If you’ve just started reading my Hitman coverage, you’ll notice that I’m not reviewing each expansion individually. At the end of its run, and once the developer has finished providing all its major content, I will then score the game as a whole.
It’s another sunny day in the fictional town of Sapienza, Italy, but whilst most of its residents aim to get a tan, Agent 47 has an entirely different target in mind. In short: a mad scientist developing a deadly super virus, that can allow its user to kill anyone without trace. Aside from taking him down through any means necessary – cannon ball anyone? – one of the lead scientists also require a permanent vacation 6 ft under. Last but not least is the virus itself, which once destroyed, completes Agent 47’s mission.
In comparison to the confines of episode one and its Paris fashion show, Sapienza pushes the boundaries furthermore; presenting a sprawling holiday destination filled with little nooks and crannies. It was overwhelming to be met with such an open playing field. Even though every expansion is a self-enclosed space, Sapienza definitely feels like the most ambitious setting yet.
Whether I disguised myself as a waiter whilst attempting to sabotage a psychiatrists coffee, or took lead as a florist and delivered flowers to the grave of my target’s mother in order to intercept him, I never felt out of options. It was intimidating at first, but I took pleasure from taking in the sights and sounds of Sapienza amidst the crowds of bustling tourists.
There’s something almost Bond-like to Hitman’s latest episode. Not only is there a lush sunny setting guiding your first steps, but beneath you lies a high-tech and highly protected labyrinth in which the deadly virus is kept. The sheer flexibility of Sapienza means you won’t breeze through its objectives feeling empty on the other side; exploration invites you to try new assassination methods, which will take up hours of your time.
Thankfully my previous issue with loading times seems to have been improved dramatically. Now I don’t have to sulk every time I decide to check over my stats in-game. There is definitely some work to do regarding menu responsiveness, but the improvements thus far are a great start.
Taking down a bio-terrorist marks Agent 47’s best outing yet. The size and scope of Sapienza feels like it could be its own game entirely. My favourite moment? Disguising myself as my main target’s therapist and listening to his anxiety issues, before choosing the perfect moment to smother him with a pillow. Therapeutic.
*Hitman was provided to Start Replay on PS4 by Square-Enix