HITMAN, another game hit by the Reboot bug, after what many consider a low point in its Career with Absolution HITMAN looks to go back to its roots with its newest release. Developed by IO Interactive and published by Square Enix, HITMAN switches from the full game release style to the most coveted style of Episodic releases with the first episode in March, second in April and so forth till the end of the year for 7 episodes in total. Everyone wants to be a TV show nowadays…
(This is for episode 4, for episode 3 go here)
Episode 4 yet again gives Agent 47 2 targets to assassinate, though this time, we have a young music star on the hit list by the name of Jordan Cross and his lawyer Ken Morgan. Set in Bangkok, the level design is quite different than before, with a beautiful sun shining on most parts of the level, helping to highlight the paths that the Lawyer takes. The level itself contains some interesting story hints here and there, to what exactly happened to Jordan’s girlfriend and the state of the Cross family.
After the level is complete we are treated to another cutscene, leading us to believe that all the previous cutscenes and story are finally starting to converge into one event. Agent 47 meets up with Diana to have an in-person chat, most likely to avoid any sort of monitoring of their conversation. Though, with 4 episodes and plenty of cutscenes prior, this kind of puts it at the mid-point of the story, if the continuation doesn’t continue I feel it will have too much of a break in story flow.
Episode 4 feels a lot faster than other missions, the 2 targets being relatively close to Ken’s movement pattern being ridiculously small unless you alter it yourself. Unless you follow the opportunities, one won’t really present itself, leaving you to explore the level to either look for some rat poison or some information in the background. Bangkok seems designed to let the player figure it out for themselves rather than hand them the answer on a plate.
The level design sadly falls a bit short in this episode, I wasn’t enthralled by the scenery or the way it flowed from one room to the next. The level itself kind of felt small in comparison to the distance we traveled in previous maps, going for a more concise area of play, however, that small area seems to contain fewer items than other maps. The level still has plenty of throwing items and things to create sound, but it lacked the precision that I came to enjoy through having readily available poison and similar tools.
Since both of the targets are set in their ways, surrounded by staff and friends for the majority of their paths, you will need to find a way to divert them from their normal routines. Ken does a small circle through the building, outside then back inside again, checking his messages every time he passes the front desk. In a similar fashion, Jordan does a loop around his staff and co-workers. When in previous levels there were pretty immediate signs of what to do, in Bangkok you might need to do some digging.
Overall Thoughts and Feelings
Bangkok is a whirlwind of emotion for me, while the design can look pretty and aesthetically pleasing, I felt that it was too similar to previous levels that were set within a singular building. There isn’t enough talking going on in the level, however, it fills the level with some quirky characters and rooms full of drugged up musicians. It does a lot of things well, but a lot of things poorly that it kind of just levels out the good and bad to make an OK level in my view.
Bangkok is a level where you need to interact with it, change the area and force the targets to move from their pre-determined loops. There isn’t a big emphasis on suits this time, though there are times where you will benefit from their use. You will take a more investigative route over an assassination route, but you should know how the level plays by now due to it being a building, ground floor, upper floor, and basement with some outside sheds.
HITMAN episode 4 gets a 7/10, there is so much I find boring with the level design and the overall feel of the gameplay in Bangkok. While it keeps a lot of the Hitman formula it doesn’t add enough of suit use, sneaking and assassination. The size of the level feels too small, when in fact, it has quite a bit of surface area, it’s just a lot of that area feels downplayed and underused. The story is actually reaching a boiling point, which is nice, but due to the disjointed nature of an episodic game like this, it loses a lot of momentum.