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Dishonored has quite the pedigree behind it. Harvey Smith, lead designer of Deus Ex and Thief, Raf Colantonio, producer of Arx Fatalis, and Viktor Antonov, art director for Half-life 2, are all lending their considerable talents to the game. It’s hard these days to break out with a new IP, but with any luck, Dishonored may be able to win over fans of the many genres it encompasses.
The game’s narrative puts you in control of Corvo, a former bodyguard to the Empress. Former being the operative term, seeing as the Empress has recently been murdered. She died in Corvo’s arms while he was protecting her, leading Lord Regent to frame him for her death. Cue the “go to jail” card being drawn. At that point, the imprisoned Corvo is greeted by a mysterious being named the Outsider, just in time for his execution. The Outsider is the source of all magic within the game’s world, and he gives Corvo his mark, granting him magical powers of his own. Why exactly the Outsider did this is now known, but our hero uses this opportunity to escape from prison. Before long, he sets out to unravel the yarn that is this conspiracy and find out what his role is in all of it.
The setting of Dishonored includes the city of Dunwall, the Isles outside of it, and parts of the far-off province of Pandyssian. The game’s developers have stated that immersion is one of their key goals, and that they want Dishonored’s world to feel like a “simulation” above anything else. Even your smallest choices in the game have far-reaching consequences. One example would be the random events; if you manage to kill a group of enemies early enough, they won’t be able to commit a mugging that you would have found later in the game had you not killed them. An interesting thing to note is that the Outsider actually walks among the world’s inhabitants in secrecy, meaning you could supposedly find him and kill him without the game telling you so. We can only imagine how the narrative would be affected if this occurred.
Dishonored’s gameplay is a unique hybrid of genres. Combining stealth, first-person combat, and elements of RPGs, the game truly does have a varied design. A variety of weapons are at your disposal, including swords, knives, muskets, and pistols, many of which can be applied to stealth. Corvo also has a collection of magic powers at his disposal, including the abilities such as teleporting, possessing creatures, and summoning plague rats. It’s been reported that gadgets will be available to use, though besides Corvo’s mechanical mask, we don’t know what these may be. We do know that the game boasts a touch of platforming, as Corvo can climb buildings to scout the surroundings below or to get the drop on enemies.
The presentation of Dishonored is looking good so far. The game boasts an impressive art style that has mild hints of cel-shading. The little voice acting we’ve heard so far sounds good, and the animation fits in with the unique aesthetic. Of course, we haven’t seen any notable segments of gameplay yet, so there’s still quite a bit more we’ll have to see in order to form an ultimate opinion in the area of presentation.
Will it be at E3?
Undoubtedly. Bethesda has kept the lid tight in terms of details on Dishonored, and there doesn’t seem to be a better opportunity between now and October to reveal some juicy info to the public. It’s arguable Bethesda’s biggest title this year, though that might be because it’s their only one.
What we want to see
We’d like to see several different ways in which you can approach a mission, akin to the design of Deus Ex. Also, some inventive boss fights are something we feel could be included, as well as other unique gameplay scenarios. While the gadgets seem useful, we’re hoping they’ll be well balanced so as not to be overpowered.
We’re hoping that Dishonored’s world will allow for tight gameplay but will also feel alive and populated. We’d also like to see Corvo explored as a character; he has immense potential for an engaging character arc and relatable flaws.
Lastly, we’d like to see a current-gen Bethesda game that isn’t filled with tons of bugs. You know, just for a change of pace.
Check back tomorrow for a preview of Far Cry 3. What would you like to see in Dishonored? Let us know in the comments section below!