Dishonored Review

Dishonored is a game that has been getting quite a but of attention from many, but why? That’s what we’re here to find out. Upon starting, I’m treated to a comfy boat ride where I can look around, and the textures look amazing. Upon ascending with the boat, I notice the detail in the water in particular looks great. Maybe this is because it’s the PC version. Calm down PC elitists – graphics don’t make a game, but they definitely make a good case with this one. The water in particular I found to be pretty impressive.

A child, Emily, instantly runs into me and gives me a choice to make – I have to think already? I could either choose to play a game of hide and seek, or go about my very business. I chose the former, and didn’t know it was a game of hide and seek until she told me so. This is of course was simply a tutorial on how to take cover disguised as a side-quest. Silly girl, couldn’t even find me around the corner taking cover by the top of the stairs. It’s safe to say being stealthy is gonna play an important role in this game, although from a first person perspective, it’s gonna make things interesting, because this is coming from a Metal Gear Solid fan.

Going on, the ability to skip cutscenes, is a welcome feature, and everything around me continues to look amazing. Graphics are a definite plus for this game. You play as Corvo, and you’re home to see Empress Kaldwin for a chat and to bring home some news. That’s all I can say as far as that goes because already, at the beginning of the game, you’re instantly tossed into action and the game continues on. I’d tell you, I can tell this is going to be one of those games that you can review all you want, but to really experience the game you “have to be there”. My initial impressions are that this game will keep you constantly involved and interested in the storyline, with choices throughout.

Combat seems pretty smooth and choices to either assassinate or use non-lethal takedowns will decide what kind of ending you get treated to seeing. As much as I might have wanted to try for stealth early on, holding a pistol in one hand and a sword in the other makes it hard to want to just “sneak by” everyone you see.

The pace of the game is set, and you’re ready to rock. As Corvo, your tale takes you to the games central setting, Dunwall, where you are on a mission to discover the mysteries behind the conspiracy of Empress Kaldwin. There are nine chapters in the game, each telling the next part to the games story, in which you will quickly find yourself lost in. You genuinely find yourself wanting to play and play to see either what happens to Corvo or the people that have been marked for execution, with you of course being the one to carry out that deed. The reason it does this so well is that it’s one of those games that keeps you guessing, and well – let’s just say expect the unexpected. I don’t want to ruin the story for anyone.

As a fan of Metal Gear, and Assassin’s Creed, you can simply go around and kill everyone, or go full-stealth – but good luck doing just that. Perhaps I wasn’t upgraded enough for the job, or maybe it’s the fact that the game stresses stealth so much, that if you get caught, you’re going to find many more attacking you than you saw before. As far as upgrading goes, you have a sword and a pistol at first, but can use a Crossbow (with different types of bolts) as well as different “spells” you can trigger to make things more fun.

Upgrades will give you access to simple things that give you more health to some of the more fun things in the game. Some examples are “Blink” allowing you to teleport from one location (short distances, you’re not gonna fly across maps with this), “Possession”, allowing you to literally become, say a rat or a enemy guard at higher levels or “Devouring Swarm” to send a rat pack on guards, which is tons of fun, especially when you save up a ton of mana potions to wreck havoc towards the end of the game. Being that the game is first person, to me, jumping always feels – not right. Especially when it comes to reaching new heights. Chances are though, if you can’t get somewhere right above you, you can can “Blink” your way on over.

To acquire all of these skills, and more, you require “Runes” which you will have to look for. Trying to just play the game straight will not supply you with enough to be able to really explore Corvo’s spells and use them to your advantage accordingly. Further upgrades are obtained through Bone Charms, which are permanent character bonuses, such as the ability to choke faster for those silent takedowns.

The easiest game to compare this one to as a whole would be Bioshock, but in this comparison I can talk about what I feel holds this game back. For one, everything is over all too quickly, especially if you don’t do the optional missions. The nice thing about missions you carry out in this game, is the ability to hide the objective markers for the ones you don’t want to work on. Otherwise, you will have multiple markers that may confuse you or simply get in the way. I personally didn’t really feel the need to do the side missions other than being able to say I’ve done them. I can just search out Runes if needed, for upgrade purposes and continue on. Sometimes, said runes are around where the side quests would be, so I’d have a few optional missions done. Even in the main story itself, you are sent on your assassination, boat ride back, do the next one. No real emphasis on how what you did actually affects people in the game after you do it. You are given the choice to rest, or not rest. If you choose to not, you’re buying gear for the next mission.

Furthermore, comparing Dunwall, to Rapture – in Bioshock, the game is all about that underground city and you become immersed in that experience. With Dishonored, the game simply takes place in Dunwall, with no real attachment to the place itself outside of it being the primary setting and hunting grounds for the game. With all this considered, replay value may be something to consider with this game. Keep in mind, I’m a run-and-gun type of guy, so you could imagine this game gave me some trouble. If you’re into stealth and achievements, there are definitely reasons to come back, and try for a game of maximum stealth and no killing of anyone. I screwed that up upon the start of the game. To be fair, it’s definitely possible to be stealthy and enjoy it. I found towards the end of the game, I was much better at it, and the game does offer multiple ways to approach or completely avoid your target.

With everything considered, this is a great game, with a bit more emphasis on stealth than I am used to. Your actions and choices will affect your story. If you kill lots of people, you will see more rats and “Weepers” (Dishonored Zombies) and will have a darker ending. I’m sure I got like the worst possible ending. Unless you’re an achievement hunter though, I personally can’t see much of a reason to go back. Luckily, the story gets you so involved with the game, that you can walk away from it and feel like you just played a amazing game. This is a single player experience you will not want to miss. It’s one hell of a ride, but over too soon.

– Very easy to get lost in the story of Corvo
– Upgrades keep the game fresh and fun
– Multiple choices/actions will affect your gameplay experience and ending

– Campaign is a bit on the short side

Should you get this game? Most definitely. One of the better single-player experiences this year, so far.

[xrr rating=8/10]

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