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[Hands-on] Dishonored will kill the competition in a swarm of rats

8/3/12 2:00pm

It all starts with a costume party, but how it ends is entirely up to you. That is the mantra of Dishonored throughout the game’s universe and whether you choose to eliminate your targets stealthily or right out in the open, there are repercussions for your actions.

In the mission I played, you are tasked with eliminating an aristocrat named Lady Boyle. The only catch is there are three Lady Boyles in attendance and this is a costume party. That won’t be your only obstacle though as getting into the party can be quite the challenge. I considered entering guns a blazing in order to test the combat prowess of Corvo, the protagonist, but quickly realized that for this mission it would not be the best play style.
Heading through the guard shack resulted in me murdering about seven NPCs using. I did this via a combination of sticky grenades and swarms of rats. It feels great, but sends the rest of the party into a frenzy, making my entrance more difficult. So I enter through the sewers and get in rather smoothly. The guests would comment on the odor surrounding me, but since Corvo is always rocking his mask, you generally go unnoticed.

The aesthetic of the mansion is probably one of the most interesting parts of Dishonored’s world. There is confetti, drinks, servants winding music boxes, and a full buffet spread. Dunwall being a maritime city, the buffet is built around some sort of giant catfish with one side split open, spilling onto the table.
Guests are wearing elaborate masks, which not only reflect the environment they exist in, but are recognizable, from giant moths to disturbing wolfs. Walking around the party you feel the tension of guards as they watch you, eyes tracking your every movement while you mingle with other guests. It created an aura of paranoia and I felt like one false would be undoing.

If you manage to avoid detection, you will quickly run into a new contact that has worked with a comrade of yours and he gives you an option. Rather than kill the Lady Boyle, you can knock her out and deliver her to him in the cellar. He assures you that everyone will assume she has died since no one will see her again. He also gives you a name, which combined with other information you receive will help you determine which Lady Boyle it is you’ve been looking for. With this knowledge, I decided to make my move and approach her in conversation.

Here is where it becomes especially interesting. Play your cards right and Lady Boyle assumes you are coming on to her, taking you to her personal chambers. As you follow her up there, she reveals that she is in a relationship with a man whom she loathes for political purposes. This influences my decision to assassinate her rather than struggle to bring her unconscious body down three floors to someone she could care less about. The world of Dishonored is filled with these influences which can change the outcome of your mission. So much so, that even after I escaped through the sewers, the objective suddenly changed when I arrived at the extraction location and my ride had moved upstream.

The combat feels just as dynamic and rewarding. You have tools which will aid you in traversing the environment be teleporting short distances or possessing NPCs. If stealth isn’t your forte though, there are explosive tip crossbow bolts, proximity mines, and the ability to call forth the aforementioned swarm of rats. With everything in your wheel house and each level built as a sort of sandbox, Dishonored is one of the most promising new IPs for 2012. Enjoy the additional screenshots.

Dishonored is set for release in North American on October 9, 2012 and throughout Europe on October 12, 2012 on the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.

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