Dishonored - New Game of the Day #33
- Arkane Studios
Dishonored – New Game of the Day #33
What? A new steampunk-inspired stealth/action game from one of the bods behind the legendary Thief and Deus Ex franchises
When? Q2 2012
Where? PS3, PC and Xbox 360
Dishonored is the tale of Corvo, a former bodyguard seeking his vengeance on the mean streets of the Victorian-esque city of Dunwall, the capital city of Gristol. Framed for the assassination of the Empress he was sworn to protect, Corvo is determined to get to the bottom of a coup perpetrated by the Lord Regent – achieved via the age-old videogame medium of brutal mass murder.
Using a first-person perspective, Dishonored will see you mixing heavy stealth action with bloody combat and Corvo’s innate supernatural abilities. Not only able to use swords, daggers and muskets to cut a bloody swathe through Dunwall, Corvo can also call on several magical tricks such as the ability to slow time or possess the bodies of other creatures – and given that Dunwall’s rats are the size of small dogs, there’s a lot of potential for carnage.
Interestingly, developers Arkane are experimenting with the ways in which Corvo can interact with the world. For example, his skills and abilities are far more than your standard fantasy-fare fireballs and force-pushes; being able to freeze time mid-fight to escape into the shadows, before possessing the body of a big, fat, ugly rat to lead your swarm in to finish the ruck for you sounds awesome. We’ve not seen a great deal of murders by rat-swarm in games up to now. The idea that you can combine Corvo’s powers to produce various dynamic, often-unexpected effects is also exciting, and a little reminiscent of the Plasmid abilities in Bioshock.
The open world is persistent, too, with NPCs and enemies not following set paths but interacting with one another in ways that can be affected by your actions. Though there’s no in-your-face good/evil slider, Dishonored utilises a very cool Chaos system that will alter various elements of the gameworld based on what you do or don’t do. You might, for example, pass up the opportunity to perforate a couple of ne’er-do-wells down a dingy back alley, only to find those same scumbags attacking an innocent bystander – or even you – later on. Kill them when you’ve got the chance, and you could save yourself the trouble later. It’s an interesting concept that allows you, as Corvo, to affect the gameworld without being directly punished (or rewarded) for the morale path you take.
Set not only in Dunwall but also on the vast continent of Pandyssia and the surrounding isles, where whale-oil is both the main currency and form of fuel, Dishonored showcases some wonderfully-steampunky art design and shows off the creative flair of Harvey Smith, Raphael Colantonio and the team at Arkane. With groovy, retro-futuristic gadgets and Handyman-style automatons roaming the cobbled streets, Dishonored is not afraid to wear its influences on its sleeve – which is a big reason why it’s looking like one of 2012’s most interesting new IPs.
Developer Legacy: Arkane Studios are a French outfit led by CEO Raf Colantonio, best known for producing above-average first person fantasy games Arx Fatalis and Dark Messiah: Heroes of Might and Magic. More recently they were called upon by 2k Marin to help out with the art design for Bioshock 2. Working alongside them is none other than Harvey Smith, whose chequered, yet unarguably illustrious CV includes titles such as Deus Ex, Thief: Deadly Shadows and Blacksite: Area 51.
They Say: “Dishonored can be played as an all-action shooter or a measured stealth game, and it would be utterly unique on store shelves if not for the inconvenient arrival of Deus Ex: Human Revolution.” – CVG
We Say: A huge open world, dynamic, mix-and-match play styles, the ability to play the entire game without killing a single soul and the dark, steampunk atmosphere are only a few reasons to be excited about Dishonored.
Can’t Wait? Play This: To be honest, there’s not a great deal out there very much like Dishonored, but you could do worse than revisiting Bioshock 2 for a taste of Arkane Studios’ brand of game design; or if you’re after a game that doesn’t force you down a particular path and allows for a lot of freedom in overcoming obstacles, get stuck into Deus Ex: Human Revolution.
Words by Mick Fraser (Twitter: @Jedi_Beats_Tank)
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