‘Hitman’ – Episode 4: Bangkok Review
Platforms PlayStation 4/Xbox One/PC Genre Action-Adventure/Stealth
Platform Played PlayStation 4
Developer IO Interactive Publisher Square Enix
Hitman’s episodic series has not been able to consistently deliver great instalments, but Agent 47’s latest adventure to Bangkok provides one of the strongest overall packages of the series thus far. While the episode still suffers from problems the series has been unable to amend, the latest episode of Hitman produces a well-rounded chapter that kept me coming back to see everything this episode had to offer.
The highlight of Bangkok comes in the form of the targets Agent 47 is tasked to eliminate. Unlike previous episodes that dealt with targets selling secret information, stealing money from the government, or other large scale issues; Bangkok pulls back the scale of the target and instead tasked Agent 47 to eliminate someone who murdered a young female movie star and got away with it. The grounded reality of the sins Agent 47 is tasked to correct was a welcomed change and helped emphasise the assassinations taking place. The two targets in question are Jordan Cross, lead singer for the indie band The Class; and Ken Morgan, the family attorney who helped make the murder Cross committed disappear. The generic reasoning behind previous assassinations made the targets forgettable and uninteresting, but Bangkok’s emphasis on a family wanting retribution for their daughter’s murder made hunting down each target extremely satisfying.
One of the biggest problems in relation to the episodic release schedule of Hitman is the poor implementation of the overall series narrative. As with previous instalments, Bangkok once again delivers narrative content in a small cut scene that concludes the episode. The latest story details actually aim to tie together the previous events in the series and explain why we should care about the overall story. While it does seem to lay the groundwork for an overall goal moving forward, I cannot help but feel this is far too little, far too late. Hitman has spent 4 episodes spinning its wheels trying to produce an entertaining narrative, and while it seems this plot will finally be incorporated into future episodes I find myself struggling to finally gain interest.
Each Hitman installment is only as good as its destination, with the standout location of Sapienza producing the most memorable chapter so far. Bangkok easily rivals Sapienza’s preceding beauty and delivers a densely packed collection of locations and interesting options to experiment.
Episode four is set in the Himmapan luxury resort on the edge of the Chao Phraya River and the picturesque location is full of unique areas to explore. Visually Himmapan has an extensive variety of gorgeous locations, from the majestic view of the river, to the forest-like atrium in the resort and a large variety of different areas that kept me interested while exploring. While Sapienza delivered an open outdoor location, Bangkok instead produces a multitude of indoor areas that offer an abundance of interesting assassination opportunities.
Bangkok does still suffer from the same issue as previous episodes, which is the lack of authentic voice actors. While a resort is bound to have an array of different accents and many English speakers, the staff themselves still sound identical to previous NPC’s from other episodes; despite being on the other side of the country. Bangkok’s lack of diverse accents doesn’t stand out as much as Marrakesh, but it is still an issue I would love to see rectified to further emphasise Agent 47’s international adventures.
Due to Bangkok’s variety of locations packed within the resort, Agent 47 has access to a selection of interesting assassinations and a plethora of different outfits to utilise in order to reach these goals. These opportunities range from large scale carnage to reach the intended target, or more stealth based options allowing Agent 47 to watch his target suffer from nearby; or simply lure someone to a darkened room before throwing a fire axe into their chest – the choice is yours. While the selection of assassinations on offer do not rival some of the most memorable eliminations from the series, each and every assassination the player has access to conduct are extremely fun and interesting along the way. Bangkok is the first episode where I felt encouraged to explore every single assassination opportunity, simply due to the amount of fun I was having along the way.
Hitman’s fourth installment brings with it some new issues the series has not produced thus far. At least a dozen times Hitman’s audio sounded like I was playing a severely scratched CD, with audio drop outs and skips frequently occurring. On the other hand, the Bangkok episode also increased the amount of time it took to actually access the save file menu. While loading the save files is still at an increased speed in comparison to the initial episode, accessing the save file screen took double the amount of time than actually loading a save file; there was also a handful of times when access to the save file screen simply did not work.
If you have read any of my previous Hitman episodic, you will know I have been a big advocate for including a search function to Contracts Mode. After four episodes a search function has finally been added – sort of. The only way to actually use the search function is to have access to the assassination contract ID that is given once a contract had been created. While this option is certainly better than nothing, this is still not the most functional and user friendly option to searching through the thousands of contracts already created.
Hitman Episode 4 Bangkok is the first episode in the series that kept me playing for hours on end, as I wanted to explore every area and achieve every assassination available. This is a true testament to the strong overall package of the Bangkok episode, which provides an interesting location, fun assassination opportunities, and a grounded reasoning behind each elimination.
Hitman’s episodic structure is still suffering when it comes to an overarching narrative, and the latest installment brings with it some new technical issues, but Bangkok feels like a big step in the right direction for the series.
Next stop – the US of A!
Grounded reasoning behind each assassination target.
Varied locations of the Himmapan resort.
Fun selection of assassination opportunities.
Overarching story issues continue.
Frequent audio issues.