‘Hitman’ – Episode 3: Marrakesh Review
Platforms PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC Genre Action-Adventure, Stealth
Platform Played PlayStation 4
Developer IO Interactive Publisher Square Enix
The third episodic installment in the Hitman series takes players to the Moroccan city of Marrakesh, but the latest stop on Agent 47’s worldwide adventure produces the most forgettable chapter so far.
Agent 47 has been sent to the city of Marrakesh to assassinate two new targets. Unlike previous entries in the series episode three does a great job at establishing the reasons behind the elimination of both targets; which is something the series has been lacking since its debut. Agent 47 must assassinate Claus Strandberg, a banker who is suspected of stealing millions of dollars from the country of Morocco; and General Reza Zaydan, who wants to turn Marrakesh into a city run by marshal law. Strandberg has locked himself away in the Swedish Consulate, while Zaydan is held up within an abandoned school surrounded by an army of armed soldiers. Despite the reasons behind the elimination of each target, both Strandberg and Zaydan join the ever growing list of forgettable targets throughout the series. While the narrative plot behind Zaydan’s plan to implement marshal law and Strandberg’s thievery are interesting, both targets are eliminated so fast that there never feels like there is any pay off for either story.
The assassination of both targets does feel more difficult than previous episodes. Strandberg is located in a Consulate on lockdown, meaning almost every guard is on high alert; while Zaydan is surrounded by dozens of elite soldiers with assault weapons at the ready. Marrakesh certainly forced me to take risks and plan my attack more thoroughly than previous episodes, but I wish there were more unique methods of adding the extra difficulty rather than simply adding more and more guys with guns.
In my previous reviews of the episodic series of Hitman I have criticised the overall narrative plot, as it only seems to offer brief cut scenes at the conclusion of each episode in order to acknowledge the plot actually exists. Unfortunately, episode 3 is no different. Since we are almost half way through the series and the overall plot has still not been developed into an interesting scenario, it makes me wonder why it was ever included in the first place. Hitman will have to make some major moves over the last 4 episodes to make me care about this plot, because at the moment my opinion is nothing more than an emphatic shrug.
The main issues with this episode of Hitman begin with the forgettable and unimaginative assassination opportunities available. Even the most extensive assassinations are miles below the standard that both Sapienza and Paris delivered; making matters worse, one of the opportunities is verbatim to a previous assassination. Without giving away too much regarding the assassination, Agent 47 is required to plant an explosive within an item while an interview is taking place; which is identical to the assassination Hitman offered in Paris. The lack of truly unique assassination attempts was a severe disappointment.
Players are still encouraged to replay Marrakesh in order to unlock new items, starting locations and initial costumes as you increase your level mastery. The lack of unique assassinations hurts the replayability of Marrakesh, since it only takes a few playthroughs to experience most of what the episode has to offer. Marrakesh also offers significantly less challenges to complete when compared to previous episodes, which only helps to showcase the overall lack of content throughout the latest installment.
Unfortunately Marrakesh also struggles to reach the heights of previous locations in the series. While Sapienza delivered densely filled locations and Paris had open areas with plenty of variety, Marrakesh instead feels like a linear space that lacks any form of location aside from the main settings of the Swedish Consulate and abandoned school. Aside from those two locations Marrakesh is almost completely constructed of linear alleys of markets, which offer little room to move, explore or navigate. These areas are so claustrophobically built that I saw very little reason to navigate through them.
One other odd thing about the location of Marrakesh is the lack of voice actors that actually have an accent. Once I noticed the fact almost every voice actor throughout the city of Marrakesh sounded like an American, I found it difficult to forget. No matter if they were an NPC running a market stall, the lead protestor outside the Swedish Consulate, or an NPC within the Consulate – they all spoke with an American accent. Oddly enough, even General Zaydan (a Moroccan General) didn’t sound Moroccan; instead he spoke with an obvious English accent. Hitman is choosing to visit these exotic worldwide locations and is simply not going the extra mile in order to deliver an immersive setting.
Players online can now utilise the Marrakesh location to create new contracts for Contracts Mode, but there are still no major additions to the online component. Contracts Mode is still without a search function and the main premise of creating contracts has not changed since the initial debut. I do appreciate Contracts Mode and the variety within these contracts speaks for itself, but without unique methods of contract creation or even a simple search function, finding viable online fun can be a tough challenge.
Despite the problems found throughout the Marrakesh episode, Hitman still controls as well as it did in the initial episode. The episodic Hitman series may not be delivering remarkable episodes on a consistent basis, but the smooth and responsive stealth-action gameplay is still some of the best this series and the stealth-action genre have ever seen.
The Hitman episodic series seemed to be on the rise after Sapienza, but unfortunately the third installment has pushed the series two steps back. Marrakesh still includes the excellent gameplay the series has delivered from the initial episode, but lacks unique assassinations, overall content and once again – still no focus on the main plot.
Marrakesh is a beautiful location, but lacks remarkable locations and fails to build on the dense and interesting settings that Sapienza produced. Hopefully Agent 47 can return strong in the next chapter of the series, and we can leave Marrakesh as a small bump on Hitman’s episodic adventure.
Added difficulty to eliminating targets.
Smooth and responsive gameplay.
Forgettable assassination targets.
Main plot…or lack thereof.
Unremarkable assassination opportunities.
Marrakesh is the weakest location thus far.
The Score: 6.5
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