The first full measure of game play in Absolution begins under circumstances that every fan of the series can appreciate: the infamous Agent 47, the ghost, a phantom that no law enforcement agency anywhere in the world has so far managed to succeed in outing or identifying, the star of the ICA, has been dispatched on another assignment, only this time the Contract he is fulfilling has personal overtones, because this time the target is the woman who happens to be one of only two friends that 47 has ever had.
If you are an old hand at the Hitman series you know the drill – the ICA has assigned you a target, you are going to hit that target and fulfill the Contract, and in the process you can count on the absolute support of the ICA, from cover ID to backstopping the legend of who you are supposed to be; stocking and delivering any kit and special weapons you require; providing the funding you need – practically unlimited funding at that, all of these are what you have come to expect from the Agency. And why not? You have always delivered for them – you have fully succeeded in every single Contract you have been assigned. Success has provided you with a nearly unlimited measure of support from one of the most powerful and best-connected private contract agencies in the world.
Which is why your decision to go off-plan and your apparent failure to kill the target, ex-ICA Handler Diana Burnwood, has left the ICA in shock and caused them to out you to the world, withdraw all support, issue a Kill-On-Sight Order to all ICA operatives, and reveal your deepest secrets as well as your true identity to every law enforcement agency in the world, from Interpol to the FBI, and even the smallest of small town police departments. The ICA wants you dead!
The Official Dianna Burnwood Intro Montage
If that sounds melodramatic to you then you have not fully thought this situation through. Game play in Absolution is fully dictated by the sudden withdrawal of support from the ICA. For the first time in your career you can only rely upon yourself, and whatever non-Agency assets you can find and subvert before they get to them first. You cannot trust anyone, you cannot rely upon anyone, you are alone. For the first time.
What that means in simple terms is that your first concern is going to have to be finding resources you can use to advance your agenda, which is to seek out and deal with the evil men who threaten the continued freedom of a little girl who is very important to Diana Burnwood – and therefore very important to you.
How that impacts game play is really very simple – while your tactics in the past on Agency Contracts always included at least some element of stealth, the certainty that no matter how badly you screwed up on a mission, the Agency would be there to clean up your mess, recover your suit and any weapons you ended up leaving behind, and muddle the evidence that might ID you, well, all that is gone. And that means that game play here elevates stealth to the highest order! You must embrace the legend and be the ghost, because the only way to get through the roadblocks that the ICA is about to throw in your way is to be invisible, unseen, and wisp-like as you slide past them. Oh sure, you can try to confront them directly – and you may succeed more often than you fail – but the emphasis here is now on a mixture of stealth and action, with stealth coming first!