Agent 47 is traveling the world in his latest game and the newest exotic locale for the assassin is the famous city of Marrakesh, Morocco. The series’ transition into an episodic title has worked out marvelously and very well might be best game in the series. Choosing to experiment with the game has paid off in spades for Square Enix, and we’re glad that we’re only halfway through the latest epic.
The 2016 title, simply referred to as Hitman, is the first for consoles and PCs in two years and the wait seems to have totally paid off for the developers. Hitman: Absolution was the last outing for consoles and received mixed to lukewarm reviews. Many considered it a rehashing of the time-tested formula and a watering-down of many of the features that made the franchise so popular in the first-place. Chief among these criticisms was the overly linear structure of the game that had players completing each mission and moving on to the next one without spending any kind of serious time in the world as a whole. It would seem that developer IO Interactive took these criticisms to heart and has made all the necessary changes to create one of the most fun, engaging, and good-looking titles in the series.
We must admit that we had our reservations as the series moved into an episodic format, but the transition works remarkably well. Instead of one, straight-forward game with 20 hours of playtime, we’re being treated to seven different, several-hour episodes. Each of these episodes features a new, lovingly detailed location that is positively huge and encourages players to take their time and explore the world around them rather than just killing the necessary person and moving along. The massive, open-ended levels are much more similar to Hitman: Blood Money rather than Absolution, and they mark what some have called a “return to form” for the franchise.”
Square Enix hasn’t been shy about experimenting with the popular character in recent years and the franchise has even gone so far as to explore the casual gaming market to great effect. Square Enix Montreal has been in charge of developing the mobile titles and the top-down puzzle game, Hitman GO, was a surprise hit that was both deep and fun while staying true to the series’ roots. The grand experiment has even gone so far as to include a licensed Hitman slot-reel that takes the series to its very own version of Casino Royale. The title has players lining up their favorite classic weapons including everything from garrote wire, knives, lethal injection syringes, and sniper rifles to Agent 47’s trademark Silverballer pistols. The game even features supporting characters such as ICA handler Diana Burnwood.
Hitman Episode 3: Marrakesh is set to hit consoles and computers on May 31 as players are encouraged to explore the alleys and open-air marketplaces that make up the massive city. There’s no word yet as to when episode four will be released or where it will take fans next, but the plan is for a new episode to be released every month.