Hitman: Absolution is an action-adventure stealth game developed by IO Interactive and published by Square Enix. It is the fifth entry in the Hitman game series, and runs on IO Interactive's proprietary Glacier 2 game engine. Before release, the developers stated that Absolution would be easier to play and more accessible, while still retaining hardcore aspects of the franchise. The game was released on November 20, 2012, which is in the 47th week of the year (in reference to the protagonist, Agent 47).
In the aftermath of Hitman Blood Money, Diana Burnwood, Agent 47's handler with the International Contract Agency, suddenly goes rogue, carrying out a catastrophic sabotage that includes publicly exposing the Agency. The Agency reforms under agent Benjamin Travis; Travis contracts a kill order on Diana, assigning 47 to make the hit and bring Victoria, a teenage girl in her care, to the Agency. Shooting and wounding Diana in her home, 47 hesitates before killing her, and she asks 47 to take a letter she wrote and keep Victoria from the Agency.
47 hides Victoria at a Catholic orphanage and contacts an informant named Birdie; 47 is told of Blake Dexter, head of Dexter Industries, who may have more information on Victoria. Eavesdropping on Dexter, 47 learns that he plans to kidnap and auction Victoria to the highest bidder. Sanchez, Dexter's enormous associate, then proceeds to knock him unconscious. Framed by Dexter for the murder of an innocent bystander, 47 evades the police, only to learn Birdie is being hunted by Dexter's ally, Wade; despite 47's intervention, Birdie still sells Victoria's location to Wade.
47 reaches Victoria, only to find Wade and his men attacking the orphanage and many of the staff dead. 47 mortally wounds Wade, but Victoria is kidnapped and taken hostage by Lenny, Dexter's son. 47 follows him to Hope, South Dakota, where 47 kills Lenny's gang, before interrogating Lenny, then leaving him to die (or killing him). Lenny tells 47 that Victoria is at Dexter Industries HQ, 47 destroys their research data on the girl and assassinates its head scientists; at the lab he learns that Victoria is in fact a genetically engineered clone, bred to be a super assassin like 47. 47 kills Sanchez in an underground cage fight after learning from him Victoria was taken back to Hope. Recuperating at a hotel, he routs an ICA attack lead by the elite all-girl hit team "The Saints."
Infiltrating Hope Courthouse Jail, 47 reaches Victoria but is subdued by the Sheriff, Clive Skurky, who is working with Dexter. The ICA, led by Travis, takes over the town in an attempt to get Victoria back, but is not able to find her. 47 escapes the prison, evades the ICA, and kills Skurky. Travis pays a ransom for Victoria, but 47 arrives at Dexter's penthouse and kills Dexter's wife, Layla, and finally Dexter himself, before escaping with Victoria.
The player is shown Diana's letter, confirming that Travis created Victoria without the Agency's knowledge; the letter also requests 47 kill Travis to protect Victoria. Pursuing him to England, 47 finds the ICA exhuming the Burnwood family graves, believing Diana's death to have been faked. Killing Travis' assistant Jade and then his personal guards, 47 detonates the building Travis is hiding in, severely injuring him. Approached by 47, Travis asks 47 if Diana is dead; 47 refuses to say, and kills Travis. During a closing cutscene, 47 watches Diana and Victoria, before a message from Diana welcomes him back to the Agency, revealing 47 spared her. Another cutscene then shows Birdie offering information on 47 to Cosmo Faulkner, a detective investigating 47's case.
The game takes place in the United States, and features an online option. In addition, the game features "instinct mode" which allows 47 to predict enemy patrol routes, much like the "sonar vision" that was featured in Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction, "eagle vision" in Assassin's Creed, "tracker mode" in Crysis 2, and "Detective mode" in Batman: Arkham Asylum. The game has also been improved in all aspects to provide a more console-like third person shooter experience along with the classic stealth elements the series is known for.
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