With three episodes down, we’re technically at the halfway point of IO Interactive’s episodic Hitman game. And so far, it has been fantastic stuff. Paris was the opening act, Sapienza has felt like a main event and Marrakesh has been a capable stab at layering some subtext over the various contracts present in that edition of Agent 47’s global hijinks.
With three down and three to go, the point of no return has been crossed with some fine-tuned gameplay and at least one opportunity to murder Gary Busey. But episode 4, is still quite a distance away. Fortunately, a pair of summer bonus missions have arrived, remixing two maps to create enough content to count as an episode all on its own.
The basics are all there: The Icon tasks 47 with infiltrating a film set on a smaller slice of the Sapienza map so that he can permanently retire the out of control actor-director behind a massively bloated superhero movie, while House of Sand sets up a double-kill objective and a touch of espionage in a scaled back Marrakesh map.
Thing is, even with less terrain to cover, Hitman still manages to add a tremendous amount of value to an otherwise excellent product so far. The caveat here is that said content is essentially only available to season pass holders as of now, with a standalone release coming in at an undetermined time. But it works. The beauty of Hitman, is that it happens to be a master of repetition.
With House of Sand and the Icon however, all those tricks and memorised patterns that you’ve picked up along the way have been defenestrated with gusto as you have a whole new layout and opportunities to navigate through. It’s a remix of what has come before, but with enough new content to actually feel worthwhile and not like a piece of episodic DLC that can be clocked in a quick half hour. There’s actual value here, which is further backing up my belief that Hitman may be a contender for game of the year as you play chess with human lives.