Hitman: Hokkaido – First Impressions

Yesterday saw the release of the final installment of Hitman’s episodic series. Honestly, it makes me sad. I didn’t get into Hitman right off the bat. In all honesty, I’d played Hitman when I was younger and absolutely hated it, probably because it took too much thought and effort. But after beating Fallout 4 for the 18th time (and one day when Kelsey was at the Modest Mouse concert in Austin), I needed something new, something different to keep me entertained, and Hitman did just that.

Hokkaido, as I said previously, is the final installment of the newest game in the Hitman franchise. It takes place in a Japanese hospital where, well, I’ll save spoilers for my full review.

Probably the most horrifying thing about this episode is that you can’t take anything in with you – not from the start, at least. You’re checked in as a patient at the hospital, so it’s not very likely that you’d be able to bring in your trusty silverballer, a fiber wire, and a stack of coins. It’s a great touch of realism that adds some serious tension to the end-game.

Difficulty aside, this level is absolutely beautiful. As soon as it began and I got up out of bed, I went onto my balcony and and spent about 5 minutes looking out onto the snowy, pristine valley below the hospital. There’s a small village on the horizon, mountains dot the landscape, and little, red floating lanterns trickle across the sky.

It’s always been the little things in this Hitman series, like the plane in France I mentioned in a previous writeup. The lanterns floating across the sky make it feel like this level is a real place, like something’s actually going on outside of your mission. Square Enix and Io put so much work into this, and it definitely shows.

But that’s about where the fun ended, for me. Not that the rest of the level wasn’t fun, oh no, far from it, but every second was a heart pounding race around the mountaintop hospital. You see, not only do you go into this level with absolutely nothing, but all of the doors in the facility are rigged to an RFID chip system. Each outfit you wear contains a chip that allows access to a different area of the hospital. So dressed as Agent 47, you can get into your room, the sushi restaurant, the spa, and that’s about it. To get into staff rooms, you’ll need a staff disguise: a chef, a security guard, an attendant. To get into any of the hospital rooms, you’ll need a doctor disguise.

That’s not to say you can’t get into other areas with 47’s original outfit, you just have to do quite a bit of work to get around to the right places. Oh yeah. And how is ‘suit only’ going to work on this level? Has anyone else wondered that? I mean, there is no suit, right? We’ll see.

There is a way to get a door decoder that opens up all the doors for you, or at least that’s what I’m assuming it does, but I wasn’t able to find it. I’m sure it’s in the security room? But by the time I made that connection, the first target was already down and I had left my security disguise off in the morgue.

I haven’t beaten the level yet – I’m still on the second target – but I spent about an hour and a half familiarizing myself with the level and getting into the grit of Hitman’s beautiful final installment. I’m so excited to see how this ends.

Like I said earlier, I was looking for something new, something different to get me out of the RPG rut that beating Fallout 4 for the 18th time put me in, and Hitman did just that. GOTY contender? Most definitely.

 

Check back soon for my full review of the final installment of Hitman. 

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