Hitman (2016): Episode 4
Indie Rock Singer Jordan Cross is in Bangkok for his 27th birthday along with his attorney Ken Morgan. Cross was previously acquitted of the death of his girlfriend thanks to the legal defense and cover-ups that Morgan put into action. The client who has ordered the kill is none other than the girlfriend's family, obviously seeking retribution.
With all-new opportunities and disguises, plus over 75 different challenges unlocking new gear, weapons, and items, Episode 4: Bangkok is not to be missed.
August 16th, 2016
Developer: IO Interactive
Publisher: Square Enix
After a little summer break, the latest episode of Hitman is here. Along with the Gary Busey Elusive Target update we have been given a few “Summer Bonus Missions” along with the update. Though they were well done, I did not feel it was necessary to review them since they were remixes of a few previous areas. At this point, Hitman has seen some pretty positive reception, but the question is whether this latest installment misses the target or has us wanting more.
The content of this episode largely matches the rest. The developers needed to keep the same ESRB rating across the board for all episodes. Here is a look at the content guide for the first episode which has so far been carried out across each episode:
Sex & Nudity: It has been said that there will be no nudity in the game, and the only sexual content to be found is among the chatter of NPCs and within the dialogue.
Violence: Hitman is all about killing, and encourages the player to do so in a number of ways. There is very little blood and gore no matter how you subdue your target. The only noticeable blood is from a few melee attacks.
Language/Crude Humor: You will never hear any cursing from the main character, but it can be heard within the bustling crowd in the game. Words like c**k, f**k, and s**t are presents along with some other mild swear words.
Alcohol/Drug Use: Throughout the event that takes place, people in the crowd can bee seen consuming alcoholic beverages. The player has the option of using a chemical substance to poison the drinks of their targets in order to kill or incapacitate them.
I’m going to be a bit honest here: I almost dreaded having to jump back into Hitman for Episode 4. The reason is mainly because the process of completing these missions is becoming repetitive. You start the mission in a certain location on the map, find a disguise that will get you close to the target, hopefully track an opportunity on the way, then execute once you get there. There are always two targets as well; for the second it is pretty much rinse and repeat. When jumping into Episode 4, I also had to remind myself that there was going to be some trial and error involved. As I began to figure out my way through the mission, I remembered what makes the series great: when you finally figure things out, you can execute the mission like the professional assassin that Agent 47 is supposed to be. I discovered that all of the repetition ultimately ends up leading to a satisfying result.
As for the location, I did expect a little more when I heard it was going to be set in Bangkok. Much potential is wasted in putting me in a hotel. Episode 4 has the necessary Thai theme, but its layout could fit into any hotel around the world. I say this and yet I did find some creativity with the hotel setting. I knew instantly that I would be getting a room service disguise so I can get to just about anywhere. In the planning phase, before starting the mission, you might notice that one of your stash spots is a suite that has been booked for you, so don’t forget to pick up the key at the front desk when starting the mission. When I made it up to the suite, I scanned the room and found out I could use the phone in order to call room service. It was there where I got the disguise I was looking for.
The highlight of this year’s rendition of the Hitman franchise has been about the many ways you can track your targets and subdue them. This episode is no different and I find myself testing the waters of variety a little more each time. Your first target is a fairly easy one and can be taken out along with the bodyguard that is hanging out with him. The main target is a glorified popstar who happens to be using a section of the hotel as a recording studio and a place for his entourage on his 27th birthday, so it is a bit more of a challenge to get to. The most clever opportunity is the option to make use of the exterminator disguise.
Once you have that, you can obtain some pesticide from the company van. You can speak with the hotel manager and ask her to move people downstairs so you can get some “work” done. At that point you have the freedom to walk into the penthouse area and sabotage a thing or two or whatever else you have up your sleeve. Personally, I dumped a little pesticide in the air vents once everyone evacuated down to the lobby—I’ll leave the end result to your imagination.
Not much has changed as far as the presentation goes. My first complaint is one that everyone else has: the voicework is still pretty mediocre. Again, for some reason, everyone in this part of the world is still speaking perfect American English with no accent. My two cents on this topic is that it subtracts the player from being totally immersed into the game and makes us feel like the developers probably wanted to save some money in this area of production. Now this is surely the case in many other games, but it is more noticeable here since we happen to be traveling all over the world. Looking at the rest of the picture the graphics are still solid and we have a very nicely done cutscene at the end of the episode as usual. After finishing this episode, my curiosity on how they are going to advance the plot from here has grown very much.
When playing Hitman Episode 4, I came to discover that I really need to mentally prepare myself before playing these missions. It is very possible to play out the mission in segments with the ability to save anywhere. Trying to play through it all in one sitting can become overbearing and take away some of the enjoyment. During my stay at this hotel in Bangkok in the shoes of Agent 47, I was reminded of what makes the series great. Even with the sad voice acting, I immersed myself enough to feel like a professional assassin. As a result I did indeed enjoy my stay. If rumors of three total seasons of Hitman are true, Agent 47 and I will be wearing the same shoe size for awhile.
+ Level design
+ Creativity still a huge factor
- Bad voice acting
- Underutilized location