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 under Square Enix, HITMAN switches from the full game release style to the more 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 5, for episode 4 go here)
Episode 5 gives us the most targets so far in any story contract, with 4 assassinations spread out across a wide farm area in Colorado. Going after the freedom fighters; Sean Rose, Penelope Graves, Ezra Berg and Maya Parvati. Since we are given so many targets you can expect a wide array of accidental kills and overlapping of patrol routes. Along with the multitude of targets we are also given quite a good insight into the overarching story with the Shadow Client and Providence.
Towards the end of the level we find ourselves within a storm shelter, a wall plastered with people, places and events that point us in the right direction for the people in the background. Leading into the ending cutscene where we can tell who might be the main foe, some more background characters and a follow-up to the ultimate episode. Thankfully the game feels like it’s reaching its end point, though due to seeing the story through other people’s eyes it can feel a bit disjointed and non-interactive.
Episode 5 is designed in such a way that it feels a lot bigger then the previous levels, densely packed with armed troops, items to pick up, objects to interact with, several paths to take and more. Though if you follow the opportunities it won’t take much longer than any other level, but the character of the map itself just makes it seem so much better.
The level design in Colorado is some of the best so far, with so many interlinking paths, patrols and routes for 47 to explore. With a vastly different setting, you aren’t actually allowed to be anywhere on this map, going for a full on infiltration mission. The shift in gameplay is a breath of fresh air as you sneak around and plan your next move or your first target. Combined with the new style of gameplay, there are plenty of opportunities to find, several stages to the kills and a sense of danger that seemed lacking in other missions.
All 4 targets seem to have a pretty good rotation, with Penelope having the longest patrol path as she inspects and talks to all the NPCs on the map. Some of the targets even talk to one another or have plans for them that you can interrupt or alter to your advantage. Silent, explosive and poison kills are all on offer here though the game does push you towards certain kills on certain targets due to their position and what is placed near them.
Overall Thoughts and Feelings
Colorado was a step in the right direction for HITMAN, seemingly made in accordance to the training missions at the start of the game. Colorado brought with it a sense of uniqueness and actually stood out from the other episodes as a hostile environment rather than a party or establishment you had to blend into. However due to its concise design, packing so much content into smaller areas, it can actually be a jump in difficulty for some as you try to knockout NPCs for their outfits or enact your assassinations without collateral damage.
While the level allowed for quite a varied approach, it did have more bugs and glitches than other levels, at least more that I was able to experience. Patrols stopping, items becoming impossible to interact with an AI acting weirdly. Besides the technical faults there seems to be a lack of guidance when it comes to areas and what is disallowed for your current outfit or a distinction between the outfits themselves. Elites were not allowed in some areas where outfits with a seemingly inferior title were allowed or disguises you would think could enter an area, in fact cannot.
HITMAN episode 5 gets an 8/10, while the level did have some hiccups in design or polish it pulled off what it had very well. Moving through the level felt risky and every turn gave me a new scene to look at, either it being a cook outside or telecommunications setup that had a target pass through. With so much going on, yet not feeling crowded, I felt that Colorado had a good mix of content and NPCs placed within its confines, with some additional areas that weren’t exactly necessary but added flavour to the level and possible outside path to your destinations.