Well I got my chance to play through the demo, and I am very excited (bet you didnt see that coming!).
The graphical facelift makes a tremendous difference over the previous games, especially in the characters. They don't feel as wooden and stiff, although I think they're taking ol' cueball's look in the wrong direction (Silent Assassin was perfect I thought, and the cutscenes for Blood Money are very much in that style of Tobias too, but the ingame model seems a little too chubby).
The first person perspective is a nice option, although it feels incredibly loose and just seems to be tacked on for those run-and-gun losers. Hitman is and always should be third-person, it just doesn't work in first most of the time, although it did come in handy during the window sniping.
They moved the controls around a little, and I think it's a little unintuitive that you can't hit fire to pull your weapon anymore. That's just a learning curve thing, but it's still a little annoyance.
The addition of throwing skills is FRICKIN AWESOME, god I love hucking that knife. Having coins makes getting past guards much easier than having to just memorize the guard routes, and makes it that much more likely to "get it right the first time".
I do kind of wish they included at least one other level so you could try it out unchained to the tutorial. The first level felt *way* too much on rails, although there were multiple aspects if you dug through the level a little, they weren't anywhere near as varied or readily apparent as the Silent Assassin demo. Hopefully this is just a symptom of the tutorial level.
I *love* the notoriety system, getting to read the paper and actually getting all sorts of details about what happened, although it's not quite as clear cut for rankings. How am I supposed to preserve my "Silent Assassin or equivalent on every Hitman level ever without using any FAQs" streak?
All in all, they're sticking to what works, with more tuning and refining to add depth without changing the gameplay dramatically. The story looks like it'll be a lot tighter than SA (I'm in the minority that thought Contracts had a good story), so I'm all hyped up.
Now the pain of waiting a week....
WTG IO! Get some rest
-DSR <--Rabid unabashed Hitman fanboi for life
EDIT: Oh, and to hell the lame marketing guy who said "Ultra-realistic AI". The AI isn't much improved over any other Hitman as far as I could tell, most of the core behavior was the same from contracts. There is a *lot* more scripted behavior though (There's a great Reservoir Dogs-esque scene if you wait long enough with the first gangster) but SCRIPTING != AI.This comment was edited on May 22, 18:53.