Okay, I had a chance to sink my teeth into this game last night (got about 3 hours of solid gameplay in), and while Hitman Absolution is not perfect, I am really enjoying the game. The graphics are really well done (and my framerate rarely dips even with my settings on ultra), the AI is decent enough (but can be wonky at times), the controls are not too shabby. And I LOVE the fact that you can subdue NPC's without using a syringe needle or a bottle of anesthetic. By the way- it's great to hear David Bateson's voice again. That dude rules.....
Now there are some additions to the gameplay that was unnecessary (i.e. the tagging system... while cool, it's just not needed in a series like this). And this may sound lame, but I miss Jesper Kyd's musical score.... the music, while okay, just doesn't seem to fit for me.
Is Absolution as good as Blood Money? Not in my opinion. I LOVE Blood Money.... I kinda feel like Absolution took the series a couple steps forward, but a couple step back as well.
Tom Francis' review is a tad harsh in my eyes, but he is entitled to his opinion and his gripes are not completely without merit. But the bottom line is that I am enjoying the game. We have waited over 6 years for another Hitman game to hit the streets, and it's just great to be able to control Agent 47 again.