Hitman: Episode 3 – Marrakesh – Beautiful Chaos

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Hitman: Episode 3 – Marrakesh review
IO Interactive

My fingers gripped my gaming mouse tightly and I could already feel some tension in my neck. I was frustrated—or rather, Hitman: Episode 3 – Marrakesh had managed to get me pretty stymied. Everywhere I steered the tall, muscular, totally standing-out Anglo assassin, Mr. Agent 47, I could just feel Moroccan eyes staring at me. In fact, over the previous couple of hours I’d felt more than that after one of them spotted me trying to pull some hanky-panky and ran off to squeal to some guards.

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That’s right, unlike the glittery swank of Paris or the quiet bustle and intrigue of Sapienza, in Marrakesh things are a lot more claustrophobic. The entire city is on fire, well not literally yet, but things are not going well and the local government is losing control of the situation. Riots have broken out on just about every street corner, signally that a possible coup d’etat is brewing. This makes for an extremely congested playing field where there is practically nowhere to hide—certainly no shadows to slink around in as usual, from which you could plot your next macabre move from.

Then I relaxed and started to embrace the intricacy of this new map. I’d assumed that it would just be another area similar to the previous two Hitman episodes, but when I realized what IO Interactive was trying to tell me, “you have to play this completely differently, Ian,” I finally started to have fun with the latest assassination offering, titled: Hitman: Episode 3 – Marrakesh. I began to play within the constraints of the new area, and it was almost as if the first two episodes were training courses for this more challenging entry.

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Soon, I’d figured out how to finally obtain a disguise (it wasn’t easy) and was making my way through a crowded market towards an embassy where one of the two main targets, Claus Strandberg, was holed up. Earlier, Claus, a crooked Swiss businessman, had embezzled tons of money from local Moroccans, and they had chased him all the way to Marrakesh. Moroccan General Reza Zaydan, on the other hand, saw this whole ordeal as an opportunity to declare martial law throughout the area, and effectively pull off a coup.

To Agent 47 of course, these two men are just bags of flesh and bone, ready to be escorted from the Earthly realm to wherever they needed to go to, using whatever means at his disposal. The trick is finding out how to fit the right pieces together to make it possible for him to carry out his dastardly deeds, but that won’t be as easy as it seems. Unlike the previous locations, the areas within Marrakesh are less organic, and seemed to me like entirely separate, self-contained zones within a larger region.

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Disguises in Hitman: Episode 3 are also both more difficult to obtain (mainly because of the aforementioned crowds and smaller areas) and have more gravity, individually speaking. In Marrakesh it’s not as simple as knocking out a waiter and hauling his body off in order to don his outfit. For instance, in one case I had to stealthily poison someone’s drink and then follow him back to a secluded area in order to finish him off, but it wasn’t easy as there were still some people around. In another case, I impersonated a POW who was scheduled to be interrogated by the power-hungry General Zaydan himself, and quickly devised a plan to attack him at the most opportune time.

The various ways that you can approach at first your sub-targets, and then your main ones, are just as myriad as before but since there are not only super-congested zones, but also heavily guarded bottlenecks, these options must be considered with more forethought than in previous episodes. Yes, there are still elevated positions that you can sharp shoot from, but chances are that you’ll get spotted more easily this time around. The developers really did a great job of ratcheting up both the difficulty and learning curve in Marrakesh, and you’ll feel much more of a sense of accomplishment after pulling off clean kills or gaining access to a previously restricted area of the map.

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Marrakesh sports some really gorgeous visuals which diverge from both the pomp of Paris and the casual vibe of Sapienza. Here, there is a lot of filth and rubbish strewn about, decrepit looking street animals (of the two-legged variety as well), and lots and lots of shouting and yelling people. There is also a good amount of rustic charm and beauty in both the rugged and determined local citizenry, and Marrakesh’s architecture and layout—it’s definitely the most exotic locale yet.

Hitman: Episode 3 is a worthy follow-up to the previous two Hitman entries. If you go into it with a completely different mind frame and adapt your game play strategies, you’ll find it a good enough game underneath all of the chaos of the proceedings. I’m really starting to enjoy and appreciate IO Interactive’s episodic approach to its venerable assassination series, and Marrakesh has all of the intrigue, espionage, and flat out fun that the Hitman series is known for, and will hopefully be able to continue delivering.

5

SCORE: 81%

Hitman: Episode 3 – Marrakesh’s graphics really shine in this latest installment. However, in order to play it with a decent framerate and on higher settings, you’re going to need a powerful gaming PC or gaming laptop, such as:

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