'Dishonored' On Sale Tonight

First-person actioner from local developer Arkane Studios

Warning: Rats are not this helpful in real life.
Warning: Rats are not this helpful in real life.

Dishonored is a big-budget experience in every sense. But instead of spending all of the development man hours creating an ever-expanding map to explore, the team at Austin’s Arkane Studio opted for a compact land that is so fully realized as to demand detailed exploration and multiple replays.

Dishonored is far from the first game to give players agency in deciding a character’s fate. But instead of option A or B, Dishonored offers a continuum of seemingly countless choices. The lack of barriers making sure the player doesn’t get “off track” will be revelatory to open-world game fans. You may blast through the front door with guns blazing, swords flying, grenades exploding, supernatural whirlwinds blowing, and rat armies overwhelming your foes, but know that killing everything in sight has consequences not only in the plot but in future missions. Rat populations and the ensuant plague-infected humans will be out in greater numbers the more corpses pile up. This tack can be messy fun, but it’ll make for a quick campaign and doesn’t do the dense steampunk world of Dunwall justice. A true assassin knows stealth is key.

Dishonored doesn’t guide players conveniently to a back door, but instead rewards patient exploration with myriad clandestine options for access and maneuvering within an environment. Possess a fish and swim through an otherwise inaccessible pipe or teleport to an upper balcony and take the enemy from above. The story that unveils as your enemies fall isn’t anything special, but you won’t need encouragement to revisit the impressive craftsmanship behind the game’s grim industrial slums and ornate palaces.

Dishonored goes on sale tonight at midnight. Game Stop at the Austin Arboretum (10000 Research Blvd.) hosts a game release party and signing with Arkane Studios co-creative directors Harvey Smith and Raphael Colantonio at 10pm. Arkane Studios will also be showcased at the Oct. 25 Game on Austin event (cosponsored by The Austin Chronicle and SXSW Game Expo); see www.austinchronicle.com/gameon for more info.

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