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Dishonored's 'Dunwall City Trials' DLC gets a trailer


Complete with a rap and everything!
Dec 06
// Jordan Devore
Dishonored is one of those games that's mesmerizing to watch someone play well, and this trailer for the impending Dunwall City Trials add-on is no different. Releasing across all platforms on December 11, the downloadable c...
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Bethesda: Dishonored sales 'exceeding expectations'


Success paves way for franchise
Nov 27
// Jim Sterling
Bethesda has told Destructoid that Dishonored, the critically acclaimed stealth-action title released last month, is performing above sales expectations, and the publisher is definitely pleased. While it declined to reveal ac...
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Dishonored: Dunwall City Trials DLC coming December 11


Ten challenge maps and new Achievements
Nov 27
// Jim Sterling
Bethesda has announced that Dishonored will be getting its first downloadable content offering on December 11. Dunwall City Trials is a series of ten challenge maps designed to test you on stealth, combat, and agility.  ...
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Dishonored has three bits of DLC on the way


Bethesda announces expansion content for murder simulator
Oct 25
// Conrad Zimmerman
More content will be coming for Dishonored, according to Bethesda. They've confirmed plans for three expansion products, the first arriving in December. "Dunwall City Trials" will include ten challenges for players to attempt...
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Dishonored region-locked in Russia, just like Borderlands


Bethesda acts without honor
Oct 12
// Jim Sterling
Eastern European gamers are being diddled again, this time by Bethesda. Hot off the heels of Borderlands 2's controversial Russian-version region lock, it's become apparent that Dishonored is also using a locked version in Ea...
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Here's how to customize Dishonored's FOV even more


Oct 09
// Jordan Devore
Some people have specific tastes when it comes to their field of view in games. Being able to customize this setting from within a menu is always appreciated, but it's still not something I would expect to see in every major ...
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XCOM or Dishonored? YOU MUST CHOOSE ONE!


Two hot games, one launch day
Oct 09
// Jim Sterling
If there's one thing my Twitter feed has been telling me this week, it's that gamers are desperately choosing between XCOM: Enemy Unknown and Dishonored, two good looking games that, in their own ways, stand out among the gen...

Review: Dishonored

Oct 07 // Jim Sterling
Dishonored (PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 [reviewed])Developer: Arkane StudiosPublisher: Bethesda Release: October 9, 2012MSRP: $59.99 Dishonored tells the tale of Corvo Attano, bodyguard to a beloved Empress in a kingdom beset by poverty and plague. After returning from a diplomatic mission, the Empress is assassinated, her daughter kidnapped, and Corvo framed for the crime. After months in captivity, Corvo escapes his captors with the help of a coalition of loyalists, who set him up to become their assassin, dispose of the usurping regent's conspirators, and return Princess Emily to the throne. In many ways, Dishonored tells a classic story of conspiracy and revenge, playing it safe by sticking to a rather formulaic plot. Relying on familiar archetypes and well-worn tropes, the narrative doesn't do much to surprise the player. However, by sticking to established territory, Arkane has diverted its energy to telling the story very well, doing a remarkable job of painting the fictional city of Dunwall as a real dismal and oppressive place. The plague-ridden, poverty-stricken streets are beautifully realized in all their misery, painting the picture of a desolate realm that may not even be worth saving. All this in a world that isn't made up of browns and greys. Bright skies and colors abound in Dishonored, yet still the game remains so perfectly murky. The crapsack world of Dishonored is invoked by its characters, especially the unquestionably vile people you're sent to assassinate. From religious hypocrites to cowardly noblemen, the villains of Dishonored are rotten to the core, as ugly outside as they are inside. It is true that most of them play to the kind of tropes we've seen in many "corrupt regime" storylines, but rarely do games present them with the same level of energetic nastiness seen here. Not since Snake Eater's Colonel Volgin have I encountered enemies so deserving of justice. Subtle? Perhaps not. Incredibly rewarding when one of these horrible monsters gets a blade jammed in the trachea? Without a doubt. [embed]236085:45281[/embed] Played from a first-person perspective, Dishonored provides players with ample opportunities to be a rampaging murderer or a stealthy professional. A range of weapons are at Corvo's disposal, from conventional swords and pistols to deadly mine-like traps or rewire tools that turn enemy weapons against their masters. Early in the game, Corvo is also granted magic abilities by the mysterious Outsider, allowing him access to short-range teleports, wind blasts, or a miniature army of rats that swarm guards and eat all evidence of dead bodies. Weapons can be upgraded by finding coins and spending them at Piero's workshop. Piero can upgrade your mask to include optical zooms, make crossbows and pistols more efficient, and craft stealthier boosts or better traps. Magic is upgraded by finding runes scattered throughout each area, located by equipping a magical (and gruesomely detailed) heart that pinpoints each location. Although the heart makes finding the general location of each rune easy, getting to the exact position can be tricky, as a few are deviously well-hidden. The heart also finds bone charms, a limited number of which can be equipped for passive abilities, boosting Corvo's various attacks and defenses. Using magic and equipping charms feels very similar to the Plasmids and Gene Tonics in BioShock, one of several very clear similarities. The loot and health regeneration system are also nearly identical -- certainly not a bad thing, especially if you're a fan of 2K's now-classic shooter.  Though a master assassin, Corvo does not necessarily have to kill anybody. In fact, despite having a variety of deliciously effective murder weapons at his disposal, the former bodyguard will never be put in a position where taking a life is necessary, even if it looks like there's no other choice at first glance. A dream game for fans of pacifist runs, every single encounter is designed with player choice in mind. You can murder absolutely anybody, be they enemy or civilian. Conversely, you can become a ghost, wreaking revenge on a psychological as opposed to physical front. The player is given magic powers and weapons that aid either approach, with a crossbow that can fire regular bolts or tranquilizers, and skills that could see Corvo possess a rat and run right under a guard's nose or toss a sticky grenade right into his face and watch him explode. Of course, one can always take a balanced approach -- using stealth to slaughter foes one by one before taking out the remains in bloody combat. It's impressive just how well Arkane managed to bring both stealth and combat up to snuff, with neither element mechanically deficient or dominant. Trying to become a ghost and remain totally unseen is definitely the more challenging approach, but that doesn't mean players attempting such feats are powerless. There's a solid balance of lethal and nonlethal powers, and they all work exactly as intended. The stealth system is quite clever, especially since players can't just hide in shadows and expect not to be seen. True environmental awareness and judicious use of teleportation or possession will be required to get through each level unseen, as is the regular hiding of unconscious or dead guards. Combat, meanwhile, is a more slow-paced and tactical affair than your average run-and-gun experience. Corvo always holds his sword at the ready and can equip anything from offensive spells to pistols, bows, or bombs in the other hand. His firearms need to be manually reloaded after each shot, encouraging careful, well-timed firing. Similarly, enemies are good about blocking and dodging melee attacks, so learning when to defend and counterattack is essential. This deliberate and almost graceful approach to battle means that even murderous players will at least need to be clever and pick their fights wisely. It's more than possible to survive a fight with five guards at once, especially if you're summoning rats and blowing tornadoes around, but you need to have a confident knowledge of Corvo's strengths and limitations before engaging anybody. Just rushing in, blade swinging, will lead to frustration.  The emphasis on choice is not paid mere lip service, either. Each chapter of the game holds a true multitude of options for navigation. There are always several ways to infiltrate any territory and multiple methods of dispatching a target. Playing through a mission more than once really opens one's eyes to how impressively versatile each level is and how natural this versatility feels. It's not like there's one violent route and one stealth route, all but signposted with obvious air vents and the like. Stealthy routes are so seamlessly integrated into the environment that some of them are practically camouflaged. Only with astute observation will players find new ways into buildings, which is exactly how it should be. Dunwall regularly feels like a real city that's being exploited by the assassin, rather than a mere videogame level designed blatantly around stealth mechanics. Even if that's all an illusion, it's one that works. Environmental design is impeccable in this instance. With regards to taking out the principal targets of each mission, there are many ways to murder them, and always at least one nonlethal option. There is really nothing stopping you from just barging into a conspirator's room and shooting him or her in the face (aside from guards and security, of course), but for those playing mercifully, there are alternatives. You could set a target's own trap against him or find a way to discredit him so that his influence in the empire is non-existent and any threat to the loyalist cause is terminated. I couldn't describe examples without spoiling some brilliant moments, but suffice it to say there are genius-level ideas on show. Nonlethal options invariably require more guile and patience, but they are among the most satisfying choices, often seeming more cruel and punishing than simply ending the target's life. Whichever approach is taken, it's the getaway that really hits the sweet spot. Once the target is neutralized, Corvo needs to leave the area and find Samuel the boatman to get back home. That feeling of escape, whether you snuck in and out or kicked the doors down and found yourself running with guards in hot pursuit, serve as the ultimate payoff for each mission, and it's a payoff well worth reaching. It's a rare game that manages to deliver psychological rewards so well, but Arkane manages it like an expert. Relief, leading to pure elation, is a dividend received with gratitude every single time. Although players are free to act as they wish, there's no doubt in my mind that Dishonored considers the nonlethal approach the "right" way to play. Not only is it more satisfying to take enemies out by giving them more fitting and ironic punishments, the game world itself makes the player feel more justified for doing so. NPCs will mostly treat Corvo better if he keeps his hands clean, and the ending will be less dark. This is a little philosophically troubling when you consider that simply murdering some of the characters is often less sadistic than the "passive" alternative, but Arkane gets around this by still allowing for some murders while keeping Corvo's soul relatively stainless. Player actions are not guided by morality but by a "Chaos" system that determines how one's behavior affects the game world. The more brutal your approach, the higher Dunwall's Chaos rating will be, increasing the amount of vicious rats or zombie-like "Weepers" that stalk the streets, attempting to spread the plague. Chaos is quietly monitored in the background, logging how many times the player kills or is spotted, how many dead/unconscious bodies are found, and whether or not alarms are sounded. The more Corvo's "Masked Assassin" persona is seen, the more oppressive the world becomes as paranoia grips the ruling classes. However, as noted, the player doesn't have to be passive at all times. Chaos ratings can be brought down from high levels by completing subsequent missions stealthily, and players are allowed to kill at least several people per mission without raising the rating. That said, there are rankings available for those who kill nobody or remain completely unseen during the course of the campaign, and it's incredibly fun to shoot for such distinctions. The biggest thing holding Dishonored back is its visuals. Artistically, this is a gorgeous game. The steampunk aesthetic and decadent European architecture is fantastic, as are the exaggerated character models that give everybody a stylistically unpleasant appearance that helps craft the thematically unattractive world. However, the actual graphics seem dated and simplistic, especially when the texture issues are factored into play. Many surfaces are littered with blocky artifacts, and some textures blur or pop in abruptly when approached. Similarly, character animations have trouble with body parts moving through each other. In its worst areas, objects can look like poorly compressed JPGs. While hardly a deal-breaker, these visual setbacks can be hard to ignore in several places. The sound design at least makes up for a big portion of any aesthetic troubles. Daniel Licht lends his vast talent to the soundtrack, producing subtle yet atmospheric tunes, and an all-star cast of voice actors do a solid job of bringing the characters to life. Highlights are Susan Sarandon, pulling a fantastically creepy turn as the deranged Granny Rags, and the ever-talented Brad Dourif taking on the role of awkward genius Piero. My one other, slightly more petty complaint is that I'd have loved to have seen more variety in Corvo's offensive and magical options. While the environment is rife with possibilities, I feel that when it comes to employing one's practical skills, things feel a bit too conventional and obvious. Out of all the spells, only the rats and wind are really useful for offensive players, while the weapons (bows, bombs, pistols and swords) are fairly ordinary. They're fun to use and very well implemented, that I cannot deny, but I do feel this is one area where Arkane could've really gone to town, and it's an opportunity sorely missed. Same goes with some of the stealth powers. Being able to do more with rewired machines or possessed characters could have really added some tactical depth to the ground-level action. To be fair though, the whole rat-summoning thing is one of the more disturbing and unique powers I've seen in a game, so there is at least that one horrifically nasty plaything. In any case, the conventional approach to the player's arsenal does little to undermine exactly how ambitious the rest of the game is. To truly appreciate Dishonored's campaign, it really should be played twice -- or at least have its mission replay menu utilized a few times. There's more than enough to experience that it's wholly worth playing both a high and low chaos campaign, and it's only when doing so that one gets a real appreciation for everything Dishonored can do. This is a game that set its sights high and tried to balance two distinct play styles. That it attempted this was noble, but that it succeeded so elegantly is inspiring. On the subject of replay, a note about length for those who find it of paramount importance -- you can blast through the campaign in about six hours, if you choose to do a simple kill-all run and don't bother finding items/performing optional tasks. A more realistic run will bring you up to around eight or ten hours, and could take even longer if you choose to go for the subtle ghost runs and nonlethal eliminations. Dishonored is that game of 2012. It's the big intellectual property that comes to retail and shows up the competition by being bold, original, and -- more importantly -- brilliant. Easily deserving of its place among the BioShocks and the Borderlandses, Arkane's aggressive, non-aggressive, unsubtle, sneaky, thoroughly versatile tale of intrigue makes for the kind of game that reminds us this generation isn't all straightforward shooters and "me too" trend-seekers. Its level design is some of the very best, its willingness to let the player decide their own path is exhilarating, and the satisfaction gleaned from a mission well done leaves one hungry for more. Some dated visuals and a conventional arsenal do little to hold back what a truly beautiful, multifaceted, and ultimately invigorating adventure Dishonored manages to be.
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Honor before glory
It seems that once or twice a year we get some new intellectual property demolishing the idea that only sequels perform well, shaking up the market in some exciting way. Despite having no big franchise name attached, it catch...

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Dishonored: The Hand that Feeds


Sep 26
// Fraser Brown
Bethesda and Arkane Studios have released the second part of their series of shorts, Tales from Dunwall, fleshing out the intriguing setting of Dishonored. Where the first short, "The Awakening", revealed the origins of an&n...
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The freedom of Dishonored


Sep 13
// Fraser Brown
With Dishonored almost upon us, Arkane Studios have a third developer diary out which will no doubt cause you to salivate to such a degree that you drown, and are unable to play. How cruel. This one is all about choice, cons...
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Latest Dishonored developer diary is all about immersion


Sep 12
// Brett Zeidler
Arkane Studios has pulled the curtain back once again on Dishonored through an always welcome developer diary, this time talking about immersion in the game. It starts out with the title's Visual Design Director, Viktor Anto...
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Kill some rats in free iOS game Dishonored: Rat Assassin


Aug 31
// Allistair Pinsof
At long last, killing vermin in my rat infested storage unit I sleep in is going to pay off! Rat Assassin is kind of like Fruit Ninja instead you are slicing rats, not fruit -- the story of my life. If the idea nauseates you...
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New video highlights the basics of stealth in Dishonored


Aug 23
// Jordan Devore
While quite a bit more straightforward than the recent "Creative Kills" trailer, this video highlights stealth gameplay, a major element of Dishonored. You'll be able to visualize enemies' lines of sight and, unless I'm mist...
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Josh Holloway's six-pack abs aren't in Dishonored so STFU


Aug 06
// Allistair Pinsof
Dishonored has one hell of a voice cast but Lost's Josh Holloway is not on the bill. Due to some confusion over this on other news sites, Dishonored co-director Harvey Smith cleared this up for us (as well as BethBlog's Twitt...
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These new Dishonored screens will disturb you


Aug 05
// Allistair Pinsof
We got hold of some new images for the upcoming Dishonored, including some rather disturbing ones from the Lady Boyle mission I recently previewed. That baby mask is really something. I'm glad I didn't come across it during m...
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Dishonored's voice cast includes Susan Sarandon and more


Aug 03
// Jordan Devore
There's plenty to be excited about for Arkane Studios' Dishonored; now you can add the game's voice cast to that list, assuming award-winning actors are who you want bringing game characters to life. First up is Susan Sarando...

QuakeCon Preview: Dishonored is still amazing. Who knew?

Aug 03 // Allistair Pinsof
[embed]232470:44584[/embed] I’ve been talking up Dishonored since I first laid eyes on it during its big reveal at QuakeCon a year ago. I love the developer, the art direction, the world, and the ideas behind the game. Though, I worried Arkane wouldn’t be able to pull it altogether, making another heavily flawed classic like its previous release Dark Messiah of Might and Magic -- a game few love but the few that do love it dearly (I include myself in that group). Unlike the E3 demo, this new QuakeCon preview had higher stakes involved, more narrative elements, and worked as a great display for the lavish lives of Dishonored’s wealthy citizens. Halfway through the game you need to enter the estate of Lady Boyle and assassinate her, while guests and friends party below. You can either masquerade and find Boyle through dialogue and other clues or you can brute force your way, killing everyone on sight.  Though Dishonored is a linear game in a narrative sense, each missions gives the player numerous ways of approach and side goals to satisfy. Right from the start, I needed to make a choice as I stood on top on a boat in a canal far away from the party: Do I teleport from rooftop to rooftop, do I take to the shadows of the streets, or do I become a fish? Becoming a fish isn’t the most obvious option but I’ve seen enough Dishonored preview videos at this point that its advantages were clear enough for me. Through this method, I entered the party with minimal conflict. Those two maids? Don’t worry: I sent a horde of rats to eat them alive. I was later told it wasn’t necessary. Oops! Once within the party, I went to the courtyard to meet a contact and deliver a letter (an optional side objective). Turns out that letter was an invitation to a duel … with me. Being the savvy Dishonored player I’ve become, I used the Bend Time ability to slow time and get an unfair advantage in the pistol duel. The contact’s cronies shouted “witchcraft!” but weren’t hot-headed enough to fight me after killing their “friend.” They just kind of talked a load of crap about the recently deceased. It’s a small thing but this bizarre side quest and its outcome tells you a lot about the brutal world of Dishonored, where no man is in control for long. That includes me. Oh, did I forget to mention how I set off alarms at the party and repeatedly died in battle with the guards? Well I did, so returning to the interior of the building was no cakewalk. I made a hot mess of the situation. I would have reloaded to the beginning if this weren’t a scheduled demo, but I’m glad I didn’t. In other games, you’d be stuck in this awful situation, forced to make the most of a stealth game’s sub-par combat. Not the case here. Taking down the horde of guards wasn’t completely unreasonable, though it made the “normal” difficulty I chose feel like “very hard”. By blocking with my sword, throwing grenades, and firing my pistol, I was able to kill a good number of them but even that wouldn’t get me upstairs -- where Lady Boyle, my target, now cowered. After growing tired of dying, I changed my plans. I would enter the building, quickly teleport out of enemy sight, and possess a guard which let me walk past all barriers without setting off an alarm or being electrocuted. It worked. Now upstairs, I was free to loot the rich for coin, notebooks (some of these are lengthy, recalling Skyrim), and potions. The real goal was finding Lady Boyle, which wasn’t hard to do with my ability to see through walls. A couple minutes later, I killed my target in a brutal scene that was hard to watch. My mission had been done, now all I had to do was use the secret bedroom passage to leave the area and get back to my boat. Though a lot of this demo is missing context, there was still much to appreciate. The art direction, dialog, and presentation are of a caliber you rarely see in games. Most developers rather focus the time it takes to build a truly original world on making a multiplayer component. Most developers aren’t willing to show off demos that offer so many possibilities -- so many ways to screw yourself over. Arkane isn’t like most developers and Dishonored isn’t like most games. It will be an uphill battle convincing the mainstream that the game becomes approachable in time, but for us core gamers, we are in for a rare treat that blends action and stealth in a way we’ve never seen before. 
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[Destructoid is grabbing its rail gun and heading to Dallas, Texas this weekend for QuakeCon. Stay posted for game news, previews, and strange happenings from the infamous LAN room.] For a game as rich with ideas and exc...

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Blame Steven Spielberg for The Crossing's cancellation


Jun 27
// Allistair Pinsof
In a decision made out of desperation and geek enthusiasm, developer Arkane Studios (Dishonored) abandoned its groundbreaking The Crossing to work on filmmaker Steven Spielberg's EA game LMNO, in late 2008. In a recent interv...
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The PC version of Dishonored will have its own interface


Jun 20
// Jordan Devore
With the gap between consoles and PCs as wide as it is right now, it's become quite obvious when the power of the latter isn't leveraged effectively for multiplatform games. Worse yet are ports that can't be bothered to offer...
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Oh boy! Dishonored has five different pre-order bonuses


Jun 01
// Brett Zeidler
You know, I'm getting quite tired of all these exclusive pre-orders at every single retailer for every new game that comes out. It becomes a hassle if you pick a crappy one, because then you have to wait a couple months to pu...
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A couple weeks ago, I went to one of Bethesda's preview events where they have fancy sandwiches and water with lemons in it. This time, it was to take a look at Dishonored. I've heard a lot of people compare the game to Assa...

Preview: Our first look at Dishonored

Apr 26 // Abel Girmay
Dishonored (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC)Developer: Arkane StudiosPublisher: Bethesda SoftworksRelease: 2012 At its core, Dishonored is a first-person action game in the same vein as Thief and Deus Ex. There are a number of ways to approach given situations, leaving it up to the player's imagination and creativity on how exactly to complete them. Sure, Corvo is a supernatural assassin, but if you prefer a pacifistic approach, the game is tailored to allow for that. From the grunts to the story critical targets, Arkane claims to provide non-lethal options for dealing with all of them. To demonstrate this, the developers demoed the same mission twice from two extreme approaches. The first was very stealthy and quiet, while the second was balls-out loud and aggressive. In our demo, Corvo has two members of parliament on his hit list, a pair of twins called the Pendleton brothers. The mission begins with Corvo on the roof of a building near his target's location; this starting position for the mission isn't random. Outside of the main story, players will have plenty of opportunities to take on side missions and other peripheral activities. Depending on how many you complete, further options for how to approach your next story mission are unlocked. In this -- and all missions -- you can gain access to different starting points depending on your play style. [embed]226459:43502[/embed] As Corvo makes his way down into the building (a brothel called The Golden Cat), we come across one of many runes. Runes are mystical objects that act as currency for upgrading powers. Though the world of Dishonored is very much steampunk, magic plays a huge role. There is a whole metaphysical and supernatural component present in the city of Dunwall, mostly personified by the Outsider. An amoral being, the Outsider is neither a god nor devil character, just a being who recognizes important people in history and grants them a portion of his power to see what they will do with it. Having been visited by the Outsider while in prison, Corvo has supernatural abilities that allow him to teleport, freeze time, and posses living creatures. Apart from runes, you can also spec out Corvo with bone charms. Bone charms are applied buffs that grant bonuses from extra weapon damage to increased effectiveness with certain powers. There are about 50 variations of bone charms, and though players can only initially equip two at once, towards the end of the game you can equip upwards of eight. Being careful not to be seen, Corvo eavesdrops on a conversation between a few of the working girls. Apparently the younger Pendleton is in the steam room, located in the lower levels of the brothel. Through a nearby balcony, Corvo blinks down to a nearby river surrounding the building. Spotting a narrow entrance via a sewer system, Corvo posses a nearby fish, and swims into the compound. Blink is essentially a teleport that allows Corvo to move across distances silently. Possession is just what it sounds like: you possess people and animals but only for a limited amount of time. Possession in Dishonored is full bodied as well, so your entire self goes into the target. You don't leave your body behind when you take control of another. It's a bit weird to think about, especially when you see a full-grown man basically implant himself in a fish, but hey, magic is just crazy like that. Also note that you can't abuse these powers for an easy victory. Powers in Dishonored are governed by a traditional mana system; although some of it will always regenerate so you have enough to blink once, you will have to carry a stock of potions and elixirs to keep your mana up for possessions and other higher-tier abilities. Both abilities have great uses for stealth, but also work well in combat situations. Since the mission areas have a lot of verticality to them, Blink is particularly useful for navigation and in combat is a great way to make an escape or flank enemies. Possession perhaps leans much more to the stealth side as we didn't really see it demonstrated in combat scenarios. While you can posses an animal at any time, human targets must be unaware of your presence if you want to take control of them. Furthermore, if a body that you are possessing dies, you go with it. After swimming for a bit through the sewers, Corvo finds a clearing and leaves the fish's body to continue on. Finally, we find the steam room where the first Pendleton brother is. There are just two guards standing in the way. Both are actually set up pretty well, so if we want to remain hidden, they both have to be taken out at the same time. It's here we are introduced to the spring razor, a mine that sends razors, shrapnel, and other sharp objects flying when tripped. While there is no crafting or weapon-building system in Dishonored, players can collect components that can be crafted for them in between missions. As soon as the first guard sets the spring razor off, we blink behind the second and stealth kill him. With nobody left between us and the target, we asses our options. As previously stated, there are a number of ways to take out each contract. In this instance, we could simply walk in the steam room and shoot Pendleton, possess the brothel girl he's with, and frame her -- leaving her to deal with the consequences -- or set up the scene to look like a murder suicide. For the less violent player though, there is the option to erase Pendleton's identity and send him to work in the silver mine he has enslaved so many others in. To take this moral high road, you will have had to come into this mission fully prepared, with all the related side quests done, and all of this mission's alternate objectives completed. Rather than go for all those elaborate schemes, Corvo simply locks the door to the steam room, and blasts the steam way up, roasting both Pendleton and the brothel worker. Brutal, to say the least, but damned effective. And with that, the stealth portion of our demo was up. We did get a look at the same mission, but with a much more aggressive play style. Even then, however, you will still have to slow yourself down at least long enough to learn your target's location. These change dynamically with each playthrough of Dishonored, so it won't do you much good to go on a rampage from the beginning. Also, it seems that all the useful information you get from the game is gleamed from conversations you eavesdrop on. Maybe it's just this mission, but if there is one fear I do have early on, it's that eavesdropping will be as prevalent -- and often boring -- as it has been in the past action games. Anyone remember the first Assassins Creed? While the first, stealth-heavy portion of Dishonored looked really cool, the totally aggressive nature of the second was considerably less interesting. While it is neat to see Corvo blink around enemies, getting quick kills and easy headshots, it had that same feeling of past stealth games, like the situation had devolved rather than evolved into something exciting. The whole demo was hands off, though, so we have yet to see how a brute force approach really plays out. All told, there's no denying that Dishonored is something to be excited for. This quick look at the game already has me anticipating a hands-on demo (please be at E3!), and it's sitting high up with the likes of Borderlands 2 and Assassins Creed III for my most anticipated games of this year. With the talent behind the game, you'd do well to keep your eye on it too.
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Locked up for a crime you did not commit, and accused of killing the empress you swore to protect, you are left to rot in prison for your unjust conviction. Your only saving grace is an amoral mystical being who endows you wi...

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Dishonored unleashed a debut trailer full of Stilt Police


Apr 17
// Jim Sterling
We've seen some very pretty screenshots of Bethesda's Dishonored, but so far, nothing in motion. Those hoping for gameplay footage will be disappointed, since this is a CG trailer, but it's still pretty exciting stuff. Check...
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Dishonored is looking diabolically delicious


Mar 19
// Jim Sterling
Bethesda today unleashed some new screenshots for Arkane Studios' unique steampunk shooter, Dishonored. Decadence and devilry rule the roost in this selection of very nice looking images.  There's some concept art as wel...

Destructoid's most wanted PC games of 2012

Jan 12 // Allistair Pinsof
South Park: The Game (PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)Developer: Obsidian EntertainmentPublisher: THQRelease: TBA 2012 I haven't watched an episode of South Park in about a year. Outside a couple episodes, it's never held my interest (You Have 0 Friends" was the last great one). The episodes typically start off with a good premise, but then run that premise into the ground through repetition and dull writing. Yet, here I am looking forward to Obsidian's attempt to RPG-ify the beloved brats and bring new life into Matt Stone and Trey Parker's ever-aging lovechild. The world of South Park is a fun one I'd like to explore, and with gems like Super Mario RPG and Final Fantasy as an influence on this project, I think I'll have a good time doing it. South Park: The Game is a left turn for the developer, lacking the ambition, mature themes, and sequel-driven nature of their past projects. But, maybe a focused, immature, and original RPG might be exactly what Obisidian needs to finally make a classic. Even the overlooked glitches of past Obsidian titles will feel at home in this offbeat, crass world. Dishonored  (PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)Developer: Arkane StudiosPublisher: Bethesda SoftworksRelease: TBA 2012 Arkane Studios make the type of games I like to play. It so happens that these are the type of games that rarely get made these days. Beyond Irrational Games, Bethesda, and Valve, no developer wants to take the risk of spending years crafting a rich, varied world that you can explore. It takes time, money, and a whole lot of skill. And, finally, Arkane have all three of these, which is why I think Dishonored will shape up to be one of 2012's most memorable single-player games. That, and I was blown away when I saw it in action at QuakeCon last year. Arkane are taking lessons learned from their past games (Arx Fatalis, Dark Messiah of Might and Magic), while taking inspiration from Bioshock and '90s PC classics. With one of the strongest creative teams in the industry -- including key members of the Deus Ex and Half-Life 2 teams -- and a drive to finally prove themselves, Dishonored could be the gem that merges their Thief: The Dark Project worship with smart, approachable design that will make any Bioshock fan feel at home. Quantum Conundrum (PC, Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network)Developer: Airtight Games Publisher: Square EnixRelease: TBA 2012 The worst thing about Portal 2 is that it ends. Thankfully, we already have a promising Portal-like adventure on the horizon to fill that void in our hearts. Rather than a knock-off, Quantum Conundrum is Kim Swift's (co-creator of Portal) debut for Airtight Games. Like her previous project, Quantum Conundrum is a charming, colorful puzzle game played from first-person. Rather than traversing obstacles with portals, the player alternates the environment's physics by swapping between four dimensions. One dimension slows time, one makes objects featherweight, and one reverses the direction of gravity. The fourth dimension hasn't been reveled yet at this time, but just thinking of the puzzle possibilities with the above abilities alone boggles the mind. After the utterly forgettable debut of Dark Void, Kim Swift's inspired puzzle adventure with Pixar-esque visuals is exactly what Airtight Games needs to win our faith back. With an entirely new rule set and environment, Quantum Conundrum could make the puzzle-platforming introduced in Portal feel fresh all over again. Honorable Mentions: Shadowrun Online, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Natural Selection 2, Darksiders II, Brothers in Arms: Furious 4 Diablo III (PC, Mac)Developer: BlizzardPublisher: BlizzardRelease: 2012 Prior to playing the beta, I wasn't so sure about Diablo III. All these years later, could it compare to the fond memories we have of its predecessors? My doubts disappeared almost immediately. It's funny how quick I was to forget that Blizzard takes its sweet time for a reason. The game is still very much the essence of Diablo, but that's not to say its designers locked themselves in a room and ignored the genre's steady advances. The attention to detail and seamlessness of it all is impressive in a way that's hard to describe through summary. It takes considerable development time to allow for high internal standards and iterative design, but you can't argue with the results. Dota 2 (PC, Mac)Developer: ValvePublisher: ValveRelease: 2012 Despite having spent hundreds of hours playing Warcraft III custom games, I never got seriously hooked on "Defense of the Ancients." The same can be said of today's growing multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) scene, though that has more to do with a fear of hyper competitiveness and loss of sleep than anything else. Why care about Dota 2, then? Love or hate Valve's games, they're always interesting -- especially for people like me who actively think about design choices that most would consider to be largely insignificant. Given the studio's brilliance when it comes to building sustainable online communities, I have high expectations of this game. Hell, even the journey to a public beta -- remember the $1,000,000 Dota 2 International? -- has been enjoyable to watch. Guild Wars 2 (PC)Developer: ArenaNetPublisher: NCsoftRelease: 2012 I've long struggled with getting into MMOs. The promise of ever-changing worlds and the like is usually there, but boredom arrives too quickly to warrant keeping my credit card on file more often than not. Having had a decent enough time with the original Guild Wars years ago, I'm incredibly hopeful that its sequel will be the MMO to pull me back in. Repetition, particularly when it comes to killing the same old forces of evil, has always been the deciding factor. Choices which have a noticeable and persistent impact, a focus on individual player stories, and improvisational combat are among the highlights of this game for me. Not having to pay a monthly subscription fee means I'll be there on day one rather than wait and see. ArenaNet has a clear vision for Guild Wars 2 -- one I desperately want to see for myself in person. Even if some promises aren't fully met, I suspect they will, in part, influence the genre going forward. Honorable mentions: Hawken, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, and Super Monday Night Combat.   Additional staff picks for PC: Alex Bout: Guild Wars 2 Alasdair Duncan: Dishonored, Monaco, The Secret World.Jim Sterling: Firefall, The Secret World, Super Monday Night CombatJonathan Ross: Diablo III, Guild Wars 2, Mass Effect 3Jason Cabral: Metro: Last Light, Diablo III, Kingdoms of Amalur: The ReckoningJosh Derocher:  Diablo III, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, Guild Wars 2Kyle MacGregor: The WitnessAndrew Kauz: Diablo III, Torchlight IIJonathan Holmes: New games from Team Meat, Terry Cavanagh, and KonjakMaurice Tan: Torchlight II, King Arthur II, Wargame: European EscalationTara Long: Diablo III, Torchlight IIJosh Tolentino: XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Mass Effect 3, HawkenChad Concelmo: Diablo IIISean Daisy: The Witness, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Max Payne 3Daniel Starkey: Torchlight II, Prey 2, FirefallSterling Lyons: Blacklight: Retribution, Blade & Soul, Prey 2 
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It's a strange time to be a PC gamer. With fewer high-profile exclusives, it has become a glorified Xbox 360. Thanks to efforts from developers and publishers, it's a superior 360 where draw distance, anti-aliasing, and frame...

Interview: Arkane Studios on Dishonored

Aug 16 // Allistair Pinsof
After things falling through with The Crossing, it must have been a big relief to have ZeniMax help you with this new project. Do you feel like it’s a new era for Arkane?Raf: As an indie developer, you go through a series of good things and bad things. From 2007 to 2009, we had a lot of really hard things to deal with, so when ZeniMax showed up and proposed for us to work on Dishonored -- which was about a year before they acquired us -- it was fantastic. Every hardship we went through, even though we were slapped over again by bad luck or whatever, paid off.  All of a sudden those near successes had an influence, and they made sense to the entire team. Whenever you get a game that is canceled or shelved or you don’t have enough money to go on or whatever, the people that stay in your company show their passion and you know why they are there.Is The Crossing canceled for good?Raf: At this point, it’s on hold. Have some elements of The Crossing carried on into Dishonored?Harvey: Well, our collaboration with Viktor [Viktor Antonov, art director on Half-Life 2] has continued.Raf: Even if you look at it from a team perspective, we learned so much from The Crossing – it was the first game Viktor worked with us on. He trained our artists so well. You look at Dishonored’s design, and everyone has been so fast and efficient to do things. Viktor told me he traveled across Europe to do research for this game. Not too many companies do that sort of thing (maybe Valve and Irrational Games). Why was this an important investment for you guys?Harvey: Those guys just wanted to go to Edinburgh and London to take lots of photos for architecture and the faces -- to get the faces right of very British people, the way they carry themselves and look. Of course, you can’t generalize too much. They went to construction crews and took some photos of some hardened guys – that’s why our guards in the game look so pissed off. You guys are culling a lot of elements from Deus Ex, Thief and System Shock. What elements of those games do you think can live on in modern games, while keeping the game marketable?Harvey: I am drawn to that type of game. Raf and I are the biggest Ultima Underworld fans, period. We’ll fight anyone else in a pile of Jell-O to claim that. We are both drawn to System Shock. [Raf] was working in Europe and I was working at Origin, and we were both testing System Shock.We are already drawn to these guys making these games. As soon as he got a chance he created Arx Fatalis, and as soon as I got a chance I worked with Warren Spector on Deus Ex.If you look at the Xbox 360 and PS3 audience, you can’t easily throw Deus Ex at them…Harvey: Well, if you look at the evolution of those games -- we love Thief, we love Bioshock and we love Far Cry 2. If you look at Bioshock it’s a good game, period. Whether you play it on the PC or on console. That’s our goal.Raf: The values don’t change, only the implementation of how deep you go with them in the execution. The values in games like Thief, Deus Ex, and Ultimate Underworld. If you compare their values to those in Dishonored, you’ll find at a high difficulty level they are the same. Of course, you cannot give a player Ultimate Underworld now. It will freak them out, now-in-days, due to the controls and all of that. It’s all about how you present it.Harvey: I think Raf is trying to talk about accessibility. The depth is there in Bioshock, but it’s presented with accessibility. Every now and then, I go back and try to replay a game like System Shock and I forget it didn’t have mouselook. And, it blows my mind! I played hundreds of fucking hours on that game – I tested it for ten months: On the floppy then on the CD. I put in hundred hour weeks during that period.Anyway, some people would play with a Gravis controller and a joystick [at the same time]. You just can’t do that today. So, now you have a controller and some saving conventions. We allow save anywhere, actually.  I would say on the depth-side we try to be hardcore, and on the accessibility side we try to appeal to everyone. That’s cool that you have save anywhere. I wish every game had that option. I’m sick of these obligatory checkpoints every five minutes in recent games.Raf: A checkpoint every five minutes wouldn’t even work in the type of game we are making, because you might want to go back. Maybe you didn’t want to do that.Harvey: I totally agree with him. The other thing is that in this type of game you want to experiment. You want to load up a save and try something out. There are five guys over there: I’m going to use the rats to do “blah,” then I’m going to bounce a grenade and then I’m going to posses this guy and do “blah.” Oh, wait. That didn’t work. Let me back up. And, you did it four or five times and you have a blast experimenting. It’s like alchemy.It seems like Arx Fatalis might be the last dungeon crawler made by a studio. Does that make you sad or proud?Raf: I don’t know. I think there may be more. Harvey: Every now and then we talk about making some sort of self-contained environment where you need to scrounge up food or even make your own food. Raf: We will do a game like that one day that is super deep and hardcore, but once again it’s all about presentation and the context. Will we ever do another medieval fantasy setting like Arx? Maybe and maybe not, but the format is something both of us really like. Do you two like the direction that modern first-person shooters have gone?Harvey: There is a lot that we love.  I’m a big fan of Left 4 Dead, Mirror’s Edge and we both loved Bioshock.Raf: At the end of the day, we are fans of variety. The worst thing for me is if every game mimicked this one game that made so much money -- so now we are all going to do this one type of game. There is more space for games than that. That’s what matters to us. Is this the first game you are making with consoles in mind?Raf: Individually, probably not, but as a company – well, no, we worked on Bioshock 2 before this so that was our first contact with making a game for consoles. Harvey: We actually picked up a couple level designers from Bioshock 2 and Deus Ex [designers], along with some members of the modding community of Thief.Would you say to a Thief fan that Dishonored is its spiritual successor?Raf: [laughs]Harvey: No, we wouldn’t say it in those words but we would definitely say that Thief is one of our big influences right now.Raf: I would say if you liked Thief, there is a big chance that you’ll like what we are making right now. You’ll find a lot of things in common, but then there are a lot of other layers involved. There are some Deus Ex things, the combat is more like Dark Messiah – it’s a mix of everything that we like.Harvey: We always use the term “immersive simulation.” It’s that school of thought that it’s a first-person game, but it’s not a shooter. It’s a first-person game with depth and world cohesion.
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After posting my glowing Dishonored preview last week, I received some comments saying my post was overflowing with hyperbole – they must not be familiar with the track record of Arkane Studios’ Harvey Smith and...

Preview: Dishonored

Aug 06 // Allistair Pinsof
Dishonored (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 [previewed], PC)Developer: Arkane StudiosPublisher: Bethesda Software To be released: 2012 Few games have approached the level of depth and complexity that the Thief and Deus Ex series reached in the late ’90s, but Arkane Studios’ Arx Fatalis (2002) and Dark Messiah of Might and Magic (2006) came close, despite their flaws. If anyone is going to recapture the magic of a truly immersive, complex first-person shooter, it’s these guys, and Dishonored might just be the game to make it happen. In Dishonored you play as Corvo, a supernatural bodyguard-turned-assassin, after he is framed for the death of the Empress he is supposed to protect. The story follows his quest for revenge and answers, taking on new contracts along the way in the city of Dumwall. Hide like an assassin, sting like a guy with a very sharp daggerLike previous titles from the game’s creative directors, Harvey Smith and Raphael Colantonio, Dishonored is a game filled with options: both in combat and in how the narrative unfolds.Before the demo, Tracey [press representative] said, "I didn’t know you could do that,” Smith said. “I didn’t know either.”At the start of the demo, Corvo exits a murky sewer tunnel and enters a harbor filled with early-morning fog and a pastel-colored sky above. This city (Dumwall), like many in the world of Dishonored, thrives on the whaling economy (whale oil = fuel) and is cursed by plague-ridden rodents.After spotting a gang conversing through his eyeglass, Corvo looks up and quickly wall-jumps to the second-story. Not since Mirror’s Edge have I seen a game with such fluid first-person traversal, although it’s anyone’s guess how it feels -- this was a hands-off live demo.At every corner of the demo, there is an opportunity to approach the situation with brute force or go stealth. The game’s unique Chaos system compliments each players’ play-style by throwing more gangs at players who want more brawls, as well as form a story more fitting of an aggressive assassin. If you stay in the shadows, hide bodies and use your supernatural powers to remain unnoticed, you’ll experience a much different stealth-driven game.The combat itself is spectacular. The combination of swordplay, with your right-hand dagger, and gun in your left hand look great, but it’s Corvo’s special powers that really have me excited. After all, Arkane’s previous game, Dark Messiah of Might and Magic, remains one of the best examples of first-person melee. When Corvo isn’t double-jumping across rooftops or pick-pocketing enemies, he is gathering items, destroying security systems and sneaking in the shadows. It recalls elements of Thief but it’s delivered at a quicker pace with a modern sheen. I didn’t know you could do thatAt any moment in the game, the player can pull up a radial menu that houses your special powers and weapons. The powers, when properly combined, give the player access to some crafty assassination attempts and getaways.Near the end of the demo, Corvo approaches his target -- a corrupt lawyer profiting off the plague damning his city -- and scans the room through a peephole all while an ominous harpsichord melody complements the dialogue exchange behind the door. The events that follow are as fluid as they are visually-striking.Corvo knocks down the door with a gust of wind, stops time, and kills the lawyer along with his henchman as bullets travel in slow-motion. In a desperate escape, Corvo teleports to a platform outside the loft’s window and quickly runs away as a large turret fires upon him. If it weren't for the infinite health enabled, that would have been the end of the demo.“Things didn’t go as planned,” Colantonio said, making the audience wonder what else may be possible. The truth, however, is that even Smith and Colantonio don’t know at this stage. They said that they are still discovering new possibilities when mixing powers together in unique combat scenarios. Balancing theses things will be a long-term challenge for Arkane.On top of this, there are collectible bone charms that act as perks throughout the game. These modify your speed, damage and provide other benefits. The bone charms are randomized on each playthrough.  Only a fourth will be discovered the first time through your journey in Dumwall.So, YES, YOU ARE THE BONE COLLECTOR! Oh, rats!Although the assassination attempt was the highlight of the demo, I was happy to see the game is filled with alternate paths, hidden rat holes and other opportunities for sneaky stealth kills and guard distractions.One of the key elements of Dishonored’s world is the diseased, plague-ridden rats. What’s not to love about that? Dishonored’s rats are a deadly force, devouring the corpses littering the streets, but they are your friends when under your control. Kind of like that film Willard. Anyone, remember that Crispin Glover blockbuster? No? You can possess your rat buddies and infiltrate buildings through rat-size holes (YOU ARE THE RAT!) Or, if you are feeling more aggressive, you can summon a gang of rats and direct them at enemies. However, the possession of these abilities doesn't mean they will be your friends for life. For instance, they will attack you in packs if they spot you in the dark. They will also chow down on a corpse, alerting guards. To avoid this you will have to pick-up and hide dead enemies extra carefully. Don't call it steampunk The amount of games that go through the amount of pre-production and research that films do are few and far between. The architecture, animals and even furniture of Dishonored’s world are the result of months of researching the locales and people of Europe. The end product is a unique vision where every corner of the game’s world has an identity informed by history yet distanced from reality.A major part of this is due to visual design director Viktor Antonov, who was a key influence in the look of Half-Life 2’s memorable City 17. It’s not hard to see Antonov’s touches on this game, along with certain motifs. After all, both games deal with dystopias ruled by corrupt leaders fighting a rising rebellion.These crazy mech-stilts that enemies control in Dishonored (see image above) look very similar to the walkers in HL2. The same can be said of other in-game assets, including the vehicles and security doors. The world itself, however, couldn’t be more different.Not quite steampunk (in fact, Smith and Antonov grimaced at the term), the world conjures elements of Victorian-era London and A Clockwork Orange. The gang leaders wear bowler hats, citizens' wardrobes reflect early-20th century Ireland (think Gangs of New York) and the city-streets are reminiscent of 19th century Europe metropolises while containing aspects of futurist technology. During pre-production, the game was to take place in London which explains why the city of Dunwall feels tangible.“If you start somewhere real, it feels real,” Colantonio said.Although the game uses the Unreal 3-engine, it is modified enough to convince you otherwise. The world of Dishonored, made mostly of water and small port towns, is brought to life with grey and cool colors. It looks like a gorgeous, life-like painting, fading away in decay. As someone who hates the look of 99-percent of Unreal 3-engine games, I sure like how this one looks. I also appreciate the minimalist HUD that disappears when not needed.“We love making places that feel like people lived there,” Smith said. “Every screen feels hand-crafted.” In conclusion: OMFG! By merging the best elements of late-90s PC gaming with that of recent years, Arkane may very well have paved the path for something special. It’s a disservice to say the game combines the best elements of Half-Life 2, Thief and Bioshock, because that makes it sound like Arkane have been splicing up a Frankstein of a game.What Dishonered is, is the work of auteurs. Artists who don’t comprise or settle for less than what they want to play. The passion and influences of the men at work on this title shine through in every detail of the world and combat. The influences bleed into Dishonored along with Antonov, Colantonio and Smith’s past projects that they carry with them, consciously or not.What makes me happiest about Dishonored’s showing at QuakeCon is that it clearly was a slice of a functional game, and not some polished to death demo that left me clueless as to how all the pieces fit (*cough* BioShock Infinite *cough*). I can’t say enough good things about what I’ve seen of Dishonored and I can’t wait to see more.Let me collect them bones and feed my rat friends, right frickin’ now, Arkane!
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A first-person Assassin’s Creed mixed with BioShock’s plasmids, all wrapped around an inspired world that is part Half-Life 2 and part A Clockwork Orange -- that sounds like a dream come true, right? The best part? The team making it is responsible for some of the finest PC games of the last 15 years.

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Bethesda's Dishonored is my new jam


Aug 05
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
New Dishonored screens have emerged from QuakeCon 2011 today and it's finally made me take notice of Bethesda's next title. The "first-person stealth/action adventure" game as it's described looks pretty damn rad. I kind of g...

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