Now I’m not saying you’re a bad person if you don’t want this game, but you probably enjoy bad things and like bad people and can at times appear to be bad. Also you most likely fear the daylight, eat babies and enjoy bullfighting while defending it as a legitimate sport.
Dishonored, made by Arkane Studios (they made Dark Messiah which is the most under-appreciated thing since women), is going to be sweet. Now don’t get worked up and start to argue with me. Hush if you’re unconvinced, calm yourself and clear your mind. Here, have this drink and sip it. When you’ve calmed down, I’m going to show you why you should pitch a tent every time you think about this game. For the ladies and the innocent, pitching a tent is getting an erection while wearing a pajama pants. If the man in question is not an excuse to my gender the central pole of the tent will be his…y’know. Okay, feeling better? Finished your dizzy juice? Now get into my van and let me show you the world….
… of Dunwall
Genre: Action \ Adventure \ Platformer \ Adventure \ Magical Mumbo Jumbo \ Possess a Rat
Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Developers: Arkane Studios
Release Date: 9 October 2012
You probably know about my ridiculous love affair with Dark Messiah of Might and Magic. For the next paragraph I’m going to re-explain why I love this game, and why it is a travesty so few people have played it. Especially developers. Sit your asses down and take a lesson from the masters. The Arkane masters. If you already know or agree with me, here’s a creative kills video. Just absorb it.
Right, go read this. That is the part one of today’s sermon. Dark Messiah was a revelation for its time and a continued example of what happens when developers want their players to be smart and creative. I’ve been watching recent games, I’ve been following as these corridor shooters trudge along, always with the attitude that my desire to explore and my attempts to manipulate the game mechanics are wrong. I’m tired of being punished for trying something different or straying from the path. I’m growing up, it’s true. I’m not old, but I’m no pisher either. They said I’d never be able to squeeze a Yiddish colloquialism like “pisher” into my column, they were wrong. That is the theme of today’s little preview; people can be wrong. Like take the last time I stuck my neck out for a game. It turned out to be a disappointing affair. Like I said, I’m older now and although I’m by no means old, in terms of gaming I’m a connoisseur. I tolerate less and want more. I’m not going to ask permission to explore or experiment. If a game is developed with that open mindset, I’ll stay. If not, I won’t. In real terms, this means that the little things matter.
Quantum Conundrum wasn’t bad, but it lacked the heart and soul, that little bit of warmth, that makes a game truly shine. Every little issue, or slightly off piece of humour, or mildly frustrating puzzle became annoying enough that I still haven’t finished the game.
So, as I always do when I uninstall a game, I ponder exactly why I’ve decided to say goodbye. Was it bad? Was it boring? Am I being unfair? Have I given it a proper chance to woo me? What makes me love a game? The answer to that final question is why I am excited.
The last game that truly “got” me was Dark Messiah of Might and Magic. Every little thing about it was enjoyable. The variety, art-style, story and gameplay were all tailored to me. The things I cared about received the attention and the shit I couldn’t care less about was done well but not with wasted effort. In short, they are my style. They have the right mindset, the right attitude.
Call it what you will but Arkane studios look like they get what makes a game fun. They understand where to spend their time and what to give us and what to tease us with. It is a remarkable talent. It is subtle. Take these videos, just one mission from the game but played with two different styles.
And one violent.
A simple marketing ploy, show the use of diversity in the game. It’s been done before and that ironically is why it wasn’t noticed here. The difference of experience between these two play-throughs is remarkable. The creativity in their execution and the fact that there are still more unexplored methods is what will make this game special. I don’t just want to win, I want to outsmart my enemies. I want to be creative and get rewarded for my tenacity.
If Arkane are still the developer I remember, they welcome player tenacity and ingenious solutions to problems. They’ve even admitted that some of their ideas have come from play testers using the game mechanics in ways they hadn’t considered. It is a testament to their attitude in development that they built a game that had mechanics they hadn’t even intended.
A tester used the telekinesis spell to fire some rocket-bomb things back at the machines that were attacking them. Beautiful. To be open enough, and good natured enough to simply welcome players abusing your system is a rare personality trait. It manifests in interesting ways with a tight, well crafted world that simply beckons, “come explore me”.
If that sounded sexual, then good. You should be pitching a tent anyway.
Is it cool? Definitely. Am I excited for a first person bad ass action adventure set in a pseudo 1800s England? You bet your sweet crumpets and tea I am. Mostly though, I want to play a game made by people who understand what I love and want to give me the freedom to do as I wish and reward me for it.
Am I just one man, or one among many?
We will see October 9th.