Wot I Think: Dishonored

By Adam Smith on October 8th, 2012 at 5:01 am.

Expectations are high. A stealth game that utilises the brains of Deus Ex veteran Harvey Smith and Viktor Antonov, architect of the imaginary, would always be an intriguing proposition and Dishonored’s industrial plague-ridden city is a curiosity that would stand out in any crowd, but in the particular crowd it finds itself in – early twenty first century first-person games – this is a game that stands out like a whale in a sardine tin. I’ve been sneaking my way through this brave new world, and now I feel obliged to tell you wot I think.

Dunwall, the city, is the star of Dishonored. Its inhabitants are cartoonish, mostly drawn in broad strokes and often at their best when they’re absent, their stories told through recordings, diaries and notes. There are tableaux to discover – usually while exploring a derelict path, a building or alley without obvious purpose – frozen histories, dramas and tragedies that hauntingly tally up the human cost of the horrific plague and the ruling class’s barbaric prevention measures. That’s when the people matter.

This is a revenger’s tale, with all of the high stakes, catharsis, double crosses and villainy that the form can play host to. But despite all of that – despite the cast of loyalists, rebels, victims, nobles and traitors – Dishonored is the tale of a city. And what a city it is. I haven’t wanted to study and explore a place as much as this since Thief introduced its marvellous warren of secrets, and it’s not only in its superb creation of an urban space both fantastical and relatable that Arkane’s game brings Looking Glass’s work to mind. Dishonored is almost certainly the finest stealth game I’ve played since the dawn of The Metal Age.

Part of me wants to just write a song here, a mad sea shanty, drunk on the delirium of this beautiful nightmare of a world. It’s London with a steampunk piercing and Pathologic’s blood-encrusted nail varnish. It’s watching a slaughtership bloodying up the river, slow and dominant, a dying whale spitted above the deck. At the end of all the many words below, there will be more words with numbers in front of them. A list. A list of the things that are in some ways more important to me than all of the thinking and pondering.

In a week or two, I’ll actually write something made of pure joy rather than trying to make sense of the game’s workings and describing why it’s not only a hugely entertaining and thoughtful game, but also why it’s remarkably important that it exists right now. We’ve been looking forward to Dishonored for most of the year and it has a great degree of expectation to live up to, but I hadn’t played it at all until I received review code last week. I’m glad I didn’t experience any sections out of context because this isn’t a compilation of areas and challenges, it’s a Rubik’s cube, interlocking components switching and accruing meaning as the player manipulates them.

Here’s where the WIT takes an exuberant leap straight into the abstractions of this architectural wonder. Corvo, the masked assassin, is a Swiss Army knife. I anxiously flick the mousewheel back and forth and his left hand twitches in and out of view, my fingers prising at the various tools at my disposal, wondering which to ease from its casing. There is never a correct choice, or, more accurate, every choice is correct.

A non-lethal playthrough is possible and each mission can also be ghosted, with not a single living thing except the toothy rats ever aware of Corvo’s presence, but I reckon it’d also be possible to never use the left hand at all. Ignore all of the mystical powers and weaponry, and play the entire game using nothing more than the assassin’s blade, which is all but attached to the right hand, folding away and snapping to its full length in less than a second, ready to slay or to parry.

Most people, I expect, will be drawn to the idea of playing as precisely as possible, favouring the scalpel to the claymore. I certainly did, priding myself on sparing the lives of guards who might be good men in the wrong place at the wrong time. There are even non-lethal methods by which the actual assassination targets can be removed, although I didn’t discover them all and didn’t actually achieve any. I was also slightly more willing to murderise Overseers after hearing about and seeing them persecute innocents first-hand. They are the city’s resident religious authority, whose tenets of construction and craft are another echo of Thief. They are distinct enough from the Mechanists of The Metal Age but their theology and methods are similar, even down to their use of machinery to counter the ancient osseous magics used by Corvo.

The supernatural powers concerned me before I tried them out for myself. Wouldn’t ‘Blink’, an form of short distance teleportation, cause areas to be designed around its use, and indeed to counter its use? That there are so many ways to traverse each area and yet there are very few places that feel designed around a particular set of skills is the greatest compliment that I can pay to Dishonored’s architecture. There’s no equivalent of a cover-based shooter’s regular placement of chest high walls, the commas in a level’s gramma.

Human Revolution took place in a future where improbably vents were very much in fashion, while Dishonored approaches the problem of presenting alternate routes in a much more satisfactory way. In fact, it doesn’t present routes; at its strongest (which is most of what is at least twenty hours if savoured rather than scoffed), it presents places and leaves the player to make routes rather than finding them.

Put simply, if there is a building it will most likely have a roof, because that is one of the things that buildings have, and if there is a roof then it’s probably possible to be ON that roof. Perhaps you can blink there from a nearby window, perhaps you can find a way to climb up, perhaps you can jump across. Or maybe there’s a tiny gap that leads is the only entrance to the building and you can possess a rat, squeeze inside, and then revert to your human form once inside and just walk up the damn stairs.

If, like me, you think the powers might somehow make the stealth less tense and comprehensible, abandon those doubts right now. Like those extra doohickeys on the Swiss Army knife, the powers offer more options, different approaches to the problem of remaining unseen, or being swift and deadly. The introduction of the supernatural element takes place just before the first proper mission, following a somewhat rushed and relatively unconvincing introduction and tutorial section. Blink is unlocked straight away but other powers must be purchased using runes, which can be located in each area using a grisly item. It’d be possible to unlock powers that suit a violent approach, providing extra health, melee combos and the like, but I opted for stealth.

The combination of blinking and an extended jump makes moving through the levels feel surprisingly close to Mirror’s Edge rather than an FPS. Dishonored’s stealth is based around speed as much as silence and shadows. There’s a fluidity to movement that is perfectly sold by the positioning and reaction of the viewpoint when mantling, falling or leaping between rooftops. Control is extremely tight and precise, and after visiting a location a few times, I found myself capable of timing a journey through a district so neatly that the movements almost felt scripted. Jump, blink through a windowframe, sprint through a room, slide down some stairs, swivel, turn, dive through a window, land in a river to break the fall. All the while there might be bullets tearing through the air as pursuers’ failure to keep up with the chase makes Corvo seem like an impossible creature, a being of air rather than flesh.

Killing is smooth as well, whether from behind, silent and quick, or locking swords with the city watch. Blocking, parrying and striking are handled using two buttons, simple but effective, and every blow has a strong sense of impact. For ranged combat or takedowns, there’s a pistol and a crossbow. I’m a crossbow man myself and it’s a bit of a sniper’s weapon, with sleep darts being my weapon of choice. The pistol is more like a close combat weapon, actually, performing like a shotgun, a hand cannon, extremely noisy and extremely violent. For me it was a desperate unwanted measure of last resort; for others it may be the dispensary of justice.

There are no bosses and targets die just as fast as anyone else when they’ve got a sword through their face, no matter how important a person they might be. The quality does dip at times though and, as is so often the case, the denouement isn’t as effective as the rest of the journey. Pacing suffers a little as the end approaches, with a detour away from the streets that features a great deal of weepers, the diseased zombie equivalents of Dunwall, and the finale is the least consistently impressive area of the game.

That the tour is ending at all feels mournful and I immediately, greedily wanted more. At first I almost stupidly determined that Arkane hadn’t provided enough but that’s unfair. Dishonored is so dense, with both possibility and meaning, that I’ve already played most of it twice. Same places, different experiences, and that’s not just because I changed my approach. The city reacts to the amount of corpses Corvo leaves in its tenements and slums, with the plague and the guards both strengthening in response to the chaos his actions cause.

Kill more people and more rat swarms and weepers will creep into each district as the infrastructure collapses. At the same time, the false regent, afraid and angry, will deploy more troops and more technology in a bid to win back the streets. The tallboys, so iconic in the promotional material, aren’t as significant as I expected, but they stalk later levels in squads if the chaos level is high and can be punishing.

Oddly daft moments stand out all the more given the otherwise cohesion of world and action. One mission takes place during a masquerade and Corvo enters undetected, able to mingle with the guests rather than skulking on a nearby rooftop. It’s made clear that his mask is a disguise at this party, because everyone else is wearing a mask as well, but it’s quite a distinct mask and there are ‘Wanted’ posters all over the city with a picture of it on. Weird. Also unimportant when all’s said, but jarring nonetheless. (EDIT: Alec tells me the party guests repeatedly mentioned how clever/funny wearing the mask from the ‘Wanted’ posters was. I only heard a couple of snide comments and still think the guards should be more alert, but I’m less quibbly now) There’s a character with an ‘unassailable’ safe room as well but there’s a switch just next door that deactivates all its defences. Small niggles but the sort that make me think, oh, come on, you’re better than that. And the good thing is, Dishonored really is better than that, so all’s forgiven very swiftly.

That’s why Dishonored is important right now. It feels like a game from another timeline, one where Thief and System Shock set the bar for what first-person games could be, leading to designs that were built around intelligent use of space and world-building. I still wish Dishonored were longer but I also recognise that it takes a great deal of skill, hard work and time to create something of this quality; to ask for more in terms of content would be to ask for less in so many other ways. What we really should be asking is for other developers to learn the lessons that Arkane can teach them. Of course, it’s not as simple as that, because for all that there are flaws – there are always flaws – Dishonored is a work of rare imagination and skill, the sort of thing that can’t simply be copied and repeated. I hope I’m wrong, but we may not see its like again for a good while.

After the two thousand words or so I’ve already spilled all over the screen, here’s a few personal thoughts:

1) Playing felt like watching the Marathon at this year’s Olympics, because it showed me a city I know in an unfamiliar way. Watching the runners on TV, I’d see a street or a building that I recognised and be slightly taken aback. Walking around Dunwall is similar. Every now and then there’s a place that looks so much like a part of London that I’ve actually been in that the whole experience becomes quite uncanny. It’s like somebody’s dream of a London that they’ve only seen paintings of in waking life.

2) There’s a pub, central to the entire game, that I feel like I’ve had a drink in. Several drinks actually. It’s a proper English pub and a far more believable boozer than some bars that I frequent in real life.

3) Runes aren’t just powerups. They are placed in a way that makes them a proper part of the scenery, often with a background as to how they wound up where they are. It’s like when a game doesn’t just have guns and ammo scattered randomly through its levels, but places them in lockers and armouries. Dishonored positions everything with purpose.

4) Dogs will eat your face.

5) Rats will eat all of your flesh, but not if you distract them with a corpse to chew on. I once shot a guard with a sleeping dart and was then horrified to see a swarm of rats converge on his fallen form and strip it down to the bones.

6) There are grenades. I am so sneaky I’ve never even tried to use one. As much as a screenshot might make some people believe this is an FPS, it is a game in which explosives can happily be snubbed rather than fetishised and desired. Explosions are not the main character/feature.

7) Food has names and by reading books it’s possible to find out where the various fruits and meats come from. There’s a whole world beyond Dunwall, with histories, cultures and connections. There are also maps that are little more than names of faraway places. There’s romance in those details.

8) There are sidequests, many of which seem to alter aspects of the world and characters later in the game.

9) The voice acting is American, which seems a peculiar choice. There’s one chap who sounds like Heath Ledger’s Joker.

10) I want to see the rest of this world. I want to travel on a whaling ship to distant lands, to see the horrors and the wonders, and to see if the plague has spread farther afield. I also kind of want Dishonored to stand alone and for all the references to be nothing more than the well-practiced art of allusion.

11) Early in the game, an item is received that provides thoughts and feelings about areas and people. More depth and poetry, mostly just for its own sake. It even reflects on itself, scared and sorrowful.

12) Dishonored wants you to play it however you want to play it, unless you want to play it like Monopoly or something, in which case you will be disappointed. I’d suggest playing on ‘hard’ because tension and danger are the things that make my life worth living. I would definitely recommend turning off objective markers. There are loads of options for feedback and markers and the objective one will always point you to the next point, whether it be the transition between two areas or an assassination target. It also marks secondary objectives, which are optional. Turn it off because you want to explore and learn to read the world, don’t you?

Dishonored is out between the 9th and the 12th of this month, depending on how long it takes for a whaling ship to deliver it to your part of the world.

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343 Comments »

  1. John Connor says:

    “The voice acting is American, which seems a peculiar choice. There’s one chap who sounds like Heath Ledger’s Joker.”

    The voice acting? As in everyone in London is inexplicably American? Or just the main character?

    That sounds like a bit of a game-breaker.

    • TychoCelchuuu says:

      The game is not set in London, so I’m not sure this is really a gamebreaker…

      • John Connor says:

        The city is a fictional version of London.

        • TychoCelchuuu says:

          Yes, and one of the things that they’ve fictionalized is the accent people speak in!

        • Trithne says:

          No, the city is -inspired- by London. It’s not a fictional version of anywhere. It could be a fictional version of Baltimore. They can use whatever accent they want.

          Yes, it -seems- lazy when you put it up against the way they looked at English facial structures for their character design, but here’s the thing: The vast majority of voice actors are American.

        • Shralla says:

          No it’s not.

          • John Connor says:

            They’ve said so in practically every piece of marketing material they’ve put out.

          • ResonanceCascade says:

            Inspired by London =/= fictional version of London.

        • Klonopin says:

          If it was really set in a fictional London it would be “Dishonoured”

      • Trillby says:

        Top tip: Turn off the sound and read yourself all the subtitles out loud in a mockney accent. Problem solved – you’re right back in London with a game unbroken! Alternatively, pretend all the characters you meet are tourists just over to see the sights, just like in the real city! As a last ditch third option, deal.

      • Lemming says:

        Was it a gamebreaker in Half-Life 2 with an Eastern-European style city filled with Americans?

        • mckertis says:

          No, because the plot explained it by way of all kinds of people being relocated there by force.

          • Sparkasaurusmex says:

            Was that a mod? I don’t recall the HL2 plot explaining …well, anything.

          • Brun says:

            If you actually listened to some of the random discussions by civilians in City 17, and especially Breen’s lectures, the fact that City 17 was populated by forced relocation of residents from many other places is the most obvious conclusion. Hell, Gordon arrives on a train carrying groups of such people.

            Of course HL2 never comes out and directly explains anything – that’s part of what makes it so good. But it leaves enough information floating around out there that determining what happened is easily figure-outable.

          • GallonOfAlan says:

            Ah City 17 – I remember the whiners at the time complaining because the story wasn’t the usual ‘Peter And Jane’ level bollocks and they couldn’t follow it.

          • Canadave says:

            Such as a priest who speaks English in an Eastern European accent? Don’t get me wrong, I love HL2, but it is a bit funny he’s the only guy in the game who comes anywhere close to fitting the settting…

          • Deadfast says:

            “You have chosen or been chosen to relocate to one of our finest remaining human centers”.

    • FriendlyFire says:

      If this is your definition of “game breaker”, you must not play a lot of games. Or any.

      • John Connor says:

        I don’t like it when my immersion in a game is broken. A game like Dishonored seems like one pretty reliant on immersion.

        • thebigJ_A says:

          Fair enough, but since it’s *not* London, you’re problem is solved. It’s not “fictionalized London”, either. It’s a completely fictional place, in a fictional world with fictional countries, that takes some inspirational cues from London.

          • Jonith says:

            Well the original setting was actually an alternate London, which they had to change for whatever reason, and this one is just based off it

          • John Connor says:

            They’ve said a billion times it’s based on London.

          • Mr Bismarck says:

            “They’ve said a billion times it’s based on London.”

            The American dialect is based on English. So you’re golden.

          • gekitsu says:

            “The American dialect is based on English. So you’re golden.”

            but is their fictionalised london looking as much like a cheap pastiche of london as it needed to, to make the american not stick out like a sore thumb?

    • El_MUERkO says:

      That the first post for such an exciting ‘Wot I think’ is a whine is kind of disheartening. Can we delete it?

      • Bimble says:

        Go ahead.

      • John Connor says:

        Sorry I interrupted your circlejerk…

        • Machinations says:

          As a Canadian, I must say, I find your stubborn clinging to the King’s English somewhat amusing.

          Are you also upset the game does not feature constant rain and mopey englishmen complaining about Americanization of their language?

          Also, aluminum. AL-UM-MIN-UM.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            You should really check the dictionary first ;)

            aluminium Pronunciation: /al(j)ʊˈmɪnɪəm/

            (Yes I know Americans spell it differently and pronounce it differently and that’s fine, but to tell British people that we are “clinging on to kings English” when we coined the word in the first place and then use an American spelling to prove how Brits are mis-pronouncing it it ludicrous. I may as well tell you your pronunciation of the word out is wrong because in Britain we pronounce u’s differently).

            But really you just wanted to justify some casual racism, so feel free to continue to let down your nation.

          • Machinations says:

            Eh, that sounded bitchier than it should have.

            We Canadians straddle the fence, we butcher the King’s English AND have Americans make fun of the way we pronounce things. I guess I find it all very trivial.

            Edit: Racism? Whoa boy. Is British a race? Simmer down; I was making fun of the person who called a lack of cockney accents a gamebreaker.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            The british do tend to identify themselves as either Anglo Saxon or incorrectly celtic (They mean britons), distinct and unique cultural groups. It’s arguable. But you did call everyone who was born in the British isles mopey.

            I didn’t mean to sound so bitchy either, so lets just shake and make up! (Or high fives if that would make you happier) <– Joke to try to break the ice!

          • Bingo Bango says:

            Of course British is a race. ‘Racism’ doesn’t just refer to skin colour, you racist.

          • Machinations says:

            Perhaps we Canadians are just less sensitive about language issues; its astonishing to me people could really care if in their fantasy city with possession of rats, giant walkers out of HL2 and zombie weepers that if they don’t have a ‘proper’ English accent, then the game is immersion breaking?

            Working with both the US and UK, I am damned if I do and damned if I don’t – Center or centre, honor or honour, colour or color – for the record, the English spelling is used in Canada for most words, so someone is always telling me I am doing it wrong.

            My genuine apologies for any ruffled feathers – and of course, the rain. Oh, the rain.

            Edit: Also, as I am a damnable racist, please feel free to devour me with rats. My death cries will be distinctly Canadian, eh?

          • Sheng-ji says:

            It’s not that anyone has a problem with american accents in games in particular, look at thief, the main protagonist had an american accent and was loved to the point that people threatened to boycott this game unless he voiced the main character!!!

            The problem is that if you are going to base a city on european architecture, design and layout, filling it with American accents is jarring. I’m sure 99.999999% of us will furrow our brows once or twice then forget it was ever there but I think it’s fair to say, in a game which clearly wanted to cram in as much authenticity (note, not realism) as possible, it was an odd decision to base it on London and fill it with Americans. I seem to remember a horror movie which built tension by subtly changing the accents of a village ever so slowly to strike dischords in the viewers subconscious, I suspect this will have the opposite effect, at first it will be a bit odd, then we will get used to it and another stereotype (fantasy = british accents) will be broken down a bit more. Which is a good thing.

            Also Londoner =/= Cockney.

            Finally, there is a huge difference, in my mind at least, between being a racist and indulging in a bit of casual racism. The first is a serious problem, the second is playing on tired old stereotypes for a pretty low form of wit. You can go around all day thinking I called you a racist, I did not. I pointed out that calling every british person mopey, much as I am reaffirming your beliefs right now, was a statement stereotyping a race of people and call it casual racism, casual xenophobia, whatever, it wasn’t your finest hour.

          • Brun says:

            About. A-bOUt. OU as in OW, not OO.

            :-)

          • Machinations says:

            xenophobia? holy ^&%$ can we be any more anally-retentive? If you’re walking around waiting to be offended, I guess you will always find something.

            Edit: Again, for clarity, the comment about mopey englishmen complaining about Americanization was directed at the author of the classy ‘circlejerk’ comment, not to every resident of the UK. I had thought this was obvious, but perhaps the maple syrup has addled my brain.

            To be clear, I was mocking someone for over sensitivity – I did not anticipate such a bombastic response. Britain is a nationality, not a race.

            The residents of the UK I know have a better sense of humour, and certainly would’nt have objected to my, perhaps tasteless but certainly not casually racist, poke at British weather. The term starts to lose it’s meaning when you use it on such spurious examples.

            Please don’t assume because I mentioned cockney accents – which my British friends joke about all the time – that I am unaware of the subtleties of British dialects.

            I just don’t care.

          • Unholymess says:

            British is most certainly a race, arguing semantics over nationality and race is a pointless attempt to save face following a ridiculous comment from you. Also, poking fun at your own nationality/race isn’t fooling anyone. It’s just showing the bigoted remarks come very easily to you. Whilst I appreciate that you probably didn’t mean to cause offense, you should take this as a learning experience and maybe think a little more before you type.

            However, to the original point about accents, personally I don’t care what the accent is so long as the quality of the performance is high. I want good voice acting, not specifically accented voice acting.

          • Ergates_Antius says:

            Jesus Christ people! I’d accept that anti-British (or anti-French or anti-American etc) sentiments can equate to racism, but this wasn’t it. It falls squarely into the “friendly banter” category. You’re making us sound like a bunch of overly senstive, prissy jerks.

            As for the game – as has been pointed out many times already: The city is *not* London, nor is it an alternative version of London. It was inspired architecturally by London, which isn’t the same thing. If I built a building that was inspired by the Château de Versailles would you expect everyone in it to speak french?

          • Ateius says:

            Seriously, I’m with Ergates on this one. Get down off your crosses, build a bridge, and get over yourselves.

          • GunFox says:

            Aluminum is indeed the correct spelling. The first entry that references it is found in the Oxford English Dictionary and spells it Aluminum. Humphry Davy, a British chemist, coined it and now Americans use it. It wasn’t until years later that the term Aluminium came into use because it was apparently more “classical”.

            Americans use the original term coined and published by a chemist. Brits use ones coined by a political journal years later. Suck it.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            I’m going to guess all the people getting overly hurt that I used the term “casually racist” or the term “casuallly xenophobic” are American. Because here in Europe, we aren’t that sensitive about it.

            I’m sorry I misunderstood your culture to the point that I mortally offended you enough to make 2 or 3 follow up comments decrying my use of the term, but here’s reality.

            When you describe a culture with a word, you are describing all people of that culture with that word. Here are some examples:

            “Mopey English”

            “Lazy Mexicans”

            “Uptight Canadians”

            “Racially inferior Blacks”

            “Smelly French”

            You can’t use these terms and then spin on a dime and say “Oh, I only meant him that I was talking to”. If that’s what you mean’t you would have said “Don’t be so mopey” or whatever. Fact is, you were using negative, racist stereotypes.

            Now I’m sorry if you are so sensitive about racism in your culture that to describe you as using casually racist stereotypes is threatening enough that you react as above. That’s your problem because you chose to use lazy negative stereotypes based on race and culture.

            You don’t care? Right, because you are acting like a man who doesn’t care. I think you do care, I think you care a lot, because you are not a racist person. I agree, you probably aren’t. You assert that most british people you know wouldn’t have been offended about your use of casual racism. Here’s a challenge for you. In front of a decent sized crowd of these people you refer to, without any form of priming, slip into a conversation the term “mopey englishmen”. They will probably be to polite to call you out directly, but take a close look at how they react.

            Do you know why they will react negatively? Because you just insulted all of them directly. You used it, now accept that you used a lazy form of wit and were called out on it. I’m not walking around waiting to be offended. In fact I wasn’t offended. I appear to have offended you, but while I was sorry, I am now not due to your massive overreaction and attempts at justification of your comments and further insults hurled at me.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            @Gunfox

            Let me quote myself:

            “Yes I know Americans spell it differently and pronounce it differently and that’s fine”

            We spell it differently. We pronounce it differently. It’s OK. I don’t need to suck your penis and you don’t need to lick my vagina. What is important here is that no-one is spelling or pronouncing it wrong. Which was my point.

            Easily offended Canadian man whose name I really cannot be bothered to look up seemed to think that we should stop pronouncing it the way we decided to pronounce it and bring it in line with America because apparently it would prove something about american accents in the game, christ I really can’t be bothered with this any more.

          • DiamondDog says:

            I could actually feel you losing the will to live as I read that last paragraph, Sheng.

            Anyway, what I’d really like to know is why Americans don’t pronounce the ‘h’ in ‘herb’? I mean it’s right there at the front!

          • Ergates_Antius says:

            @Sheng-ji
            I suggest, very strongly, tha to equate, or seem to equate, “mopey English” with “Lazy Mexicans” and/or “Racially inferior Blacks”, is going a bit too far. I fact I might say that many people would find it rather offensive.

            We are not an oppressed and subjugated minority. Mildly negative stereotypes of British people don’t have a detrimental effect on us every day of our lives. They don’t affect our ability to get jobs or housing or justice.

            I’m sure [I hope!] that isn’t what you meant. If this is the case, then I’d ask that you choose your words more carefully in future. Please.

          • Edgewise says:

            Wow, Sheng-ji, great job defending the oppressed masses of Britain against rrrrrrrracism. Even though other(?) Brits in the thread are letting you know that they don’t really need your protection, and your accusations are hyperbolic and mildly hysterical, you are undaunted. Nothing says “joyless pedant” like the guy who casually accuses others of casual racism. When you put it that was, racism doesn’t seem so bad! It kind of takes the power out of a word when you throw it around like that.

        • Machinations says:

          To be quite honest, anyone offended by that comment has far too little to worry about in their life.

          Save face? I could honestly care less. It speaks volumes that you’re jumping all over me, while ‘circlejerk’ there gets a free pass, presumably because he is defending the nobility of the english language.

          British is not a race. You can say English – or Caucasian – but British is not a race, sorry, any more than Canadian is. It is a country of origin, a nationality, but not a race.

          I have learned something, beware of making fun of British pronunciations on gaming sites where English accents are Serious Business ™

          if you would like to continue shitting on the title for the use of American voice actors, please, by all means, continue. You’ve certainly convinced me not to comment in a lighthearted way, which does reinforce my bias of English stuffiness.

          • AndrewC says:

            AUBERGINES

          • The Random One says:

            See? Why couldn’t you Bretons reinforce his bias of British comical politeness instead of stuffiness? You have ruined everything!

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Did you not read that I said it was a positive thing to use american voice actors… Are you really going to be that stupid in public. I assume you were talking to me as you seem to be replying to things I said.

            I said, and I paraphrase “It will be jarring but ultimately positive for most people”

            If you are dead set that British is not a race, then fine, whatever, but you railed against me calling you a casual xenophobe as well, in fact you reacted as if that was somehow worse.

            @the random one – don’t bring the French into this for gods sake!

          • Machinations says:

            Since you have decided to take this entirely serious bent, calling me a racist and xenophobe, even if ‘casually’ as though to blunt the impact of your offensive words, I am obliged to respond.

            “Easily offended Canadian man whose name I really cannot be bothered to look up seemed to think that we should stop pronouncing it the way we decided to pronounce it ”

            Where do you get that from? Are there not jokes in England? Is a sense of humour hard to find?

            You took me joking about an uptight commenter complaining about the lack of English accents in the game – by referencing the ever-hilarious pronunciation of aluminum, and a comment about “mopey Englishmen complaining about Americanization of the English language” to a serious indictment of all peoples in the UK and that all people in the UK are mopey.

            I was not offended until you started throwing around the terms racist and xenophobic. Utterly pretentious twaddle.

            I’ll refrain from further rebuttal so as not to pollute this page anymore. Please spare me your armchair psychology in the future.

          • ben657 says:

            To be fair to a fair amount of the rest of the British people who may be reading this, not all of us take things as seriously as this has been. I imagine most of us would just read through, maye agree or disagree with the alumin/i/um argument in our heads, along with the main comment; thought “hm” and moved on.

            Whilst I’ll admit to having complained about Americans spelling aluminium how they do, it’s not a big deal. If they claimed to still be British, then fair enough, they should be expected to speak and spell English (Do other languages count? Scottish or Welsh etc.) but no, they are American, therefore they can speak how they like, whether similar to English or not.

            Actually I didn’t mean to ramble about that but anyway… The main point is, a good majority of British people have a good sense of humour, and couldn’t care less about being jokingly taken the “p” out of. Actually, I love all the stereotypes we get… we get pretty much all of them, we can be anything we want!

    • zebramatt says:

      They should’ve hired some Aussies – they sound about the same, right?

    • Carter says:

      It could have worse – it could have been American voice actors doing a Dick Van Dyke Cockney accent. So long as the voice acting is decent which it sounds it like, I’m not fussed

      • frymaster says:

        indeed. One of the annoying things in the witcher was someone asking, in an otherwise-decent accent, if I wanted to buy “urbs” from her

    • Riaktion says:

      I think the term “Game Breaker” is a little harsh, don’t you?

      And the other commenter’s are right, the city’s architecture was researched in London, so the places and buildings will have a London look… but the city in Dunwall… not London.

    • danimalkingdom says:

      There’s a reason they used American actors. I spoke to Viktor about it at that Guardian event the other day. he told me that they knew the publishers would be more comfortable shifting the game in the States if it had American voices. Arkane were happy to oblige; it doesn’t effect their vision at all- it’s a fictional city after all.

      • Berzee says:

        Interesting, also really weird, seeing as how American people love listening to English accents too (see: every game with a sword in it except for Dishonored).

        • WedgeJAntilles says:

          As a dyed-in-the-wool ‘Merican, I can corroborate this. I’ll make fun of you until I’m blue in the face for spelling “color” with a u, but damn if your accents aren’t sexy as hell.

        • Ragnar says:

          It’s true, we love English accents. Hell, you could slap “Full English-accent voice acting” on the box as a selling feature. It could even be part of a marketing campaign – “Unlike other games, Dishonored’s voice actors speak with an English accent.”

    • Makariel says:

      In city of Dunwall, game breaks you!

    • paddymaxson says:

      Interesting fact about American Vs English accents:

      “English” (Particularly southern, non-cockney) voices have a “Rhotic” accent.

      Americans typically have a non-rhotic accent.

      But several hundred years ago, English accents were typically also non-rhotic (early American settlers were actually more Rhotic than typical Englishmen) so if this is a fictionalised version of old timey London, then the American non-rhotic would be more accurate voice acting than a modern English Rhotic.

      Immerse yourself in that.

      • Dave Talbot says:

        That’d make sense if this were set in Elizabethan times, but it isn’t.

      • choconutjoe says:

        Victorian London was firmly non-rhotic. As Dave pointed out, you’d have to back in time quite a bit further before you got rhotic speech in London.

      • Mollusc Infestation says:

        I thought it was the other way round, no? American English = rhotic, south England = non-rhotic? I’m no linguist mind you, cunning or otherwise.

      • Sheng-ji says:

        There are very many rhotic and very many non rhotic accents. If I made a game set in New York and populated it with people speaking in a broad mid-ramian Cornish accent, I’m guessing my defence of “They are both rhotic” wouldn’t wash with you.

      • xaphoo says:

        Your general point is correct, but you’ve got the terminology backwards. Current American English (excepting some dialects) is rhotic, and English non-rhotic. Rhotic means “pronunces the final r’s”

        • Brun says:

          There are plenty of dialects and accents even in American English that are non-rhotic (if it does indeed mean pronouncing the final “r”s), Massachusetts/Bostonian being the most well-known.

    • Kefren says:

      I was hoping to hear the word ‘taffers’ in the correct accent as I snuck around the city.

    • Finjy says:

      Wouldn’t be RPS without some outlandishly stupid comment sitting in the first spot.

      Whatever Dunwall is based on or draws its inspiration from, it’s a fictional city. It could give everyone Russian accents and still be within its bounds…as a fictional city in a fictional world. If this is seriously enough to keep you from playing this (what appears to be) amazing game…well, don’t play it then.

      But I will think you’re silly as I’m enjoying it.

    • TheTingler says:

      Regarding the guy who sounds like Heath Ledger’s Joker – I assume Adam, one reviewer to another, that you’re referring to Piero, the mad pervy gadget-tinkerer? He’s played by Brad Dourif, Wormtongue in Lord of the Rings and the voice of Chucky, and I won’t hear a word said against him y’hear?! :)

      • Adam Smith says:

        Yes indeed – and he is a great man. Cuckoo’s Nest is still the performance that defines him for me, since it punched me in the gut very hard when I saw it as a teen. It just surprised me how many of the verbal tics he seemed to borrow, particularly on the recordings.

        Slackjaw really reminded of Daniel Day-Lewis in Gangs of New York as well, but that wasn’t just the voice!

    • S Jay says:

      I hate to be rude, but: GAME-BREAKER? I understand that is not optimal, but GAME-BREAKER? Gosh…

      Don’t be spoiled. I bet the game would be great even if it was purely with subtitles.

    • J_C says:

      Is this minor thing really a gamebreaker for you? I guess you don’t play too much videogame then, since most game has minor flaws.

    • Iaksones says:

      Didn’t seem too out of place to me, considering this is a fictional world.

      Hell, I was entertained by Overseer Martin’s faint Southern drawl. That was a non-intuitive choice, but it worked.

  2. running fungus says:

    I’m certainly intrigued, but distracted by “possess a rat, squeeze inside, and then revert to your human form”. That’s certainly not any version of possession with which I’m familiar. I thought the rat would unlatch a door or the like…

    • TychoCelchuuu says:

      “I am worried that Dishonored does not correctly capture what happens when someone possesses another creature. Realism is very important to me when I play video games and it seems like Dishonored has made a very unrealistic choice here.”

      • Trithne says:

        To be fair, it’s an unconventional form of possession, since you literally somehow shove your body into theirs with no external indication, control it for a period of time, then get shunted out at the new location (apparently making the victim very nauseous). Generally ‘possession’ implies you control the victim, but your meat body stays where it was.

        • zebramatt says:

          What you’re describing is really mind control (or “borrowing” if you’re a Pratchett-ite). Mind possession, if you like.

          Actual possession – as of the sort in which demonic entities like to indulge – very much involves physically inhabiting someone’s body. You’d obviously have to become rather ethereal and ghostly first. But you’d certainly be able to use them as a method of inconspicuous transportation – that goes with the territory.

          Notable examples include The Violator in the Spawn comics, or Nocturne from Marvel’s Exiles.

          • Berzee says:

            See also: the Bartimaeus trilogy, in which giant genies and such are always squeezing themselves into people’s bodies.

            The obvious conclusion is that the protagonist of Dishonored is secretly non-corporeal, but not so much as to be able to do anything really useful like walk through walls.

      • Chris D says:

        You’d prefer it if it stuck to portraying possession just like it happens in real life?

        If it makes you feel better think of it like this. Our man can also teleport so he’s also using possession in conjunction with that ability. Perhaps using the host either as a receptacle for the information needed to restore his physical form, or maybe as an anchor so he can hang around in warp-space for a bit longer without having his soul lost to the void.

        If neither of those fit then feel free to make up your own explanation, but it’s only as immersion breaking as you want it to be.

        • Trithne says:

          I just filed it under ‘Its magic, don’t need to explain shit’. I like that explanation though.

      • Jackablade says:

        Perhaps this would have been a better approach for the rat possession for those troubled with its lack of “realism”
        http://imageshack.us/a/img705/8903/dishonoredratpossession.jpg

    • Uninteresting Curse File Implement says:

      This keeps driving me crazy. How can you “revert to human form” if you never turned into a rat in the first place??
      Still, Adam seems to have been a bit of a skeptic about the powers himself, so it’s nice to hear that he ended up loving it.

      • Lemming says:

        Think of demonic possession. That’s how it works. You can become incorporeal and enter and control another being, then leave it and become corporeal again.

    • Runs With Foxes says:

      How the fuck are you people debating the realism of possession?

      • EPICTHEFAIL says:

        They`re debating the mechanics thereof, actually. This feels more like Warhammer Daemonic possession (i.e. popping into someone`s brain to possess them, than warping out of their arse once you are done). It does make sense given the game`s stealth mechanics, though.

      • running fungus says:

        I don’t think it’s asking too much for the hand wave to make sense on a conceptual level, with extreme suspension of disbelief at the ready if they’ll just go that far.

    • Revisor says:

      Think of it as shapeshifting into an existing form and done, solved.

    • Unaco says:

      Gameplay > Realism (or invented realism, seen as we’re talking about a magical possession mechanic).

      You ‘lose’ your corporeal body, and become the rat (or the target of possession), which allows you to actually move from one place to another using the mechanic. It leaves you vulnerable (rats are targeted by Guards, from what I’ve seen) because if your target is killed, you’re kinda boned, but doesn’t leave behind an empty ‘body’ which can be found and killed while you’re out and about possessing things… it changes the possession mechanic we’re used to seeing in games.

      But the mechanic isn’t wrong… it’s just different, in order to work in the game itself. Different vulnerabilities, different considerations to be made, different uses.

  3. ResonanceCascade says:

    “That’s why Dishonored is important right now. It feels like a game from another timeline, one where Thief and System Shock set the bar for what first-person games could be, leading to designs that were built around intelligent use of space and world-building.”

    So what you’re saying is, GO FUCKING BUY THIS GAME!

    Will do, sirs. Will do.

    • McDan says:

      Exactly, I’m extremely good I put that pre-order in months ago now.

      SO EXCITED

  4. gutenbergn says:

    I tried to resist as much as I could, I really did. Unfortunately, after reading this, I found out that I’m just not that strong. Game pre-ordered and now I just can’t wait for the release!

  5. Trithne says:

    “That’s why Dishonored is important right now. It feels like a game from another timeline, one where Thief and System Shock set the bar for what first-person games could be, leading to designs that were built around intelligent use of space and world-building.”

    That is what I’ve wanted all these years. Games where the places feel like real places, and with the diversity of gameplay they offer. Nothing’s ever managed to get up with Deus Ex/Thief/System Shock in my mind.

  6. Zelnick says:

    I just want to know one thing:

    Does the game support MSAA?

    Lately some games have decided to use “fake” anti-aliasing exclusively and I am hoping Dishonored isn’t one of them.

    • TychoCelchuuu says:

      I don’t know about MSAA but I can confirm the game allows you to slather your monitor in vaseline before playing, which is my preferred AA method.

    • Eukatheude says:

      Well, FXAA is great anyway, and you can force MSAA or SSAA from your drivers.

      • fish99 says:

        FXAA is pretty much just a blur filter, and it’ll blur everything, including detail on textures, 2d elements like the UI, and not just polygon edges.

        • Eukatheude says:

          But to me the image quality seems significantly improved. I’ve never noticed the UI or textures getting blurred.

        • phelix says:

          Maybe a bit off-topic, but FXAA works by detecting jagged edges and smoothing them out, not the entire image. I use FXAA in every game that supports it and it doesn’t look blurred out at all, even at native resolution.

    • emik says:

      In Total Biscuit’s WTF he goes through the options and you can choose between MLAA and FXAA.

      • Zelnick says:

        That’s unfortunate, however since the game uses the Unreal engine I should hopefully be able to force it on.

        It it only Unreal engine games that have been lacking in AA options lately?

    • Kadayi says:

      Get a life…..

      • Mollusc Infestation says:

        *irony klaxon*

        • Kadayi says:

          @Mollusc Infestation

          “I just want to know one thing:

          Does the game support MSAA?”

          Does lack of MSAA or not constitute a deal breaker Vs the game as experience? I mean do you hear people electing to not see a film based on whether it’s Digital vs film? The game has a stylized look.

          • Ed123 says:

            Does the fact that some of us care about things like image sharpness, jaggies and blur filters affect your impressions of the game in any way? If not, why do you care?

          • Kadayi says:

            @Ed123

            I think it’s completely irrelevant and that fact that somehow it’s viewed by people such as yourself as the most pressing matter is rather tragic on many levels.

    • FriendlyFire says:

      Now for the technical analysis (which, for some bizarre reason, I have not seen on any gaming site).

      In the past few years, graphics engine developers started wishing to introduce a lot of complex effects and in particular needed better lighting engines. Prior to that, most games used very few lights and most of them were static. There was no efficient way to render a complex scene with many lights: you had to re-render the scene for each light, which was, as you might imagine, a costly procedure.

      Then, people discovered the joys of a technique called “deferred shading”. The basic principle is that you split the rendering into two passes: the g-buffer pass and the lighting pass. In the g-buffer pass, you render the scene from the perspective of the viewer, storing data into buffers (hence g-buffer). This data can be many things, but the usual minimum is a diffuse buffer (which stores object colors and textures as seen from the viewer), a depth buffer (which stores the distance from the view plane to the surface at the pixel, the “depth”) and a normal buffer (which stores the normal vector of the surface at the pixel). Often, other things such as specularity data (how highlights are calculated on shiny surfaces) and emissivity (whether the object “casts” light, even though it usually just means it’s glowing without actually casting any light) are also stored.

      With that data stored, we enter the lighting pass. Here, each light is rendered one at a time, but they all reuse the data stored previously, so instead of rendering potentially tens of thousands of polygons across hundreds of objects, the light pass only has to render, at worst, a fullscreen quad (a rectangle that covers the whole screen). The algorithm itself uses the data to render out the lighting in whichever way is required. Obviously, there are optimizations possible throughout, but that’s the gist of it.

      Congratulations to those who made it this far. Now you may ask, what does this have to do with MSAA? It’s simple. If you apply MSAA to the first pass, you create many issues. Unlike a static image, where you can interpolate the colors fine (which is what MSAA does), you can’t do that with gbuffers. If you were to interpolate the diffuse buffer, it’d work fine, but the others wouldn’t. What would happen if you tried to interpolate two normals? You’d get a normal which is the average of the two normals, which is entirely meaningless and could cause inconsistencies. Worse, averaging the depth buffer could cause even more issues. The depth at the edge of a plane close to you isn’t the average of the plane’s depth and the background’s depth (i.e. if the plane is a meter away and the background is the sky, the depth at the edge of the plane isn’t a few million lightyears is it?)!

      So you can’t use MSAA for the gbuffer. What about the light pass? Turns out you… can’t either. Why? Because there’s nothing to perform AA on! If you’ve read the paragraph correctly, you’ll notice I talked about a fullscreen quad. Regardless of optimizations, you’ll always get something similar: some geometry which is only used to limit where you draw, but which has no relation to the actual geometry of the scene. MSAA is performed in hardware and doesn’t know about all the fancy shading you’re using, all it knows is how to sample the edges of a polygon to avoid aliasing. If all you’re rendering is a fullscreen quad, there’s no edge to sample and thus no AA to perform. You’re stuck with an aliased image.

      Ergo, MSAA and any other form of antialiasing is impossible with deferred shading, which is becoming more and more prevalent thanks to how fast it is overall. With it you can draw hundreds of lights and run all sorts of effects (modern SSAO techniques rely on deferred shading, Crytek uses deferred shading to provide real-time reflections and approximate high-resolution facial shadows, etc.) at negligible cost compared to previous techniques. It’s going to be the dominant technique for the years to come, which is why post-processed AA is getting so much attention lately. It also helps that these techniques are a lot faster than MSAA while providing acceptable rendering. Bear in mind that MSAA was far from perfect: the only proper antialiasing technique is SSAA (supersampled antialiasing), which basically means rendering the whole image 2, 3, 4 times the final resolution, getting the image and then downsizing it, at which point you could just keep the high resolution image and have more details. MSAA would often miss edges and wouldn’t eliminate aliasing without going fairly high on the processing and thus costing too much, especially on consoles.

      I’d finally like to point out that, contrarily to what people think, post-processed AA is *not* “just a blur filter”. I don’t know who propagated that rumor, but it’s both false and incredibly irritating. FXAA, MLAA, SMAA and other such techniques are based on really complex image analysis to blur visible edges on the final image, nothing more. Being post-processed, they are not necessarily aware of whether an edge is an actual edge or something that’s part of a texture, hence why sometimes there will be a softening of textures, but it’s not prevalent. Overall, the algorithms work surprisingly well at an extremely low cost, and modern implementations even support things like temporal antialiasing (which stops the flickering effect you so often see when the scene changes), which MSAA never did. Calling them “blur filters” shows an immense amount of ignorance at just how clever and complex the algorithms really are (most of them started as purely academic papers on image analysis).

      TL;DR Modern rendering techniques preclude MSAA from working. Post-processed AA is here to stay and most certainly isn’t just a blur filter, don’t spread the bullshit.

      • Naum says:

        You, sir, have just doubled the quality of this whole comment section. Thanks a lot for the comprehensive explanation!

      • alilsneaky says:

        Way to oversell FXAA…
        Go play gw2 with fxaa on and with it off.

        Calling fxaa a blur filter may not be technically accurate but it might as well be a glaucoma filter.

        Whenever I play a game with fxaa on it feels like something is horribly wrong with my eyes… until I turn it off or look away from the monitor, then I’m reminded I really do still have 20/20 vision.

  7. Cruyelo says:

    “But despite all of that – despite the cast of loyalists, rebels, victims, nobles and traitors – Dishonored is the tale of a city.”
    Me : That reminds me of Pathologic…
    *later*
    “It’s London with a steampunk piercing and Pathologic’s blood-encrusted nail varnish.”
    Well now I’m even more hyped.

  8. Marik Bentusi says:

    So my hype and promise for this game. Guess I’m gonna have to disconnect my internet for a while, because as much as my impatient fingers want to pull out the green, a little voice in my head tells me not to support preorder boni (beyond the price).

    What a shame.

    • Trithne says:

      Greenmangaming have none of the preorder nonsense, and a very attractive price compared to everyone else, I got it for 45$ using the code they’ve got right there on the front page.

      Just don’t go near their forum. Nothing but people whingeing about not having their codes a week in advance to pre-load.

      • Naum says:

        Thanks a bunch for that tip! 25% off is pretty neat for a pre-order title, so Green Man has a new customer. (I wonder if Dishonored is intentionally not excluded from the Voucher, seeing that XCOM is.)

        • Lenderz says:

          XCOM wasn’t when I pre-ordered on GMG, I got a tidy 20% off last month using their discount code, on top of the existing -10% pre-order price.

      • woodsey says:

        Thanks for the tip.

        And my Steam registration code is sitting in the product keys page that the purchase confirmation email links you to.

      • derbefrier says:

        Logged in to say the same thing. GMG is quickly becoming my go to site for preordering. First I got Borderlands 2 for 36 bucks now Dishonored for 45 bucks. X-Com is looking pretty tempting too but I may wait for Christmas sales on that one.

        • SuperNashwanPower says:

          You chaps have single-handedly crashed GMG. As a result of your beneficence, the whole world is now pre-ordering (me included) with them and NOW MY ORDER IS IN LIMBO as their servers process mirrions of dorrar. Its been saying “Hang on we are processing your order” for the last 15 minutes. It seems to be a common problem with the site. So thank you (non-sarcastic) but also BOOOO

          • SuperNashwanPower says:

            Half an hour later, its still hung on that screen. I am not impressed with their order processing capability during launch events.

          • SuperNashwanPower says:

            Turns out Halifax Bank has GMG listed as a dodgy website and won’t authorise payments to it. Looks like I will be buying through Valve instead.

          • stache says:

            If it’s any consolation, Citibank thinks the same thing of GMG. Which is odd because they didn’t mind my preorders of Dark Souls and Guild Wars 2 from that site mere weeks ago.

          • SuperNashwanPower says:

            Makes me a bit suspicious. I have to wonder if its not in fact “gambling” (as GMG states) the banks are worried about, but rather more ‘dodgy practices’. I know they have had trouble with running out of keys, but taking money anyway whilst leaving it up on the site as being for sale. It makes me wonder if in fact its just got blacklisted for being a little less than scrupulous. Not reading too many good things about their customer service either.

  9. mbourgon says:

    Well, crap. I’ve already got xcom preloading. Do I give them my money now to thank them for getting it right, or do I wait a month and the inevitable sale?

    And which idiots decided to release them on the same day? You mean people who played Thief and people who played X-Com weren’t the same people?

    Then again, firstworldproblems if my hardest choice is to whom I throw money first.

    • epmode says:

      I’ve been thinking about which game I’ll get first for a few days now.

      Screw it, bought both.

      • mbourgon says:

        I forgot about green man. Wasn’t willing to shell out $60, (when did we start paying console prices), but for under $50 I’m in.

        • Trithne says:

          60$? I envy you. Steam et al were trying to flog it to me for 80, simply for having the temerity to live on the wrong side of the equator.

          • Lemming says:

            Too bloody right! You Tropic Of Capricorners make me SICK!

          • MentatYP says:

            It’s not a matter of geography. It’s punishment for letting dingos eat your babies.

        • Kadayi says:

          Game prices have been static for years. In fact it’s a wonder that they havent’ gone up given development teams have grown considerably over the last ten years.

    • Mimetic says:

      The “inevitable sale” is on now, if you buy from Greenmangaming. They’ve got 25% off code on their front page. I doubt we’ll be seeing the game lower than $45 in a month.

      • SuperNashwanPower says:

        Unfortunately my bank (Halifax / HBOS) has greenmangaming listed as a dodgy website and wont authorise payments to it. Others may find their banks do the same. TBH GMG claim to know about this and request you talk to your bank, but really for a site I only heard about today I can’t be bothered with the hassle and risk for the sake of 7 pounds. I will buy elsewhere.

    • phuzz says:

      I’m conflicted as well, but then, maybe now is the time to pick up Mass Effect 3, that should tide me over until either of these is a bit cheaper.
      Ach, no! Mustn’t spend moneys! FTL it is then.

  10. shagen454 says:

    See, and here we have the real problem of piracy. If you do not want your game to pirated Numero Uno: make a good game. Numero Dos: Do not release it at the same time as other awesome games. We are in a recession, bitches.

    • shagen454 says:

      BTW: I really wish my comp could even run this game, looks awesome. Arkane is the shit, I miss Looking Glass. Gnight.

    • Bent Wooden Spoon says:

      Might also want to think about not staggering release dates. I also can’t remember the last time I paid anywhere near $60 for a game, but then I always buy a few months afer release.

      As always the console versions have hit the piracy sites early too. No idea what the point in those is though, we all know piracy only happens on the PC.

    • Prime says:

      Or you could, I dunno, wait until you can afford it/someone buys it for you? It’s what decent people do when they can’t have something right away, shagen.

      • DJ Madeira says:

        THIS.

      • Lemming says:

        TRUTH

      • Lenderz says:

        What you mean I’m not entitled to just take things I can’t afford? Awww I guess I’ll have to give back all these things I just took and justified to myself as “theres a recession on and I can’t afford it right now so I’ll just take it.”

      • YourMessageHere says:

        He’s not advocating piracy. He’s saying it will be pirated (more than normal) because two good games come out at the same time. And he’s right.

        ‘Decent people’ – how quaint. Do they still have those? I haven’t seen any in years.

    • Hanban says:

      I can’t tell if you’re serious or not! It disturbs me!

  11. Dave L. says:

    The costume party thing seems like it could be explained away by everyone thinking you’re some asshole who has decided to be edgy by dressing up as the wanted murderer.

    • Bent Wooden Spoon says:

      That was my thinking too.

    • Zanchito says:

      And in the game!

    • KenTWOu says:

      …everyone thinking you’re some asshole who has decided to be edgy by dressing up as the wanted murderer.

      To be fair, scriptwriter should explain this via NPC’s dialogues.

      • Adam Smith says:

        A few people do actually mention how ‘naughty’ you are for wearing it, so it is acknowledged by some. It’s more the fact that the guards are all like, “Hey, do you have an invitation? Ah, you’re in a mask, you MUST be on the guest list.”

        Somebody check his pockets is all I’m saying. They are FULL of illicit bone charms and even though nobles are allowed to (expected even) carry swords and pistols, I reckon all the traps, grenades and whatnot might be cause for concern. Especially with the mask.

      • Sic says:

        To be fair, it’s pretty obvious.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      It would be nice if a few people reacted to your edgy costume though, it seems like the kind of detail the game got right elsewhere, I wonder if this is why Adam found it quite odd if everyone treats you as if you were wearing a regular costume.

      EDIT: Ignore that – Yes they do as explained by Adam above!

      I tell you now, the 12th cannot come soon enough – now to avoid spoilers like the plague!

      • mckertis says:

        Reacted to costume ??? I wish someone reacted to the bloody dagger you wield everywhere, as you are the only one who holds it out at all times unsheathed, and nobody cares ! Stealth ? Yeeeees, veeeery stealthy.

        • Sheng-ji says:

          It’s obviously part of your costume.

          Anyhow, I’ve seen plenty of footage with the blade sheathed.

  12. Zanchito says:

    “… moving through the levels feel surprisingly close to Mirror’s Edge”
    Awesome!

    Man, I want this game. And I want to see more of this approach to games.

  13. fish99 says:

    I’m getting the impression that the stealth is much simpler than Thief, with no real light/sound mechanics, no listening at doors etc. It’s a shame because looking at the game it seems heavily inspired by Thief 1/2 aesthetically.

    Hmmm….. I think it may be time to replay both Thief games.

    • kud13 says:

      I’m getting the impression you’ve missed the dev diary where raf Collantoni spoke about the sound propagation system.

      the only thing said about stealth is that it’s faster-paced.which makes sense in the fiction. It’s a story about revenge and Corvo isn’t a professionally trained assassin (like 47), nor is he an expertly tutored master thief (garret), and he didn’t even attend a covert ops and tactics course (JC Denton). He’s a former bodyguard, who suddenly got magic skills and is bent on revenge. it makes sense his stealth would be more about avoidance and situational improvisation, and less about long-term planning.

    • Adam Smith says:

      There’s listening at doors and peeping through keyholes. Leaning is in as well, which was like meeting an old friend. Lighting doesn’t seem to matter much if at all, which is odd given that candles can be blown out. Simpler in some ways, but based around movement, speed and positioning. It’s a very different approach to stealth and the comparisons between how the systems work stop being an issue really quickly.

      • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

        In several interviews, Raf said that lighting only really matters at a distance. Up close, enemies will see you whether you’re in shadow or not, but at a distance the shadows will hide you.

        • Unaco says:

          Yeah… there was an interview not too long ago, which I recall either reading here or being linked to here on RPS. Last week’s Sunday Paper’s in fact, with some quotes (not a full interview), along these lines…

          “But we realised that when you’re standing in front of an NPC like this [hand in front of face] it’s not realistic – we must admit that. In the real world it’s not like this.”

          They tried the Thief style Light/Shadows Stealth mechanic, but it didn’t have the right fit for the game.

          http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2012-09-29-why-dishonored-ditched-its-thief-shadow-stealth-mechanic

        • Sic says:

          Which actually makes sense, unlike being able to be invisible in relative darkness.

          • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

            One of the key benefits of Thief-style stealth, where you’re invisible in darkness, is that it grants you the ability to observe before taking action. You can find a nice dark corner, and watch the comings and goings of guards to determine their patrol patterns (helped greatly, of course, by listening). Being able to observe the enemy without being visible to them is quite a vital tool for stealth, especially for ghosting.

            But Thief’s solution is not the only way to give the player this ability. In Deus Ex you could just stand a medium distance away, as the enemies were blind as a bat. In Oblivion, you could use shadows and the “detect life” spell, which showed you where enemies were through walls. In DXHR you could use third-person to peek around cover, as well as the see-through-walls augmentation. And it looks like Dishonored also has a see-through-walls ability (5th screenshot).

            None of these are natural in any way, but they have different effects on the way enemies behave, the way levels must be designed, and so on.

      • fish99 says:

        Thanks Adam, good to hear. I guess I just want another real Thief game (not a modern remake for consoles, a real LG Thief game), the intensity of those games was incredible, spending 30 minutes just getting from one end of a corridor to the other, jumping at every sound, and yes the insane amount of planning involved. There’s really nothing else that offers that experience. I’ve never been as tense playing another game.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Leaning is in as well

        ALL OF MY MONEY

  14. Azradesh says:

    “A stealth game that utilises the brains of Deus Ex veteran Harvey Smith and Viktor Antonov, architect of the imaginary, would always be an intriguing proposition and Dishonored’s industrial plague-ridden city is a curiosity that would stand out in any crowd, but in the particular crowd it finds itself in – early twenty first century first-person games – this is a game that stands out like a whale in a sardine tin.”

    Holy massive second sentance Batman!

    ” It’s made clear that his mask is a disguise at this party, because everyone else is wearing a mask as well, but it’s quite a distinct mask and there are ‘Wanted’ posters all over the city with a picture of it on. Weird. ”

    They just think you’re someone wearing a Corvo mask, not weird at all.

  15. alilsneaky says:

    Looking forward to descriptions from real people when it’s out, PR mouthpieces’ only job is to hype up games in return for ad money so as always a reviewer’s opinion is completely worthless.

    I have to say that despite bethesda not actually working on this game, it still has the trademark B grade animations and horrible uncanny models.

    • The Innocent says:

      Adam Smith isn’t a real person? I haven’t noticed any history of RPS writers exhibiting ad bias.

      • Bent Wooden Spoon says:

        What are you, an idiot? Of course he’s not real, his ‘name’ is Adam Smith. It’s so generic it’s blatantly the result of focus group testing. I’ve read about these things – they’re AI algorithms used by videogames marketing departments. They work by splicing together clauses containing phrases that appeal to gamers, things like ‘shiny graphics’, ‘hardcore’ and ‘girls’ boobs’, frame it within some pre-written contextual PR fluff and then add in some ‘edgy’ humour to finish things off.

        Nothing you read on the internet is from ‘real people’ – that’s why it’s on a computer.

        • JackShandy says:

          Even his name has been carefully generated by a league of expert psychologists, each vowel slotting into a complex algorithm that makes you subconsciously reach for your wallet.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Yes, all games journalists are corrupt. Bought by companies.

      None of them have worked their entire lives to say what they believe about games, or set up independently-owned PC sites so that they could be entirely free of corporate controls, scores, or the rest of the paraphernalia that the industry slaves under.

      Yep, I can’t think of any sites actually owned by the writers, which wrote about just PC games for years, for no money, just because that was what they had always wanted to do.

      Nope. They must all be corrupt, because that makes more sense than the crazy fantasy that someone might actually believe in what they do.

      • Bent Wooden Spoon says:

        Isn’t that what he was implying?

        • Jim Rossignol says:

          I knew I should have added the sarcasm tags to that.

          What I was really saying was: “Fuck you and your suggestion that anyone on RPS is corrupt. I worked my heart out for years to create an independent PC site to be insulted like this.”

          • EPICTHEFAIL says:

            Bravo, good sir. As an aside, the prevalence of sarcasm on RPS may be a source of confusion for noobs who only read Kotaku and IGN.

          • mckertis says:

            Jake Solomon.

          • Fincher says:

            RPS isn’t immune to hype. Bioshock and DA2 Wot I Thinks are proof that most marketing-heavy games get an easy ride around here.

          • Makariel says:

            @Fincher: I found Bioshock and DA2 to be better than their reputation amongst ‘hardcore gamers’. But probably I’m just bought by companies (my bank account just said “you wish…”).

          • Rawrian says:

            They are really weird people, those “hardcore gamers”.

          • derbefrier says:

            I know quite a few people that loved Bioshock ,Bioshock 2 and DA2 but we dare not go against the angry men of the internet.

          • Stellar Duck says:

            I don’t think DA2 even got a WIT. I think it got a halfhearted Impressions so far by John and that was that. Considering how I loathe the game I ought to remember a glowing WIT from here just as I remember the PC Gamer review of it.

        • Bent Wooden Spoon says:

          Likewise… ;)

          I think your revision is much more eloquently stated though.

      • alilsneaky says:

        Passive agressive sarcasm!

        Bit hard to take your retort seriously when 60 percent of my screen real estate is taken up by a game related flash ad on your website.
        I’m sure you won’t mind me using Ad-block then.

        The consumer advice/hype, signal/noise ratio on your website is not much different than that of eurogamer and kotaku. The main difference is that your pitch is centered around finding the most colorful wacky phrases to tell people what they want to hear.
        The result is the same, content is built around breeding excitement for the product rather than enable people to make an informed decision.

        Better start working on those alliterations to tell everyone about how many men you can kill in the next assassin’s creed.

        • Revisor says:

          Of course instead of being a generally unpleasant person to the people bringing you this website, you can subscribe to RPS (see the footer) and use Adblock.

        • Unaco says:

          You notice the ads… this is good. What you may not have noticed is that there can be ads for a game on this site, which the Hivemind then savage, on pages festooned with the ads. DA2 was a good example of this. Ad revenue, or general hype, is no guarantee for glowing praise from RPS.

          I doubt I (or anyone) can convince you of this, however. So my recommendation would just be to leave… You believe the writers are paid shills, whose output is worthless, you see very little different between RPS and other sites, you don’t trust reviewers even (because they are all, to a man, paid shills). You provide no evidence in support of these accusations, and don’t seem to be willing to engage in discussion about the legitimacy of the Hivemind’s work. If you hang around you’re just going to be the centre of pointless arguments and ill feelings. It would be a favour to the readers and yourself if you just toddled off somewhere else.

        • Machinations says:

          Geez, what a petty bitter little person you are. I am sure you’re real popular at parties.

        • ResonanceCascade says:

          Oh go crawl back into whatever conspiracy laden cesspool you crawled out of.

    • Adam Smith says:

      A lot of “real people” and even some of us automatons probably will find it hard to ignore the animations not being as fancy as they’d like. The faces in particular don’t look great. I’m glad that it mattered to me much less than almost everything else.

      • Bent Wooden Spoon says:

        Not very good at this ‘PR mouthpiece’ thing, are you – proof that you are, indeed, a Bethesda coded AI. The only possible alternative is that you were made by Obsidian.

        • EPICTHEFAIL says:

          Hmm… Perhaps a Valve bot coded by Obsidian? That would provide the necessary mixture of intelligence and crash-happiness required.

        • Unaco says:

          I’m not sure a Bethesda coded AI would be able to string as many sentences together.

        • LionsPhil says:

          He can’t help it—he’s having to play the conversation-wheel minigame from Oblivion.

      • Servicemaster says:

        Had to reset my password and all that jazz just so I could get in here and say real quick: Thank you.

        I’ve been coming to this site for months now and I don’t see any reason to stop. You’re all obviously well-informed, sarcastic and best of all, you can tell that you love everything about the most immersive medium known to man.

        And I do too. So thanks for this review, although I just skimmed most of it because Dishonored is a rare sort of game, one that is AAA and yet I know nothing about other than a trailer. I’ve never played Thief but I’ve Hitmaned, MSG’d and Splintered Cells, so thanks for effectively ratifying my less than legit hype. And thank god I already have $20 in my steam wallet.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      I don’t usually stoop to this kind of thing, but:

    • Lars Westergren says:

      > Looking forward to descriptions from real people when it’s out

      Real people = Angry Internet Men addicted to being outraged?

      > PR mouthpieces’ only job is to hype up games in return for ad money

      Mm. Except when sites give games poor reviews, when the accusation inevitably becomes “You are just trolling for page hits!”

      > so as always a reviewer’s opinion is completely worthless.

      If you are so smart, why are you here?

      • briktal says:

        The poor reviews are for the games where the developer/publisher didn’t give them money, so they have to get page hits and ad revenue another way.

        • Lars Westergren says:

          A very hurtful accusation impossible to defend against, and easy to throw at someone. It is also very easy and comforting to believe in by fanboys, who are so single minded that they can’t accept that someone might legitimately have a different opinion than they do.

          Personally I think the passion RPS has for games shines through in everything they write. They back up their opinions with facts and reasoned arguments. I haven’t seen their accusers do that in this thread.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Yawn… and block.

      PS, before you go; if you are going to throw accusations like that:

      1) Do it with a bit more class (i.e. don’t blend your accusations with a bit of Bethesda hate, it makes the real reason for your butthurtness so obvious that I just want to cuddle all the internet rage and hate right out of you)

      2) Get some concrete evidence to back them up with.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      Is there a reverse Turing Test we can use to determine whether real people act as if they’re just machines

      • EPICTHEFAIL says:

        Didn`t a few blokes try to make an Unreal bot a few days/weeks back and inadvertently do just that? I seem to recall players accusing each other of being bots and vice versa.

        • Lars Westergren says:

          > I seem to recall players accusing each other of being bots and vice versa.

          So the bots were programmed to accuse each other of being human scum? Sounds like a Futurama episode.

        • Rawrian says:

          They spent about 5 years creating that bot, not just made him a few weeks ago.

    • Machinations says:

      Sounds like someone just wants some confirmation of pre-existing biases.

      RPS is the least corporate whorish of any gaming site. These are real people, with real opinions, and while I do not always agree, are orders of magnitude better than GameSpot, Kotaku, GiantBomb and all the others.

  16. lucasdigital says:

    I placed my steam pre-order immediately before reading this, so I’m now feeling a rare and heady blend of vindication, relief and excitement. Horrah!

  17. kud13 says:

    this sounds great.
    unfortunately, I’ll be at uni, confined to laptop gaming until the Steam xmass sale rolls around, so in the heart-wrenching choice between whether to throw money at XCOM or Dishonored, UFO wins this round. There’s a shred of hope my intel graphics card may handle XCOM, but there’s no chance in hell ity’ll do Dishonored justice.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Thief is still immersive and an incredible game experience despite looking like a pile of crap (even for the time!) so don’t worry if you have to play on a lower graphics setting, it seems that the joy of the game is deeper than the spectacle of it!

      Also, don’t bankrupt yourself buying more than you can afford, but avoid spoilers and buy the other game next month. There’s something quietly gratifying about experiencing a really good game for the first time after everyone else, I don’t know why but it feels like drinking a hot choc next to a wood burning stove on a winters day while everyone else is at work, even though they had their holiday the month before.

      • Harlander says:

        I don’t feel the same but I surely love the way you’ve described it.

      • ninnisinni says:

        @Sheng-ji: I just logged in just to say I fucking LOVE you for that comment! Thank you for that awesome description, because it’s exactly the way I feel about it, and that thought just made my day!!

  18. thesundaybest says:

    Some of the comments here are top of the list for why we can’t have nice things.

    “it sounds amazing but then theres this one tiny thing I don’t like and I’ll have to steal it because they released it on the same day as this other game I deserve and also the review was written by a robot.”

    What the actual F people?

    • ninnisinni says:

      Yeah, it really makes you wonder sometimes, doesn’t it?

    • The First Door says:

      It is slightly depressing, isn’t it? Still, RPS has the best silly-to-useful comment rate of any website I’ve been on, so at least the rare silly ones are easy to ignore.

    • Lemming says:

      roll out the blanket bans, I say.

      • Fincher says:

        Because banning people for having a different impression of a game sounds entirely reasonable, scum.

          • Fincher says:

            How exactly do we confirm our thoughts on Dishonoured? How do we validate the impression we get from the screenshots and videos and rhetoric? Oh, my opinion doesn’t matter unless I’ve played the game. Well, how do I go about playing the game? Oh, I have to buy it, and they didn’t bother releasing a demo. So what if I pirate it? Well, apparently I’m a thief. So I think I’ll stick with my opinion, and you can regurgitate whatever article you’ve read like a good little pleb.

          • Lemming says:

            “scum”, “pleb”….are you some sort of aristocrat? Although the pro piracy comments seem odd considering the insults you are throwing around.

            Perhaps when you’ve stopped dragging your knuckles across the keyboard, you’ll join the rest of us ‘plebs’ down here in the human race.

          • Fincher says:

            I’m pro-demo, not pro-piracy. Don’t be surprised by a spike in piracy if there’s not demo available.

        • Revisor says:

          Banning/muting for ad hominem arguments only helps the discussion. Bans are not always bad.

          Speaking from my own experience.

    • Finjy says:

      Right? I love RPS’ writers, but I’d be lying if I was capable of looking at a comments section for pretty much article and not balk at at least half of them. Especially with games like Hitman Absolution coming out soon.

      Cynical = savvy, people.

    • Finjy says:

      Right? I love RPS’ writers, but I’d be lying if I was capable of looking at a comments section for pretty much article and not balk at at least half of them. Especially with games like Hitman Absolution coming out soon.

      Cynical =/= savvy, people.

      • ResonanceCascade says:

        …but Hitman is genuinely looking a bit problematic. Having qualms about something =/= cynicism.

      • YourMessageHere says:

        While we’re at it:

        cynical =/= bad
        cynical =/= a term of abuse/derision
        cynical =/= negative
        cynical =/= hoping something will be bad

  19. FFabian says:

    I really really want to like this game but the overly “unrealistic” powers like blink and the strange possession variant make me suspicious. Blink seems “too easy” like a cop out for finding clever routes by yourself. Want on the ledge over there? Blink transports you instantly instead of finding the entrance to the neighboring building and creeping out of the window to get there. Reading that you start wit the blink power rules out my idea of ignoring (by not choosing) those “cheat” powers ’cause I know that my resolve is too weak if I already have them in my arsenal.

    • Adam Smith says:

      I felt almost exactly the same as you seem to before I played. Blink has a limited range, which can be increased by spending runes, and it ends up creating more possible approaches rather than being a skeleton key to solve every problem.

  20. felisc says:

    *party horn* can’t wait to play this.
    i wonder what kind of music they use in this game.

  21. Lars Westergren says:

    I already preordered two of my most anticipated games of the year, it seems they will both live up to all I ever wanted. I think I’m going to have to put a timer in front of me. One hour XCOM, one hour Dishonored, and then keep alternating until I pass out.

    • kataras says:

      that’s exactly my plan for the next weekend. I wonder how long it will take the neighbours to find my decomposing body.

  22. nblake42 says:

    Very excited!

    Anybody else have problems with their preorder of this from http://www.simplygames.co.uk? They cancelled my preorder for the spurious reasoning that my card details and billing address aren’t the same (when they are), I think just in the hope that I’ll reorder the game at the higher price they’re now charging for it.

    Very frustrating.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      That’s a bit naughty if that’s what their doing!

    • Abtacha says:

      Mine’s still showing as “authorized” so maybe it’s just a mistake on their end. I’d try contacting them first and order it elsewhere if they can’t or won’t resolve it.

  23. Dave Talbot says:

    It looks great. I love the atmosphere and the setting and all that good stuff (while the American accent seems an annoying choice, it’s far less annoying than them populating the game with attempts at British accents like the Dark Elf male voice in Skyrim).

    On the other hand I’m just not sure twenty hours at ‘savouring’ pace warrants a full price purchase. I’ll be waiting for a large reduction in price first.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Oooh, I read the article slightly differently – I read that he had spent 20 hours on 2 playthroughs of the game, i.e 10 hours each.

      That’s what I will be expecting at any rate, so as not to be disappointed!

    • sebmojo says:

      Skyrim Dark Elves are Australian,IIRC.

      And great piece Adam, very nice bit of work.

      • Dave Talbot says:

        Really? They didn’t sound at all Australian to me. They’ve always put me in mind of Dick Van Dyke’s ‘cockney’ accent. Ah well, either way, it’s not a major concern.

      • Lolmasaurus says:

        As an Australian, I can say “As if we actually sound like that!” Mind you, I’m probably wrong.

    • iucounu says:

      Twenty hours is about ten movies, which would cost about £120 to see at the cinema (and add another £50 if you forget to smuggle in your own refreshments.) So, I don’t really balk at full-price PC games if they’re top-quality; they often feel like a bargain in comparison to a lot of other entertainment media.

      (Books probably still have the best cost/entertainment ratio, in general.)

      • YourMessageHere says:

        …£12 to see a film? Where do you live? In Newcastle I have to pay £7 full price (non-3d), which means I only go on Tuesdays, when it’s half price. I rarely pay that much for a DVD; under almost no circumstances at all would I pay £12 for the cinema.

        Perhaps more to the point, all entertainment is hugely overpriced at RRP. It’s not that games feel more like a bargain, it’s that they feel less like a giant plundering rip-off.

        Or not, as the case may be; £30 for this might be decent and might not. Personally, I think it would depend on how much the story draws me in and/or changes if I replay it. System Shock 2 was something I could replay several times because of the equally valid yet massively different ways to play; Deus Ex Human Revolution was an equally fabulous game but didn’t offer anything like the variety so has less attraction (I played it and loved it, but gave up half way through a replay as it was, basically, just the same). Time will tell, I think.

        • iucounu says:

          Yep, I paid £12 the other day to see Dredd 3D (including the cost of a pair of glasses, the feckers.) This is Central London, though, so I celebrate if I can find a pint for less than £4.

          This is kind of the point, though; given that most entertainment products are sold by retailers rather than publishers/studios, the RRP, the ‘recommended retail price’, is essentially just the highest price you’ll pay for that book or game. £12 is probably the most you’ll pay for a movie ticket in this country. When the RRP is set, or the movie studio figures out its likely revenues from ticket sales, they aren’t envisaging that every sale will be at that top price – it will, in fact, be a lucrative minority.

          I work in book publishing. The process for determining whether a book is going to be successful or not is a complex enough equation that you need a bunch of spreadsheets. If I’m acquiring a book, I get sales projections at all kinds of prices and discounts. So I’ll expect to sell 4,000 copies through the trade (Waterstones, Amazon, WHS) at a certain discount from RRP; 6,000 copies through the supermarkets at a bigger discount; 10,000 unreturnable copies to book clubs at a massive discount (a useful hedge); sale of rights, so that foreign publishers can put it out in their territories, at whatever price they feel is appropriate; export copies… it goes on and on. And we look at all the various editions: hardback, paperback, ebook, trade paperback… Readers have a tremendous choice of prices, and they select the one that makes sense for them.

          We know, for instance, that a small hardcore of fans will buy the hardback edition of a book they have been eagerly anticipating, or that is collectible somehow. We put the hardback out first, at a high price, and we don’t put the cheaper paperback out until we feel we have mopped them all up. The price differential between the hardback and the paperback is not down to the slightly heavier cover boards; that accounts for pennies. It’s for early access to the content.

          If you’re in the category of people who ‘will pick it up when it goes on sale’, or ”when it’s in paperback’, or who will go to the cinema ‘when it’s half-price’, you have – if people are doing their job right – been planned for. That’s the price that’s being offered to you at that point in time, because that’s the value you set on the product.

          You will, at some point, be able to pick up Dishonored for a fiver, and you will, I’m sure, be able to pay over the odds for some kind of collectible edition on release day. If you don’t want it enough to go for the latter, it’s not that it’s been overpriced; it’s just that it’s been overpriced for you, and your opportunity to buy it is a little bit later down the line.

          There are all kinds of ways to screw this calculation up, and I don’t want to say that pricing is an infallible science; I guess the point I’m trying to make is that any entertainment product has all kinds of different customers all placing different values on it. Thirty quid for a game I really, really want to play, zapped into my hard drive by Steam on release day, is not bad; I pick up most of my other games on sale and in bundles, but for a few, I pay full price and rarely regret it.

          (Sorry for the slab of text.)

  24. kataras says:

    But,but, but… everyone knows there are no ‘good’ guards. Why did you spare them Adam?

    On a more serious note, it’s Monday morning at work, it’s raining and I can’t wait for Friday anymore…

  25. Neurotic says:

    Gods know how I managed to miss the hype train for this, but you can officially colour me ‘excited’ now I’ve read your WIT.

    • briktal says:

      You probably missed the hype train because there wasn’t a whole lot of solid preview information to get hyped about.

  26. Andy`` says:

    I’d suggest playing on ‘hard’ because tension and danger are the things that make my life worth living. I would definitely recommend turning off objective markers.

    I got the impression you played through more than once, or at least once and a little bit, though I may have misinterpreted. Did you play through on hard with objective markers off on your first playthrough / when did you decide to try it on hard with objective markers off?

    I’m just curious since I’ll probably only end up playing the game once (maybe again in the future if I like it enough, but not immediately) and the suggestion intrigued me. Most recent games seem tuned for normal difficulty and other settings end up being boring or frustrating, but I know these kinds of settings change the game a lot – Republic Commando on the hardest setting is a vastly better game to me, but I don’t think I’d have had much fun if I hadn’t played the demo to death trying out the difficulty settings first. Mirror’s Edge as well I found much better once you’re familiar with the game a little and can take more risks in confidence.

    I guess what I’m asking is, will Dishonored on hard without assists be like wading through lava until I learn how to surf?

    • Adam Smith says:

      We’ll hopefully have a full RPS verdict tomorrow where we’ll talk about our own choices. I turned objective markers off straight away – might not have realised I could if I didn’t compulsively check every option as soon as I load up a game. Turned them back on to see how they worked and didn’t like it, but it’s nice that the options there and can be toggled at any point.

      I played on normal at first, switched to hard after a few hours. On normal I never ran out of ammunition or health elixirs. On hard, it’s not so much that progress is very difficult, but progressing without causing a massive commotion is. Guards are more alert and violence is harder to avoid.

      • Skabooga says:

        [M]ight not have realised I could if I didn’t compulsively check every option as soon as I load up a game.

        Hah, I do the same thing. Mind, I’m also the sort of person who would sit down and read the manual from front to cover before moving over to the computer and playing the game.

  27. DSR says:

    There are no bosses

    Stopped reading and pre purchased. Thanks for the write up but I wanted to spoil it no more.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      Indeed, something I’ve long been annoyed by. Learn from this, developers!

  28. Revisor says:

    I’m very happy the game worked out. It’s been dry what, 12 years? for immersive sims.
    I hope between Deus Ex HR and Dishonored the ice is breaking.

    • EPICTHEFAIL says:

      *Looks at list of upcoming AAA releases* Apart from AC3, no.

      • Revisor says:

        Judging by the previous games I wouldn’t count AC3 in this distinguished company.
        That said if it’s just one game a year, or even one game every two years, it will still be more than in the last decade.

      • kud13 says:

        having watched the Eurogamer dev conference for FarCry 3, it seemed incredibly S.T.A.L.K.E.R.-ish.

        so hopefully we’ll add that to out imsim list soon.

    • Asurmen says:

      Well, according to a recent PC Gamer article we’ve had 3 Deus Ex games, 2 Thiefs and 2 Bioshocks so I wouldn’t say it’s been a 12 year wait.

  29. Lambchops says:

    The only reason I’m going to wait till this is cheaper to buy this is that I’ve already got a huge backlog of stuff to play, this is definitely getting bought.

    • mrwonko says:

      But then you’ll have more money to spend on games, making your backlog even bigger! You should big less games for more money each!

      That’s what I’m trying to, anyway. The developer profits more, too – eventually buying the game does no good when the publisher’s already closed them due to lack of profit.

  30. Love Albatross says:

    ” it presents places and leaves the player to make routes rather than finding them.”

    Fuck yes! More of this, please, developers. So bored of games with blatantly signposted alternate routes. DX:HR in particular was very guilty.

  31. Christian says:

    I’ll save my ranting about the pre-order nonsense (which kept me from getting this game so far..tempted after reading this, but will wait until it’s out and cheaper), but one important question remains after this great write-up:

    How is saving handled? Are there ckeckpoints? Or is it ‘save anytime, anywhere’?

  32. Grape says:

    God; Adam Smith’s writing style is fucking obnoxious.

  33. Hunchback says:

    So is the game called “Dishonoured” in the UK?

  34. Nemon says:

    Odd. Steam list this game at € 49.99, but on competing GameFly you can (selected EU/Schengen countries) buy this for £ 29.99 (€ 37.16) and quote “Pre-Order Dishonored to start Pre-Loading on Steam now”.

    So.

    1: Do not buy game on Steam
    2: Buy game on competing GameFly and download on Steam
    3: ???
    4: Profit (or saved money at least)

    I find it a little odd.

    • Christian says:

      Well, as it’s a Steamworks game that would be true for every other shop selling it below Steam-prices (which frankly every one does as prices on Steam directly are *always* too high).

      You could also get in on GMG for about the same price (with their 25% off right now).

      Another question comes to mind:

      Is it region-locked (with EU and US-versions) because of the different release-dates only or will it be cut (in Germany for example)?

      • Naum says:

        My EU pre-purchase from Green Man Gaming on a German Steam account doesn’t say anything about “low-violence” etc. Same in the Steam store, so I suppose it’s uncut.

    • Hunchback says:

      It might sound odd, but it’s actually the usual case with games on Steam. I recently bought Borderlands 2 over at GMG for much cheaper than Steam – i got my steam preorder key, which gives access to the first dlc for free, a golden key and whatnot, all that for cheaper than the going price on actual Steam.

      It might be because of the silly conversion that Valve seem to (still!) be doing, where $1 = €1.

      • SuperNashwanPower says:

        Shame half the banks won’t authorise payments to GMG (GMG themselves say banks think they are a gambling site). You would have thought by now they could have convinced them they aren’t scammers.

    • tomeoftom says:

      Yeah, AAAs on Steam are inflated beyond belief. Use a good CD Key store search engine like this one: http://gocdkeys.com/buy-cdkey-dishonored and then just do background checks on the site before you buy to make sure they’re legit, or use Chrome’s “Flag for Chrome” extension which among other things shows you the Web Of Trust rating for that site. It’s worked great for me thus far.

  35. FunktionJCB says:

    While no doubt the game looks very interesting (no surprise there, since I own and rather enjoyed both of the previous titles from Arkane Studios), there’s a few things I didn’t see addressed that make me a little apprehensive, at the top of them the noticeable problems with the AI of the enemies. I’ve seen several videos (including the Gametrailers review) where the enemy guards are not reacting to the player character when he is directly in front of him, in plain sight. And I don’t mean a few meters away, I mean literally one step in front of them. Not a very good indicator on a game that’s supposed to feature “stealth” gameplay, and that is «certainly the finest stealth game» this reviewer played «since the dawn of The Metal Age». Heck, the original Deus Ex had plenty of shortcomings in terms of AI, but even in that game the enemies reacted when the player character is right in from of them.
    Also, for a game that several reviewers have quoted as lasting 4-6 hours, hearing that the game has quality dips and the pacing suffers as the end approaches, makes me wonder how much enjoyment I will be able to get from the game. Enough to pay full retail price?
    Lastly, judging from other reviews the story is almost non-existent and most isn’t explained at all, with things like, for example, the character that gives the player its powers never even being addressed. Judging from the DLC menu option, coupled with the numerous pre-order alternatives, something tells me this is a title that will be “milked” with a lot of DLC, which is disappointing, considering how short it is.

    On a side note, the review takes a little jab at Human revolution for it’s “improbably vents”, a device that is supposedly avoided in this game. I say supposedly, because looking at several videos of Dishonored, it becomes clear they were just replaced by highly improbable pipes and tubes that conveniently connect buildings. ;)

    • AndrewC says:

      This depends very much on if you are a speed runner – do you define playing as trying to beat the game as quickly as possible? Fair enough if you are, but a game that has breadth rather than length may not be for you. Also, always be wary of those who brag about game achievements, for they twist the truth to satisfy their needs. Remember that, technically, Morrowind can be completed in about 10 minutes.

      • FunktionJCB says:

        I’m a fan of RPGs, so I’m a completionist that takes its time when I play a game.
        But the 6 hour figure is being thrown around by many people, and I doubt they were all speeding through the game.

        My main point with the length of the game, coupled with the thin story content I mentioned afterwards (and the DLC menu option), is that this seems like yet another game that will be “showered” with DLC after release. I hope I’m wrong.

        The AI problems do seem like a issue, especially for this type of game. Like I said I saw plenty of examples in gameplay videos (including the Gametrailers video review), and I was just checking Eurogamer’s review and here’s what they had to say about it:
        «The AI of your opponents doesn’t always hold up to scrutiny either, with guards sometimes spotting you from a long distance and other times remaining blissfully unaware of the black-clad figure crouching in their peripheral vision. Once alerted to your presence, their only instinct is to mob you, and should you evade them by ducking through a doorway, they won’t think to check if you close the door behind you. On one occasion I actually had guards appear behind me in a room with only one exit, and it’s common for bodies and thrown objects to lodge, juddering and twitching, in walls and floors.»

        To me this seems like a good, quality game, and one I will certainly buy and play, sooner or later. But nonetheless a game with some clear issues, and whether a game with stealth mechanics and that has such obvious AI flaws is worthy of the number of hyperboles from this review, that I’m not sure.

        • AndrewC says:

          There are also many who are throwing around numbers like 13-20 hours for one run through, so you will have to decide who you choose to ignore and why.

          For the AI it depends on how offten these problems occur, though I will say that all of the very best games ever have also had AI problems from time to time. If this game has AI problems, does this really mean all the guards spend all their time bumping into walls?

          I am also not a fan of DLC, but I feel it is disingenuous to automatically assume that they will be things cynically stripped out of the original game, rather than optional, extra things. It is probably fair to assume that a big release will have DLC though.

          The question becomes why you would choose to believe the worst case scenario for each of these things, even when a better interpretation is actually more reasonable?

          • FunktionJCB says:

            «The question becomes why you would choose to believe the worst case scenario for each of these things, even when a better interpretation is actually more reasonable?»
            Sorry, you lost me with that. Do you mean I have to justify why I am a bit apprehensive when I see such glaring AI problems as displayed at the Gametrailers review (http://www.gametrailers.com/reviews/m68kgw/dishonored-review ; skip to 5:14) on a title hailed as the next best thing, and a successor to stealth games such as Thief?
            If this was such a rare occurrence, I wouldn’t see this mentioned elsewhere, but like I previously mentioned the Eurogamer review described similar glaring problems with the AI.
            A problem such as this would be criticized in any title, and it should. Why should I give a free pass to this game? Why should I go and hail it as GOTY as some people in here are already doing, when neither I or them actually tried and played the game?

            But I’m actually curious to hear what’s your better, and more reasonable interpretation for this.

            As for my DLC speculation, it was only that. I guess only time will tell.

            I will reserve my better judgement until I actually play the game, but without a demo available I have to decide if I purchase this on “day one” or not with what I got. I mostly ignore reviews, and prefer to watch gameplay demonstrations to see if a game is something I would like or not, and while I rather enjoyed some things I’ve seen, the AI issue may be a deal breaker for me, since I usually prefer using a stealth approach whenever possible, and I would say an AI that doesn’t spot you when you are right in front of them, and doesn’t open a door to look for you are major issues with a game that has stealth gameplay as one of it’s “bullet points”.

          • FunktionJCB says:

            You know what, screw it. I ended up pre-ordering the game anyway from Green Man Gaming. :D
            Besides the 25% off coupon (which, for some reason, deducted more than 25% for me), I found out I had a credit for whatever reason, and against my better judgement I pre-ordered the game.

            I say better judgement because, besides my insane backlog (I still haven’t touched games like Torchlight 2 and Borderlands 2), I currently have the following games fully paid, and just waiting for release:
            -XCOM: Enemy Unknown
            -Dishonored
            -Retro City Rampage
            -Hotline Miami
            -Worms Revolution
            -Lucius
            -Painkiller: Hell & Damnation
            -Little Inferno

            Plus pre-orders from online retailers for:
            -Hitman Absolution (Professional Edition)
            -Doom 3 – BFG Edition

            I’m not buying anything else until the middle of 2013… ;)

    • mckertis says:

      “Lastly, judging from other reviews the story is almost non-existent and most isn’t explained at all”

      Half-Life 2 didnt have any story either, nothing was ever explained in any kind of adequate manner, and it didnt seem to bother anyone, actually, there are people with a laughable claim it really DOES have a story. Doesnt seem to be that much of a problem, really.

      • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

        Half-Life 2 has a very clear and masterfully told story:

        Gordon Freeman reappears, and with some help from Good Humans and Good Aliens, shoots a lot of Bad Humans and Bad Aliens. Then he blows up the Bad Human’s base and disappears again.

  36. mckertis says:

    “there are so many ways to traverse each area”

    Four isnt that many.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      I think in the aforementioned masked ball, there are at least 5 ways to get in and people who have played it are talking about more than 8:

      1) Get an invitation/look like someone who is supposed to be there
      2) Get over the walls
      3) Incapacitate the gate guards
      4) Scurry through a tiny hole as a rat
      5) Get in through the sewers

      That doesn’t mean there is only one way to get over the walls in one place – there are places you can blink over, there are places you can jump over, places you need a combination of the above. That’s pretty good, though clearly it’s a matter of opinion. All I would say is name one game which allows more ways and balances more playstyles to get to your goal. Deus Ex 1 is probably the most recent game or perhaps Thief 2

      • mckertis says:

        I count 2 and 5 as the same thing.
        What i mean is :
        1 – direct
        2 – backdoor/stealth
        3 – posession
        4 – blink

        More than in other games, but not really that many.

        • Sheng-ji says:

          Hehe, in your count, I think I would count 2/3/4 as the same thing!!!

          There is certainly multiple direct confrontation and multiple stealthy ways to traverse each level and it seems there are some social engineering ways too. So using very broad strokes, that would be three ways but what gets me excited is that if you are playing a direct confrontation game and you don’t fancy the battle at the main gate, you can attempt a direct confrontation at a side gate or if you are playing stealthy and don’t want to use blink, you can sneak in elsewhere.

          It seems the game rewards exploration by presenting you with more suitable ways to reach your goal, and if this is true I am happy!

        • DXN says:

          That’s kind of over-reducing it a bit, though, isn’t it? I mean, I get the impression that each of those ‘options’ covers several different routes and/or ways of traversing those routes. If you extended that further you could say there’s only one option.

          1) Shenanigans.

  37. Vorphalack says:

    This sounds like a game I would play to death….but then exclusive pre-order bonuses. Curses! Must stand up for principals and buy GOTY edition in sale.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Could I offer a slightly different morality to consider?

      The game with none of the pre-order bonuses is the game as the devs envisioned.
      The pre-order bonuses with exception of that nifty whale oil usb lamb all give you power in the game.
      Having one of those bonuses unbalances the game from the designers original vision by making it easier to play a certain style
      Having all of those bonuses at once would make your character considerably overpowered.
      You could achieve the same affect by turning the difficulty down one setting.

      Please don’t buy the pre-order bonuses, either now or in a GOTY edition, which I would bet real money won’t include these anyway. Buying them will only encourage stores to pressurise publishers to make more of them while simultaneously weakening your own game experience. Buy the game when and where you want but please do not take a pre order bonus, except that usb lamp. That sort of bonus should be encouraged!

  38. The Sombrero Kid says:

    It’s not arkanes fault that we’re greedy for this type of game and they’re the only ones making it, it’s not that this game is too short it’s that there’s not enough of this type of game.

  39. The Sombrero Kid says:

    The level design sounds like exactly the kind of thing i’ve been after for years.

  40. Nihilist says:

    Oh boy, just prordered XCOM, can’t…

  41. corinoco says:

    So you have to play as a guy? You can’t be female, like 50% of the population and a significant number of gamers – my significant other included?

    That’s a game-breaker there, bugger the voices!

    An open-ended, open world-ish game, and it can’t (or won’t) take the gender of the player into account?

    No. Sorry, but its time to take a stand, people. No sale, no matter how good it looks if my wife feels daft playing it.

    • Christian says:

      So you didn’t play (or at least purchase) Half-Life, Portal, Assasin’s Creed, Just Cause…well any other game instead of MMOs and (some) RPGs?

      Or did I just miss the *this is supposed to be funny* tag?

    • Totally heterosexual says:

      This is not a roleplaying game though. It’s a game with a set character and mostly set story around it.

    • Nihilist says:

      I played Tom Raider once and I’m a guy. Shocked?

    • Vinraith says:

      It’s not an RPG, it’s not open world, it doesn’t allow you to make your own character. It’s an unusually flexible (by current standards) action game with a preset narrative and a preset protagonist. I think you’ve gotten the wrong impression somewhere along the line.

    • Rawrian says:

      And on top of that, you play as a white guy! What a disgrace!

    • HothMonster says:

      Because if Corvo was a woman the Empress would never have been assassinated and their would be no game. Only us foolish men could fail so horribly, so help the bungling male correct the error of his ways please.

  42. neofit says:

    6 hours? There is enough good stuff coming out so I can wait for a sub 10€ Steam sale. Rage was good enough at that price.

    • Vinraith says:

      Wait, where does it say that? The article says 20, which isn’t bad for a glorified action game in the modern era.

  43. LionsPhil says:

    [Dishonored] feels like a game from another timeline, one where Thief and System Shock set the bar for what first-person games could be, leading to designs that were built around intelligent use of space and world-building.

    Sold.

    …the moment a gap appears in my gaming backlog.

    Aaaaand, tedious as it may be, as soon as I’ve made sure there’s no crap DRM involved (beyond the inescable mire of Steam, anyway).

  44. Jappy86 says:

    Man, pre-ordered this game during this summer and I Can’t wait to play it.
    Brilliant review on this site like always. Adam, I think that Bioshock Infinite could be a game at the level of this one.

  45. belgand says:

    So the game is great, wonderful. I was desperately hoping that it would be. The question remains, however, how does it play on PC? Is this designed for PC play or is it an acceptable, but unremarkable port?

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Total Biscuit suggests that it is a really good port with very short loading times and on his top end rig, maintains a steady 120fps.

      His one gripe with the port was that the fov slider only goes up to 85, in his words the minimum acceptable.

      Other gripes I’ve seen is an unsatisfactory range of Anti-aliasing options.

      • HothMonster says:

        Isn’t the AA thing an Unreal Engine issue more than a question of port quality?

    • sinister agent says:

      Sigh. You’ve just read a review of the PC version of the game. If you still need a pat on the head and a medal for owning a PC, there’s a guy by the exit doling them out.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      Its designed for a PC play about 10 years ago, if your question includes the visuals / texture detail / overall sharpness / crispness.

      The game basically screams “ohnoes, mustn’t be hi-fi, lest the ancient console I’m supposed to run on has a heart attack”.

      Its a bit pathetic that we have to put up with games afraid to use more than 5-700MB of ram when most people have 8gb installed and textures addressing a DirectX 9 standard of features and videoram size, because, well, thats around the hurdle size the consoles manage.

      So, in short: For a port, its a PC version of a console game.
      As a PC game, you could have had this come out in the early 2000s.

      People can sigh all they want, the reality is that the PC gets “compromises” because its not actively being developed for in cases like this.
      And that’s not console hate. By all means, address the platforms that are out there. Its being sad over the development logic not being: Hi-fi version adapted to current state of PC technology, then optimized console version that manages to still run there.

      Given that apparently the market share seems to be in a ratio of over 9000 to 1 in favour of console sales of games vs the PC however, I am not surprised we are doing all of this the wrong way around (start lo-fi, slop it over to PC for a quick cash-grab of the few sales “left” in the market).
      Ironically, if games consistently offered a vastly better/different experience on PC, maybe the figures, too, would start to realign again.

  46. discor says:

    To everyone complaining about the length if the game – you need to play it. If you rush through, it won’t last as long as you’s like, but if you take your time, and explore the city, it can take a lot longer.

    Dunwall is such a beautifully realised city, I have spent ages simply creeping around some levels, enjoying the atmosphere. If you like the game mechanics, you will want to savour the game.

    On a side note, almost every release now comes with a load of commenters all over the internet complaining about how long a game is – before they have played it. Fu%&ing annoying, the lot of them.

  47. Berzee says:

    I hope it’s at least marginally moddable, but I’ve stopped expecting things like that from big games. =(
    Or little games.

    • Rawrian says:

      Modding is very important for open-world sandbox-y games, not so much for story-driven stealth actions.

      • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

        Tell that to the people who made the hundreds of Thief fan missions.

  48. jobejoe says:

    Amazing review! Can’t wait for friday! Erm, this might be a rubbish/boring complex question, but why do we always seem to get games later than America – and in this case Aus – ?? Is this simply to do with Bethesda being an American company?

    • Naum says:

      TotalBiscuit addressed this issue in one of his more recent editions of the Mailbox. According to him, it comes down to brick and mortar stores having traditional release dates that vary from country to country. The US thinks that Tuesday is a good thing, while Europe likes to have their games out somewhere between Thursday and Saturday. And since brick and mortar still has enough power, publishers are forced to abide and release on different days. Needless to say it still doesn’t make very much sense to me, but at least I can see the crude business logic behind it.

      • HothMonster says:

        The tuesdays in america thing is true. Not a steadfast rule but it is the release date for the majority of games that sell boxed copies. When I worked in retail the story went that this gives them the weekend to ship, which is generally the best time to move large trucks around cities. And the stores can place the stock on Monday night which is generally slow and gives time for setting up displays and shifting stock. An added bonus is it draws customers during midweek.

        But yeah it’s all stupid bullshit now. Stores don’t want to worry about the logistics of having all kinds of release dates and worrying about breaking streetdate. They also don’t want everyone running to online stores days ahead and they have enough money and ties to get what they want.

  49. karthink says:

    “I still wish Dishonored were longer but I also recognise that it takes a great deal of skill, hard work and time to create something of this quality; to ask for more in terms of content would be to ask for less in so many other ways.”

    This just makes my day. I remember Warren Spector saying in a recent interview that he wants to make a game that simulates one city block with perfect detail, fidelity and reactivity. One block, that’s it. The one-block-game, he called it.

    Dishonored appears to be that kind of game: Dense and reactive, full of potential for mischief and unexpected emergent chain reactions, gaining in complexity, depth and interactivity what it loses in (shallow) spectacle and size.

    I haven’t even played it, but like Adam, I am so glad such a game exists now.

    PS: A little less negativity, people! If all you can find upsetting about the review (and the game) is that it does not meet your expectations of voice acting in a fictional place you know little about, things are pretty good, ya know?

  50. Frank says:

    Hope it sells at least Bioshock-well. Won’t be able to play it until I upgrade my computer in a year or two.