Developer Arkane Studios and publisher Bethesda have released the gamplay demo for their highly anticipated stealth actioner Dishonored, the same demo that was on display during E3 2012. In the demo, players will notice that Co-Creative Directors Harvey Smith and Raphael Colantonio have two distinct playthroughts on display, one stealthy and one aggressive. Both are certainly viable options for how to approach every assassination target in Dishonored, and each are determined by the sensibilities of the player.
In the stealthy playthrough, the demo shows a restraint in how the player approaches enemy encounters. Using a combination of the same powers we detailed in the E3 demo preview, the player can sneak by literally undetected. Most of that quick movement is facilitated by the blink and possession powers, both extremely useful for stealth approaches.
As is explained in the stealth demo, the player can even complete side missions to completely bypass this Golden Cat sequence altogether. Rather than stalk both Pendleton brothers through the bath house, the player can complete a quest for an NPC earlier on in the level, which results in the Pendletons working in their own mine, never to be heard from again.
For the more aggressive, and in my opinion the more exciting play through, the player uses a combination of offensive weapons and powers to dispatch a large selection of the guards populating the Golden Cat. Among the most useful of the weapons and powers are the windblast ability, which sends a NPCs flying, and the crossbow.
As you’ll notice, the placement of the Pendleton brothers was different in this playthrough, because of how the player chose to approach the sequence. In the first, stealthy approach the information gained indicated the brothers where the brothers were staying, but this time they had to be sought out.
According to Smith and Colantonio, the locations of each target will be determined by the information the player chooses to expose themselves to — listening in on conversations, reading notes. It’s a simple delineation, but it also allows for a lot of replayability.
At the end of the demo there’s also a brief look at one of the more run-down sections of the city of Dunwall, which is inhabited by a patrolling troop of Tall Boys, the giant stilt-like devices in the game. Like before, the player can approach these enemies in several ways, but the ultimate goal of possessing a Tall Boy to advance is the same.
As gamers can now see, Dishonored offers a ton of variety in terms of its approaches and its mechanics. Rather than let the player experience each power, Arkane Studios chose to make the player decide for themselves how they wish to handle a given situation, and invest in powers that facilitate that approach.
What do you think of this two-fold demo for Dishonored? How do you plan to approach assassinating targets in the game?
Dishonored releases October 9, 2012 for the PS3, PC, and Xbox 360.