Our time in Sapienza comes to an end...
The episodic nature of this game is pretty unique. Until this game came out, the only time the episodic model was seen was in the likes of Telltale's adventure games and others like them. Developers didn't try to use that model in other products. Alan Wake had "episodes", but it was still one full retail game on release.
When this game was first announced, everyone was weary of it. Not only did Absolution fail to stick the landing, but the business behind this game was so scatterbrained that it seemed like IO and Square Enix didn't know what they were doing.
But it works...
As it turns out, each level is big enough that it can stand of its own. I spend a good 2 hours on my initial run in each level, and so far I've spent more playtime in this game than I have in all my playthroughs of Blood Money combined.
There's usually just enough content in a level, plus all the Escalation Missions, Contracts, and Elusive Targets, that there is a lot of replayability on offer. By the time you're completely done with Hitman, there's some new piece of content just out on the horizon.
Even for someone like me, who only plays one "main" game at a time, I can fit it into my schedule my dedicating a weekend or a little bit of time to Hitman, then going back to what I'm actually playing as my "main" title.
I scorned them before the Hitman Beta for how they planned to roll out this new game, but not only do I respect IO for sticking to their guns, I think it resulted in a much more engaging product overall. It makes me wonder how else an episodic model might be applied to improve a game. It's possible Hitman is in a unique position to use it, since the games were always more about gameplay than story. However, I find it hard to believe that Hitman is the only such game.