Dishonored - Preview

Dishonored on Xbox 360, Ps3 and PC at GAME

Something Special

First-person stealth/action adventure game Dishonored piqued our interest the moment it was announced. Due to be published by Elder Scrolls and Fallout maker Bethesda, it has been developed by French outfit Arkane Studios, which counts among its staff some serious talent. The title was helmed by co-creative directors Raphael Colantonio and Harvey Smith, who were lead designers on Arx Fatalis and the original Deus Ex respectively. Viktor Antonov, the man who designed Half-Life 2's iconic City 17, also served as art lead on Dishonored.

The game's set in the dystopian steampunk world of Dunwall, which is torn apart by plague and oppressed by a government armed with strange new technologies. Players take on the role of royal bodyguard Corvo Atano, who is framed for the murder of the beloved Empress. As Corvo languishes in his cell he's approached by an otherworldly being called The Outsider, who aids his escape by granting him access to supernatural abilities that are upgradeable throughout the game.

Steampunk stealth first-person action in Dishonored on Xbox 360, Ps3 and PC at GAME

Corvo then sets off to begin unravelling the conspiracy behind the assassination and his betrayal in a dark tale of magic, murder and revenge. While you play as an assassin, it should be pointed out that you don't have to kill anyone; in fact you can finish the game without taking a single life. You might cause some deaths along the way, but you never have to actually pull the trigger yourself. That's because Arkane's goal has been to empower players by giving them the freedom to complete the game the way they want.

Freedom Of Choice

You can slink your way through levels, moving like a ghost and resisting corruption to make the death of your mark look like an unfortunate accident, or you can steamroller your way through the front door and overwhelm your target, showing no mercy and leaving a path of destruction in your wake. The choice is yours, as we found out when we were tasked with a mission requiring us to move from street level up through a guarded distillery and onto a rooftop garden to retrieve a man named Sokolov before making our way to an extraction point by a river.

Supernatural attacks in Dishonored for Xbox 360, Ps3 and PC at GAME

The objective could be achieved stealthily by blending sneaking and jumping with the ability to pause time and perform short range teleportation to bypass guards. Alternatively we could use the power of possession to reach our target by entering the body of a rat, then a fish, then a maid, and finally a guard. Or we could spend our time laying traps for enemies and rewiring alarms so that they registered us as a friendly and our foes as hostiles. Tried and trusted violence worked just as well with a deadly cocktail of pistol, sword, razor-wire grenades and crossbow bolts.

It's clear that Arkane has taken inspiration from classics like the original Deus Ex and Thief, and there are elements of Hitman and BioShock thrown in for good measure too. The scope of options available to players is perhaps unrivalled in the first person genre, and if every mission in Dishonored is as rich, detailed and varied as the one we were shown, this could be the most exciting, original game of the year.

SKU: Previews-183597
Release Date: 04/10/2012