you get to someone before they start questioning your presence? Just why will some uniforms attract attention and others not? Which NPCs can see an insane distance away and which can’t? How long will it take for someone to forget about you? Why would the AI keep throwing bad guys into a room as I take them down one by one? Why would it not learn and toss in a grenade or rush the door with a half-dozen guys?
The logic isn’t always as clear as one might guess, and lessons learned early on don’t always prove accurate. This makes the game feel spotty and inconsistent. I don’t think so, but there might be a deep underlying set of answers to these questions, but answers that aren’t clear as the episodic nature of the release never allows us to submerge ourselves and go from one level to the next to the next to get the answers.
In the end, I enjoyed Marrakesh far more than Sapienza, but I am still unconvinced.
Hitman is rated M (Mature) by the ESRB for Blood, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Strong Language, and Suggestive Themes. This game can also be found on: Xbox One and Windows PC.