How do I hate thee, Hitman Absolution? Let me count the ways.
-Open, sandboxy levels with assassination targets have been mostly thrown out the window in favor of a crappy, mostly linear stealth game, like a worse Splinter Cell. I've played the first 5 missions, and the vast majority of the time was spent dodging patrolling guards.
-Stealth mechanics are bad. If a guard sees you, an arrow on the screen indicates which guard sees you, and once he's definitely for real spotted you, it turns red (the arrow changes shape to indicate growing suspicion). Remember disguises in past Hitman games? Throw them in the fucking garbage, they're worthless. It's a cool idea: Disguises of one type do not work well on guards wearing the same type of disguise. EG: a cop will see through your cop uniform because he knows you're not a cop. Problem: They will spot you from across the fucking map, as long as they have line of sight their suspicion will grow. get too close and your cover is instantly blown. Problem 2: Lots of levels with NOTHING BUT COPS. So, you'll spend most of your time simply avoiding enemies, or taking them out if you don't give a shit about being professional. You get docked points for this, even non-lethal takedowns. Oh yeah, the game now has a scoring system to tell you on the fly if you're a good assassin or a reckless dumbass. Which would be fine if not for...
-Playing on Hard (which is the middle difficulty, I might add) is just fucking ridiculous. Disguises are blown almost instantly, there are WAY more guards, to the point where it's literally impossible to make a 'clean' path through a level without getting spotted. You'll have to rely on sheer trial and error as you figure out the correct way, and we're talking timing that has to be ON THE FUCKING DOT or you get spotted, and everything devolves into a crappy action game, with quick-time melee fights and shootouts that just don't belong in a Hitman game. I mean, yeah you can shoot your way out, but to make the stealth path SO HARD that it's almost impossible is against the nature of the game. Deus Ex: HR and Dishonored are both better stealth games AND better action games, and Hitman is ostensibly ABOUT the stealth.
-No saves, just checkpoints (which you have to find and activate in the levels). That means the trial-and-error nature of the stealth is even more aggravating, as you'll waste time getting through bits you've already played or sit around waiting for the guards to move into the right positions. Why get rid of manual saves? Who knows. It's baffling. Furthermore, enemies you've disposed of before activating the checkpoint respawn upon reloading the checkpoint. What the actual fuck.
-Super small levels. Every mission is divided into several smaller maps, and when I say small I mean Deus Ex: Invisible War small. Even the assassination levels are tiny and don't offer nearly as many options as Hitman games of old. Remember the huge casino/hotel in Blood Money? If that level were in this game, every section would be its own level with its own silly objective. It would probably be 4 levels of dodging cops and guards and 1 level where you can roam around 5 rooms and find the couple ways to sneakily kill your target.
To say I'm disappointed would be an understatement. I didn't even expect it to be as good as Blood Money, but it's barely even a Hitman game. Which wouldn't be so bad if it was a fun stealth game in its own right, but it's just not. It's not good on any level. Well, the graphics are good I suppose. Oh yeah, the story is bad too. And there's a LOT of it. And it locked up twice on the loading screen (pc version). GG. I have no idea how this game garnered positive reviews. It's true that it's not as aggravating on Normal, but even then it's just about passably mediocre at best. Avoid this garbage.