In a market where assassination has been defined by Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed series, Square Enix and IO Interactive are bringing back to the cold, methodical Agent 47. We got a chance to spend some quality time with the Xbox 360 version of Hitman: Absolution. After a short cutscene, we were dropped into an alley in Chinatown and told our target is the unnamed King of Chinatown.

Agent 47 still moves like he did in previous games, but upon leaving the alley, you’re treated to a huge crowd of NPCs that you weave your way through, like Assassin’s Creed. Agent 47 has a new cover feature this time around, allowing you to hide behind items without being glue to them. Agent 47 will make sure to stay out of sight while you move. The game also adds an Arkham City-style Instinct Mode, which highlights hostile NPCs in yellow and your assassination target in red. A short walk to a pagoda in the center on Chinatown, brought us to our target, but now the question was: how do we dispatch him?

Fans will be happy to know, the game still provides a number of different options for the kill. Do you meet a contact in a nearby apartment building, acquire a sniper rifle from him, and shoot the King of Chinatown from afar? Do you boobytrap his car with an explosive? Do you poison some of his food?

We decided to take out the King by impersonating one of the crooked cops on his payroll. After taking a look around the area, we trailed one cop until he was alone in an alley. Agent 47’s weapon are bound to the d-pad this time around, so we skipped over his signature Silverballers and chose the silent Garrote. With a quick button press, our garrote was around the cop’s neck and we were bringing him down. With the cop dead, the next step was to change into his outfit (done via a context sensitive button press) and dispose of the body in a nearby dumpster.

With our new disguise, we decided to trail the King of Chinatown to find a good place to take him out. Unfortunately, we trailed behind him too close and were instantly spotted by his bodyguards. Oops.

Much like previous Hitman games, once you’re out in the open, your life expectancy drops considerably. Our Agent 47 went down in a hail of gunfire, but not before the King of Chinatown died froma bullet to the head. Mission vaguely accomplished.

Fans can be assured that the challenge is still present in Hitman: Absolution, despite some of the features that IO Interactive has added to ease players into the experience. All told Hitman: Absolution is shaping up to be the best in the series, if IO can stick the landing. The game is scheduled for release on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC, on November 20, 2012.