What happens when you take the sneak-and-stab philosophy of Assassin’s Creed, plug in a first-person view, add BioShock-type powers and drop the whole package into a Victorian-era Steampunk-ish environment? You get Dishonored, Bethesda and Arkane’s latest game. The title, set for release next week, promises to be one of the year’s biggest—as well as one of the most awarded and celebrated.
So what is Dishonored, exactly? We took a look at the game and came up with this quick preview for those that are still curious.
Dishonored takes place in the dark, grungy city of Dunwall. The plot is simple—you play as Corvo, a former bodyguard to a murdered Empress. Corvo has been framed for the murder of course, which means you’ll spend the bulk of the game proving your innocence and murdering everyone in your path as you seek bloody revenge. It’s a pretty basic setup on the surface; Corvo will need to run through a series of assassinations in order to clear his name and achieve vengeance.
However, Dishonored isn’t so much about stabbing people as it is about how you stab them. Every mission in the game has multiple paths and multiple solutions, allowing you to find your own path to victory. You can try the full-on stealth approach and avoid alarms and guards, or kill everyone you see and leave a bloody trail in your wake. It’s all about your playstyle.
Enhancing Corvo’s standard collection of stabbing and slicing moves is a host of interesting magical powers, granted to him by a mysterious character at the beginning of the game. He can blink from one area to another, summon rat armies and possess enemy characters. Once again, which powers you use and where you use them is entirely up to you. Powers can also be enhanced and tweaked, and completionist players may discover that tracking down power-related items is one of the game’s more compelling tasks.
There’s one important thing to note here about Dishonored—even though the game is about assassinations, you can complete it without killing a single character. Every challenge has a peaceful resolution, even if that resolution is somewhat grim and terrifying. For example, in one early mission you have the choice between murdering a young woman, or helping her stalker kidnap her so he can “make her fall in love.” It’s not pretty, but hey, it’s not murder either, right?
All of the action in Dishonored is set against a dark, living environment packed with opulent rich folks, near-death people in poverty, an assortment of monsters and an incredible steampunk aesthetic. The city of Dunwall is a much a character in the game as the people, and players will likely have far more memories about exploring its nooks and crannies than they have of individual NPCs.
Dishonored, from what we’ve seen, is looking very, very good. It’s sure to win a few awards and could even be a game of the year contender. Look for it on shelves next week and don’t forget—if you pre-order it now, we’ll toss you 20% off on Borderlands 2.
Are you amped for Dishonored’s release next week?