by Derk Bil
previewed on PC
Lady Boyle has to die
Bethesda invited us over to come and play Dishonored’s Lady Boyle mission. The stealthy, steampunk inspired game has you assume the role of a dishonored bodyguard-gone-assassin. Seeking vengeance, you set out to rid the world of unsavory types with the aid of an impressive arsenal of weapons and a touch of magic.
I sat down at the screen and thought to myself “So, Lady Boyle has to die does she? Sounds easy enough, where can I find her?”
It turned out to be more of a challenge than I anticipated as the lady was at a masked ball with lots of witnesses. For a clean kill, I needed her alone. Luckily my contact had arranged an invitation for me. I mingled with the other guests attempting to find out which of the masked ladies was the Lady Boyle. Sweet talking my way through the guest list, I discovered my target and followed her into the bathroom. Intimidated by the guy with the creepy mask following her into the bathroom (that would be me), she created a bit of a fuss so I had to act fast. I pulled my knife, slid her throat and left the bathroom before anyone could discover my heinous act and raise the alarm. I was home-free and could just leave the heavily-guarded premises, but… what fun would that be?
I decided to play some tricks on a few party guests and did so in various juvenile ways like setting booby traps for them. Lo and behold, peeps got angry and someone called in the guards who rushed to subdue me in a seemingly endless stream. In the moments that followed I got intimately familiar with every weapon that I had available and exhausted every last one of them. Just as I thought I had gotten away - with but a sliver of health left - I bumbled into a swarm of rats. My death wasn’t pretty.
Creativity at its messiest
With Dishonored being a stealth game, you will obviously want to avoid such situations. When you do find yourself in a mess, the most basic of knives will serve you long after you ran out of bullets. Guns are common though, and the game does not skimp on ammo but the real fun starts when you get your hands on a crossbow. Crossbow bolts come in a wide variety, ranging from regular bolts, incendiary bolts that add a lot of drama to the scene, and bolts dipped into a toxin that incapacitate targets by making them fall asleep. The latter come in handy if you have aspirations to finish the game without killing anyone. That’s not really for me, however. In real life, I am about as lethal as a sloth but in games my aspirations lie elsewhere - unless there’s an achievement for keeping people alive of course.
Razor mines provide one of the most creative ways to kill. They can be attached to almost anything, including rats. As soon as a person gets in close proximity of the mine it will explode, leaving a big red mess. Canisters filled with fuel litter the maps and can be picked up and thrown to explode on impact, offering yet another fun way to dispose of your enemies.
The real creativity, however, lies with supernatural abilities such as Wind Blast, Devouring Swarm and Dark Vision. The Possession ability is as much fun as it sounds as you literally get to possess another person or creature. I took perverse pleasure in possessing someone and having them run into an electric fence, and found the ability to stop time an invaluable tool for assassin’s trying to stay hidden. Your mana supply is finite but can be replenished with potions.
I went in with the preconception that the game might be similar to Thief. After having played the Lady Boyle mission, Dishonored feels more like Deus Ex’ crazy Victorian brother. Gameplay is rich and fluid and leaves you with plenty of room for fun, inventive mayhem. The excitement around Dishonored appears to be well founded and I was a little disappointed that I ran out of time and could not play more. That’s a good sign for any new franchise, luckily the game comes out in October so I won’t have to wait long to see the rest of the game and neither do you.