Dishonored, Bethesda's latest effort courtesy of Arkane Studios, is now available on PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and, honestly, it's one of the most startling original first-person adventures since we trudged through the halls in Bioshock.  That said, it's a game that not everyone will pick up on right away, as there's a great requirement of stealth – and a healthy dose of action – that you'll need to get used to in order to really "fit in", as it were.

The cool thing about Dishonored is that you can really play however you want to.  If you want to be a vicious, heartless murderer and butcher every guard you meet, you can do so, but just keep in mind conditions in the city of Dunwall will worsen as a result, including more rats, more plague-infested freaks and, of course, more attention to yourself.  Now, on the flip side, according to Arkane, you can actually get through the ENTIRE game without killing anyone, and earn an Achievement/Trophy as such, but it's an immense challenge.  Still, for anyone who's up for it, it's a worthwhile one.

Aside from adapting play style, there are a few things you'll want to keep in mind upon getting into the game for the first time.  The more you know, the better you'll grow into Corvo (the main hero) and his abilities, and what you can really do when it comes to making a difference against your adversaries.

We've previously covered the cool things you can do within the game, so consider this more of a basics guide…

Don't Be Afraid To Get Your Hands Dirty

When you're first introduced to the playable portion of the game, you're knee deep in a prison, with only a few notes from allies to guide you and minimal weaponry.  On the first try, we wouldn't worry so much about being a perfectionist, and instead take the opportunity to master the swordplay within the game.  You're always carrying a sword in your right hand, and along with sneaking up on enemies to impale them or slicing and dicing, you can also use it to time counters, hitting an enemy at just the right moment to knock them off guard, then ravaging them with a decapitation or another similar offing.  Remember, you can always restart and try the sneaky way.  Get used to the game's controls with a sword and really do some damage later on.

Be Wary of Your Surroundings

With Dishonored, you have the ability to crouch and be sneakier than usual, though if you're standing in a lighted area, detection is almost inevitable.  Be sure to use the "peer" ability to peek around corners and start to learn guard routes, then move in to knock them out (or kill them), and make sure that other guards aren't truly alerted to your presence, or you'll have your hands full.  If we've learning anything from Dishonored, it's that facing multiple enemies at once means a quick death, unless you're nimble enough to teleport out quickly.  Learn routes, find your locations (which are easily highlighted on your HUD) and get out alive.

Stock Up Your Crossbow

Shortly after you escape the prison, you'll be introduced to a crossbow, which you can equip with several different kinds of bolts.  There are three that are really the most useful over the course of the game – regular, which are good for headshots and taking an enemy out with a couple of rounds; sleep, which will knock them out cold completely without killing them; and incendiary, which burst into flames and really do some damage with surrounding groups.  When you get the chance, use your earned gold to stock up on these.  You won't be sorry.

Dead Bodies Are a Rat's Best Friend

See a group of rats?  DON'T APPROACH THEM.  These little buggers are hungry and will make mincemeat of you, no matter how well you can swing a sword.  The best thing you can do when you have some blocking your path or, worse yet, pursuing you, is finding a dead body, or getting a guard in the way of their wrath.  See, by doing so, you'll give them something to feast on for a few seconds' time, enabling you to escape or, better yet, blast the entire group with an incendiary bolt.

Make Use of the Environment

You aren't just limited to your magical abilities, crossbow and sword.  You can use items in the environment to your advantage by throwing them, including an oil lamp, which is the next best thing to a grenade, and small glasses, which you can lob into walls and floors to distract would-be targets.  Either way, they're nice to have on hand, and actually save you some energy and ammunition in a pinch.  Oh, and you can throw a dead body at a guard too.  Won't kill him, but he'll sure be confused.

Become a Master of Blink

One of the first abilities you'll be introduced to in Dishonored is Blink, the ability to Teleport.  At first, it takes some getting used to, but you'll find it's a useful talent, whether you're escaping from a fight, jumping on someone from behind or reaching a higher ledge.  Take a few seconds to get accustomed to this power, because you'll need it throughout the course of the game – ESPECIALLY if you're taking the stealth route.  Good luck.

Take the Time To Explore and Find Stuff

Dishonored can be completed in four hours or so if you REALLY rush, but why?  Take the time and actually explore the city of Dunwall, and you'll find some cool stuff throughout each area, including Bone Charms and Runes that can expand your techniques, along with food that you'll desperately need to keep your energy up.  Vials are also useful when you need a pick-me-up in the health and mana department too, if you're not buying them already.  Remember, an assassin is aware of his surroundings, so don't be afraid to wander off.  Revenge will always be waiting.

We hope you got a kick out of these suggestions.  Now go give the game a try, and be sure to tell Corvo that we sent you.  (Well, maybe not, he might kill us…)