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Hitman Episode 3 Marrakesh Review

Hitman Episode 3 Marrakesh Review

Here we are, halfway through the Hitman release schedule, and I’m not the only one impressed at the splendid lack of fuck-ups by Square Enix. The episodic structure had cynical and devoted players alike disdainfully watching out for a hint of a never-appearing sketchy move by the publishers. So far, we are relieved. Not only were many waiting a PR clusterfuck, but also an increasing decline in each expansion’s quality. There’s a slight chance that Marrakesh, Hitman’s most recent episode, while being able to keep up with the previous ones, may be the kick-off to this downturn. Not all is pink in the facsimile universe of Agent 47; Marrakesh comes with some incidental dips.

This mission is much more politically loaded than any of the previous one. Whereas the downright lack of a moral compass for any of the targets is still present, our targets General Zaydan and banker Claus Stranberg are in cahoots to pull a coup d’état, following Stranberg’s misappropriation of public capital. The revolts caused by the Swedish banker’s actions have sparked concern internationally, and protests locally, an event that Zaydan will take advantage of to declare martial law. The mission debrief leaves room for no half-measures. These men are a hazard at both a national and international level.

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At first, it seems that there is no link between a domestic political takeover in a country with little international stance and a fashion show in the capital of the Enlightenment, Paris. But the ochre walls of the cumbersomely modern Moroccan city hide conspirators with much grander political purposes. As you explore the city, you hear conversations, dropped-in names, and related events, that all seem too coincidental to miss the link. Little by little, we manage to gain a poorly-delineated silhouette of the whole picture. For every new Hitman entry, we are given a few pieces of the puzzle. The coup is just another one.

Political tensions in Marrakesh boast the same appealing exoticism of a bucolic seaside town in Southern Italy, or of an extravagant party for the pedigree class in Paris, but with its own twist to this voyeur fantasy. Shop keepers wearing djellabas, a Moroccan traditional outfit, will taunt tourists to haggle for souvenirs in serpentine alleys. Shisha cafes abound, becoming tourist traps for westerners. An abandoned school shelters the General, contrasting to the modernity of the Swedish embassy, where the banker cowardly hides from the angry mobs sieging the place.

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Aesthetically, however, the constant combination of sun-bleached browns and dusty greys does not provide the same visual shock as Paris and Sapienza did. It’s gorgeous and thematically alluring, no doubt, but not as visually enticing. To its detriment, the map is imposingly segmented, with aggressively confined and distinct areas: the old school, the IKEA furniture-ridden consulate, and the streets and market, all split with soldiers denying access to and fro. There is little sense of overlap among areas, making each area feel too contrived, downright inorganic. In particular, if we look at the market, it’s disappointing to see an area chock-full of NPCs, but vacuous of interactivity.

There are still plenty of ways to kill your target, but Marrakesh has one quarter less challenges than any of the two preceding iterations, and the ratio of opportunities per area diminishes the further away we pull the edges of the map. The story and the richness of the world can’t make up for the lacklustre amount of content. Hitman is, in great measure, about the freedom of approaching a contract in your own grotesque and intricate way – limiting the possibilities is never a good implementation. There is a bizarre déjà vu feeling in wandering around markets, tourists and vendors without much purpose, as if returning to the Mardi Gras parade in The Murder of Crows in Blood Money. This is perhaps the aftermath of such good previous episodes, which have spoilt us players.

20160609163253 1I like the fact that maps are getting progressively larger, but the added verticality of previous episodes compacts opportunities, special items and characters, making a rambunctious world both visually and in relation to the possibilities of the player. Aside from the consulate and a handful of antenna-ridden rooftops, Marrakesh is mostly flat, and desperate resorts like the underground passage, for example, fail to deliver a sense of cohesion among the different and distant areas of the map. The solution is simple: verticality and density of interesting stuff to do.

The third instalment in Hitman may be the sign of an upcoming trend, in which Square Enix neglects the latter episodes after having lured in those anxious season pass buyers, like yours truly. There is a slight disparity between this episode and the previous ones, but more inadvertent players may not even notice. If I weren’t a catastrophist I’d hope that Marrakesh was an unfortunate stumble in Hitman’s schedule. Yes, that’s a brighter thought I should adhere to.

8.00/10 8

HITMAN (2016) (Reviewed on Windows)

This game is great, with minimal or no negatives.

Marrakesh is a great episode, but it pales in comparison with the two previous ones, which feel much more dense. While it still gorgeous and full of life, certain areas feel a bit dull, just go-through areas with few to none opportunities.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Borja Vilar Martos

Borja Vilar Martos

Staff Writer

Jammy since birth, not so much in videogames. I will rant if you let me. Cake, and grief counselling, will be offered at the conclusion of t

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