Set in a Steampunk dystopia, Dishonored is being touted as the title the involved developers have "always wanted to make." After getting hands on time with the game, I now realize it's the game I've always wanted to play. You are Corvo Atano, a supernatural assassin, and you join him on his attempt to exact revenge upon those who have framed him for the murder of the Empress.
When you watch the demos of Dishonored, you might get this feeling that executing the cool moves fluidly doesn't come as easily as they are letting on in the hands off demo. After a somewhat lengthy hands off section where they demonstrated the variation of gameplay and how unpredictable Dishonored can actually be, I was given the chance to play a few small missions.
In the demo, I was given access to all the powers available to Corvo. I could toss enemies like rag dolls with Whirlwind, teleport with Blink, bring my foes to a stop with Bend Time, inhabit the body of any organic object with Possession, and the list goes on. But a long list of options can be slightly intimidating. It's "It's a Good Life" - the episode of Twilight Zone where the young boy has the powers of a god - but in the form of a videogame. I worried with too much power came more responsibility than I could handle.
Luckily, the moment I picked up the controller, I felt at home. Controls were incredibly intuitive and the massive selection of powers were easily managed with d-pad hot keys. The rest of available skills are accessed with the left bumper. Toying around with the overall set of controls was a little tough in the initial area where you are dropped, so I wondered how I would fare in an open area.
I could see a trapped group of dirty (but probably innocent) people, and feeling much like a steampunk Robin Hood, I dashed in and pulled off "the move." You know what "the move" is if you've seen ANY videos of Dishonored. After being noticed, I switched into Bend Time, pulled out my crossbow and fired three bolts at the heads of the guards. Deactivating Bend Time, the bolts pierced their brains and they dropped like hot potatoes.
Frankly, I was amazed I could pull off the move, let alone do that within the first few moments of playing the game. I freed the prisoners and as they dashed away, one woman mentioned that there was a safe nearby with some valuable items and divulged the code. My map updated and after a little bit of scaling and blinking my way upward, I found the safe, opened it, and walked away two gold ingots richer. Which, as Robin Hood, I gave to two poor people. That last part didn't really happen, I'm a completionist so I'm keeping those ingots.
Each mission type area will have multiple ways to enter any given establishment, leaving the execution of objectives completely up to your style of gameplay. Personally, I know this is going to sit well with many gamers, and my only concern stems from getting too comfortable with a smaller set of powers. The reality is you are probably going to be having way too much fun with this title to care about things like that.
Before going off to finish the mission, I ran around, cavorting across the rooftops, surveying all the land, and generally feeling like a boss. I decided to take a stealth approach to the next area, looked at a few entry points and decided to go in through a high ledge. After choking a few maids who were in the wrong place at the wrong time, I made my way to a few environment puzzles and multilevel areas before realized I had played the game for thirty minutes.
That's when you know. When you know you're in love with a video game. I wanted to spend the rest of my life playing Dishonored, but it just wasn't feasible at the current juncture in both of our lives. I left Dishonored, feeling like two ships passing in the night, wondering when I would see him again.
This demo was just well put together, probably one of the better ones I've ever laid hands on. Gamers were given the opportunity to really experience a full slice of Dishonored and not some emaciated safe version that would leave everyone wondering "is that all?"
Dishonored was my "Game of E3 2012," which matters to a total of one person (me), but that's of no consequence. Come October 9th, I'm going to be sneaking through the shadows, silently slicing open necks, having the time of my life.