IO Interactive has kept me engaged and thinking about Hitman far more than I thought I would be since playing the Intro Pack and Paris mission. Due to the fact that I came in late on the episodic releases, I have played the Paris, Sapienza, and Marrakesh missions within close proximity to each other. However, I think that has given me a slightly different perspective on the way they handled the Marrakesh setting. While it still retains the excellent gameplay formula IO has nailed for this episodic content, something just feels off with this installment.
Title: Hitman Episode 3 – Marrakesh
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: IO Interactive
Available On: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Reviewed On: PlayStation 4
Release Date: May 31, 2016
Copy Supplied by Publisher
Civil riots are taking over Marrakesh in Morocco as we are introduced to the latest chapter, and we soon find out why. Claus Hugo Strandberg, the former CEO of Morocco’s biggest private bank, has committed a billion-dollar investment fraud against the citizens. Claus was apprehended and facing trial, and as we come in to this mission, he’s being transported to that trial. However, a band of local mercenaries freed him on the highway, resulting in the deaths of several police officers in the process.
Everyone seems to believe that Reza Zaydan was behind the attack and escape, in an attempt to overthrow the government, add fuel to the civil riots, and basically initiate martial law. Zaydan is a member of one of Marrakesh’s richest families and is a strict military man, having made the rank of General at age 49. He is clearly driven by power rather than fame or wealth, and it shows as we learn more and more about him as the mission unfolds.
Agent 47 starts off in a bazaar outside of the two main complexes where each of the targets can be found. Wandering around the bazaar, it’s clear that Marrakesh has the highest amount of NPC’s, but it also has probably the most confusing layout of the three released missions thus far. It doesn’t feel as fluid as Paris and especially Sapienza when walking around and trying to figure out what to do. There is an old run down school that has been converted into a military compound. There is an embassy that has a large group of rioters standing outside it. And there is the bazaar, lined with citizens and shops all over the place. The Opportunities are also rather difficult to stumble upon to even get things started if you want to try and remain undetected.
I came across the first Opportunity fairly quickly, but I wanted to see what else was out there before committing to it. Wandering around and getting as close to lost as I could get within a game world, I only found one other opportunity in the areas I could access. So I went back to the first one and explored that option, finding that it granted me a key that would unlock any door within the school. That sounds useful. Taking on the disguise as the Headmaster, I still couldn’t sneak my way into the compound though. Heading over to the other Opportunity let Agent 47 take on the disguise of a printer, and eventually follow that group into the school yard.
Exploring around, this whole setting just wasn’t capturing my imagination like the previous entries and I didn’t have the drive to actually find more creative ways to accomplish the kills. I quickly got in and out of the school, taking out Zaydan, and went on to figure out how to just finish Marrakesh in the quickest way possible at this point. I stumbled across a TV crew, and was able to use this lead to eventually sneak in to the embassy after a bit of legwork. I couldn’t pull off the hit on Claus during the interview, so I searched around for another angle, eventually finding it after the interview happened. Needless to say, once each target was taken care of, I was happy to head toward the exit.
This in no way means Hitman Episode 3 is a bad episode or not enjoyable. It was still enjoyable to an extent, but it definitely does not hold up to the level of mastery that IO Interactive pulled off with Paris and Sapienza. If this had been a standalone release, or the first mission released in the episodic nature, I wouldn’t feel too comfortable with the rest of the releases going forward. But since this was released in the middle of the life cycle, and there is still three additional missions to go, it doesn’t affect things to drastically.
That still doesn’t take away from the fact that Marrakesh is the weakest of the bunch to date. The areas just didn’t flow together very well like they did in previous entries, and everything felt off. Bring on Bangkok, as hopefully that will be a return to form for this otherwise great game.