Posted on August 6, 2012, Ross Lincoln We Helped A Stalker In Our Dishonored QuakeCon Hands-On
If you’ve ever wanted to help an obsessed pervert kidnap someone, has Bethesda got the game for you!
During the QuakeCon 2012 Dishonored demo, players were inserted into a mission – set, we were told, about halfway through the game – that calls for the elimination of a wealthy noblewoman who has sided with protagonist Corvo Atano’s enemies. You assume going in that you’ll be popping a cap in her, and that’s one option. But shortly after infiltrating her estate, you’re approached by a creepy stalker who knows why you’re there, and who begs you to spare her life… by knocking her out and letting him spirit her away to be his love slave instead.
In case you’re wondering which choice is the more moral, should you side with the creeper, she will later thank you for it. No, seriously.
That’s just a taste of how Dishonored’s QuakeCon demo emphasized the myriad ways in which players will be challenged to resist or succumb to the deadly, decadent world in which the game takes place. Doing good or evil is incidental to being pragmatic or manipulative, and the result is engrossing, intuitive, and a hell of a lot of fun to play.
Even if you do feel kind of guilty for endorsing sexual slavery.
I didn’t have the chance to play the Dishonored demo at E3 – I was too busy being simultaneously awed and dismayed – but Phil Hornshaw’s description of it as a combination of BioShock and Deus Ex was intriguing. We’ll avoid rehashing what Phil described in June, but suffice to say the control scheme remains the same, the array of powerful magical abilities and weapons were available, combat mechanics remained just as they were at E3, and the Steampunk aesthetic was in full effect.
Also in effect: Stalker enabling.
The new demo level took place in a posh area of Dunwall (the whaling city in which Dishonored is set) not previously seen in public. The wealthy, aristocratic Boyle sisters are holding a masked ball; one of them, we were told, is a supporter of the faction that framed Corvo Atano, and she needs to be taken out. Unfortunately, which of the sisters is begging for a dirt nap is unknown, so you must sneak into the party and look for identifying clues before taking care of business.
It doesn’t sound like much, but the level was packed full of nuances and options that made the relatively small map feel enormous. Starting with the sneaking-in part, which was almost maddeningly difficult for the uninitiated. It began in the ferryboat you’ll apparently use to get around the City of Dunwall during the game. On the far side, to your left, I saw a dock; for some reason, your ferryboat pilot chose to stop on the opposite side, forcing you to swim across. Suffice to say it took me 3 tries before I figured out that yes, you can actually drown while swimming, and one more before it occurred to me that I could simply use the teleport ability to zap myself across the river and save me some time.
Once I stopped dying from water-induced asphyxiation, I had to learn the fine art of not dying at the hands of the local constabulary. The section of the city outside the masquerade was patrolled by two sets of enemies: regular policemen (dressed like Napoleonic officers), and Tall Boys, the whale oil-fueled energy weapon-wielding mooks walking around on stilts that are to Dishonored what Big Daddies are to BioShock. Getting the hang of the game’s stealth mechanics (you can look around corners and waddle or even crawl to make less noise) took a few moments, as did learning that Tall Boys can only be killed if you shoot them from behind, and if you miss, they turn into relentless killing machines that will kill you like machines.
Eventually, I figured out how to sneak around, kill the coppers (and hide their bodies), and find an entrance into the Boyle Estate. This is where things went from frustrating but interesting, to compulsively addictive.