PAX Prime 2012: Hands on Bethesda’s Dishonored – Sneaky Stabbing Done Right!

Dishonored is a game that’s currently experiencing a lot of positive buzz.  After spending some time combing the streets like a steam punk Solid Snake, I feel as though the buzz is well warranted.  Not being a huge fan of first person melee in action titles, I was curious if Bethesda’s Dishonored could pull off the accuracy and precision needed to “feel good”, and it does.  Let’s face it, if first person melee is done incorrectly it can feel like the player is swinging a noodle or perhaps a wiffle ball bat at their enemies *tickle tickle*.

Hands On: What I instantly noticed was how incredibly difficult the game was.  Staying stealth, by blending in with the shadows and creating little noise, was key to survival, and “running and gunning” was not even an option if you wished to survive.  Combat itself was deeply satisfying and stealth kills gave me the same goose-bump producing moments that Skyrim’s assassinations graced us with last year.  Am I a sicko for enjoying stabbing this much? Perhaps.  Much like Bioshock, the left trigger controlled the character’s left hand, which could wield a number of small ranged weapons, spells, and supernatural abilities; while the right trigger controlled a wicked looking blade for, you guessed it, some good ol’ stabbing.

After making my way through a busy street and assassinating some patrols using only my dagger, the difficulty ramped up yet another notch.  Using one of my abilities I was able to see through walls and detect my enemies patrol patterns and sight lines.  Only through careful observation and patience was I able to stab the next room to death without detection.  Did I mention that there was a lot of stabbing in this game? I managed to wipe out a large group of abilities using a variety of “spells” and noticed that resemblance to Bioshock’s plasmid system was  more than fleeting, but that’s a GOOD thing.

Nerd Appropriate: Visually the game is beautiful with a dank gothic vibe that made me want to call everyone “govna” while twirling my evil mustache and plotting nefarious deeds.  I didn’t get much a sense for the overall plot of the title, but was happy to see NPC’s discussing plot points while I stalked them in the darkness (see Batman: Arkham City).  My short time with Dishonored left me wanting more immedietly, and that probably means the final version of the game will be even more sweet than the build that I played… Govna.