I am a huge Hitman fan. I got the first game when it was new, beat it over and over. I got the Silent Assassin Rank on every mission in Hitman 2 and Hitman: Contracts. I got a lot of them in Blood Money as well, but these days I don't have that kind of time to give just one game.
And I am having a blast with this game. Sure, there are a few quirks I don't like (the way people spot you from miles away if you are dressed like their faction for instance), but so far this is an awesome Hitman game. I have always liked the character, so a game that puts his personal story more in the front is awesome. If you just want the good old "kill this guy, get away" you got the Contracts mode to have fun with. And plenty of missions seem to have that anyway (only just started Part 2, so my feelings might change of course)
It also seems people misremember things from the old games, which makes Absolution seem bad. You could save anywhere in past Hitman games? Nuhuh. In the first game you had to finish levels for them to save. No mid-mission saving. In 2 I believe you had a limited number of save. While Contracts gave you as many as you wanted. And in Blood Money you got saves that acted like checkpoints. Quitting the game meant you had to start the mission over. Hell, Absolution is way more forgiving that those games when it comes to saving and checkpointing. (I might misremember how saving worked in some of these games myself actually, but I do know you could not save in Codename 47. Fuck those long and difficult missions.)
Is Contracts anywhere close to as non-linear as the previous games? Are there plenty of set items, tricks, etc to use to kill people or is it more limited in scope? The thing I liked about the past games were the many different ways to achieve any goal. If I wanted to completely blow my cover I could go in shooting. If I wanted to do it stealthily I could sneak in, evade every guard, and garrote my target; I could set a bomb on a patrol route, etc, etc. This is not counting the number of scripted things that could be done, either.