Here it is. The final episode of Hitman‘s first season, and what a season it’s been. We’ve been playing through each new episode for the last 7 months; not every addition has been fantastic, but there hasn’t been a bad one in the bunch. It’s been an incredible experience, and so far Hitman has been a worthy addition to the much-loved franchise. The question now is whether or not the conclusion of its first season lives up to the rest of the episodes. Two words: it does.

 

Set in a remote, isolated mountaintop retreat, the GAMA private hospital is a labyrinthine facility filled with armed guards and patients. You’d be forgiven for thinking the mission looks small because, at first glance, it does. However, there’s an entire network of areas hidden within the hospital, although you’ll need to find a way to access most of it.

 

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In terms of level-design, this is definitely one of the most complex missions seen so far, both in this Hitman as well as in the entire series. There’s so many different, contrasting areas, from the cheery sushi bar accessible in the main area, to the dark, depressing morgue hidden within the depths of the GAMA facility. To access each area, you’ll need an appropriate disguise, which is quite difficult at the start of this mission (I freely admit I spent the first 20 minutes trying to find a way out of the patient areas). Unlike the Marrakesh level, this isn’t needlessly frustrating, as it’s more based on exploration rather than pure, blind luck.

 

Speaking of difficulty, be prepared for a shock at the start of Episode 6. You know how, usually, you’re allowed to take some items into the mission with you? You’re not able to do that until you reach Mastery Level 20. Until then, you’re going to have to use what you can find throughout the mission. It’s not too difficult, but it forces you out of your comfort zone. You’re going to have a hard time accessing the different areas of GAMA, too, as each different disguise has a chip in it that opens specific doors. 47’s kimono, although very nice, won’t get you much further than your room and the sushi restaurant. From here, you’ll have to find a way to get through the other doors, which is much harder than it sounds.

 

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One of the best things about Episode 6 is the sheer variety of ways in which you can kill your target, particularly Soders, who is in the middle of having a life-saving operation. The choice is yours; you can hack the facility’s AI so it assists you in his assassination, or you could just strut up to him on the operating table and unload a clip into his head. The other target, Yuki, is more of a generic target that wanders around the level with her bodyguards, but there’s plenty of different opportunities to separate her from them and take her out. Some of the ways you can kill the targets are hilarious, specifically if you hack the AI. If you go that route, be prepared for some funny film references.

 

Although Episode 6: Hokkaido is the end of Hitman’s first season, the experience isn’t over with yet. There’s currently an Elusive Target running on the Bangkok level, and there’s another Elusive Target, as well as some more Escalation Contracts, coming over the next few weeks. Between those and the upcoming bonus episode, Hitman will continue to grow until the premiere of its second season. It’s a living, breathing experience, and that is what sets it apart from previous games in the series that did not really receive any post-release support. Although dubious about it at first, I doubt that this would have been possible if the game hadn’t been released episodically. It’s an unusual release structure, but it’s one that has almost certainly worked in Hitman’s case.

 

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If there’s one major criticism, it’s that story still hasn’t gone anywhere. If you’ve been holding out for a satisfying conclusion, you’re going to be sorely disappointed, as the cliffhanger ending raises more questions than it answers. Clearly, it’s setting up Hitman’s second season, but it’s just a shame that this season’s narrative arc doesn’t feel like it offers any closure. However, this will hopefully mean that the second season will be packed with what this season has been sorely lacking: a coherent and well-paced story.

 

Honestly, it’s been a good 7 months for Hitman. Every episode has been enjoyable, although most did not stand up to the quality offered by first two releases. However, Episode 6: Hokkaido comes close to the fantastic Sapienza level that released in April. It is, admittedly, a shame that this season didn’t receive the amazing conclusion the story had been building up to, but it’s clear that there’s more to come from Hitman, and Episode 6 sets it up very well. As things stand, Hokkaido is a fitting setting to close out what has been a surprisingly positive experience, and more Hitman can only be a good thing at this point.



Author

Rhys Evans

I've been a gamer for as long as I can remember. My first console was a Sega Megadrive, and my first game was Streets of Rage. I've recently graduated with a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing at Cardiff Met University. I'm a fan of role-playing games and first-person shooters, but these days you can usually find me building cities in Minecraft. My favourite games are The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker and Bioshock.