More than a few screenshots of the upcoming steampunk-assassin title Dishonored, so it’s quite a feat to completely surprise us with the first gameplay trailer. But with a mixture of supernatural propaganda and cyberpunk enemies – not to mention a disturbing vocal backing – it’s becoming clear that we still don’t know what to expect from Arkane Studios‘ next project.

When Dishonored first appeared on the scene, it proved that there are still plenty of unique worlds left in which to place video games.  The first cinematic trailer showed off the blend of steampunk, colonial and supernatural mythology being crafted for the game’s narrative, and the screenshots that followed re-emphasized the dark and adult content at work.

The section of gameplay recently released via GameTrailers TV shows the unique urban landscapes and enemies in motion, and the result is more than a little jarring. Not due to the graphic violence that can be inflicted via the dual-wielded blades and pistols, but more due to it resembling the fantastical realm of Fable 3 crossed with The Darkness 2. If there was any doubt that this would be a game that earned its M-Rating, this trailer should take care of that.

Dishonored Gameplay Trailer

While the most intriguing aspect of the game may continue to be the unique blend of genres, obviously punctuated with some stunningly brutal combat, the story itself is only hinted at. Signs warning of a mysterious ‘plague’ tied to the occult, and ‘Wanted’ posters bearing suspects accused of regicide point to a mysterious and much grander plot.

The development team making it clear that they are interested in making a directed experience as opposed to an open-world, the fiction at play seems to be up to the challenge. That doesn’t mean there isn’t some convincing left to do on Arkane’s part. Showing the player’s abilities to execute helpless opponents or use stealth to gain the upper hand is satisfying, but could become repetitive quickly.

With the incredibly intense pace of the first cinematic trailer implying some serious gunplay and supernatural showdowns, this trailer is somewhat at odds with that assumption. The musical accompaniment shows that the team is trying to give a sense of the bleak and tumultuous world of the game more than a sample of gameplay, which will have to do for the moment.

Hopefully more of Dishonored will be shown at E3 2012, and we’ll see if Bethesda can repeat history and surprise us as much as last year’s Prey 2.

Dishonored will be released on October 9, 2012 for the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.

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