on 1 May 2013
This game is that good I actually played through it twice, something I have only ever done with Bioshock and Fallout:New Vegas.
The story line is excellent, the game play smooth and engaging and the game mechanics are pretty much faultless.
The campaign is rather short if you play on high chaos (kill everything) but on low chaos (play like it's splinter cell) it takes longer and I enjoyed it more and explored much more of the maps. My advise would be to jump straight into the hardest difficulty available and take your time, explore every nook and cranny for collectables and make sure you max out blink and dark vision as soon as you can.
All in all this game really suprised me as I bought it 6 months after release for a low price and without any big expectations, I would say a must for fans of Bioshock, Fallout, Assasins Creed or Metro.
on 20 October 2012
Dishonored is a game on many levels. You play as Corvo, protector of the empress and her daughter, Emily, the heiress to an empire; an empire which is suffering from a multitude of problems including corruption, plague, crime and all round unsavoury inhabitants. The story takes no time at all in throwing you into the midst of a conspiracy, and following being framed for the murder of empress Jessamine your quest begins to clear your name and retrieve any information on Emily's whereabouts. The story takes a relatively unoriginal formula, however the world that Arkane have managed to create as the premise for this is incredible for more reasons than you can imagine.
Playing Dishonored is like jumping into bed with the love-child of Tenchu and Bioshock. Corvo dual wields with a brilliantly designed signature blade in the right hand and player assigned abilities/utilities in the left. The powers given to you by the mysterious Outsider are bare-bones but extremely effective in creating a clutter free navigational/killing experience. There are six powers and four character attributes to choose from and upgrade. The genius in this model is that by combining the various powers, you are limitless in the ways and means to dispose of your enemies. Why not summon a swarm of rats, strap a razor-wire grenade to one, possess it, run through the ventilation shafts into a room full of enemies and let rip? Or freeze time, possess a guard and move him into his own comrade's line of fire? Or freeze time, snatch a thrown grenade out of the air and return it to from where it came? The list really does go on. And if you're like me you'll spend hours playing with these mechanics discovering new and brutal ways to avenge your empire.
For those stealth heads out there, no other game offers a stalking experience quite like it. There did tend to be issues with hiding bodies in that there is actually no measure as to whether a body is hidden or not. Splinter Cell for example, had very definite `light and dark' areas and throughout the series brilliant mechanisms for identifying whether your character is visible or not. Dishonored relies more on line of sight and level/height in relation to enemies. Shadows offer bonus invisibility at distances, but don't expect to be in pitch dark facing an enemy head on (note: this may differ on lower difficulties). And so issues with hiding bodies commence. Is this hidden in the dark corner of this room? Is this hidden, above the chandelier? A minor complaint, but important for those who play for the perfect end of mission stats.
Assassinations themselves vary depending on player position and are immensely bloody and satisfying. Your staple tool throughout is Blink, helping you to reach ledges, hide and sometimes simply to GTFO. But its design is unique and effective, despite taking a little getting used to (amongst the huge deal of freedom you will likely encounter a few invisible walls or glass ceilings). The `corner/peek' system has been considered, and where DE:HR utilised the third-person cover system, Dishonored simply allows for peeking, without fear of being seen. This can sometimes be jarring when you're staring right into the whites of an enemy's eyes, however it's hard to think of a much better solution concerning first person stealth.
If you are spotted and it does kick off however, don't be disappointed. The combat in Dishonored is second to none. Skill in parrying and methodical solutions to overcoming a foe in direct hand-to-hand combat is essential, especially if like me you go straight for the very hard setting. If you play the game with a head on approach, you'll very much want to tailor your character to this type of play because you will find yourself utilising resources much more often than taking the quieter approach (bone-charms and runes can be combined to benefit fighters as opposed to sneakers (e.g. exilers having greater more sustained effects, regenerative mana, greater amount of health etc). This different approach to character modelling is one way Dishonored delves into roleplaying, the other is then an extension of this in how, thereafter, you chose to play.
The decision making processes are apparent from the very start. Will you slip into the murderous ways of your conspirators, or take the moral high road and exact your revenge in a series of non-lethal approaches? These decisions, although they are frequent and seemingly unobtrusive, accumulate and the repercussions are expressed through atmosphere, dialogue and gameplay as oppose to "you said this, here are the repercussions of your actions. Now, run forth and play on", a method utilised by so many role-playing games to date. Being spotted or causing a ruckus near the start of an area might much later trigger a conversation between guards or key characters reflecting this. It's touches like this that make Dishonored a real pleasure to play as you can feel the environment bending to accommodate your character's actions. In the longer term, ill actions will see the decline of the city escalate with more `weepers' (plague riddled survivors), rats and a significantly heavier city guard. It is important to note that Dishonored can be completed without having to kill a single enemy (for which you are rewarded), and surprisingly enough there is a great sense of achievement from playing this way. The targets themselves can be disposed of non-lethally via an array of creative means, and the effects of your actions echo through the game as you find readings (or in one instance actually find a previously humiliated character much later) and have interactions referring to these decisions. Most notably these conversations occur between key characters and friends around your base and it's the empathy and feelings towards these NPCs that can in turn make you feel proud or even guilty of your performances. In other words your actions will have an effect on the people around you impacting the story and relationships to a much higher degree than many games even attempt to achieve. Believe me, as a player you will feel empathy for those around you.
The combination of art-deco, Victorian London and a cyber-punk dystopia towards character and level design is incredibly original, innovative and refreshing with the results leading to some of the most beautiful scenes in video gaming to date. The water and lighting effects have been carefully utilised against the foreground to have an incredible impact on the level design and art direction. It's evident that the level designers and concept teams had such a specific idea of how they wanted this game to look and by god did they succeed. Each area has its own unique identity, and navigating them is an absolute pleasure. The multiple levels and access points to reach targets is extensive, and part of getting the most out of Dishonored is spending time exploring all of these areas. The Isles are scattered with lore, secrets, safes and stories all waiting to be discovered. Shame on the player that doesn't pay this attention to detail and level design any heed.
Character models and surfaces can at times be inconsistent with the pores of skin and the slightest of imperfections being visible on some, though grainy textures appearing on others. If you're playing this game on console it is strongly advised you install (around 5-6GB) just to minimise texturing issues and rendering.
All things considered, Dishonored is an immense achievement full of twists and turns. It is nothing short of a brilliant vision brought to life in all the right ways. Even if there are some aspects that are still a little rough around the edges, somebody dreamed this world and this adventure, with nods to technology and period, design and execution, class and conflict. In short, finally, 2012's first essential buy.
on 31 January 2014
I admit during my first play-through of Dishonoured I felt slightly less than entertained. To someone used to modern first-person games, the charm of Bethesda’s 2012 release Dishonoured does tend to swoop over heads, myself included in that matter. Maybe I was just ignorant, maybe I am formularised to only enjoy the carbon copy games. This deserves a second play-through, the one I enjoyed most, where I realised how special and rare this game is.
You play Corvo, a bodyguard who is truly that of the games title; framed for murder of a figurehead in a huge governmental cover-up. Corvo attempts to uncover the mystery of why he was framed, setting out to prove his innocence and expose others in a world which is comprised of the future-industrialisation of Half Life 2, mixed with Thief’s quasi-medieval city setting. Disease is rife in the form of the plague, as well as the supernatural; power granted to Corvo enables him to teleport to any position he wishes in the near vicinity. Other magic allows possession of living creatures (including humans), abilities to see through walls, and stop time.
Dishonoured truly shines in moments of realisation that this world is a living, breathing entity; the levels present themselves as thriving with artificial life. The huge, sparse environments contain a feeling of depth and warmth (and sometimes isolation), that many games struggle to reach or even attempt. NPC’s talk to each other, stories are told, secrets can be eavesdropped – everything feels “real”. Stealth is promoted at every turn, players are penalised for killing and are always encouraged to “ghost” – the act of manoeuvring the levels unseen and remaining undetected. You are even penalised for completing cadaveric mission objectives, so alternatives should be considered. This makes sense since our mute character can prove killing is not in his nature, which by default underlines his innocence of the murder charge made against him.
It borrows heavily from Thief: The Dark Project, even referencing it in “easter eggs” - but Dishonoured has its own style and unique setting which allows you to forgive the developers and separate it entirely from Looking Glass Studio’s classic title of 1998.
The third mission, House Of Pleasure, is probably my favourite mission of any game in recent years. It uses the same environment as a previous mission but takes place in the day, with added exploration opportunities such as hotels, a dock, and a massive mansion. Initially levels may appear small, but explore a little and you discover an awful lot. The attention to detail and the depth in not only present in the mission structure, but also the text in the form of books and letters in the many homes you raid. The characters in the game are interesting and act humanely. There is plenty of urban settings contrasting with domestication. The atmosphere Dishonoured builds is like a rollercoaster. This can be at times tense, then others sinister, then on finishing a mission, back to the calm of your seaside village. The thought of returning to your cosy retreat in the Fox And Hound makes you feel all fuzzy.
Dishonoured is a rare treat, and looks simplistic yet effective in both style and immersion. It’s a game which proves beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
In this first person stealth game you play Corvo, the favourite of the Empress but when you are framed for her murder you become a infamous murderer and must fight to clear your name. Taking on mission after mission the player decides the approach they want to take. Will you go in and crossbow everything to death? or try to use stealth to kill? Or will you even try not to kill anyone at all. The decisions you make affect the world you are in, with the world becoming darker if you decide to kill everyone for example.
The graphics are of a very high standard and i have no negatives. The gameplay is incredibly addictive because the game is so atomspheric especially if you are breathlessly sneaking around hoping not to be seen.
I played the game on normal and tried not to kill anyone and here is where my concern is. On more than one occasion a AI character died after chasing me . As best as i could make out, on both occasions as i ran away i fell to the floor below and it seemed the AI followed but fell to their deaths! Some definite bugs in AI, i witnessed a soldier beating the hell out of another AI character at one point which was clearly a glitch. The worst came when i was trying to keep a key character alive so i ran from them only for it to flash up that he had been killed! Accidently shot by another AI i think. I am told you can download updates for the game on xbox live mayb this is now fixed.
The good news is that there is alot of replay value here and i plan to replay the game but i am going to be more evil, i.e kill the guards etc. I will say though that playing the game and not using lethal methods can be frustrating as most of the enhancements are for weapons and additional skills are also offensive based.
Overall a challenging game with great story and decent replay. I am not a fan of stealth as i am too impatient but this game reminded me of the Chronicles of Riddick games and the stealth element in them. Very enjoyable.