The final episode of Hitman [official site] lands today, bringing an end to "Season One" of the assassination sim. This also puts a bullet to my "I'm waiting til it's all done before I play it" excuse for not yet progressing beyond its tutorial. Now I'm stuck with my other well-worn excuse, that I'm too busy, but the launch trailer which features clips from all its levels does tempt me to make extra efforts to inhabit Agent 47 again.
Episode six, released today, is set in Hokkaido, Japan, "within the grounds of the hyper-exclusive GAMA private hospital and resort. This secluded facility is a fusion of Japanese beauty and cutting-edge technology, featuring its own Zen gardens, organic sushi restaurant and traditional Japanese hot spring." You can find release notes about what the level contains, including features specific to PC, at the Hitman site.
Since I haven't played beyond the tutorial, here's a different anecdote about Japan: I once visited a sushi restaurant in Tokyo where you could take dishes from the standard conveyor belt, but which also had touch screens above every seat. After taking the food we wanted and eating, I began poking at the computer screen to see if there was a way to use it to pay. It was all in Japanese, but I managed to navigate through the menus, select the items we'd eaten, and press what I thought was a checkout button. I was impressed with my game-derived ability to navigate menus in foreign languages, until a model train drove out from a small door by the restaurant's kitchen - we had not seen the train prior to this - and parked in front of us. Atop its carriages sat a second set of everything we'd already eaten. And this is how I was assassinated by embarrassment.
Hitman's five previous episodes were set in Paris, Sapienza, Marrakesh, Bangkok and Colorado. We've reviewed each of them in turn, including the slightly disappointing episode one, the joyful episode two, the gorgeous episode three, the not-quite-as-good episode four, and the forlorn episode five. Here's a quote from episode two, Sapienza:
"In Paris, the level was the objective; in Sapienza, the objective is one part of a much larger and more vibrant location. There are so many stories to find and places to visit that the intricate design, as it relates to infiltration and assassination, isn’t immediately obvious. It’s a credible location, on the surface, rather than an obvious playground for the usual Hitman antics, but scratch beneath that surface and the brilliance of the architecture as a game-space becomes obvious."
We'll have a review of the full game later this week, taking into account Hokkaido, the previous levels, the Contracts mode, and everything else about season one.