Square Enix (studio)
31 October 2016 (released)
04 December 2016
In the last chapter of Agent 47’s world assassination tour, we arrive in Hokkaido, Japan to finish up our business. This one will not be a simple task however; Hokkaido is easily one of the most challenging levels to do in full stealth so far.
From the off, you’ll quickly see just how hard it is to get around with getting your hands dirty. For one, you can’t bring anything with you into this level. You’re walking in unarmed and exposed from the get-go, so improvisation is a requirement, not a preference. Nearly all of the doors use a key system that revolves around the clothes you are wearing. Lockpicks see a much reduced usage here as a result, and that’s just the starting area. Guards are swarming the place, and there are hostile zones around, where only firing squads await you if you get caught. Still, there isn’t a lack of options for you; the Opportunities are all there, but which one will you be able to do right, without getting caught?
The level is also very well designed and you’ll be seeing a lot of the interior of this beautiful mountain resort/clinic. It’s one of the more complicated level designs, but it comes together well, with all the hypermodern tech surrounding you it feels almost futuristic. There’s little that’s outside here, but what is can be stunning to look at, with the cold winter perhaps reminding series veterans of the old castle level in the second entry. It’s feeling of isolation shows just how far detached from the real world this level of society is. This series has never shied away from grand levels, but the simplicity of this one’s looks compared to the glamour and show of say, Paris for example, helps to distinguish it.
Overall, this serves as a fitting end to not just the life of the main target for this level (no spoilers, of course) but the season as well. So the big question now becomes; Was it worth banking £45 on all six episodes from the get go? That can be entirely subjective. It depends on one’s enjoyment of the levels, and indeed the gameplay that remained steady throughout. For me at least, it was worth it. This is a big step up from the last entry which, at best, divided fans of the series with nearly every facet of its design. But this is absolutely a return to form for one of gaming’s best assassins. The stealth is upfront and clearly the focal point of the gameplay, rather than feeling like an afterthought. The story is not intrusive, but rather it works well in-between levels as a lower key plot. Removing Agent 47 from personal involvement in the plot was what this series needed to reintroduce us to the cold, deadly killer.
So that’s Hitman. It’s been a great ride from start to finish with very little in the way of bad design choices, and a great foundation for future entries in the series to build upon. And for those who wanted to wait until the series was fully available, well… now is the time to pick it up. It is worth it.