4th Annual Pumpkin Preview: Dishonored

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

It’s that time of the year again, folks. The leaves are changing, the air has a slight chill, retail stores across the country are selling various themed harlot costumes. Yes, it’s fall and that means it’s time for the fourth annual Pumpkin Preview. Yes, fourth annual. What happened to the second and third annual pumpkin previews? Well, they were so awesome, they could not be viewed by mortals without dramatic consequences.

First up and released today is Dishonored. Bethesda’s latest title puts you in the role of a legendary bodyguard turned assassin, seeking revenge for the death of the empress.

Equal parts stealth game, FPS, puzzle game and RPG, Dishonored promises open gameplay in a rich, steampunk/arcanum world in the grips of plague and depression.

There are multiple paths through any mission in the game, but not in the way that many games lay out their branching paths. Dishonored doesn't go the simple route of a stealthy path and a shooty path. Rather, each area in the game is explorable in a myriad different ways. Adding in the host of arcane abilities at your characters disposal your options multiply even further. Need to get into a private party? Sneak past the guard, shoot the guards and walk in, possess a passing guest and use their body to get inside, possess a fish in the waterway and sneak in through the basement, etc.

Dishonored is one of the first in a coming host of games that seem to have taken to heart a great lesson offered to us by Warren Spector. The role of the designer is not to present you with a path to follow, but rather to present a situation you are free to explore and to narrate and explain what happens as a result of your actions in that situation. This is why you'll see so many reviews liken Dishonored to Thief.

I highly recommend Dishonored. The almost innumerable possibilities in each mission promise great replayability and challenges which will help keep the game fresh for a long time. The developers promise that the game can be completed without killing anyone. We’ll see how long it takes to make it happen. I’m always up for a challenge.