by Chris Davis
previewed on X360
How about some mayhem?
Restarting from the same position as when the stealth portion began, the player begins his more murderous approach. Corvo descends to the streets and attacks one of the guards outside the Golden Cat. The game’s melee-focused combat system is quite simplistic, acting similarly to that of the attack, parry, counter system utilized in Skyrim and, more appropriately, Dark Messiah of Might and Magic. Corvo makes quick work of the guards and proceeds into the establishment.
It is here that a murderous onslaught began. Our demonstrator begins by killing everyone in sight, guards and prostitutes alike, using all the tricks at his disposal. Corvo’s primary weapon in all of this is his blade which is dedicated to his right hand while his various tools of the trade as well as his magic powers are focused on the left hand. All manner of weapons, including his pistol, are demonstrated, with items such the crossbow and the Plague of Rats power which gruesomely devours your unfortunate victims before your eyes. One particular weapon, a mine, deploys a band of razor wire that shreds enemies to pieces in a smile-inducing display of blood and muscle. No one is a match for the player but, again, since the demonstration gave you Corvo’s full arsenal of weapons and powers at their peak abilities, this is more than likely a scenario that most players won’t experience.
Weigh Hey, and Up She Rises
After the hands-off demo was shown to us, the press was allowed to actually experience the game hands-on, something I’ve been wanting to do ever since I first registered for E3 this year. The demo was different from the one we were shown, showing a far smaller slice of the game. Tasked with kidnapping the Imperial physician that conducted the autopsy of the Empress, I began the level once again on the rooftops. Knowing the target’s whereabouts I swiftly and silently used Corvo’s Blink power, bounding from rooftop to rooftop and bypassing all the patrolling guards on the street. I eventually arrived at the doctor’s rooftop laboratory and, sneaking up on him quietly, I knocked him out.
As I was about to leave I found a woman trapped in a cage just across the room. Feeling for her, I filched the key from the doctor’s body and freed her. This action ties into the game’s world chaos system which, while not immediately having an impact on the game itself, will eventually culminate with world-altering results. For now, it may have little impact but, for me as I tend to play very moral characters, it was a pleasing act of kindness in the cruel, cruel world that is Dunwall.
Taking the doctor’s body with me, I once again began to traverse the rooftops using the Blink ability. With my extraction point in sight I came across a group of citizens imprisoned along the roadside. I decided to help them and dropped the physician off right next to the exit before returning to the prisoners. On the wall adjacent to the cage I found the security controls and both deactivated the electrified cage and freed the citizens but not before being spotted by the patrolling guards. It was here that I was glad for once that no one was filming the game as, given that I had only had a handful of minutes of experience with the game, I was doing a terrible job of fighting off the guards. I eventually was able to eliminate them all but not before a few of the citizens were killed in the process. I returned to the doctor’s body and took him to my contact, ending the demo.
I, however, wasn’t satisfied. With nary an appointment ahead of me I began the demo again, this time determined to do better. I successfully knocked out the doctor once again, this time utilizing Corvo’s crossbow that was equipped with sleeping darts. I took his body out of the laboratory but stopped short of jumping across the rooftops. Below me, patrolling was a Tall Boy, a stilted soldier equipped with an explosive set of bow and arrows. The Tall Boy is easily one of the most imposing enemies in the game and is Dishonored’s take on the Strider from Half-Life 2. Selecting the Possession power I took control of the victim and marched down the street straight toward the prisoners as well as the pesky guards who gave me problems just a few moments ago. Using the Tall Boy’s weapons I quickly dispatched the soldiers before ending the mind possession. I quickly killed the Tall Boy using a sticky grenade so as to prevent experiencing what I had just done to the decimated soldiers at my feet. Freeing the prisoners, this time without a scratch on them, I retrieved the doctor and once again completed the demo.
Early in the Morning
Dishonored was an exciting reveal for me last year and was a wonderful experience to have on the first full day of E3 2012. The stealth elements at this point seem very well done and the abilities at Corvo’s disposal make him a powerful opponent to the waves of guards and enemies of the game. Arkane brought us word shortly before E3 began that players can even do a pacifistic run-through of the game, allowing you to complete Dishonored without actually killing anyone. Considering that I cannot recall a stealth action game allowing this since the last Metal Gear Solid title, my excitement is reaching heights never seen before.
With all the enticing titles being pushed into 2013, Arkane Studios’ latest will happily not be boarding the delay train and will instead arrive during the second week of October in North America and Europe. Stay tuned for our review.