My own review
I remember there was a time between Blood Money and Absolutions announcement where it was dead silence about the Hitman franchise, where we instead got a couple of other titles, Kane & Lynch, Mini Ninjas and Kane & Lynch 2: Dogs days, you can say what you want about Kane & Lynch franchise, i always loved that IO stuck with having a criminal main character. Kane & Lynch is either love or hate relation ship, the same can be said with Absolution. I can't say much about Mini Ninjas, never played it, however i do own a copy of the game. This where a time where we just waited for the next HItman game to drop, thinking back on it, it felt like the fabled Half-Life 3. Does it exist? will we ever see the franchise again? this was a 6 years gap between titles. Then the teaser finally hit, and i think a lot of Hitman exploded with expectations.
This was the first game since a fan favorit, that might only be surpassed by Silent Assassin. Blood Money sat the bar high, Absolution had a big shoe to fill out. I might not personally agree with Blood Moneys standing as a fan darling, in fact i think of it as the weakest. However i can not ignore that i got a lot of mass appeal. Absolution failed on living up to Blood Money, not because the gameplay was worse, it was improved upon, the graphics were great and the world felt very alive. However going from Blood Money and expecting big levels and a story more inline with past titles, Absolution never really hit the nail on the head. Smaller levels, to many linear levels and a messy story arch about a Cowboy that really never fitted the overall Hitman universe. At least not as a main villain, could have been a fun villain in a more traditional Hitman level, where he was a one time deal.
HITMAN 2016 as it so popularly is called among the fanbase, set to make things "right", they set the bar higher then ever. Releasing the game as an episodic title, where we as fan could "help" shape the game to some degree. For some this journey have been hard and frustrating and for others i been easy.
But if we look at the game itself it set out to do what IO promised in their open letter.
I liked the story, even though it's incredible similar to most Hitman games plot. But that is what i expect from Hitman in the first place. This title reminded me a lot of Silent Assassin, rather then Blood Money, the spy thriller plot was once again very present and had a lot of influence on the levels. Where Silent Assassin had a more Cold War feeling to it and took play in an now almost forgotten time, the new Hitman strives to hit some of the same notes as the more moderen version of James Bond and it does it to perfection. There have always been something very absurd and fantastic corny about the Hitman universe, like older Bond movies. Where the ridiculous is present, like evil scientist, plots for world domination.
The gameplay took what we had from Absolution and put into a more traditional Hitman experience, however i always felt there was some key mechanics missing from the game, Human shields, okay i'm going to say it. The briefcase. Yes these are not major things or in anyway game breaking, but they would have been the icing on the top. The thing i dislike most about the game is the more american accents that is very much present in most NPC's in any country.
The amount of levels i don't mind, seeing how much there is to in a single level is insane. And many hardcore Hitman fans already had above 30' hours from just episode 1. That is a lot of game time on 1 real mission and 3 training missions. My own game time is not the highest but across all 6 maps and two bonus episodes and 3 training missions i got 90 hours. That is also a lot of time on a small numbers of levels, and i'm not even close to be done.
The thing i hope IO take with them, is our concerns and improve on an already great formular. Add some new mechanics into the game, they can both be never before seen or from past titles. Also next season throw 2 more levels in, gives us 8 instead of 6. Most TV shows also up their numbers of episodes between seasons, you should do the same.
Thank you IO for the ride, it's been a blast.