Developers and players alike have brainwashed themselves into believing these the very tenants of current-gen gaming. (I’m not spoiling for a debate here, just tendering an observation...)
No longer will it suffice to whip out a Tommy Gun and force your foe to perform the lead dance while puffing on a stogie and grunting “Keep the change, ya filthy animal!”
There must be the option to sneak and clamber into a stronghold undetected, non-violently coax the sentries into a dreamless slumber, lure your oblivious mark onto the tip of your poisoned blade or simply nuke the bastids with phosphoric light, concussive shrapnel and twirling crimson dipped swords.
Finally, no matter the manner in which your target bit it (or whether there’s enough of a corpse to bury, you monster) the meticulously coded world must react, be it by throwing a parade or dropping a piano on your head.
The reaction itself is secondary. But the world MUST react.
Bearing this in mind, meet Dishonored
It’s THAT Neo-Victorian Steampunk First Person Murder’Em’Up with the long legged incendiary archers and copious bloodletting.
Developed by little known Arkane Studios, Dishonored
’s heritage is deceptively robust.
Firstly, the neo-industrial atmosphere should strike a hauntingly familiar chord, as Half Life 2
designer Viktor Antonov
has thoroughly swabbed these decks. Having left his mark on the likes of Deus Ex
and Thief: Deadly Shadows
, the steady hand of Harvey Smith
is at the tiller while publishing behemoth Bethesda Softworks
(Rage, New Vegas
) is the wind in Dishonored’s
Players inhabit Corvo, the former Empress’ bodyguard, framed for her murder, who leaps at the chance avenge this most heinous betrayal. Truthfully, it reads as trite narrative fodder. But considering the painted aesthetic, arresting setting and atmospheric presentation, Dishonored may have more than a selection of sharpened implements up its sleeves.
is a linear title. Remember those. Missions are stacked, rather than orbiting one another to be picked off at your discretion, retarding any sense of pace. Mercifully, individual missions take place in expanded sandboxs, allowing Corvo ample room to play with his toys.
And seriously, where does he get all those wonderful toys?!
Avoiding the sinister glare of TallBoys and careful to evade molecular realignment via concealed Walls of Light (Electrified fences. Very, very electrified fences.) Corvo can summon his power wheel, not unlike Commander Sheppard or Geralt of Rivia, and discern the most pertinent tool for the job.
Job: Crossing the courtyard unseen
Tool: Blink teleportation ability
Job: Distract Sentries
Tool: Summon Plague of Rats
Job: Infiltrate Guard Tower
Tool: Possess fishy
The Victorian architecture itself plays a significant role, gifting Corvo with useful vantage points, alcoves, cover and hazards. Used in unison with Dark Vision, gusts of summoned wind and some horrifically violent close quarters combat, the steampunk city of Dunwall
almost does your work for you.
Case in point: The E3
demo saw a target trapped within a steam-room. Corvo conveniently waited outside, pressure valve within reach.
So it’s not all run and gun.
Unless you want it to be. If so an array of dart guns, muskets, crossbow bolts, grenades and short swords wielded with mystically hindered time should see you the equal of most confrontations.
Because god knows for some of us, refinement is merely an industrial process preformed upon crude oil!Dishonored
blinks its way onto shelves on October 12th 2012. Expect extensive coverage in the coming months.