Dishonored was hands-down the best game that I saw at E3 2012, only rivaled by under the radar PS3 exclusive Toyko Jungle.
In an E3 saturated by sequels and the unveiling of games we already knew about, Arkane Studios and Bethsda stood out from the pack with their unique demonstration of Dishonored. The lengthy presentation couldn’t have done anything better: from the moment it began, I knew Dishonored would quickly become my most anticipated game of 2012.
The steampunk shooters puts you in the first person shoes of Corvo Atanoa, a supernatural assassin hellbent on revenge after being framed for a murder he did not commit. It goes above and beyond anything we’ve ever experienced in an assassination game with the addition of the supernatural.
Corvo can teleport in the blink of the eye, possess the body of anything that breathes and bring the time around him to a grinding halt. Stealth is the key to success, but brutally slaying everyone in your path is an equally viable option.
With an intriguing blend of action, stealth and the supernatural, Dishonored was the clear standout at E3 2012.
In a hands-off demo, we saw a developer play through the same level twice. During the first, he only assassinated the necessary targets without alerting the bystanders. In the second, be murdered everyone, including innocent hookers, without the slightest hint of remorse.
Your choice of mortality isn’t without consequence. Dishonored tracks how many innocent civilians you’re slaying, and makes you responsible later in the game. Although, I’d suggest the serial killers won’t mind facing retaliation for their merciless crimes.
How you use Corvo’s unique powers is entirely up to you.
The vastly different tacts demonstrated how much control the player has over proceedings. Trying to infiltrate the Golden Cat, a brothel, bath and burlesque house, to assassinate the Pendleton brothers, Corvo has a number of options at his disposal. He can teleport to the roof and sneak in, possess the body of a fish and enter through the canals, or walk right in the front door.
Equally impressive was his escape route in the more rash play through. Corvo jumped from the top floor, possessed the body of a woman below mid-jump to break his fall and avoid a messy death, and returned to his own form in an instant. It was swift, innovative and looked magnificent. Better yet, we were told it wasn’t a technique originally envisioned by the developers, but rather something they adopted after seeing players attempt it in early builds.
Combat is equally intriguing. One of our targets was relaxing in a steam room, leaving himself vulnerable to being cooked to death. Corvo will be primed to capitalise on such situations throughout the game, so that he can eliminate targets without a trace.
In general gameplay it’s all about combining deadly weapons with your unusual abilities. Firing at enemies, pausing time, moving position and restoring the natural flow brings new meaning to the phrase: “won’t know what hit them.”
Dishonored is shaping up to be something special. It isn’t just another sequel or tweaked reboot. It’s so much more than that. With an intriguing blend of action, stealth and the supernatural, Dishonored was the clear standout at E3 2012.
By Ben Salter - Bio