Hitman Contracts has greatly improved the gameplay of the series and is one of the best action-stealth games of 2004.
There are many things that make this franchise so popular: cinematic stories, open ended gameplay, great soundtracks and many other things.
If you have played the previous Hitman games, you would know that the Hitman franchise focuses on the assassination missions of a professional hitman, Agent.47. He's a clone created by Dr.Ort Meier combining the DNA of five of the world's deadliest assassins. He performs his contracts for the ICA (international contract agency) and Before every mission a character named Diana Burnwood sends him his mission briefings.
and tell him what to do. In most missions 47 has kill a number of targets or maybe recover a special Item.
In Hitman Contracts we play as 47 again, most of the problems of the previous Hitman games are fixed and a lot of cool features have been added. This is mostly apparent in the level design as we can complete each missions in dozens of interesting ways, you can kill everyone on the map, or you can act like a professional and complete the level with a silent assassin rating (and only kill the targets), or if you're not an expert player you can use both stealth and action to complete the mission.
The story is very dark and atmospheric, 47 is wounded after a certain mission, and at the beginning arrives in his room at a hotel in Paris, then he passes out, the missions are told mostly as flashbacks, 47 remembers his past as a paid doctor treats him, some of these missions are the ones originally features in Hitman Codename 47, but they're much more detailed here, and overall the mission design stands out among most of the games' features.
The graphics are very good, specially from a design point of view, there are some nice looking post filters used which greatly help the atmosphere, this plus the other effects helps create some memorable locales ranging from the dimly lit streets of Hong Kong to a big hotel in Budapest.
The music is once again fantastic, Jesper Kyd has successfully created pieces that compliment the dark story, characters and the environment in nice and unexpected ways.
So, to sum everything up, if you like stealth video games, or if you're a fan of the previous Hitman games, this games is perfect for you.