Agent 47 is back with Episode Three and this time he’s in Marrakesh! After Sapienza, the hugely successful second episode, expectations were running high for this latest foray into the wonderful world of assassination, but does it deliver? In short, yes. It delivers a new and exciting location with great new ways to end people’s lives and it’s vastly different from the previous episode. With the first two episodes IO Interactive set the tone for the adventure and now it feels we’re getting into the guts of it, so to speak.
I am the night
In Episode Three you’re dumped into a bazaar in Marrakesh where 47 is tasked with assassinating General Reza Zaydan and former bank CEO Claus Strandberg. Strandberg was on trial for investment fraud when he was freed by mercenaries controlled by Zaydan, and is now holed up in the Swedish Consulate. The motivation for facilitating the escape is Zaydan’s plan to incite public riot in order to pave the way for a military coup d’état. To achieve the mission Agent 47 must get himself into restricted areas heavily controlled by Zaydan’s cronies. As with the previous episodes, the key to getting anywhere is listening into AI conversations in the hope of unlocking valuable opportunities. Unlike episode 2, the opportunities presented here are few and far between and somewhat less interesting but the end result will be the same – death. Now I will admit, in my first playthrough I thought Marrakesh was a bit easy; it appeared like a relatively small map (especially compared with Sapienza) and the opportunities were less varied. In further playthroughs I made sure I looked for further opportunities, scoured the location for clues and weapons and better ways to conduct my hits.
The streets are filled with terror
Combat! Of course the battery is low…
As with all Hitman games, the end result can be as easy or as hard as you wish it to be depending on the level of creativity you put into your killing. However, Marrakesh just didn’t deliver the same level of enjoyment as Sapienza. Whilst the area is larger than it first appears, most of it is made up of winding alleys with little to do or see and the opportunities play out far too quickly. The XP system that is utilised to unlock further weapons and other tools at first seemed revolutionary for Hitman but now we’re into the third ep it’s starting to feel redundant. Most of the weapons you unlock are either useless or stupid. For instance, at one point you will unlock a knife to use but you already have fibre wire to assassinate at close range. You will also unlock unsilenced weapons that are at odds with 47’s character and the way that most people prefer to play. Either IO don’t actually understand how Hitman is played or they’re just fucking with us. To prove this point I did one playthrough where I exclusively used an unsilenced pistol. I managed to get about 30 seconds into the mission only to be gunned down from every angle.
Another time I equipped a high-powered assault rifle to try and hold my own against the mercenaries, but I might as well have been holding a baby lamb while wearing cotton wool armour for all the good it did me. Agent 47 is fairly squishy and it doesn’t take too much lead to take him down, plus the shooting mechanics aren’t solid enough to allow you to engage in an open battle so I question the validity of those sorts of unsilenced, high-powered weapons.
The best thing about the latest episode is that it feels like we’re getting somewhere with the story that has, so far, been confusing to say the least. At the conclusion of each episode the action cuts to a cinematic showing people not yet encountered discussing things we have no knowledge of. It’s so confusing that I have to rewatch every scene before starting on the next and even then, I’m not really sure what’s going on. Without giving any of the story away it feels like we’ve been given something more to go on now; it feels like the story is evolving and advancing at a faster rate leading up to the final three episodes.
Most of the weapons you unlock are either useless or stupid. For instance, at one point you will unlock a knife to use but you already have fibre wire to assassinate at close range. You will also unlock unsilenced weapons that are at odds with 47’s character and the way that most people prefer to play. Either IO don’t actually understand how Hitman is played or they’re just fucking with us
Excuse me sir, what are you doing with that woman?
Whilst the latest Episode isn’t bad by any means, it does feel underdone and a bit rushed. This could have something to do with being a follow-on from two very excellent episodes, or it could just be that IO are running out of ideas. The core mechanics of the game are there it just lacks a little polish. Releasing the game in episodic fashion was always going to be a new challenge, and hopefully IO are working towards bigger and better things for the final episode
Reviewed on PS4