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Reinventing death with Dishonored

I am first and foremost a first-person shooter (FPS) fangirl. It’s my favourite genre, and I’ve been playing it for decades. I’ve seen everything, experienced it all. I can survive the Combine armed with only a crowbar, with my Big Fucking Gun (BFG) and no torchlight, I can face the hordes of hell in Doom, and with “maximum on” I turn into a one woman army. I can be the silent assassin or I can come at you with guns blazing. I am also so terribly bored. For the last few years, there has been nothing new under the radar for FPS fanatics. I prepared myself to hang up my guns, put the daggers away, and give into an e-life of peace and tranquillity. I resigned myself to spend the remainder of my days solving puzzles and exploring worlds.

Then I saw Dishonored, and my heart leapt. This game holds the promise of invention. You have to understand, I am the assassin elite. I am not interested in holding a gun to your head, or slipping your throat, I need creativity. I yearn to explore delivering death in ways not seen before. I need the hunt to be exquisitely challenging, with Dishonored, I will once again, be death incarnate.

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 “A crawling foulness will overcome you because you did not shut the gates of your heart to iniquity.” -Prophetic warning from The Litany on the White Clif 

Let’s take a look at what Dishonored promises the assassins’ corps.

A story of dark betrayal and revenge

Dishonored is a first-person stealth/action adventure from Bethesda for PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. You are Corvo, the once-trusted bodyguard of the Empress. Framed for her murder and driven by revenge, you must become an infamous assassin, known only by the disturbing mask that has become your calling card. As you navigate a world torn apart by plague and oppressed by a government armed with strange new technologies, the truth behind your betrayal is as murky as the waters surrounding the city. The choices you make will determine the fate of the world, but no matter what happens, your old life is gone forever.

What does it mean to be Dishonored?

You have supernatural powers that push the envelope for not only assassination, but also for escape and environmental control.

  • Blink -- teleport short distances
  • Celerity -- accelerate speed
  • Dark Vision -- improve vision
  • Devouring Swarm -- summon rats
  • Feather -- fall great distances without injury
  • Fire -- set things on fire
  • Healing - heal injuries
  • Ice -- freeze things
  • Agility -- jump great distances and sprint faster
  • Possession -- control sentient beings
  • Time Bend -- stop time momentarily
  • Windblast -- create a gust of wind 

Some of these abilities and items are familiar to every FPS player worth his salt. What sets Dishonored in a class of its own is the incredible depth of possibilities that present itself when the player combines these tools of the trade. You can possess a group of rats to kill on your behalf, teleport into a fish or simply blink out of existence. Every problem you face has multiple ways of solving it.

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The Tallboy, an enemy you can possess, blink away from, or simply assassinate.

Traditional weapons: Crossbow, Longbow, Sword and the Wheellock Pistol. Assassin accessories: Exploding Bolts, Exploding Bullets, Sleeping Darts, Grenade, Sticky Grenade, Smoke Bomb, Spring Razor. Elixirs: Anton's Health Elixir, Piero's Spiritual Remedy. Extras: Blueprints, Coin, Corvo's Mas, Spyglass, The Heart, Whalebone Charms, Runes.  

Chaos meter

The game has a chaos meter that runs in the background. A silent observer tracking how much collateral damage you cause. The game world adjusts according to the results of your actions, but unlike the traditional light/dark side meter, it’s a behind-the-scenes element that affects story decisions without punishing the player or pushing them to play one way or another.  

Conclusion

A magnificently gifted assassin, set against artificial intelligent enemies that respond to the noise of a footfall, the disappearance of a fellow soldier or the displacement of an item. A FPS that pushes innovation and player skill to new dimensions. These are but a few of the delicacies Dishonored promises to deliver in October 2012.  

gameinformer has a delightful banquet of information available on Dishonored. One of the writers, Adam Biessener explains Dishonored. “It's a game about assassination where you don't have to kill anyone. It's a game about infiltration where you can set up traps and slaughter the entire garrison of an aristocrat's mansion rather than sneak in. It's a game about brutal violence where you can slip in and out of a fortified barracks with nobody ever knowing you were there. It's a game about morality and player choice where the world you create is based on your actions, not navigating conversation trees.”  

If you are still unconvinced that this game will set the bar for the FPS genre, check out this gameplay analysis video.

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