"Hitman: Blood Money was released more than six years ago, but I feel that it aged better than many games of its time, and this only made fans of this assassination series by IO Interactive more antsy as the developers spent years away from the franchise that made them famous. But a couple of years ago, IO announced that they were returning to familiar ground with Hitman: Absolution, the fifth game in the series. Now that it's out, does the game live up to the rather high expectations set by its predecessors, and does the involvement of publisher Square Enix help or hurt the overall package? It's not an easy question to answer, despite my overall impression of the game telling me that this is at least a mild departure from the original games. That alone will make some fans frothing-at-the-mouth furious, but I'm willing to roll with the punches. What I've found, though, is that the game's pacing and style might have gotten a solid bump, but new departures from the Hitman formula discourage experimentation and ramp up the general anxiety felt in this game without a real payoff. If you're a fan of the series, I can't presume to know exactly what parts of these games were the most special to you, but chances are that at least a couple major ones got screwed with in the making of Hitman: Absolution."