Stealth is something that many games can profess to have, but is hard to do right which is why my interest immediately piqued with Dishonored – boasting a cool steampunk locale and costumes, combined with hardcore stealthing and magic. At Gamescom we got a chance to sit down with the title and see if Dishonored’s gameplay pays out for gamers that love to meticulously plan out every move.
The level I got stuck into tasked me with the mission of infiltrating a party held by Lady Boyle and assassinating her. This wasn’t quite as simple as it sounds as there are three Lady Boyle’s at the soiree and you have to make sure you kill the right one – with the correct answer being randomly assigned with each playthrough of the level.
The level opens up with your stealthy assassin entering via a boat, right next to the mansion. In this Victorian London-esque landscape are guards including one atop a large a large metal construct and keeping watch on the streets. It’s here that you have to make your first decision. Using the spell wheel you can decide to posses one of the guards and walk up to the gate, or you can use sneaky tactics and bust out a teleportation spell to quickly get past the metal man.
Once I reached the mansion, a woman’s invitation blows away. How extremely lucky for my assassin and I! We gain entry and immediately we’re shown a lavish home however the invitation isn’t the only way in. If you think your power could get you in some other way, then it probably can as the possibilities in Dishonored are intense. You could possess those at the door, you could teleport in through a window, or – but not as sneaky – you could knife everyone who could prove to be a witness and walk in, blooded from head to toe like Patrick Bateman, to join the party. The latter probably not the best way around it though.
Once inside you can talk to the guests and our three Lady Boyle’s to get clues as to which Boyle it might be that you have to dispose of. I was soon given the clue of there having to be some sort of list in the upper corridors – a place where I, such a simple guest, would be kicked out. So to deal with this, I simply possessed my informant and walked up the stairs. Once I reached my destination I came out of his body and a quick slice later he was gone and I was free to wander.
When it comes down to taking out your lady, much like a certain burger chains slogan, you can have it your way. This sort of open ended gameplay could very easily be overpowered, but it isn’t. Developers Arkane Studios have done a fantastic job in making a constant challenge even with so many powerful attacks at your disposal.
It’s also a graphically rich game and the visual complexity might be the reason for my one big issue with the game. When going outside of the mansion and going back in during this level, you have to sit through a loading screen. This broke all tension I had built up – I was no longer on tenterhooks, and it was up to me to continue once loading had finished, so it seemed to relieve me of my duties somewhat.
In videos of other missions this loading is not seen, so I would assume that it only happens on the larger maps. If so then it’s simply a necessary evil, but not one that would completely break my love for it. Overall, I can’t wait to try Dishonored again – it’s challenging and it’s true stealth.
Dishonored will be released on the PC, PS3 and 360 on October 12th.