Dishonored Preview

Written by Joe Martin

May 14, 2012 | 07:21

Tags: #arkane #dishonored #dishonored-preview #dishonoured #dishonoured-preview #dunwall #harvey-smith

Companies: #bethesda

Dishonored Preview

Dishonored's co-Creative Director, Raf Colantonio stands at the front of the room, just off to the left, and gives a summary of Dishonored's setting. You are in Dunwall, he says, the capital city of a world that, while inspired by Victorian London, is definitely not on Earth. Dunwall is a city of exoticisms, where horseless carriages are propelled through the street by the power of whale oil and guards stride around on stilts to keep clear of the rats.

Next, Harvey introduces the level we're about to see. This is the Golden Cat, he says. It's an exclusive bathhouse which holds two of our targets - and we're going to kill them both very noisily. We're going to butcher the lot of them, says Raf.

We start off on the streets of Dunwall, but before we can take proper note of the chalky streets and red-crossed plague houses, we've already dashed up the steps and stormed The Golden Cat's doors. Everyone in the foyer is already dead, in fact. Corvo has some magic tricks up his sleeve, including time-bending abilities which let us effortlessly evade bullets and reply with a quarrel of crossbow bolts. This time, we don't bother to use sleep darts.

Dishonored Preview
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With the first floor quickly cleared, we start to scale the outside of The Golden Cat, using the wide limestone ledges of this Romanesque villa to clamber higher until we find an open balcony. It's protected by a single guard, but we clumsily drop onto him from above, slitting his throat and turning in time to see a pair of grenades tossed out from inside the building. Quick fingers cast a Windblast spell to return these bombs to sender, then we're off again in a bloody blur.

As Corvo we butcher our way through the majority of guards, but spare most of the innocents to avoid littering the streets with too many dead bodies. You can kill anyone you want in the game, says Raf, but adopting an overly murderous approach will see Dishonored subtly twist to match you actions - there'll be more rats in the streets and fewer sidequests to pick up in the preludes to missions.

Eventually, we overhear an unfamiliar voice coming from a nearby room and guess it to be one of our targets - a pair of noble conspirators who helped frame you for murdering the Empress. Quickly, with the speed of barely contained fury, we jump back out onto the wide lintels that surround the building and peer through windows until we spot him - in a locked room with one of the Cat's many available companions.

Dishonored Preview
Click to enlarge

There's a way to get through the entire game without killing anyone at all, says a voice, but right now we're choosing to take a different tack. Knocking open the door, we stand right in front of the elder Pendleton while he sputters in confusion, savouring the scene before we charge.

Pendleton's sword raises just in time to meet our dagger and, for a moment, there's a dance of steel in the air between us. We thrust, he counters. He ripostes, we parry. One slip is all it takes though and, eventually, he makes it - we slip in close and bury the dagger in his neck up to the hilt.

Pendleton's companion doesn't scream, but she gawps at what we've done with a mixture of terror and confusion as his body thumps to the ground. A lesser man would probably try to slip away quietly at this point and focus solely on finding the other Pendleton brother - but, as Corvo, we are seething with rage. We steady ourselves for the moment when the doors will fly open and grin like a maniac buoyed by the promise of violence.

The other Pendleton is hiding somewhere in the building and, if he doesn't know we're coming for him yet, he will soon.

We can hardly wait to find him.

Dishonored is being developed by Arkane Studios for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3. It will be published by Bethesda Softworks, but doesn't have a release date yet.
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