Problem is, there's very little give between the two, and it can change in an instant without you really knowing why. As a result you sometimes don't feel completely in control.
Hitman Contracts would have benefited hugely from a more sophisticated danger meter, one where you had exact control over your situation, like Splinter Cell's visibility meter. As it is, you can have no idea why the guards are suspicious, so it's not clear how to change the way you're acting.
That said, it is possible to complete levels even after your cover is blown. In fact, we blasted our way through the first couple of missions, forgetting stealth and disguises altogether. But shooting your way through the game in this way is unsatisfying and feels like you're not playing it how it should be played. After all, the point of Hitman is that you kill quickly and silently, and make good your escape. When you're forced to do this in a very restricted way, with little room for error or freedom, a lot of the fun is sapped from the game. Shame, because it could've have been brilliant.
Gritty movie atmosphere and clever storyline fail to outshine the unforgiving gameplay. It's got some great ideas but could've been so much better.