With three epsiodes in the bag so far, Agent 47’s fourth outing marks the point of no return for the rebooted series. By now, all the patterns are visible as veteran players can see the machinations at work behind each setup for a kill. And yet this episode works, restoring faith to the episodic nature of IO Interactive’s revival with a setting that does more with less.
Whereas previous episodes such as Sapienza and Marrakesh worked with larger open spaces within which to craft a canvas of carnage, Bangkok scales back the design quite a bit, opting to take Agent 47 back to a familiar stomping ground: A hotel. It’s a staple part of the Hitman series, one best captured all the way back in Hitman Contract’s Traditions of the Trade mission.
Episode 4 doesn’t stray too far from that influence, giving players a more multi-layered environment that is home to numerous opportunities that can be leveraged to devastating effect. Once again, Agent 47 is off to go murder some very bad people in the form of a millennial rock star with anger management issues and his seedy lawyer who specialises in keeping the guilty out of jail.
While the map for Episode 4 of Hitman may be smaller, the interiors of the Himmapan hotel certainly aren’t. They’re spacious, luxurious and boasting a security level of at least one armed guard per guest while indie rocker Jordan Cross and his entourage have taken over the upper floors of this Thai palace to record an album.
There’s a lot to explore here, whether you’re checking in as a guest or skulking around as an employee. Episode 4 definitely feels like a step up from the Marrakesh mission, an episode that while it may have been technically impressive also felt far too claustrophobic and suffocating with a denser crowd of tourists and citizens, as if IO Interactive were trying to create a technical showcase.
Episode 4 however, feels like a better example of what this Hitman game is capable of. Possibly the smallest map, although only by a slight factor when compared to the Paris Showstopper debut level, it is however the most beautiful level ever seen in a Hitman game. Thailand looks magical, a mystical land washed in the golden rays of a setting sun as western rock stars plunder the place and live it up in first-class hedonism.
The Himmapan Hotel is just begging to be explored, with deviously dangerous opportunities that involve murdering a target with a Tuk Tuk or making certain that Jordan Cross joins the infamous Club 27 for deceased rock stars by tampering with his audio equipment. IO Interactive knows that Hitman at its best is when the game sets up kills that border on ludicrous, but they’re forged with just a touch of realism to keep these kills from veering too far off into the realm of silly antics.
Episode 4 of Hitman may feel like a more relaxing episode, but it’s still ruthlessly satisfying as Agent 47 takes down a pair of targets who deserve to have their throats introduced to some piano-wires. Despite the smaller locale, there’s still a lot to see and do here, as the Himmapan Hotelis fully confident in the new Hitman formula that IO Interactive has crafted, perfecting and scattering opportunities all over the exotic getaway.
The only thing holding back this latest episode of Hitman from being the best and toppling the Sapienza map from its perch however? The audio. Hitman still insists on using misplaced American accents for most of the world that Agent 47 lives in, although this is more nit-picking than anything else when you find yourself surrounded by dozens upon dozens of western tourists who sport the same dialect as the Thai hotel staff.