Hitman: Absolution

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Hitman: Absolution
Developer(s) IO Interactive
Publisher(s) Square Enix
Director(s) Tore Blystad
Producer(s) Hakan B. Abrak
Designer(s) Lee Varley
Artist(s) Roberto Marchesi
Tore Blystad
Writer(s) Greg Nagan
Tore Blystad
Michael Vogt
Composer(s) Thomas Bärtschi
Peter Peter
Peter Kyed
Series Hitman
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows
PlayStation 3
Xbox 360
Release date(s) PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
WW 20121120November 20, 2012
JP 20130124January 24, 2013
Microsoft Windows
WW 20121120November 20, 2012
JP 20140327March 27, 2014
  • WW 15 May 2014
Genre(s) Action-adventure, stealth
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer

Hitman: Absolution is a stealth video game developed by IO Interactive and published by Square Enix.[1] It is the fifth installment 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.[2] The game was released on 20 November 2012 (which is in the 47th week of the year in reference to the protagonist, Agent 47) for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360.[3] On 15 May 2014 Hitman: Absolution — Elite Edition was released for OS X by Feral Interactive;[4] it contained all previously released downloadable content, including Hitman: Sniper Challenge, a "making of" documentary, and a 72-page artbook.[4]

Hitman: Absolution was met with a polarized reception. Most positive comments were concerning the game's graphics, environments and locations, and the varied gameplay options. However, many critics disliked the game for not "feeling" like a Hitman game. As of March 2013, the game has sold over 3.6 million copies.


The game is played from a third-person perspective and takes place primarily in the United States, mainly around the city of Chicago, Illinois, and the fictional town of Hope in South Dakota. The player controls Agent 47, a master hitman.[5] Gameplay is very similar to past Hitman games; as such, it is a stealth game that incorporates action gunplay.[5] Players choose how to complete each level, taking branching paths to get to a target or location.[6] Players may use pistols, bottles or bricks, assault rifles, shotguns, fiber-wire, or steel pipes, against enemies if opting for the action oriented approach, or avoid enemies all together, not being seen, using disguises, blending in the environment, and only attacking the set target(s), if using the stealth oriented approach.[5][7][8] Agent 47 also has the 'Instinct' ability that lets the player monitor enemies more easily.[6] There are also environmental ways to kill or distract individuals; players can use poison to spike coffee, pull switches to make a disco ball fall and break, cause a massive explosion at a gas station, pull a switch to cause scaffolding to fall down, cause fires, or set off fireworks.[6][9] Players complete chapters in order to progress through the story. The player journeys to a mansion, library, strip club, gun store, wrestling arena, courthouse, and hotel, during the story.[5][9]

The game introduces an online option to the series, 'Contracts', where players can create their own missions for other players to complete.[10] Players choose one of the areas in the game and modify it to create a different level. Players change the location of items, remove items, or add items, choose an objective or add a target, add a time limit, or choose which areas of the location are inaccessible and vice versa.[11]


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 assigns 47 to kill Diana and bring Victoria, a teenage girl in her care, to the Agency. Shooting and wounding Diana in her home in Chicago, 47, rather than executing her, comforts the dying Diana, who gives him a letter and asks him to keep Victoria safe from the Agency.[12]

47 hides Victoria at a Catholic orphanage somewhere in Chicago and contacts an International Contracts Agency (ICA) informant named Birdie, who asks him to kill a wealthy gangster nicknamed The King of Chinatown before he'll play ball. After eliminating him, 47 meets with Birdie, who briefs him about Blake Dexter, the CEO of Dexter Industries, who may have more information on Victoria. As payment, 47 is forced to give his signature Silverballers to Birdie.

47 learns that Dexter is in the "Terminus" hotel. After evading Dexter's henchmen, 47 eavesdrops on him in his hotel room. 47 learns from Dexter's conversation with his secretary Layla that he plans to kidnap and auction Victoria to the highest bidder. 47 attempts to strangle Sanchez, Dexter's enormous bodyguard, but underestimates his opponent and is knocked unconscious. Dexter prepares to kill 47, but spares his life after recognizing him as an Agency hitman. Just then, a hotel maid walks in and discovers 47 on the floor, thinking he is dead. Dexter kills her, plants the weapon with 47, douses the room in alcohol, ignites it, and leaves with Layla and Sanchez.

Framed by Dexter for the murder, 47 escapes the hotel and evades the police. While escaping on a train, 47 contacts Birdie, who tells him to go to a local strip club and kill the owner, Dom Osmond. Osmond works as an informant for Blake Dexter, and Birdie believes he may sell Victoria's whereabouts to him. 47 kills Osmond, but learns from a phone message in Osmond's office that Birdie is being hunted by Wade, a sociopathic mercenary who is a close friend of Dexter and is under his employ. 47 rushes to help Birdie, eliminating three of Wade's henchman in Chinatown during a massive Chinese New Year celebration. Despite this, Wade still manages to reach Birdie, who sells Victoria's location to him in exchange for his own life. Realizing he's too late, 47 heads immediately for the orphanage.

47 reaches Victoria first and learns that the necklace she normally wears around her neck keeps her alive. Wade and his henchmen then raid the orphanage and brutally massacre the nuns. Sister Mary, head nun of the orphanage, tells 47 to bring Victoria to the basement, where she will meet them. The elevator to the basement breaks down on their ride down, and 47 is forced to replace its fuse boxes. After successfully restarting power to the elevator, 47 delivers Victoria straight into the hands of Wade. He kidnaps Victoria and taunts Lenny Dexter, Blake's idiotic and insecure son, into killing Sister Mary. 47 pursues Wade and eventually shoots him, but is too late to prevent Victoria from being taken hostage by Lenny. 47 interrogates Wade to reveal Victoria's location - Hope, South Dakota - and leaves him to die of his injuries.

Meanwhile, Birdie approaches Dexter offering to broker the ransom of Victoria back to the Agency, but is rejected. In anger, Birdie secretly provides information about 47's location to Travis's assistant, Jade Nguyen, and information about Dexter to 47, hoping to profit off the situation. After arriving in Hope, 47 retrieves his Silverballers after Birdie informs him of their location at a gun store. Later, 47 kills Lenny's gang and interrogates Lenny himself. The player then drives him to the desert, and the player can either kill him or leave him in the desert. Learning from Lenny that Victoria is at the Dexter Industries HQ, 47 infiltrates the facility and destroys their research data on her while assassinating its scientists, and discovers that Victoria is in fact a genetically engineered clone bred to be a top-class assassin like him; however she can only use the skills of an assassin when she wears her necklace. 47 kills Sanchez in an underground cage fight after learning from him that Victoria was taken back to Hope. Recuperating at a motel, 47 survives an ICA attack led by The Saints – elite nuns in leather outfits.

Infiltrating Hope Courthouse Jail, 47 reaches Victoria but is subdued by the corrupt local sheriff Clive Skurky, who is working with Dexter. The ICA, led by Travis, take over the town in an attempt to get Victoria back and kill 47; but she is nowhere to be found, while 47 escapes the jail and the Agency. He then confronts a wounded Skurky in a church, demanding Victoria 's location. Skurky tells 47 she is at Blackwater Park, then dies from his wounds. Travis pays a ransom of ten million dollars for Victoria, but Dexter doesn't keep his side of the bargain and keeps both Victoria and the money. 47 arrives at Dexter's penthouse and kills Layla after she tries to seduce him. Dexter, not knowing that Layla has been killed, threatens to destroy the hotel's roof if she doesn't meet him there within five minutes. As Dexter is about to leave the hotel with Victoria and the money by helicopter, 47 mortally wounds him. 47 saves Victoria, while Dexter, with his dying words, apologizes to Lenny, and asks for his money. Victoria, who is disgusted by Dexter's words, opens the briefcase containing the ransom and throws the money onto his dying body. 47 and Victoria then leave the hotel. 47 learns from the letter Diana gave to him that Travis created Victoria without the Agency's knowledge; in the letter, she also requests that 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. After killing Jade, and then Travis' personal guards, the Praetorians, 47 corners Travis, who asks him if Diana is dead. 47 refuses to answer and kills Travis.[13] During a closing cutscene, 47 watches Diana and Victoria from afar before a message from Diana welcomes him back to the Agency, revealing that the shot 47 fired at her was non-lethal. Victoria also considers disposing of her necklace to prevent her from hurting anyone, with Diana telling her to do what she has to. Another cutscene then shows Birdie offering information on 47 to Cosmo Faulkner, a detective investigating his case.


Though plans to continue the Hitman franchise were first announced in 2007,[14] it was not until May 2009 that Eidos confirmed the game was in development.[15] Certain plot details for the game were rumored in 2009, stating that the game's story would lead Agent 47 to a low point from which he would have to rebuild himself.[16] On 20 April 2011, Square Enix filed the trademark for the name Hitman: Absolution in Europe, leading sites to speculate that it would be the name of the fifth Hitman game.[17] On 6 May 2011, a teaser trailer was released, confirming the title Hitman: Absolution. The trailer briefly showed Agent 47 attaching a suppressor and a rattlesnake coiled around his signature Silverballer pistol.[18] It has been reported the game will be a "familiar and yet significantly different experience from other Hitman games."[19] On 9 October 2011, a full gameplay trailer entitled "Run for Your Life" was released.[20]


The Professional Edition of Hitman Absolution features Professional Clamshell packaging for the game, a Hitman art book, making of DVD and the "Agency Gun Pack" DLC.[21]

Hitman: Sniper Challenge[edit]

Hitman: Sniper Challenge, a single sniping mission, was developed by IO Interactive, originally as a pre-order bonus, available to people who pre-order the game. The code would be supplied by retailers upon pre-order of the game, and could be collected from retailers before release as a download code before the game's release. At the time of pre-order, Sniper Challenge is redeemable via the PSN Store, Xbox Live Marketplace and PC. While the console version launched worldwide on 15 May 2012, the PC version wasn't released until 1 August 2012.[22][23]

Pre-order bonuses[edit]

Square Enix announced special Hitman: Absolution pre-order bonuses for selected retailers.[24] For Steam purchased games, these downloadable content are available as well.[25] These items only work for Contract mode and not the single player story mode.

  • High Tech Suit and Bartoli Custom Pistol – The advanced High Tech suit provides Agent 47 with 50% increased armor paired with the Bartoli Custom, an engineered precision weapon, complete with sight and silencer.
  • Public Enemy Suit and the Bronson M1928 submachine gun – The Original Assassin can dress in a stylish Public Enemy gangster suit armed with the Bronson M1928, an imaginary submachine gun with high fire rate and deadly stopping power.
  • Agency Kazo TRG sniper rifle – This weapon is fully upgradeable with both scope and silencer.
  • High Roller Suit and the Krugermeier 2-2 Pistol – The High Roller suit dresses Agent 47 in a fancy tuxedo discreetly outfitted with the Krugermeier, an accurate, reliable stealth weapon with a built-in silencer.
  • Hitman: Absolution: Public Enemy Disguise.
  • Hitman: Absolution: Deus Ex (Adam Jensen) Disguise.


The original soundtrack for the game is composed by Thomas Bärtschi with additional music written by Peter Kyed, Peter Peter and Dynamedion, replacing the series's previous composer, Jesper Kyd.[26]


Critical response[edit]

Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (PS3) 84.83%[27]
(X360) 79.29%[28]
(PC) 76.13%[29]
Metacritic (PS3) 83/100[30]
(X360) 79/100[31]
(PC) 79/100[32]
Review scores
Publication Score
Destructoid 8.5/10[33]
Edge 7/10[34]
Eurogamer 7/10[35]
Game Informer 8.75/10[36]
GameSpot 7.5/10[38]
GamesRadar 4.5/5 stars[37]
GameTrailers 6.9/10[39]
Giant Bomb 4/5 stars[40]
IGN 9/10[41]
Joystiq 4/5 stars[42]
PC Gamer (US) 66/100[43]
VideoGamer.com 5/10[44]
Blogcritics.org 3/5 stars[45]
GameArena 3/10[46]
Gaming Age C[47]
IBITimes 5/10[48]
The Daily Mail 4/5 stars[49]
The Daily Telegraph 2/5 stars[50]
VentureBeat 7.5/10[51]

Hitman: Absolution received a polarized reception. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the PlayStation 3 version 84.83% and 83/100,[27][30] the Xbox 360 version 79.29% and 79/100[28][31] and the PC version 76.13% and 79/100,[29][32] respectively. Positive reviews came from GamesRadar, calling it "one of the strongest entries in the series to date",[37] and Game Informer, who wrote that "devising a strategy, using the environment and disguises to your advantage, and leaving before anyone knows you’re there are the hallmarks of a perfect hit, and Absolution proves Agent 47 is still gaming's premier hitman."[36] The Daily Mail gave the game a 4/5, with particular praise being given to the game's varied environments, of which they remarked that "whether it's walking along the sun-kissed balcony of a beach-side villa, or exploring the dank, underground sewers below a nightclub, Absolution brings each world to life with remarkable aplomb."[49]

Edge gave it 7/10, saying "the game has taken a unique formula and diluted it".[34] VentureBeat gave it 7.5/10 saying "Absolution aims high but misses the mark."[51] Eurogamer gave it 7/10 saying "Agent 47 doesn't begin Hitman: Absolution with amnesia, but the six years that have passed since we last took control of him in Blood Money do seem to have dulled his creators' recollections of what made him so popular in the first place."[35] GameSpot gave it 7.5/10 saying "Hitman: Absolution's vivid world and enjoyable stealth-action gameplay overshadow its few notable inconsistencies."[38] IGN gave it 9/10 saying "It’s nice to have a game that doesn’t just encourage improvisation; it requires it."[41] Forbes and Kotaku both gave Absolution positive reviews.[52][53] Giant Bomb gave it 4/5,[40] as did Joystiq.[42] Destructoid gave it 8.5/10.[33] GameArena gave the game a 3/10 saying "IO Interactive needs to restart from the Blood Money checkpoint and try again — they screwed up this run spectacularly."[46]

The Daily Telegraph gave the game a 2/5 saying "Despite the fact that Absolution is a hugely disappointing entry into the canon, Hitman is still a fabulous series."[50] IBITimes gave the game a 5/10 saying "An unremarkable, derivative clone of a game that's barely a shadow of what Hitman used to be."[48] Videogamer.com gave it 5/10 saying "The problem with Absolution is that its new custodians from the Kane and Lynch team seem to have fundamentally misunderstood what made Hitman great."[44] Blogcritics.org gave the game a 3/5 saying "There are definitely good things about it, but all too often the game's failures shine through more clearly than its successes."[45] PC Gamer gave it 66% saying "A passable stealth game, but one that betrays almost everything that, until now, has made Hitman great."[43] GameTrailers gave it 6.9/10 saying "It’s clear that a good deal of effort was put into crafting Hitman: Absolution’s world. This makes its flaws all the more unfortunate."[39] New Statesman gave no rating but said "If developers want to win back fans when they revisit established franchises maybe they should look to what made those games popular in the first place and by doing so maybe they’d avoid stepping on a rake or two."[54] GamerSyndrome gave no rating but said "Hitman Absolution tries to be a jack of all trades but ends up being a master of none."[55] The Irish Times gave no score but said "The move away from the completely open world may leave some hardcore fans of Hitman disappointed."[56][dead link] Gaming Age rated the game a 'C' and said "It feels like I’m playing a low rent, knockoff Metal Gear title as opposed to traditional Hitman."[47] The Daily Record gave the game 3/5 saying "While it’s more accessible than previous Hitman games, Absolution loses a lot of the freedom that fans of the franchise love, and perhaps doesn’t necessarily fit the Hitman name any longer."[57] TheEscapist gave no score but said "Hitman Absolution is not the best nor the worst Hitman".[58] Whatculture gave the game a 3/5 saying "Not Quite the expected hit".[59] The Guardian gave it 3/5 saying "The game may look better and play better than any Hitman game before it, but one can only marvel at how IO managed to lose sight of their IP's most appealing aspects so often."[60]

On 26 March 2013, Square Enix announced that the game had sold about 3.6 million copies at retail, but has failed to reach predicted sales targets.[61]

Technical issues[edit]

Shortly after launch, scores of complaints came in about the game crashing, freezing and corrupting file saves on the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360, rendering many of the games unplayable.[62] On 26 November 2012, IO Interactive stated that they were working around the clock to try and fix these technical errors, but also stated that they did not know what exactly was causing the errors, so a patch may take some time.[63]

The patch for the PC and PS3 versions was released on 10 December 2012, while the Xbox 360 patch was released nine days later. However, players have complained about continued crashing and freezing issues even after installing the patch.


On 29 May 2012, a cinematic teaser trailer, produced by Square Enix's CGI studio Visual Works, titled "Attack of the Saints" was released.[64] The trailer's depiction of "gun-toting, PVC and latex-clad nuns being killed in a hail of bullets" sparked controversy over the allegedly sexist portrayal of women.[65][66] IO Interactive's Tore Blystad, the game's director, later apologized, stating they're "sorry that we offended people" and that it "was truly not the intention of the trailer."[67]

On 4 December 2012, IO Interactive faced heavy criticism for releasing a Hitman: Absolution Facebook app that allowed users to identify and threaten Facebook friends for assassination. Methods of identifying female friends included "her hairy legs", "her muffin top" and "her small tits". Methods of identifying male friends included "his ginger hair", "his shit hair" and "his tiny penis". Users could choose a reason to kill their friend, such as the fact that they "smell bad" or were cheating on their partner. Friends received a personalised video on their Facebook wall identifying them as a target. Signing up to watch the video presented recipients with a mixture of their own photos and Facebook details merged into a video of Hitman character Agent 47 shooting them. IO Interactive admitted the promotional app was in bad taste and removed it the same day.[68][69][70]


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External links[edit]