One of the most intriguing new IPs of 2012, Dishonored is a stealth action game promising to allow players to take on the powers of a supernatural assassin.
The game follows the exploits of Corvo, a disgraced bodyguard accused of murdering the empress he once protected. After being given supernatural abilities, Corvo now roams the streets of the plague-ridden Dunwall, taking out enemies and bringing the fat cats of the city to justice.
With the game’s release nearly upon us, here are five reasons this game should be on your radar:
1) A New World to Explore
Set in a very steampunk-influenced world, Dunwall is a city falling apart. It’s been ridden with disease, the dead are piled up in the streets, rats run rampant, and corrupt politicians continue to party without a care in the world.
In Dunwall, different areas feel distinct and different; the mansions of the members of parliament are lavish and fancy while the diseased citizens are forced to live in the more desolate parts of the town, warded off by mounted guards on tall, slender mechs called “Tallboys”.
Many of the story beats in Dishonored can be picked up merely by eavesdropping on conversations. NPCs talk about their lives, the world around them, how scared they are of the plauge, and some even hint at fine details in their personal lives. It all works well to deliver a hard-hitting, lifelike scene with the city feeling just as alive as the people inhabiting it, giving off a vibe that feels very much like BioShock in the way action takes place around you. In Dishonored, the world has been structured to ensure that you feel a part of it, not just in control of it.
2) A Dark, Twisted Narrative
Gritty doesn’t begin to do the story of Dishonored justice. Ideas of class warfare, political unrest and skepticism, plague, death, desolation, and suppression are all present and accounted for in Dishonored, making for a compelling narrative promising to deliver on all counts.
Multiple videos have been released about Dishonored, detailing the world and its citizens, and how they will interact with and matter to Corvo’s story. Among those is the story of Piero, the man who ultimately created the mask our hero wears.
Probably the most interesting part of this tumultuous atmosphere is the feeling that things are on the verge of boiling over. Tension is high, the people aren’t happy, and the leaders of Dunwall have lot to answer for.
3) Supernatural Powers
While it is primarily a stealth game, Dishonored doesn’t stick to merely using weapons and gadgets like so many others in the genre. Instead, you’ll have the ability to harness a wide range of supernatural abilities used to help you along the way.
Some of these abilities include:
Blink – A power that enables Corvo to teleport short distances, thus allowing him to move around with a low risk of being spotted by enemies.
Windblast – The Fus Ro Dah of Dishonored; a strong blast of air used to propel enemies and targets backward.
Possession- Allows Corvo to posses the body of a target. This target could be an enemy, an NPC, or even a small creature on the street. By possessing a character’s body, Corvo is automatically transferred into theirs, allowing him to move around the environment differently and even giving him access to areas he wouldn’t reach on his own.
Rats – Summons a pack of rats to confuse and distract enemies. Can also be used with the posession ability to help escape dangerous situations.
Dark Vision- Allows Corvo to see through walls and pinpoint the locations of enemy NPCs as he moves throughout a location.
Powers are upgradable through the use of runes, which can be found scattered throughout the world.
4) Stealth-Based Gameplay
At its core, Dishonored is a stealth-based game. You’ll sneak around enemies, choke them unconscious, and plan ways to clear out areas filled with guards. And like any good action stealth game, you’ll have multiple options as to how you want to go about playing. You can try an action-oriented lethal approach where you kill anything that moves, but this will absorb more resources and be much more risky. Or, you can stick to the shadows and use silence and careful planning to help you achieve your goal. There are consequences to both choices, and multiple situations that will arise and challenge a player’s fortitude.
The game has been designed so certain elements allow for stealth to be possible. Developers point to the sound design as one of the major parts of the game, as voices and sound carry throughout a structure based on the building’s geography and where you’re located. Voices are muffled behind doors, lie below you when you’re up on balconies or overlooking someone, and give you a general sense of where the target is in relation to you.
There are multiple entry points to each mission as well. To break into a mansion, you can gain access through doors, break in through windows, or even possess a fish and swim in through a drain to get into the building.
One of the most exciting features of Dishonored is your ability to handle the disposing of targets. You can kill a target outright with your weapons, but you’ll also have the ability to stage deaths, possess them and have them commit suicide, and even have a chance to get rid of targets by doing side quests and unlocking favors from NPCs. In one mission, you’ll be able to enslave your target after completing a side mission for a local slaver, thus giving you a non-lethal edge while sending your target to meet his punishment.
5) A Different Take on Combat
As mentioned before, Dishonored is a game that allows for multiple play styles and encourages both lethal and non-lethal playthroughs. And while it is tailored toward the non-lethal, stealthy approach, the game still rewards those who choose to run in guns a-blazing.
The melee combat system is based off of timed blocks and counters, and drop attacks from high places allow Corvo to surprise enemies with a quick knife to the throat.
Multiple ranged weapons allow for Corvo to take out enemies at a distance as well, including a revolver and small crossbows that shoot darts. Darts can be used to put targets to sleep, or the crossbow itself can be used to kill enemies like a bullet. Again, due to the open-ended nature of gameplay, the choice is yours, giving you the opportunity to use weapons and attacks in whatever way you see fit.
Some of Corvo’s powers can be used in conjunction with combat to give him an edge. Time stops and slow downs allow for a bullet time-style of shooting that fires weapons in rapid succession after un-freezing, taking out multiple enemies at one time. Of course, using powers drains your resources, so you’ll have to be careful with what you choose to utilize during a fight.
Look for Dishonored next Tuesday, October 9th on PC, Xbox 360, and PS3.