Hokkaido, Japan – Hitman’s Season Finale Review
"The final episode of this season is here, and it's spectacular!"
Welcome to Hokkaido, Japan, 47. Mission codename: Situs Inversus. Situs Inversus is a rare medical condition where a person's organs exist on the opposite side of their body. In theme with the mission name, this assignment is often the reverse of what we've come to expect.
The mission is set in a private hospital facility in beautiful Hokkaido, Japan. The small facility clearly caters to only the wealthiest and most important patients. Private sleeping quarters connect out to spas, fancy dining areas and gorgeous outdoor gardens. For patients, accessing areas beyond this is not allowed, though you may not know it. The facility has corridors and secret areas connecting every part of the building. While patients have to take the scenic route, the traversal options in this level are overwhelming, depending on who you are.
Unlike every other mission so far this season, Situs Inversus does not allow you to bring any weapons or gadgets. Everything you need is acquired on site during the mission. In this respect, the level also stands out because there are very few loose items to pick up, especially in the patient areas. You'll need to use your wits and improvise a lot on your first few playthroughs of the mission to achieve success.
Artificial Intelligence - KAI
Perhaps the largest innovation in this season finale is around door locking mechanisms. So far 2016's Hitman has had a wide variety of door locking mechanisms to make things more nuanced during your infiltration. This time around it's not just deadbolts or keycard readers. The Hokkaido facility actually has an artificial intelligence system called KAI that grants access to locked doors. This is done primarily based on what you're wearing, but adds an interesting meta element to getting access. KAI can be tricked, hacked and even completely disabled, depending on your approach.
Although KAI controls the access to most doors, the lockpicks are surprisingly not useless here. The facility contains many small lockers that can be picked for items. This is especially important given how sparse the items in this level already are. Additionally the jammer obtained from the Colorado episode of Hitman can also be used on this mission to hack doors.
A Vulnerable Target
Your primary target is a Mr. Soders who is undergoing surgery at the luxurious Japan based hospital facility. Soders needs a new heart, and due to his Situs Inversus condition, it must be an extremely rare right sided heart. For most of us, undergoing surgery already conjures up feelings of all kinds of worry and vulnerability. Knowing the world's topmost hitman is also in the facility trying to kill you could be the basis of a horror movie.
Yet we find ourselves on the opposite side of the gun. Tasked with taking out someone mid surgical procedure as a dozen robotic arms perform the operation and do everything possible to keep Soders alive. A mission like this can really make you feel uneasy about the murdery aspect of 47's job. Even the typically cold and collected handler Diana says she's not sure how to feel.
Yuki Yamazaki and Other Characters
The secondary target is a little more of the standard fare. Yuki Yamazaki is a lawyer for the Yakuza and carries herself around the client facing parts of the facility. She partakes in every activity available to patients, including fine dining, yoga, the spa, and relaxing in her room. All of these locations provide ample opportunities for subversion and murder. Some great AI altering mechanics are at play in this mission. Even the infamous poison fugu fish make a reappearance.
The other characters on this map are also interesting and memorable. Among the other patients you have a Texas oil tycoon type who loves to smoke and pick fights with the staff. A man obsessed with changing his face to look like Helmut Kruger. You might recall Helmut from the first episode of the season, as he looks exactly like 47 (a fact that is immediately relevant here). Then you have a morgue doctor with a behavior chip in his brain that you can find a remote to. An injured yoga instructor and many more. There's enough to play with and explore in this excellent Japan based map to keep any fan of the series entertained.
Six total maps this season is less than I expected, but I'm satisfied due to the high quality of each one. This last map is no exception, but neither it is conclusive in any way. As usual, the level gives you a lot of small stories to read between the lines of. It also gives you the typical "here's two people talking" cutscenes we've had for each episode rather than any kind of definitive ending to the season. It's clear they want to keep going with a season 2, and I'm perfectly happy with that outcome.
This is one of finest designed levels of the season. It's got a bit of everything and pulls all of it off well. You can kill a man by botching a surgery, you can scale roofs as a ninja and throw ninja stars, you can poison people with fugu fish toxin, you can even watch a competent doctor try to carry on a conversation with a pushy AI. If you were a little disappointed with episode 5 and were wondering if this one is better, it certainly is, in my opinion.
- Excellent level design
- Takes some risks by shaking up the formula
- Interesting characters
- AI system is fascinating
- Lots of ways to complete the mission
- You get to be an actual ninja!
- Less of a finale and more of a cliffhanger