Friday, November 4, 2016

Hitman: Episode Six: Hokkaido review

    The first season of the new Hitman series is finally finished with the sixth and final episode. Io Entertainment has been very clear they're interested in developing a yearly franchise akin to Ubisoft's Assassins Creed franchise. This all depends on whether or not Io has created a system which is enjoyable enough to be played over and over again. I think they have, even if I think Season One ends not with a bang but a barely audible boom.

    The set up for Hitman's final mission is 47 being sent to kill his former trainer, Erich Soders. Erich is a double agent of the Illuminati-esque Providence and has plans to sell the names as well as locations of every ICA agent in the world. The second target is a Yakuza-turned-Providence lawyer named Yuki Yamazaki. This is set in a health spa located in the mountains of Hokkaido, the design homaging On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

47 rocks a kimono.
    The episode has a good opening with 47 starting with no weapons or equipment. The level also has no doors which can be lockpicked but they open and close based on what sort of disguise you're wearing. This makes a Suit-only run extra-difficult. Thankfully, the level doesn't have the overabundance of witnesses and soldiers which plagued previous levels. The design is excellent with the ski-lodge-esque hotel parts contrasted against the ultra-futuristic hospital sections as well as the few parts which take place outside.

    Sadly, I felt the confrontation with Erich was an anti-climax despite the fact he'd been built up for much of the game. Despite being a master assassin, Erich is paralyzed on an operating table in this level and can't fight back or move. It would have been better to make him a hyper-aware character who had to be stalked carefully. I will say, though, that the option of going up to him and informing him of who you are almost makes it worth it, though.

The Doctor is in.
    The character of Yuki Yamazaki also feels perfunctory. She never interacts with Soders and is less developed than other targets in the game (with the exception of the Colorado characters). The main thing we learn about her during the mission is she's an avid smoker and a former Yakuza member with a love of fugu. It seems like they could have chosen a more prominent member of Providence to serve as the target or expanded on her.

    Methods of eliminating your targets this time around are a mixture of the very good and the mediocre. Because Erich Soder is undergoing surgery, most of his assassination methods are variations on the same thing (causing his surgery to fail). There's no way to get him to move or to eliminate both him and Yuki simultaneously.

I love the A.I. which runs the place. It adds an extra layer of paranoia.
     This removes some of the more fun assassinations you can do in other levels like blowing them up at the same time or getting one subject to kill the other. Yuki, despite being a somewhat flat character, has more variation in ways to eliminate her with my favorite being removing her bodyguards so you can push her over the ledge when she's on a smoke break.

    There's a lore more comedy this episode than I expected with not only the return of Agent Smith for those who look hard throughout the level but also a hilarious challenge where you can replace a truly moronic patient. He wishes to look like Paris level disguise victim, Helmut Kruger, and is currently bandaged up in such a way that he's constantly mocked by his friends.

    In the end, Season One is all build-up rather than climax and Hokkaido doesn't change that. We don't get the situation with the Shadow Client, Providence, or their covert war resolved. Instead, this makes this feel less like Season One and more like a very extended pilot episode of a new series. My opinion of the game, as a whole, is the Shadow Client should have been killed (preferably by 47) with Providence serving as the villain for the next game.

    These disappointments are relatively minor as this is still a perfectly serviceable episode. The location is beautiful, there's some good methods for eliminating the targets, and there's a good rise in challenge from the previous levels. While Erich Soders is a disappointing target as is Yuki, they aren't bad targets either and sit squarely in the middle of the Episodes.

Sushi - perhaps 47's best tool of assassination.
    In conclusion, Episode Six, is an okay ending to the Hitman reboot. I'm definitely going to be picking up the next season. 47's adventures don't give him much in the way of character development or broaden his relationships but they're entertaining and fun. Not only did the reboot match Blood Money but I dare say it surpassed it.



  1. Wow man, I was looking through my old thread at the Atomic Think Thank, and found your link to here. I can barely remember some of the old posters (this was 2008! God I'm old :)), but I remembered your name at least.

    Looks like the Ronin Army board (that replaced the old one) is gonna die after a breakdown between a Moderator and some popular posters, so I was looking up old threads for nostalgic kicks. I had no idea I was really doing this for so long.

    Thanks for being a part of it, at least back then :).

    1. Well, I plan to join the ECHOES OF THE MULTIVERSE forum being created to replace it. I hope you'll join me there.