I think it’s fair to say that Dishonored is one of the most keenly-anticipated video games in a long time, perhaps ever. Stepping into the well-worn shoes of a brutal and downright terrifying assassin named Corvo, a former bodyguard framed for murder, your task is to make your way through the city of Dunwall, exacting your vengeance by disposing of your targets through whatever means you deem necessary. It’s something of a marriage of Bioshock, Thief and Deus Ex, or perhaps better described as a beautiful baby born of all three of these parents...
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It has an extremely impressive pedigree
team behind Dishonored includes designers and developers who worked on
such classic PC games as Thief, System Shock 2 and the original Deus Ex,
before getting together to form Arkane Studios. Arkane’s own history is
an impressive and unusual one. While neither Arx Fatalis or Dark
Messiah of Might and Magic were megahits, they were nevertheless
innovative and original games that garnered a strong critical response.
Arkane were also recruited to contribute to Bioshock 2, providing much
of the game’s art and design.
It gives you a host of supernatural abilities
is downright creepy and playing him gives you access to all sorts of
strange powers. Some of them are simply superhuman, allowing Corvo to
run faster or to fall great distances without harm. Beyond this, there’s
the less socially-acceptable skills, such as short-range teleportation
and the ability to summon swarms of rats. Then there’s the plain freaky
stuff, such as Shadow Kill, which causes the bodies of those you kill to
vanish into thin air, or Time Bend, which slows reality around you
while you carry on regardless.
It puts a brutal arsenal at your disposal
playing an assassin, so it only makes sense that you have access to all
sorts of wickedly unpleasant weaponry. This includes a crossbow that
can fire exploding bolts, a wheellock pistol, grenades, a sword, mines,
smoke bombs and, if you’re feeling particularly sympathetic, sleeping
darts. If you feel something isn’t quite nasty enough yet, you’ll have
the chance to upgrade your equipment between missions. You could of course try and be a bit stealthy.
It will take “between 12 to 28 hours to finish”
according to Arkane, anyway, though your personal experience may vary.
Those 12 hours of play will take you through each mission in turn
without much downtime spent shopping between them and, of course,
without any poking around. If you start looking into the game’s many
nooks and crannies, exploring, investigating and drinking in all its
many details, then that’s when you’re headed for that 28-hour figure.
It’s looking fantastic
that’s an entirely subjective statement, but I’ve not yet met anyone
who disagrees. Dishonored’s design is a fantastic fusion of different
Victorian steampunk ideas, something that means it’s not only a
beautiful game to look at, but is also bursting with fascinating
details. A plague stalks the streets of Dunwall, a seaside city that’s
alternately beautiful and disturbing, and which suffers from terrible
poverty and a severe social divide. You can feel the influence of H.G.
Wells in things like the terrifying Tallboys, giant mechanical striders
that keep the peace, or in the sinister Walls of Light, great fences of
energy that obliterate anyone who attempts to pass through them.
Here's the handsome TV ad...
For all those weapons, it’s still all about choice
might’ve made the first assassination game where you don’t have to kill
anybody,” said Harvey Smith in one of the game’s recent developer
videos, and while finding some way to neutralize your target is the main
purpose of each mission, there’s a lot more going on than that. In a recent RockPaperShotgun write-up, Nathan Grayson documented more than a dozen different things he tried on just one test level.
is all about the approach you take, the solutions you invent to solve
the problems presented to you and, most of all, the kind of character
you want to be. Not only can you combine your weapons and your powers in
all sorts of devious and deadly ways, you also make important decisions
about how you interact with the world and the characters around you.
Smith says some of the choices you make have serious consequences, some
have very minor consequences and some are merely aesthetic and have no
impact. The problem is, you may not know which are which until it’s too
It has a Hollywood cast
it’s a damn impressive cast too, including such famous names as Brad
Dourif, Susan Sarandon, Michael Madsen and even Carrie Fisher. Among the
not-quite-so-famous names are the nevertheless impressive Lena Headey,
Chloë Grace Moretz and John Slattery. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to
suggest that it sports the Dishonored cast is the most impressive of any video game yet
It will see release on October 9th in the US and October 12th in Europe.