For those who attended a special viewing of Dishonored, Bethesda had a special treat for everyone. Rather than show off some pre-recorded footage, we were shown live footage from the game despite it not being set for release until October of this year. In this footage we were shown the exact same story mission segment where the player must assassinate two corrupt politicians who are staying at a bathhouse called the Golden Cat. Now the reason we were shown this mission twice is thanks to the fact that Bethesda chose to show off both a stealthy run of the mission, killing only the targets and one or two others, and a brutal run, killing everyone in sight.
Now the first playthrough we were shown was of a stealthy run of the mission. Players will make use of the main character’s special abilities to sneak into the Golden Cat undetected. They can do this by sneaking up behind enemies and choking them, hiding bodies of unconscious enemies and sneaking around. The sneaking is made easy thanks to the fact that players will be able to peak around corners as well as peer through the locks in doors to see what lies on the other side. Also helpful is the fact that noises in the game will act as they would in real life, with voices muffled at a distance and noises sounding as they would in the real world.
Now they will also make use of the main character’s supernatural powers as well, which can be upgraded through the acquisition of Runes in the main game. For this presentation however the developers chose to unlock every power at its highest level, presenting quite a few amazing results. There are multiple ways to get into the Golden Cat, eight of them in fact. However with the use of the player’s special possession ability, he was able to take possession of a fish, swim through a drainage pipe under the Golden Cat and end his possession under the building, effectively teleporting him inside without the knowledge of any of the occupants.
All of these powers take energy to use and will need to be replenished through the use of an item, or regenerate over time, though the demo showed an infinite stock of power for the sake of impressing those of us in attendance. Among the powers presented we were shown a “Dark Vision” ability which allows the player to see through walls, locate other humans and also see their fields of vision, “Blink” an ability to teleport short distances and “Windblast” a blast of air capable of sending enemies flying through the air.
In an effort to remain undetected, the player snuck into the room with the Golden Cat’s owner, allowing him to pick pocket the key to open up every door in the building. Interestingly enough, if he chose to the player could also have assassinated the owner or simply choked her into unconsciousness from behind. There are plenty of ways to navigate the interior of buildings as well, as we witnessed the player jump and climb onto a light on the ceiling to sneak over the heads of unaware guards. As we watched the player make his way to the target, it was revealed that the target’s locations would always be randomized, so no two playthoughs would be exactly alike. The assassination itself was not even close to bloody either, as the player used the recently stolen key to kill their target with the steam room’s environment, effectively baking him alive.
Now at the highest levels, skills will provide impressive benefits. In fact, the possession ability can allow the player to possess humans as well, which turns out to be quite helpful considering he was able to possess his other target, make him walk out onto the balcony and then shove him over the side with a Windblast. While that was all nice and sneaky, what would happen if the player chose to simply slaughter everyone they came across? Well it would certainly make the game much harder that is what.
Although quite bloody, as he was able to decapitate an enemy with a crossbow bolt, brutally stab to death multiple guards, throw sticky grenades around a room, use a time slowing ability to fire multiple cross bows into frozen enemies, he fell in battle and failed his mission. Not only is brutal gameplay discouraged through the higher level of difficulty, it also may push the player down a darker ending.
That was in fact not the ending to the presentation however, as the development team had one more area to show off… the flooded district. Now the flooded district has become infested with a plague, and the reason that the police are on top of stilts and called Tall Boys, is that their job is to keep the infected within the flooded district without becoming victims as well. Combat against the tall boys is a bit difficult but not impossible as we witnessed multiple tall boys defeated and even one possessed so that the player could enter a previously restricted area.
Dishonored already looks like it may be one of the most impressive titles of 2012 and with what we were shown today it can only get better from here on out. Those looking to pick up the title will be happy to learn that it is set to be released on October 9th of this year.