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Dishonored: Steampunk action at its best

Do you like being a sneaky bastard? If expertly outwitting opponents with reality-bending powers in a world shaped by your every action sounds appealing to you, then I assure you, the game Dishonored might just be the game for you.

Dishonored, a single player only, first-person action/stealth hybrid, is the latest game from Arkane Studios. Some of Arkane’s previous credits include contributions to Bioshock 2, and is staffed by veterans from games like legendary classics Thief and Deus Ex. If you’re familiar with those games, you know you have a lot to get excited about here. Dishonored goes out of its way to take pages from these genre classics and, thankfully, do an amazing job of its own.

Welcome to Dunwall, City of sneaky stabbings

The game is set in the fictional city of Dunwall, a coastal urban sprawl boasting breathtaking vistas and fantastical takes on industrial era technologies. That is, until you venture deeper, where, underneath the shining facade and science fiction marvels lies a much more truthful layer to the city -- a place with a clearly darker and more terrifying origin.

Dilapidated, hollowed-out buildings reach up to block out the sun, while decaying, seedy slums snake through the veins of the undercity.

You get the feeling Dunwall wasn’t always like this, but now the whole city is under siege from a ravenous, incurable plague, spread by a veritable horde of infected rats. Entire districts of the once great capital are under strict quarantine while both the rich and poor seek refuge from the ever present danger of the pestilent infestation.

Emily, your damsel in distress

You play as Corvo, the Empress’ personal bodyguard, who has been wrongfully accused of her murder and the kidnapping of her only daughter and true heir to the throne, Emily.

Treachery and foul play are clearly afoot as you are thrown in prison without question, seemingly extinguishing any hope of exoneration until you are broken out of your cell by rebels loyal to the dead Empress. Once you manage to escape, you are visited by an elusive character, known as The Outsider.

The mysterious figure grants you fantastical supernatural abilities to aid you in your quest for the truth, and from that point on you set out to strike back at the corrupt officials who wronged you and rescue the lost princess as a super-powered assassin for justice.

When back scratches go horribly wrong

The name of the game here is primarily stealth; players guide Corvo through missions via sneaking and acts of impressive agility. To aid you along the way, Corvo employs an impressive arsenal including musket style pistols, retractable blades, crossbows capable of firing an array of  specialized darts and mechanical trap mechanisms. These, combined with his supernatural powers, make formulating daring escapades a real blast.

Nothing like a shrapnel-spewing blunderbuss when caught in a pinch

Powers and tools can be combined in any manner players can conceive, leaving no singular solution to any given objective players may encounter. Three armed guards and a watchdog in your way, but too much space and too little cover to sneak past? Why not summon a plague of magical rats to distract them? If the rats win, they’ll even rapidly dispose of any bodies for you. Or employ a combination of tranquilizer darts and razor blade traps? If detected and fired upon, you can even briefly freeze time, possess your assailant and walk him in front of his own bullet, quickly teleporting away as time resumes and he meets his suitably poetic demise at your rather crafty hands.

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