Sleep Is Not Death: Ghosting Dishonored

By Alec Meer on July 20th, 2012 at 3:00 pm.

You can't seeee meeee

I am a creature of mercy. No, no, ignore any apparent evidence to the contrary – I do not seek to take life, even virtual life, unless absolutely necessary. So it was that, when my time finally came to play a level of Arkane’s upcoming Dishonored, I was resolute in my intention to spill not even a drop of blood, innocent or otherwise. But would such quasi-pacifism even be possible in a game nominally billed as an assassination sim? I stole into the shadows to find out. If you are mad you might decide to think that some of this constitutes spoilers. It doesn’t, but if you are mad don’t read on.

Before treading the streets of the plague-stricken, government-oppressed, alternate-Victoriana city of Dunwall, I snuck up on Jim, dragged him to the roof of Bath bus station and dangled him over the edge, demanding he tell me what he had and hadn’t done in his own recent playthrough. Thus armed with the knowledge that he had opted for a street-level assault in his attempt to abduct sinister state scientist Anton Sokolov, I opted to creep, teleport and stun-dart across the rooftops. Ideally, I would never be so much as seen by another living soul, let alone make eye contact – let alone blade contact.

The Blink rune quickly proved to be most powerful tool in my arsenal. A mid-range teleportation power, it’s my immediate way out of these gloomy, dank, patrolled streets and up to the relative freedom and safety of the rooftops. No guards there, not on this level at least, but it’s not a straight run to my target – Sokolov lurks inside what looks for all the world like a giant, elevated greenhouse wearing battle armour, with a ring of guards, forcefields and alarms around its entrances.

To run/jump/Blink directly to this building would also be to deny myself many of this level’s other entertainments. Blink entails a subtle but important shift in how I think about videogame navigation. Initially, I treat it as simply a way to teleport across short distances, to reach different altitudes and otherwise out of reach ledges and to instantly escape danger. A shortcut, essentially. What it also does, and something I don’t realise without prompting from a passing Bethesda rep, is allow access to whole new areas of the map.

I’ve become so accustomed, over the years, of seeing a locked door or an indestructible fence/pile of rubble/old sofa blocking my path to a space I can see that here too I give such things a cursory glance then run on past. I’m inside a semi-ruined, multi-level apartment building, making my way up the stairs to the roofs, and on the right of me is the entrance to a side room, blocked by fallen furniture. My knife has no effect on it. I continue upwards.

Wait. Go back. OK, so I can’t walk through, jump over or smash that barrier, but there is a big enough gap that I can at least see the space on the other side of it. Blink. And I’m in. Here be secrets. Assorted vials for health and mana, some cash, and best of all a Bone Charm – a minor buff I can equip. In this case, it increases the number of white rats I encounter, which allow for longer psychic possession times than the standard rodents. Thank you, Blink. My progress through the level is now slowed dramatically, as I’m constantly scouring my surroundings for possible secret spaces.

Some things I find for myself, others I again need pointing out to me, as this game – or at least this level; time will tell – is not in the habit of making all its contents apparent. If every level has this many routes and secrets, it is exceptionally unlikely that I will find the majority of it in a single playthrough. While Deus Ex: Human Revolution, a natural if not entirely appropriate comparison, tends to swiftly and evidently splinter into blatant sneak route/violence route/hack route options, I found Dishonored was much more about figuring it out as I went along, assembling a quietly chaotic route through the level that likely encompassed only a fraction of it.

Once my goal was achieved – Sokolov found, reached, abducted and successfully spirited away- I remained as yet unbest by cutscene or loading screen, free to head back into the fray, to explore and to hunt, and to once again risk discovery and violence at the hands of the guards and the patrolling Tallboy armoured stilt-walker.

I saw so much I’d missed on my first pass – the body tucked behind a chimney, with a note describing a hidden treasure room accessed by performing a certain action in a nearby building a certain number of times, the deactivated elevator that could be fixed by creating a certain object, the alarm wired to the front door I’d avoided, the dangling chain that acted as a makeshift ropeladder to a new plateau, the clusters of rats and fish here and there which would allow me access to new, smaller paths, the civilian prisoners trapped behind a wall of light, who could offer me a reward – or a sacrificial distraction, …

My own path into Sokolov’s lair was, technically speaking, ghosting it, though I did fluff it a couple of times. No-one died, including myself, but a poorly-planned cheeky stun dart on my part – the first one I’d fired – resulted in the now sleeping guard’s chum spying his unconscious form in the street before I could drag it into hiding. He summoned allies, and they swarmed towards me with bullets and knives. Unwilling to fight and once again forgetting the curious, vital power of Blink, I simply fled down the nearest street. Fell. Landed in the river. Guards shouting from above. Swam, piranhas snapping at my heels. The only way out was towards the guards. Unless… Yes, the huge wheel of a water mill yawned ahead of me, turning at speed. Thinking on my soggy feet, I activated Slow Time for the first time, affording me the opportunity to Blink onto one of the wheel’s blades. It turned, turned, turned – depositing me safely by a canal side underneath Sokolov’s fortress. I was in, by complete accident, and the guards didn’t even know it. I’m later shown several other, equally tricsky routes in I could have used – this was but one of them.

A steady diet of Blinking, rat-possession and desperate running got me through several floors unscathed, though I did have to spend an awful lot of time hiding on top of a big drainpipe. I managed to choke – non-fatally – one passing guard and steal a doorkey, but primarily Blink was the only key I needed. Before too long, I was up high again, with only a door standing between me and the Rasputin-esque Sokolov.

There’s something about the calm in here, the light that beams through the slatted metal walls, and how Sokolov does not look like a man who’s ever thrown a punch, that puts me at ease. I may not be welcome here, but I know there’s no immediate threat. So, from my position crouched behind a wall, having been pilfering health vials and listening in to Sokolov’s conversation with a woman Sokolov seems to be conducting dark experiments on against her will, I stand up. His cruel, bearded face turns to meet mine. He knows who I am. He knows why I’m here. He claims I’ve been duped by Piero, his great rival in the search for a plague cure. If I do kidnap Sokolov, I might be hurting the city. Who’s telling the truth? Who knows? I have no option of verbal response, only action – leave alone, or leave with him, as my prisoner. I think upon it for a moment – he’s in no hurry, at least.

I look at the caged woman behind him, I look at his cold eyes and snarling mouth, and I decide I plain don’t like or trust him, even if for all I know his claims are true. My hands go to his throat. I turn to leave, his unconscious body thrown over my shoulder. Then I remember the woman. A key looted from Sokolov sets her free – she thanks me, and sits in the corner shaking. Videogame logic dictates she can’t make her escape until I’ve completed this level – her story will continue in the invisible space between maps, and I am told I will hear something of her fate at a later date. Had I not saved her, that too would have had an effect on the city and its response to me. I’ve played on this level, so cannot say who important these effects will prove to be, but I am pleased to think that my actions are not simply filling a progress bar or accruing Achievements.

I’m on my way to the exit, a boat waiting by one of the canals that runs under the city, with Sokolov still on my shoulder, when I once again fail to exercise due caution before a Blink. The Tallboy, those stilt-mounted armoured guards we’ve seen in so many screenshots and videos, catches me square in his gaze, and in his sights. Desperation once more ensues as I Blink from roof to ground to bridge to waterside, only realising in the nick of time that just because I can swim doesn’t mean the passed-out scientist I’m carrying can. One more Blink and I’m at the boat. I hand Sokolov to the boatman – who the Tallboy seems mysteriously uninterested in, but opt not to leave just yet. There are still civilian prisoners out there – innocents. What’s the use of not taking life if I’m not equally determined to save life?

Stun darts don’t work on the Tallboy. Possession doesn’t throw him out of his stilts, though it does make him pause to throw up when I exit him, so all I can do is avoid him, Blinking and sprinting and crouching back towards the area I started this mission in. I find the Wall of Light that imprisons the civilians, through which guards may pass but I may not. Three guards patrol the area, and attempting to Blink straight through the Wall of Light would cost me my life. I’m going to have to engage.

To the roofs! Or, more specifically, what was once the second floor of a building but is now technically a roof as a result on some unknown devastation. Crouched – I’ve been crouched throughout this adventure, really – I aim my crossbow through an empty windowframe and let loose a stun dart at a guard in the street. As he slumps to the floor, one of his allies runs over and looks towards me. I fire again. As he slumps to the floor, his other ally runs over and looks towards me. I fire again. The little pile of snoozing bodies is comical, but it buys me the time I need to deactivate the wall of light and release the grateful prisoners. One of them’s telling how to access another secret I hear the Tallboy stomping towards its fallen comrades and flee. I’ll never know that secret, but at least the civilians have their lives, and so do I. A moral victory, even if not an otherwise beneficial one.

Everyone on this level has their lives, in fact. Apparently from two plague victims I found in a basement, but they were long dead before I ever got there. Though I sure do regret summoning a swarm of rats and watching them devour the putrid corpses, right down to the bones. I lost my cool there, just for a moment.

Back to the boat, this time being careful to avoid the Tallboy. Today, there were no deaths, no boss fights, no forced action. Today there were only my choices, and my victory. Today, I am a good man.

If the same can be true of every level, Dishonored is absolutely the game I’ve been hoping it will be.

Important disclaimer: I was not quite as cool as I made this sound. I died twice and had to run and hide thrice. I count it as a successful ghosting nonetheless, purely by dint of not knowing how the systems and controls worked from the outset. And because I don’t like to admit my own ineptitude.

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79 Comments »

  1. DanPryce says:

    You didn’t Fuck nearly as much as you should have. More swearing in level playthroughs, that’s what I say.

    • Kreeth says:

      Is it a stealth shag-em-up then?

      • The Godzilla Hunter says:

        I could make a very inappropriate joke involving the main way assassins generally kill people with knives, but I shall not.

      • jrodman says:

        Is that when people are shagged and are unaware that it has occurred?

  2. devook says:

    Why isn’t this just a video?

    • Premium User Badge Alec Meer says:

      :(

      • Toberoth says:

        There there Alec, I enjoyed your words and I’m sure many others did! Some people just don’t like reading these days.

      • Devenger says:

        I much prefer reading people’s experiences of games, rather than having videos of them. I can read text at my own pace, listen to my own music while reading, and take breaks whenever I want – and on top of all that, I get to enjoy both the game’s successes, and the writer’s personality shining through their craft. I hope that we do not lose the art of writing about things we do; I am glad that RPS remains a bastion for the art of writing-about-things-wot-they-played, and I hope it continues to be the beacon of light it is. (And, thankfully, the RPS writers have a better grasp of English than I do.)

        (Please don’t be sad, Alec! Keep it up!)

        • Chris D says:

          Well said.

        • Wilson says:

          Yeah, same here, I much prefer reading stuff than watching videos. Good points well made.

        • bakaohki says:

          tldr

        • hench says:

          Why not have both? Publish the text and have a voice-over? So you could listen while in a car, relaxing on the sofa or doing household work? Sometimes I skip articles simply because I don’t have the time and forget to read them later. And there are becoming so many good gaming journalists out there so reading them all takes quite a while.

          • Ragnar says:

            You could also read while relaxing on the sofa, as I do. Reading is also much faster than listening, so it takes far less time to read this sentence than it does to listen to it being spoke.

        • Some Guy says:

          I agree with the sentiment, but you can rather easily take a break from watching a video

      • TheAngryMongoose says:

        To be fair, he wasn’t asking for a video of the game. He just wanted a video of you… speaking these words softly into his ears… We all do…

    • tetracycloide says:

      It’s easier to hear what he’s thinking this way.

  3. fallingmagpie says:

    Sounds ace.

    Maybe worth a ‘mild spoilers’ line at the top of the article? You do reveal a few small plot points, and you know how some people get :)

    • Premium User Badge Alec Meer says:

      No, only background exposition stuff that’s already known. I/we don’t know how the rivalry between the scientists plays out and who’s right.

      • Somerled says:

        Mechanical spoilers? That is if this experience is close to how the finished product will play out.

        Very good read.

  4. Sheng-ji says:

    Ohhh, I can’t wait! Having loved the thief franchise, this looks like it will scratch that itch!

    • jezcentral says:

      I was just thinking it will scratch my Hitman: Blood Money itch.

      A lot of hopes ride on this game, eh? Let’s hope it lives up to them.

      • Sheng-ji says:

        Oooh yes, Thief crossed with Hitman, please be good Dishonoured, please!!!

  5. Aquarion says:

    This makes me happy. I’ve been looking at Dishonoured’s promises of being more Deus-Ex-y than Deus-Ex 3, and it’s nice to know that, to some extent at least, they seem to be nailing it.

    • Premium User Badge Alec Meer says:

      Thief’s the far better comparison – it’s very much mission-based.

  6. Lolmasaurus says:

    Lovely article, I am looking forward to playing this.

  7. Runs With Foxes says:

    The definition of ghosting is getting stretched pretty far. Ghosting is being like a ghost … No one should be aware of your presence and nothing should be out of place. The hardcore Thief ghosters even make sure every door is closed/opened just the way they found it.

    Yet another thing DX:HR bastardised.

    • woodsey says:

      Wah wah wah. Minus the boss fights, you can ghost DXHR.

    • Dervish says:

      I’m glad someone else pointed this out. And look, it’s not about whining that people aren’t playing the right way or anything, it’s about keeping terms consistent, so when someone says, “Is mission X ghostable?” you don’t need a lot of waffling about what counts. You wouldn’t say “pacifist” when you just mean that you didn’t use any guns.

      As for Human Revolution, yes, it’s nice that all of the levels are truly ghostable–I was excited when I successfully went through the police station that way–but it’s disappointing that it’s not what the ghost bonus is actually for.

      • tetracycloide says:

        It’s much better that the ghost bonus doesn’t preclude you from knocking out enemies because it makes the question ‘how do I maximize XP in this XP based game’ very easy to answer instead of having to know precise details like how much take-down XP there is vs. the size of the ghost bonus ahead of time. It worked differently for Thief because Thief is a different type of game with a different kind of progression. There’s no real reason for the two games to use ‘ghost’ the same way nor is it a ‘bastardization’ to not use ‘ghost’ the exact same way Thief would use the term.

        • Dervish says:

          Well, it didn’t really “work” at all for Thief because the ghosting term was invented by fans and isn’t something awarded by the game. The reward system in question has nothing to do with the sensibility of the term–the reason it’s called “ghosting” is because it’s like a ghost passed through and completed the objectives without anyone getting very suspicious that anything was happening at all. All the confused guards meet up the next morning and say “I have no idea how they stole the gem right out from under our noses; I didn’t notice anything all night” without a timeline of knockout concussions to piece together. You can claim to be using “ghost” in a different way, but at some point you have to ask yourself why you think that term is still appropriate.

          Besides, the added restrictions of no knockouts is where the majority of the extra challenge comes from. Simply not being identified should be a given if the game is a stealth one to begin with.

          • tetracycloide says:

            The reward system in question has everything to do with the appropriateness of the conditions that must be met to earn it. It wouldn’t make sense from a gameplay perspective to have a ‘ghost’ bonus that precluding knocking out guards in Human Revollution because of the way the reward system works.

            Clearly you’ve never been knock unconscious if you think a group of people rendered so one night could convene the following morning and assemble any sort of timeline. The term is appropriate because the term has a context greater than Theif fandom. It’s completely appropriate to call someone that infiltrated a high security military compound without ever being spotted or having any unconscious bodies be spotted a ‘ghost’ because you’re still completing all the objectives without anyone getting very suspicious that anything was happening at all until well after you’ve left. The big difference with Human Revolution is that, because of the reward system, knocking out all the guards, disabling all the bots, and then killing a boss is the objective.

    • tetracycloide says:

      It’s a different kind of game with a different kind of ghosting. What’s so strange about that? It’s hardly a ‘bastardization’ to say that context matters.

      • Hidden_7 says:

        Is it ghosting in a COD to kill everyone, thus leaving no witnesses, like a ghost? At a certain point the term stretches too far to encompass too many things, and thus breaks.

        Ghosting, as originating in Thief, exists as a useful term to describe a zero discovery, zero impact playthrough. It is distinct from merely a non-lethal playthrough in non-trivial ways, chief of which is that in many stealth games the lethal and non-lethal take downs function mechanically much the same way; non-lethal attacks are usually only slightly less effective than lethal ones. In this write up it even sounded like Alec had a pretty effective non-lethal attack in a long range dart that could knock out even alert guards.

        In a game where true ghosting is possible it makes sense to be able to differentiate it from merely a non-lethal playthrough, since they require different playstyles and have different challenges. It’s all fine to let ghosting simply mean “didn’t kill anyone,” but then you need a term to describe “was not discovered, didn’t impact environment,” and it just seems inefficient to come up with a different one when we already came up with ghosting to describe that.

        • eclipse mattaru says:

          Ghosting, as originating in Thief, exists as a useful term to describe a zero discovery, zero impact playthrough. It is distinct from merely a non-lethal playthrough in non-trivial ways, chief of which is that in many stealth games the lethal and non-lethal take downs function mechanically much the same way; non-lethal attacks are usually only slightly less effective than lethal ones.

          That’s a good call. I often found myself questioning non-lethal playthroughs in every game since, if you detach yourself enough from the game, you’re pretty much doing the exact thing as you would in a fully lethal playthrough (i.e.: Shooting/hitting people with one kind of weapon or another so they drop to the ground), with most of the differences being purely cosmetic (i.e.: blood splatters or lack thereof)

          That said, DHXR had a nice touch with that thing where enemies could wake up their unconscious chums. It was a small detail that did a lot for the non-lethal aspect, and it added quite a bit of tension and unexpected cool moments to my personal experience.

  8. Just Endless says:

    Sleep is the cousin of death.

  9. Jim9137 says:

    I got excited. But sleep is death again. :(

  10. AmateurScience says:

    Sounds groovy.

  11. Fox89 says:

    Loved DXHR, haven’t got around to playing Thief, but I reckon I’m going to love this. Everything I see and read just makes me more excited. Also, as someone who enjoys watching lots of Starcraft II the “Blink” ability will allow me to RP as a Stalker.

    Win.

  12. Axyl says:

    You had me at “Whale Oil Battery”.. which has since been redacted..
    Dammit. :P

    • Premium User Badge Alec Meer says:

      Sorry, figured it’d be best not to give away too many (possible) hints of alternate routes.

  13. Shantara says:

    Sounds awesome! My only fear is that with the arsenal of spells and tricks we are going to have, the game may be too easy.

    • strifecross says:

      You can’t have too much of those if you don’t explore everything and even then you can’t get everything in the game. And this isn’t a case of Deus Ex:HR where you spec into hacking and you have everything by the end. You just can’t have everything in one playthrough because there is a set number of whale bone charms that unlock and upgrade your abilities.

      Also the challenge in this game is based on a lot of things. Being happy to hear that the difficulty settings actually alter gameplay is great. Stealth has always been about the timing, the anxiety and the perfectionism. The best games ever give the player freedom with restriction within context. That way you give the player choice and through play he alone creates a challenge curve for himself. That is great to have and I am happy that Dishonored has it.

  14. DaFishes says:

    So…can we play it as a lady, or is it a Dude-Only Protagonist game?

    • Unaco says:

      Single (male) protagonist.

    • Mollusc Infestation says:

      If you could play as a female, presumably she would be named Corva. That name could raise a few eyebrows in some regions.

    • JackShandy says:

      All my favourite games come from the DOP genre.

      You only ever see through first-person, and Corvo is silent, so you could probably pretend it’s a FOP game.

    • strifecross says:

      It’s not a RPG game so I don’t see a reason to add a female option. Furthermore, it won’t be an aesthetic choice or an audio choice either because we play a silent protagonist. So again there is no point to do that.

  15. Zenicetus says:

    Maybe I’ve missed it in other previews, but what system is used for saving game progress? is it spaced checkpoints, or save on demand?

    This game sounds great, but I have a low personal tolerance for repeating large portions of game content due to a checkpointing system. If it has on-demand quicksaves, I’m in.

    • Premium User Badge Alec Meer says:

      Checkpoints and quicksaves both, I’m told.

    • blind_boy_grunt says:

      to be honest lately i’ve been getting the feeling that quicksaves are the wrong way to play games (for me! for me!). I never got much into quake, most of the time i only played the first few levels and than lost interest. When i installed one of those cool newish quake engines some time this year it was only to look at the graphics so i didn’t care so much if i died and suddenly the game had a completely different dynamic, only saving at the end of a level makes it much more interesting, of course more “gamey” but there is a lot of great level design that i never noticed when playing caerfully quicksaving all the time. Yeah the tension and excitement stops coming from the atmosphere but from the mechanics but i think it was worth it.
      Same thing with severance:blade of darkness an old rpg/hacknslash when i stopped quicksaving all the time, i had to look at it differently, i had to learn the patterns of the enemies or die, which means i got better but also the game got better imo.
      Well thats a lot of offtopic words nobodys ever gonna read but well…

  16. LionsPhil says:

    it is exceptionally unlikely that I will find the majority of it in a single playthrough

    I still find odd corners of Deus Ex where the developers thought of something.

    I look forward to being likewise pleasantly surprised by Dishonored in 2020.

  17. BenLeng says:

    Having just finished (and utterly loved) Deus Ex HR, I can’t wait for this game. I hope this will fill the stealthy hole that Adam Jensen left in my heart.

  18. spezz says:

    This game seems awesome. It sounds like a cross between metal gear solid and assassin’s creed. Cant wait.

  19. Shooop says:

    “Blink. And I’m in.”

    Sold.

    Deus EX HR mocked me far too often with areas just out of reach you had to take roundabout ways to get to – if you could get to them at all.

    And being able to go back and explore the areas after you’ve completed Corvo’s objective is just gravy.

  20. ChiefOfBeef says:

    “While Deus Ex: Human Revolution, a natural if not entirely appropriate comparison, tends to swiftly and evidently splinter into blatant sneak route/violence route/hack route options, I found Dishonored was much more about figuring it out as I went along, assembling a quietly chaotic route through the level that likely encompassed only a fraction of it. ”

    And that is why Human Revolution was not Deus Ex.

    • tetracycloide says:

      I feel like Human Revolution did that only as often and as evidently as the original really. To be honest having played through both a half a dozen times or more neither feel that way very often but then again, I think a lot of it comes down to how you play the game. If you’re trying to do area clears, maximizing XP and loot, then neither game every splinters into blatant options because you end up bouncing back and forth slowly pealing apart the entire area like an onion.

      • Dreforian says:

        This.
        I played DX ONCE. I explored everywhere, even backtracking from objectives just to find where other routes connected. There were a very few I couldn’t fully explore because I didn’t have the right skill (usually gas or swimming based) but I knew where they started and ended. Except for these few routes (and a very sneaky solution to one objective) I basically mapped all of Deus Ex on one playthrough. With DX:HR I did exactly the same thing. I’ve only been replaying it again to see the effects of patches and to complete a praxis points and achievements run. DX had more tools and more interspersed types of obstacles such that you had to frankenstein together a route through the game if you didn’t maximize XP and augments from the beginning. HR is a little narrower if that makes sense but takes the same approach. Sometimes you still have to ~make~ your own stealth route. HR may have made a misstep with the “Routes” trailer though.

        • ChiefOfBeef says:

          Gentlemen, I acknowledge your ‘but they are similar on this’ and raise you a ‘Deus Ex was released before the first 1Ghz CPU was on the market’. In level design, Ion Storm had to compromise when faced with the resource-hog of the size of the maps by reducing how much unique things were in them. That’s textures, objects, NPCs and effects(Deus Ex was considerably uglier than Unreal, yet probably could not have been done on any other engine at the time). It could even be that the resource budget the designers had to work seeped through into the game, encouraging players to behave in that certain way that made Deus Ex what it was. It had emergent gameplay experiences created by the necessity of players to be mindful of their resources. Ion Storm did not set out to make what Deus Ex became, it was almost an accident, shaped by the barriers that emerged when everything was put in place for what was probably something more like a PC Goldeneye/Perfect Dark game originally.

          In Human Revolution, all such limitations are arbitrary, unnatural and unnecessary. Even when having to consider designing the game for consoles(a problem the first game as a PC-native that was only ported to console after the fact, didn’t have), the game could have pushed things further because the ceiling is much higher than it was for Deus Ex. They could have quite literally had every single floor of Sarif Industries or Picus News Center(Centre) in there with no loading screens and then started getting creative with design when they started hitting the system resource budget. Since Deus Ex, we have had more than enough open-world games with scales that prove it’s possible even when using a degree of procedural generation to save disc space. It’s telling that Human Revolution does not have anywhere near as many real-world locations using the actual architectural blueprints as Deus Ex did.

          The developers just didn’t have any ambition beyond making a better-than-the-usual game.

          • Xardas Kane says:

            You completely missed the point. The player being able to backtrack and explore pretty much every nook and cranny on his first playthrough has literally nothing to do with technology or how fast processors are. In that regard there are even older games that do it way better than DX. I honestly think you are just looking for a reason not to like HR at this point because it received such a warm response.

          • ChiefOfBeef says:

            I disagree that I missed the point, more that you missed mine. I don’t like Human Revolution because it is not Deus Ex, I don’t need to look for reasons beyond that and this should not be confused with explaining why HR is not DX. For me it’s already set in stone in a past tense and doesn’t need developing as an argument.

            I disagree that it received a warm response, especially outside of games journalism. Having a better response than Invisible War(also misjudged by games journalists, who were on a ‘this turd is good’ binge as if the short 90s golden age hadn’t happened) hardly makes it ‘warm’. The problem is that too much of the criticism focused on the boss fights. There was plenty more that was ignored or explained away by people that didn’t want to listen.

  21. saladin says:

    For some reason, I look at the screenshots of this game and it just screams “Kingpin” to me. Not that that’s a bad thing.

  22. tetracycloide says:

    Don’t sweat it with the rats. Cleaning up plague ridden bodies is a public service really.

  23. Ateius says:

    And suddenly, I am interested in this title. Fantastic writeup, Mr. Meer. I’ll have to pay attention to Dishonoured from now on.

    Hopefully Bethesda will continue to avoid saddling people with any DRM beyond Steam, and I can pick this up with no qualms.

  24. MondSemmel says:

    “Blink entails a subtle but important shift in how I think about videogame navigation. Initially, I treat it as simply a way to teleport across short distances, to reach different altitudes and otherwise out of reach ledges and to instantly escape danger. A shortcut, essentially. What it also does, and something I don’t realise without prompting from a passing Bethesda rep, is allow access to whole new areas of the map.”
    “Thank you, Blink. My progress through the level is now slowed dramatically, as I’m constantly scouring my surroundings for possible secret spaces.”

    I first encountered Blink in WC3:TFT (the Warden had it) and later on e.g. in SC II. It really does lead to a shift in perspective, and I still remember that first level with the Warden, ~9 years on. I also remember missing some optional stuff and then backtracking in the level, like you mentioned here, too :).

    Actually, I love low-cooldown teleport spells in general. I think Nox might have had one; the Sorceress in Diablo 2 definitely had one…Any other popular games I’m missing?

  25. Tams80 says:

    Dishonored sounds great! It’s the story that sounds the most interesting to me, but as it is a game, the gameplay sounds fantastic too.

    Bath Bus Station roof, for those interested.

  26. Big Murray says:

    The title made me think this was somehow related to Jason Rohrer’s brilliant storytelling game. I was disappointed.

  27. Thiefsie says:

    What digital outlets are allowing pre-orders of this? I can’t seem to find any…

  28. MadTinkerer says:

    In Ultima Underworld II there were a few areas completely inaccessible to anything other than the Portal spell. (Blink Rune = Portal Spell, exactly the same) There were also areas where Portal-ing was an option, but other methods were possible as well. Like simply breaking down a door that is locked and the key is lost. (Not all doors could be broken, but a lot of them could.)

    “the body tucked behind a chimney, with a note describing a hidden treasure room accessed by performing a certain action in a nearby building a certain number of times, the deactivated elevator that could be fixed by creating a certain object, the alarm wired to the front door I’d avoided, the dangling chain that acted as a makeshift ropeladder to a new plateau”

    Wow. A previous article mentioned how the makers of this game were huge Underworld fans, and they weren’t kidding.

    Obviously, it’s not just Underworld though, as there seems to be bits of Castle Wolfenstein / Metal Gear, Half Life 1 and 2, and Bioshock in there as well. Probably Thief as well, but I missed out on the Thief series the first time and haven’t got around to playing it yet. But the bit where you get to talk to the dude and then decide whether to fight him, which leads to key looting and prisoner-saving… Yeah, that’s just like the Goblin Tower.

    “Everyone on this level has their lives, in fact.”

    Well maybe not exactly like the Goblin Tower, then.

    In any case, it seems like the twenty year wait for Ultima Underworld III was worth it!

    • eclipse mattaru says:

      That post made me want to preorder the shit out of this game even more. It’s nice to see how some developers are putting so much attention to PC features lately –sometimes it even seems exaggerated.

  29. Radiant says:

    Oh jesus please be good.

  30. eclipse mattaru says:

    This article has made me the most excited about this game than anything I’ve read/seen so far. Good job, Maese Meer.

    The pessimist in me still has a hard time believing a modern game can actually cram that many stuff in every level (unless the entire game consists of like 3 missions, the pessimist in me adds), and on top of that treat me as a smart person and let me find secret areas or alternate routes on my own –it all sounds just way too good to be true. But, like Fox Mulder before me, I want to believe.