This past week saw the release of Dishonored, an FPS/RPG hybrid developed by Arkane Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks, and early word indicates a critical verdict of awesome. Gamers take on the role of a framed royal guard on a quest for vengeance in a plague-ridden, whale-powered steampunk dystopia called Dunwall, loosely based on Victorian-era London (if that locale alone doesn’t sell you on this game, we give up). The true allure of Dishonored comes not from the quests you must complete, but from exploring the vibrant, beatifully realized torment of a languishing city.
Dishonored offers up extremely versatile gameplay, calling to mind one of the early pioneers of play-as-you-want FPS/RPG hybrids, Deus Ex. This is no accident, as game director Harvey Smith and lead designer Ricardo Bare both played prominent roles in the creation of Deus Ex 12 years ago — if you’re going to borrow gameplay elements, they may as well be from the best. Gamers can freely run-and-gun their way through Dunwall, if they so choose, but if they want to play the silent, exploring assassin instead, they can do that too — or anything in between. Combat is satisfying and brutal, whether you lurk in the shadows a la Garrett from Thief, or openly rain down bloody vengeance upon your foes. However, the most compelling part of Dishonored is the living, breathing (okay, more like sickly wheezing) city, itself. The story-minded among us will find it extremely easy to sink into the dark, unforgiving history of Dunwall, and, in fact, the most enjoyable part of the game occurs when you deviate away from the main quests to explore on your own, at your own pace.
Critical reception has been overwhelmingly positive, and what we’ve seen of the game so far gives us no reason to disagree. If you’re in the market for a new gaming experience, Dishonored is an extremely worthy choice.
In other gaming news this week, get your very own Portal turret courtesy of WETA, Mega64 brings us new video game/real world hijinx, WoW takes a hit, and David Fincher produces the Halo 4 trailer.
- Have you been hankering for a Portal turret of your very own? Get cozy with WETA. Are you still there?
- Best teachers ever instruct classes using Minecraft.
- Has WoW run its course? Sales of the latest WoW expansion, Mists of Pandaria, would certainly indicate so, as it lags well behind the pace of WoW’s prior two expansions.
- The Mega64 team is back harassing strangers in a new Alan Wake spoof. While not quite as brilliant as their take on Heavy Rain, it’s still worth a watch for fans of the game:
- An upcoming book takes a behind-the-scenes look at Blizzard Entertainment, revealing (among other things) that Diablo almost hit handhelds at one point, and a second Diablo II expansion that included guild halls and new classes came close to being a reality. We can think of a few people who may have preferred a second Diablo II expansion to Diablo III....
- Square Enix reveals Tomb Raider pre-order bonuses, including a 1930s outfit, in-game challenges, and an art book, depending on where you order from.
- Hotline Miami hits PCs everywhere on October 23rd. Looks fun if you’re up for a revisit of 8-bit top-down killfests with a cool score.
- Finally, in what might be the coolest news byte of the week, Halo 4’s launch trailer debuts Oct. 18 on Jimmy Fallon, and will be produced by David Fincher.