Hands on “Dishonored”

Bang bang slice!

After one and a half hours in line, I finally got to play it. Worth it? Yes. Was it everything I hoped? Probably not.

Bethesda’s “Dishonored” is a fascinating game with beautiful set pieces, stunning graphics and interesting game mechanics that will have you wanting more and more. Unfortunately, it is a little frustrating to play if you’re just shoved into the game with so many abilities and skills you have no idea where to begin.

That might have been Bethesda’s greatest fault with all of last week’s Penny Arcade Expo. The game looks solid, there’s no denying it. However, “Dishonored” is not a game that you can just dive in and play right away.

Think of all of the other games that this company creates.

Would you drop a friend of yours into Whiterun, past all of the tutorials, with full inventory and several dragon shouts and tell them to have at “Skyrim?” No, because the game is too complex. Neither would you shove someone into New Vegas and tell them where Ceaser’s Legion was, the NCR, and Mr. House and just say “Good luck!” for “Fallout.” That’s just not how you  show off a game.

In the demo, I was tasked with kidnapping a doctor in a particularly slummed-out area of town near the water. Guards aplenty, I had to use my wits and insane amount of powers to get to the doctor, incapacitate him and then escape with him over my shoulder.

Seriously, that’s what they had us play.

Luckily for Bethesda, the game was pretty fun to play. There is an item and power wheel that you can bring up to make your immediate inventory more personalized or fit the situation at hand. You have a crossbow and a pistol for silent or loud, attention-grabbing attacks. The sword is also useful and you can perform some nifty finishing moves. In your off-hand you have the ranged weapon or some sort of spell. From teleportation to possession to time stopping, there’s a lot of variety. Bethesda was even showing a video of men being swarmed by rats who ate them alive. Gruesome, but cool.

She doesn’t get paid enough to let stuff like this slide.

People will be alerted to your presence, so you might have to hide bodies instead of just leaving them out in the open. Loud noises attract attention, and even innocent bystanders will give your position away to guards. I had killed several men in a warehouse-type area, and when I moved to some upper rooms, there was a cleaning woman who screamed when she saw me and a guard came running, pistol and sword in hand.

I also had a variety of ways to sneak, climb and fight my way into the target location. It was actually cool to kind of go back and see, “Oh, I can do it that way next time,” or “Dude! I didn’t even think I could do that!”

Your character is able to jump and double jump to get to those hard-to-reach places, and there is some ability to scale buildings and walls. It kind of reminded me of “Mirror’s Edge” without the free running and more Mario jumping. Think of the game as controlling like “Bioshock,” combat like “Fallout” or an “Elder Scrolls” title, with the ambiance and stealth of “Assassin’s Creed.”

The character animations, set pieces and overall world as a whole are mesmerizingly interesting. It has the field of a sort of Elizabethan-steampunk England and is something we’ve never really seen before. If you have, however, forgive me for not being as thorough a gamer as you. The only thing I can equate it to looking like is “Fable 3.”

There’s all sorts of interesting folk lounging about in “Dishonored.”

My biggest gripe with “Dishonored” was that it was actually pretty hard to control. I have a feeling this would play better on the PC with the smoothness of mouse movement rather than dual-analogue sticks. Bethesda’s games always seem to be made more for a PC rather than a console when it comes down to it anyways.

I recommend the game based on my time playing the demo – despite my frustrations. I can’t guarantee the rest of the game will be executed well, however. Wait for some reviews to come in and then we’ll try and give you the most comprehensive look we can before the game launches Oct. 9.