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Dishonored – Hands-On Impressions and Preview

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Dishonored is the next game from Arkane Studios, who have always specialized in immersive first-person experiences with plenty of RPG elements layered on top like Arx Fatalis and Dark Messiah of Might and Magic. If you didn’t get a chance to yet, you can listen to my 19-minute interview with one of Dishonored’s Producers and Designers right here. For more details on the game, keep reading!

Dishonored takes place in a fictional setting partially inspired by 17th century London. The clothing, buildings, accents, etc. will probably sound familiar to most gamers – but this is not a realistic setting at all. While the environment might seem familiar, the rest of the game is very unique, taking on an almost steam-punk vibe. Not to mention that your character is an expert assassin with special powers that allow him to control minds, summon rats, stop time, and so much more.

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I got the chance to play two great demos of this game at QuakeCon. The first one, on the show-floor available to everyone, took place mostly outdoors and had a good handful of enemies set up. Controls are easy to get into for anyone familiar with first-person action games. The left stick controls movement, with the right controlling your view and camera. For the purposes of this demo, I played on an Xbox 360. The left trigger used my left handed weapon, while the right used my sword/dagger weapon. The left bumper brought up a radial menu for switching my left handed weapon or power, while the right bumper was used for timed-parrying.

I say timed-parrying because you cannot just hold it down like a block button, but instead you have to time it to parry an attack at the exact moment an enemy would strike you. This makes combat very tactical and much more engaging. In this demo, I had a full compliment of weapons and powers to choose from. Weapons ranged from your basic crossbow, to tranquilizer darts, to grenades, to even mines and other types of traps.

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The game is built with the premise of player choice woven into every inch of gameplay design. Take the second demo I played as an example – I was tasked with assassinating a woman at a party. I did not start inside of the party, but rather outside in a river. I had to not only sneak down the street and to the building – I also had to find a way into the party, to her, and a way to assassinate her.

All of this presented many option to me – Do I kill guards? Do I knock them out? Do I wait and see if they walk away, or stop time and sneak past? Do I fight those two guards in the room with me, or do I lure them out of the room? Gamers that play stealth games are familiar with this design, but action gamers can feel at home as well with the wide range of possibilities the game presents you with.

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The environmental design is great, character models are unique and detailed, the voice acting was top notch, the AI works exactly how you’d want it to, and the powers and weapons are all extremely fun to mix and match and use in various different ways. Keep an eye out on this one, as Dishonored launches later this year on October 9th in North America, the 11th in Australia, and 12th in the EU. Be sure to check out our exclusive interview about the game, and keep an eye on The Koalition for future details. Make sure you leave your comments and let us know what you think about it!

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David Jagneaux Senior Editor
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