It's hard to believe that the last proper Hitman game was released in 2006, and was never released on the PS3; however the developers at IO Interactive have been hard at work promising the best Hitman experience to date, so has the six year hiatus been long enough for them to make a better Hitman game?
Despite the long time gap, the story kicks off with a beautifully produced CG prologue that throws you into the back story and simultaneously doubles up as a tutorial and an assassination on one of the series main antagonists. The story is very similar to the previous games, and involves Agent 47 being chased by his agency for not fully completing a contract. It might sound familiar, and definitely feels familiar to previous games, but the story is on the whole really good. The voice acting is the best it has ever been in the series, with characters employing a whole range of emotions and conveying the mood of the situation to the player with great effect.
The gameplay formula is still the same as it has always been. You enter an area, whether it be secluded or heavily fortified, and take out your target. You are ranked based on how stealthily and cleanly you can kill a target, with little to no collateral damage. If you kill people that are not your main target(s), you will lose points, however you can gain some back by hiding bodies in large garbage bins, or cupboards or the like. Once you've killed an enemy you can loot the body, and can also sometimes take that person's disguise. The disguise allows you to slip past enemies that are dressed differently from you without causing suspicion.
One major addition to the series is the "Intuition" mode, which allows you to locate important items, see through walls, and also allows you to predict an enemy's patrol path. You'd think that this would make the game too easy, but it really doesn't make much difference to the difficulty at all. Intuition also allows you to blend in with a group of people and avoid being spotted when disguised as a worker or enemy, although this is fairly limited. The disguise will work when you are in a room with enemies that are not supposed to be your colleagues, but if they are, then you will need to use intuition. It is unfortunate that the developers limit this ability as it is used in so many aspects of the game, and isn't replenished as quickly as I would have liked.
This time around, the developers have tried to make the stealth easier, with the ability to complete a mission even if you have alerted a guard or an entire room, by shooting your way out, capturing a hostage, or simply hiding until the coast is clear. You can also use intuition to mark and kill enemies, a feature that you may have run into in the Rainbow Six, and more recent Splinter Cell titles. On many occasions this feature does prove to relieve some of the stress found in similar games of this genre, however I sometimes found it easier to reload from the last checkpoint, even though this game is not the best in it's checkpoint placements.