The first time Square Enix showed Hitman Absolution to the public, there was quite a bit of outrage. The first slice they showed was filled with action, something that Hitman fans despise, and certainly was never associated with the Hitman series in the past. Thankfully, Hitman Absolution maintains the spirit of past Hitman titles while adding enough new features to make it worthwhile.
As is normal for Hitman titles, missions consist of hunting targets through specially designed levels that offer many different options when it comes to finally killing your assigned targets. While most of the basic Hitman formula remains unchanged, there are a few key additions, not the least of which being the Instinct system. This system allows you to see guards through walls or other obstructions, as well as their assigned patrol routes.
Instinct also allows you to cheat your way past checkpoints where guards might see through your disguise. Going right along with Instinct is a full-on radar system that not only shows guards locations, but the direction they are facing. For more veteran Hitman players, neither of these mechanics exist on the highest levels of difficulty, but for someone new to the series, they should be extremely helpful to navigate the often confusing world of Hitman.
While Instinct is certainly interesting, the most interesting new feature is the game's extremely autolog-esque leaderboard system. This system allows you to compete with your friends and people all over the world to perform the best hit in all of the games missions, which adds a massive amount of replay value to a series that used to have very little unless you were obsessive about perfection.
Though Hitman Absolution shares some of the best things about past Hitman games, it also carries on some of their greatest failings. Even the greatest hit imaginable can be broken by any number of AI problems, such as broken pathing or animations. For instance, I had just pushed a guard down one of the games innumerable deep pits, when a nearby guard "sees" his body through the ground. The guard then proceeded to stare through the ground at the dead body, constantly reiterating the victims need for medical assistance.
However, Absolutions greatest flaw lies in its attempt at creating a more cohesive narrative. Instead of cutting at the end of a hit and transitioning to the next one, Absolution attempts to link these missions together with lengthy sequences requiring you to Evade the Police over and over and over again. Without an objective other than to escape, these sequences quickly become tired and monotonous. However, it seems as if the developers realized this, as each level is split into very distinct sub-missions, each with an independent score, allowing for leaderboard competition without playing through the entire level again.
So, is Absolution the game Hitman fans wanted? It probably is not, but that shouldn't keep you from enjoying what is a quite good game with a few glaring but manageable flaws.