Dishonored PS3 Preview: making murder magical

Dishonored PS3 screen

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A masked supernatural assassin desperate to clear his name stalks the streets of a pseudo steampunk industrial city infested with rats and plague victims. Interested in our Dishonored PS3 preview now? You should be. And that’s before I even touch on the subject of possession, time bending, or the fact that this super stylish first person actioner is straight from the minds of the co-creators of the original Deus Ex and Half-Life 2.

Between them, the co-creative directors Director Harvey Smith and Raf Colantonio, along with art director Viktor Antonov of Arkane Studios have worked on some of the best games ever made. So it’s no surprise that Dishonored s a dark, visual treat of whale oil powered weaponry and streets populated by armed guards on spindly mechanical legs.

Ex-bodyguard, Corvo has been wrongly accused of the murder of his employer, the Empress. Behind bars, he awaits his fate but is instead gifted the power of magic by a shifty individual known only as the Outsider.

And by magic, I don’t mean David Blaine style levitation tricks. A branding on the back of Corvo’s hand means Blink, a short distance teleportation ability and, amongst other physic defying powers, a handy corporeal possession ability which means he can enter the bodies of rats, fish or even those he targets for assassination. And yes, that’s possible and exactly as awesome as it sounds. Add in the power to control hordes of flesh eating rats and the ability to blast through doors and Corvo is one seriously handy guy to have around.

In one of the two playthroughs I’m shown by Smith and Colantonio, the developers delight in showing off a murder that utilises the possession ability. The screen taking a green tinge as Corvo enters a victim’s body in a puff of black smoke and leads them in whatever direction you choose.In the gameplay I watch, an assassination target is steered out onto a balcony, closing the door behind him before Corvo leaves the body and shoves him over the stonework creating a ‘tragic accident’. Endless combinations are possible which results in refreshing sense of freedom.

Dishonored PS3 screen“We believe very much in giving the player a selection of options and blending them constantly,” explains Smith, “You can go all out blasting and chopping everybody into bits or you can literally ghost the game and not kill anyone. It’s actually possible to complete the game without killing a single person. You can ghost past most of the characters. If you need to, you can use sleep darts to choke them out. Even for key characters, there are alternate pathways.”

Not an open world game as previously reported, Dishonored is a series of missions in the city of Dunwall where a tyrant has taken over the throne after the death of the empress. “It’s important to know that the game is not set on earth,” explains Smith, “We have our own world – our own alternate industrial revolution.”