Dishonored Demo Offers New Insights Into Corvo's Lethal Flexibility

Bethesda and Arkane Studios inject Dishonored with exciting new features and a powerful new enemy for their press demo at Gamescom 2012.


Arkane Studios and Bethesda Softworks showed off their latest level for the supernaturally infused Dishonored at Gamescom, featuring a brand-new enemy and a relatively laid-back mission compared to those already revealed. While previous demos focused on stealth and traditional first-person combat, what was shown at Gamescom primarily dealt with tactful investigation of partygoers at a fancy estate, with little to no combat required in order to complete the mission.

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The protagonist, Corvo, is on assignment to assassinate Waverly Boyle, one of the three sisters hosting a lavish masquerade ball. Theres a catch, however: because of the anonymous nature of the party, you aren't sure which of the three the actual target is. They are all identified as "Lady Boyle" when approached, but all three wear different colors of the same outfit. To identify the appropriate sister, you must talk to the other attendees and explore the estate to gather enough intel to identify the color of the target's garb.

The entire estate is labeled as a neutral zone, so unless you initiate combat, you are free to mingle with guests and engage them in conversation. You can kill party members if you wish, in addition to the mark, but be sure to dispose of the bodies, either by hiding them or by summoning a horde of rats to devour the remains. If a corpse is discovered, you are immediately suspected as the culprit, triggering a full-on assault from the Boyles' guards. That in itself wouldn't be an issue, but the presence of the overseer musicians, a completely new enemy type, makes things particularly challenging once they're alerted to your devious motives.

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The overseers are militant followers of the religious sect known as the Abbey of the Everyman. They stand at the ready with an organ-like instrument that possesses the ability to disable all of Corvo's magic, making it particularly difficult to get the upper hand against a half-dozen incoming guards. They blend into the scenery, clad in bland, monotone armor that is initially difficult to distinguish from the surrounding fixtures within the estate. Unfortunately for Corvo, they are also invulnerable to gunfire.

In the case that you don't opt for a frontal assault on Waverly Boyle, you have multiple options when it comes to accomplishing your mission. In fact, one guest who's aware of your intentions to assassinate Waverly offers to whisk her away from the party, never to be seen again. The implications of this will have a lasting impact on the storyline, though the developers from Arkane studios wouldn't elaborate on exactly how it affects Corvo's overarching quest for revenge.

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Side missions within the main quest are equally capable of affecting Corvo's future. Upon approaching the entrance to the party, you're presented with the option to hand a note from one of the corrupt Pendleton twins to an attendee of the ball. In fact, what you're potentially handing over is a note stating that Corvo will stand in the Pendleton brother's place during a preplanned duel with said party member. Participating in the duel will win the Pendletons favor down the road, but whether or not this is a good thing is yet undetermined.

Beyond replaying missions for the sheer sake of it, missions such as the one demoed at Bethesda's booth will essentially "roll the dice," which in this case means varying the color of the target's outfit between playthroughs. Carrying out the assigned assassination from various angles is valuable in terms of replayability, and is something that has been seen before in games like the Hitman series, but it was refreshing to see how gracefully Dishonored's structure removes the burden of entertainment from the player.

Arkane Studio's Dishonored is currently scheduled to ship in early October of this year on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC.


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