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Disguises are a vital part of gameplay in the Hitman series.
In all six Hitman games released so far, Agent 47 can disguise himself as an authoritive figure of an incapacitated or dead NPC's body. In some cases, disguises can be found throughout the level individually. When he takes one, the clothes he is wearing at the time are left behind. Depending on the prestige of the disguise, he can be granted access to various areas that would otherwise be prohibited for entry. This allows him access to certain actions otherwise not possible (such as performing the wedding ceremony in Till Death Do Us Part) and carrying visible weapons relevant to the disguise. In Absolution, certain disguises can also be used to hide at safe spots.
Most disguises available in the games are of common bystanders such as workers or guards. Taking them allows 47 to blend in with them and go by more or less unnoticed, unless (in most games) he stays too close to them for too long, at which point guards will see through it and become alarmed. While guards aren't as observant in Codename 47 and Blood Money, it has been so in the other games. In Absolution, guards are able to see through 47's disguises if he is dressed like them, though he can cover his face to sneak past them at the cost of Instinct. If the disguise is seen through, it doesn't instantly mean 47's cover is blown, but it means the player has to walk out of view before the guard catches on.
Certain disguises have additional physical abilities, such as the SWAT disguises, which improve Body Armor, the radiation suit in The Bjarkhov Bomb, which protects against radiation and the swimming trunks in Traditions of the Trade, which prevents carrying too many weapons.
In Blood Money, 47 gets penalized on difficulties over Rookie if he leaves his original suit behind in the level when exiting. On most levels this is easy enough if the starting point is in the same place as the exit, but on others, such as A Vintage Year, the exit is more heavily guarded and/or in a restricted area and requires some stealth to access.