Dishonored is a stealth action adventure title, developed by Arkane Studios and published by Bethesda. I had a chance to play the title at the Eurogamer Expo in London this past weekend – here are my first impressions of the section of the game I got to play!
From the trailers that have been released so far, I had the expectation that I would be able to sneak around the whale-oil alternate-past world of Dishonored, using my magical powers to summon plague rats, see through walls, pause time, blink like a StarCraft II stalker, take over maids and stab guards in the back.
And I could. I just couldn’t do it as cleanly as in the trailers!
The game emphasises player choice, with a simple objective – kidnap a scientist in a heavily guarded tower – offering dozens of tactical options. You could enter the tower by mind-controlling a guard, killing everyone at the entrance, riding a water wheel or just blinking from rooftop to rooftop. I went for the water wheel approach, evading the guards as I swum around the tower block, surfacing near the water wheel, then blinking from the top of the wheel to a conveniently opened door.
Once inside, I had more choices to make. While normally you would have only a few spells open to you, based on what you’d decided to unlock so far, for the purposes of the demo I had the whole skillset unlocked. I decided to go for the boring but dependable approach – using my Dark Vision to spot where guards were looking from around the corner, then using a series of blinks to bypass the guards and get up onto the pipes near the ceiling. I was told that other options could have been rewiring the ‘wall of light’ forcefield on some entrances to only allow me, and to electrocute everyone else, or taking control of a maid to bypass the field.
There were plenty of items scattered around the level, easily locatable using the Dark Vision power. As well as grenades, potions and the rewiring tool I mentioned earlier, there were also just valuables scattered around the house’s many rooms. These could be taken as you walked around the place, scoring you gold which you could use to purchase items between missions. This made it quite rewarding to thoroughly explore any given area, as you could be sure to find a few trinkets, although this had to be balanced against the threat of being caught by the guards.
Even with all the powers and weapons – which included a crossbow and a handgun, as well as your trusty dagger – fighting the guards directly was something done only out of desperation, as alarms would bring guards from all over the house to overwhelm you.
I continued through the mission, fetching whale oil and other items to progress. At one point I found two guards with their backs to me, and managed to dispatch them both, then throw their bodies into the river. The objective, the scientist I had to kidnap, was simple once I reached it, with a sleep dart quickly collapsing his body to the floor. Then I had to hoist him over my shoulder and get out of there before anyone noticed – including the massive man-operated walker in the streets below.
After a few ill-fated attempts to swim to safety (it turns out drugged and unconscious men can’t breathe underwater too well), I managed to blink across the rooftops, behind the back of the walker and into the hidden canal below to complete the mission.
Overall, I had quite a lot of fun. There’s definitely loads of replayability here – I would have been happy to do the same mission a few times just to see what else was possible – and the prospect of a whole game where I can practice the powers one at a time instead of being thrown into the deep end is a tantalising one.
Dishonored is coming out in North America on October 9th, Australia and Japan on October 11th and Europe on October 12th. The game will be available for PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
This article was written by William Judd. William writes for Mobile Fun, the UK’s leading online retailer of iPhone 5 cases.