It’s rough being a Hitman fan. Most franchises pull ahead on a standout game or two, but Hitman has largely been driven by its clear potential. Codename 47, Silent Assassin, and Contracts all have their moments of genius, but serious missteps hold them back from greatness. IO interactive got it precisely right once with Hitman: Blood Money, a slick, open-ended stealth game with an emphasis on creativity and experimentation. It didn’t turn enough of a profit to save publisher Eidos, however, and any hope of a sequel seemed lost. Agent 47 disappeared from the public eye (as is his specialty) shortly after, and would not return for six long years. When he did, he was barely recognizable. Hitman: Absolution eschews the careful, pensive, exploratory stealth that defines the series for canned, linear trials of patience straight out of Splinter Cell. It reduces the open-ended mission structure of previous games to a boring checklist. In its wake, many fans were left wondering if they’d ever get a true Hitman game again.