Friday, June 29, 2012

Dishonored interview

Sometimes, just before you witness something grand, you get that indescribable feeling that what you're about to experience is going to be incredible. That's what I felt when we were ushered into the Bethesda theater to watch the showcase on Dishonored, Arkane Studios' supernatural stealth-action adventure title. Easily stealing our game of the show award, Dishonored not only draws some of its strength from the magical titles of old, but it manages to be seminal in world plagued by derivative and hackneyed titles.

Dishonored interview


You are Corvo Atano, a legendary supernatural assassin who is blamed for the murder of the empress of Dunwall. Your job is to find out who framed you, why they did it and then enact revenge upon them. A simple premise, for sure, but what makes Dishonored different than any other game out there is... well, basically everything.

The city of Dunwall can best be described as a steampunk city in the midst of a semi industrial revolution. The entire game will take place within the walls of the city so expect it to be enormous and writhing with life for you to pass judgment on. Each mission will drop you into a certain part of the city where you make the path to the objective. Sometimes side-quests appear that may or may not help you reach your goal, but there are always multiple pathways to reach the mission end. Whether you lay a path of destruction or take a more mild approach to your enemies is another choice and each way opens up new scenarios you'll encounter. How's that for being different?

He was a Dallas Cowboys fan. What?

Still not satisfied? Much as it alludes to, Dishonored is not an open-world game. As a matter of fact, each mission is hand-crafted and tailored to the situation. While that might put some people off, I remind you that old-school games like Thief worked much in the same way. Ostensibly the game may seem linear, but within each mission structure are a multitude of options and, as I previously stated, multiple pathways to get to the main objective. You can complete entire missions without killing anyone. Better? You're a supernatural assassin. There, how's that sound?

It doesn't matter how badass the protagonist or setting sounds if the combat is shabby and thankfully Dishonored delivers. Being supernatural and such, Corvo will have a ton of options of how to deal with each situation and yes, there will be upgrades to sate that RPG fanatic within. For instance, let's say a patrol man makes his way over to a secluded area but killing him there still might get you seen eventually. Well, use Corvo's blink to teleport right behind the target, stab him in the neck, pick the body up, blink back onto the roof. Done, and all within a good five seconds.

It might not look like much, but what you aren't seeing is something magical or in this case... supernatural. Sorry.

Combat is just as satisfying as it sounds. Players who relish timing-based mechanics can make Corvo parry and counterattack with ease. At one point in the showcase, Corvo wielded both a one-handed crossbow and a sword to fend off an assault of guardsmen. We also saw Corvo control the wind to throw back a missile at one of the enemies called a Tall Boy. He even called a swarm of rats to rip a man into tiny bits. Excessive, but oh so necessary.

You never see games explore areas like this and, being a stealth game fanatic, this is something I've been waiting to see for some time now. Lethal or non-lethal methods of play, your actions changing the missions dynamically, supernatural moves, a steampunk environment, a seemingly solid story, it's all gold for someone like me. If the game plays as fluid as it did on the showroom floor and delivers on what we've seen so far, it'll be hard not to consider it a game of the year contender. Get ready, because Dishonored drops October 9th on PC, Playstation 3 and Xbox 360.

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