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Review: Hitman: Marrakesh

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Smoke 'em if you got 'em

IO Interactive's Paris and Sapienza maps for the new Hitman have delighted fans and proven the development team knows just how to use Agent 47 -- as a Rube Goldberg trigger. And IO is comfortably in its groove with the third episode, Marrakesh, which lacks the novelty of the first two, but retains their other plaudits.

It also shares their general issues, which are worth repeating. I didn't have any of the freezing/crashing issues I had in Sapienza, but I did finally have a server connectivity issue that rendered my first execution of the mission un-tracked (so I got no points or 'nothing) and the load times are still way longer than they'd ideally be to encourage experimentation. 

Outside a Swedish consulate in Morocco, dozens are protesting criminal banker Claus Strandberg, who escaped police custody thanks to army general Reza Zaydan. The latter is holed up in an abandoned school across the map trying to rile up the protesters further so he has enough cause to impose martial law and take over the country. The sun bleached brick marketplace and dilapidated school juxtapose with the IKEA cleanliness of the business-formal consulate, but neither, nor the pairing, are as different as Sapienza's coastal retreat or Paris' fashion show.

Hitman (PC, PS4 [reviewed], Xbox One)
Developer: IO Interactive
Publisher: Square Enix
Released: May 31, 2016
MSRP: $14.99 (Intro Pack) + $9.99 (new locations) or $60 (Full Experience)

It's appropriate that Marrakesh has the dusted look of Metal Gear Solid V, because I had to do a lot more "traditional" stealth this time around. You can eventually work out (or work towards) some powerful disguises that don't arouse much suspicion no matter where you go, but in the early goings I used a lot more distraction techniques and had to crouch around corners when the coast was clear because I didn't have an adequate disguise. It can be a struggle to get your first helpful disguise thanks to the dense population and slightly-less-bountiful body dumping crates, which does create a welcomed tension doubled by large clutches of soldiers with automatic weapons that can turn you into a Raggedy Anne in seconds.

Sprinting one of two possible directions from the starting point I stumbled on an Opportunity which helped me get into the school with ease, but almost every person in there is a soldier, and picking one off requires finesse. From there, as with Sapienza, I found it fairly easy to start coming up with my own schemes rather than leaning on the Opportunity breadcrumbs. Particularly fun is, while in uniform as an officer, dismissing the soldier guarding a masked prisoner, then taking the prisoner's place tied up on a chair. When the general comes to check in on you, halfway through his bloviating you can snap his neck. Aside from whatever scenarios you can concoct, from a well-executed bullet between the eyes to another death by toilet, there are a few creative, arranged scenarios that make for fun murdering.

While both secured areas that contain your targets feature a lot of suspicious eyes, it's the opposite out in Marrakesh's labyrinthine market place and shops, where no one much cares for anything you're doing unless it's overtly illegal. This renders the density somewhat inert, because you're not going to do all that much in the crowds, at least not in the name of completing your mission. You can dress as a mechanic and wrench mopeds to make 100 oil leaks or rig payphones to electrocute unwitting NPCs, but there's a lot of real estate given up just to conceal the handful of opportunities out in the rest of the level: a rooftop with a vantage point on the consulate's windows, a lazy cameraman smoking up in a member's-only sisha cafe.

The main knock here is that Marrakesh almost feels like three unrelated areas (school, consulate, public) stitched together -- there's even a secret, sterile-looking corridor that basically connects the school and the consulate. The contrast is meant to be part of the effect, but it manages to feel a little less organic than the previous two maps, despite Sapienza going peak disparity with a highly advanced biotech lab retrofitted underneath a ritzy Italian estate built into the Amalfi coast.

Still, though, there are morbid deathtraps, corporate massage rooms, jokes about IKEA furniture being hard to build, and everything else that has made the first couple episodes so great: creative stealth and reactive AI. The linearity and close quarters may feel like a new wrinkle, but let you work out of the same fun toolbox, even if the setting feels a bit passé.

Marrakesh has a little bit less lackadaisical exploration, a little less margin for error thanks to the population density and state of military high alert. Even fewer exaggerated costumes, far as I could find. But you can still brain a fool with a wrench from 20 yards.

[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]

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Hitman: Marrakesh reviewed by Steven Hansen

7

GOOD

Solid and definitely has an audience. There could be some hard-to-ignore faults, but the experience is fun.
How we score:  The Destructoid reviews guide

 
 
 

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Steven Hansen
Steven HansenContributor   gamer profile

Steven watches anime & sports, buys meat out of trucks, dates a Muppet, and is only good at cooking. He stands before you bereft of solace and well on the road to perdition. ('^ω^) more + disclosures


 


 


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    Filed under... #Action #Hitman #IO Interactive #pc #PS4 #reviews #Square Enix #Stealth #Top Stories #Xbox One

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