IO Interactive is making good on their promise to bring new Hitman episodes out in a quick and efficient manner while not skimping out on the quality. While the third episode was unable to recreate the magic the second and even first episodes were able to accomplish, it came with a number of upgrades that fixed some of the annoyances that plagued the overall experience, such as kicking anyone who loses their internet connection back to the main menu. Although there are still a number of technical issues here and there, primarily the extensive load times when going through menus, the overall content has been solid. Agent 47 continues forth on his journey across the world to put a bullet in the back of every piece of scum he comes across. All of his targets thus far have been the worst of the worst, selling classified information, creating bioweapons, thieving bankers and so forth. The fourth episode, Bangkok, is no different as our bald assassin protagonist travels to one of the more exotic location we’ve seen yet to take care of a bratty kid who believes there are no consequences to his actions.
The fourth episode brings us to Bangkok, Thailand where Agent 47 is tasked with the assassination of Jordan Cross, son of a billionaire and lead singer of a rock band, along with his attorney and corporate fixer, Ken Morgan. You’re hired by the parents of a young actress who was brutally thrown off a balcony by Jordan, but because his father has power, he was able to get off scott-free. It’s a decent motivation as you’ll actually want to snuff out this piece of trash from existence, being similar to Marrakesh’s Stranberg: a pretentious dick. Unfortunately, that’s not the case with Ken Morgan. As much as his name will get your blood boiling from the get go, he never truly feels like he belongs in the world, but instead is artificially placed in for a second assassination. He simply skates the outskirts of the hotel while occasionally coming inside to stick his fingers in randomly prepared dishes. He is by far the weakest hit of all the episodes available.
The biggest problem with Episode 4 is just how unbalanced the kill opportunities are. I’m not talking in terms of the quantity of opportunities laid out, but instead the quality. Jordan Cross is the big target here and Ken Morgan is purely an afterthought. There is one interesting opportunity that uses the physics of the world to its advantage, combining sparks and gasoline, but even that’s a short and very easy to accomplish. Mr. Morgan is then left with two others that are, to put it lightly, piss-poor. One involves simply obtaining a note for him to meet someone in the laundry room alone, and another is cleaning up his luxury suite; literally. It’s far more interesting to find your own ways of eliminating him, such as poisoning a dish and dropping a coconut on his head. Jordan Cross has the bulk of the more creative opportunities here. This includes sabotaging his birthday surprise, getting some poetic justice, and even bug bombing the entirety of the hotel lobby. Suffice to say, the ways to take out Jordan are far more creative, even though they themselves can be completed without much effort.
From a visual perspective, Bangkok looks absolutely gorgeous. It takes some of the traditional architecture of Bangkok and mixes it with a more modern aesthetic. The hotel itself has been finely crafted with a lot of vegetation and a variety of areas to explore. There’s floors of celebration, production, work, preparation, laziness, construction and socialization that all blend together in a natural way. Even the outdoor areas, while feel a tad underutilized, have a natural beauty to them that feels authentic. The only location that really didn’t add much was the basement, but it barely comes into play in the episode. The hotel itself isn’t even the best part as it’s the backgrounds that reach far past the artificial barriers. Ironically, this is one of Bangkok’s downfalls as you’ll wish you weren’t contained within this luxury hotel and instead somewhere in the forests, reenacting Predator kills. While the hotel has variety, it never breaks the mold of what we’ve come to expect, being fairly predictable. Just looking in the horizon will make you wish there was much more to Bangkok than a multi-floored luxury hotel, one of which could very well be anywhere in the world.
Hitman – Episode 4: Bangkok has a lot of good going for it, but doesn’t quite live up to the excitement that has been established in the past. The problem is just how boring half the targets are. One is a rock star with a story that’ll give you the motivation to put him out of his misery, whereas the other is just an attorney who walks around, never really feeling like he belongs in the environment. It doesn’t help that half of the opportunities aren’t particularly memorable, either, and can be completed with little work. That’s not mentioning there’s a vast part of the level that feels underutilized despite being eloquently designed. This is a confined setting that will leave you wanting to explore more of the outskirts of such an exotic location instead of the modern hotel. It does open up the story a little more in the end as the first season is slowly coming to a close, but despite the beautifully crafted locale, Bangkok will leave you discontent with the content.