Welcome to Hitman – Episode 3, reader. Today’s review will be taking us to Morocco. The city of Marrakesh to be more specific. The targets are one General Reza Zaydan and Claus Hugo Strandberg. How you take them out is completely up to you. Good luck reader.
Okay, now that my attempt at a Diana style intro is out of way I can talk about what really matters: is Hitman – Episode 3 any good? The short answer is yes. However, while it’s good, I think it’s also my least favourite of the maps so far. If you want to learn more about the game in general and gameplay you can check out my review of Episode 1 here. If you want to check out why Episode 2 is my favourite so far this here is the place to do it. Finally, if you want to know why Episode 3 is my least favourite so far, read on.
As mentioned, this time around Agent 47 finds himself travelling to the city of Marrakesh. It’s a divided city; one half under heavy military guard and one half rioting. In my last review I spoke about the jarring effect Sapienza’s scale had on me the first time I played it, however the map grew on me and quickly became my favourite. Marrakesh on the other hand has had the opposite effect.
The city is quite big but its narrow streets give it a claustrophobic feel as you travel around but it also makes it a lot easier to navigate and figure out. It feels like a hybrid between the Paris map and Sapienza. It’s spread across a larger area like Sapienza but it’s made up of narrow play areas, small rooms and seriously massive crowds, like in Paris.
However, after getting use to the wide open spaces of the previous map, Marrakesh somehow feels too limited and straight forward. That doesn’t mean I dislike the map, in fact I think it’s really good. If Sapienza’s challenge was learning how to approach a Hitman game with wide open spaces then Marrakesh’s comes from navigating the military’s heavy presence on the narrow streets. Seriously these guys are everywhere! Thankfully there’s an abundance of ways to get around them including, but not limited to, disguising yourself as one of them, distracting them and sneaking by, or by using a secret tunnel.
Shockingly, I actually found the story to be a big plus this time. Not the entire game’s overarching story, just the one based in Marrakesh itself. Basically, a General has put a much disliked Swiss banker under his protection in order to spark riots. He hopes that this will make the government look incompetent so he can inspire a coup and get himself put in charge. It’s a tale woven with political intrigue and by far the most interesting the game has offered so far.
The General and banker both also happen to be your targets. As always, you have a multitude of ways to kill them. Want to wear the traditional Hitman suit and tie while going in guns blazing? Well you can try, but good luck. Personally, I found dropping a moose on the banker and kicking a toilet onto the General’s head to be far more satisfying. Of course there are many other ways to go about disposing of your targets but I’ll leave you to figure those out for yourself. One big improvement Marrakesh does have over Sapienza is the fact that both targets are in separate buildings. This means more of the map is utilized so I didn’t get the feeling that any of it was being underused, especially because I had to go to the areas that didn’t have targets in order to get the disguises I needed to approach my targets.
With both map and targets having been covered all that’s left to do is touch on a few more small areas. First of all is the sound. Overall the music here is pretty good but it does seem to have trouble switching between the dynamic tracks on the fly and ends up sounding like a scratched CD for a couple of seconds. This doesn’t happen all of the time but it does happen enough to make it noticeable.
Thankfully it’s only a small issue that can be easily patched and does not affect gameplay. As always the voice acting is exceptionally good all around but once again [the developers] Io-Interactive opted to have everyone speak with an American accent. As you stroll around the densely populated city of Marrakesh you can’t help but feel immersed in what plays like a living breathing city, but when the Moroccan locals all start speaking with an American accent it does slightly break the immersion. It’s obviously not a huge complaint but it has been a running trend throughout all of the maps, so far, and it comes across as strange when so much effort was put into making most other aspects of the city believable.
Finally, out of the three released maps I find Marrakesh to be the least fun to play and it lacks a lot of the personality found in the others. After only a few short hours with it I find myself craving another run around Sapienza. Again, I want to reiterate that it is by no means a bad map. It’s actually very good, but I think after being exposed to the mixture of wide open spaces and buildings full of choke points in Episode 2 it’s hard to go back to a map that feels so much more limited.
In conclusion, out of all released maps Marrakesh certainly does give the most interesting backstory to your targets. However, a Hitman game is played for its location and gameplay so even a great story can’t save Episode 3 from being the blandest yet. The city it fantastic with a wide variety of aesthetically different areas which are brought to life by massive, busy crowds. The fact that both targets are in different areas solved one of my biggest complaints about Sapienza and made it feel like the developers made the most out of the entire map. However it just isn’t as fun as the previous maps and after only a few hours I can already feel myself losing interest very quickly.
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