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 28 May 2013
This game is amazing because you can get supernatural powers which are really good. When you assassinate people it is really fun and realistic. The sword fighting is really good and really realistic. The game is set in the time of the plague so there's lots of rats that eat people. To get past swarms of rats you have to pick up a dead body and throw it into the rats. The weapons are really cool. The best thing about the game is that you can go anywhere you like in the mission to find money, runes which upgrade and buy supernatural powers, and also you can enter the mission anyway you like for example you can go in sewers, rat tunnels, and lots more. The graphics are outstanding.
Overall get this game its amazing!!!!!!!
on 18 September 2013
This game is absolutely fantastic and a must buy.
The first thing that struck me when playing this game is the brilliant art style, it is very different to the more modern style of bland and boring and in my opinion contradicts the grimness of the setting in a fantastic way.
Gameplay is brilliant. There are multiple ways to play through a lvl with options of assassinating a target or finding a way to keep your hands clean. Your decisions turn out to have a dramatic effect on how the city reacts to your actions as killing increases chaos in the city which in turn forces more guards to patrol is just a simple effect. The lvls are well thought out and each one is actually quite interesting to play.
The only real downside is that there isn't enough. I would say the campaign is rather short for what I expected however multiple playthroughs are required for achievements or just for fun. I would have loved the city to be more open however this game is brilliant without that.
on 12 October 2012
When was the last time you played a video game that just let you have fun the way you want to have fun? Dishonored bucks all the trends of an age of games that is dominated by linear shooters and online multiplayer as the only means of achieving any replay value.
This is a sandbox assassination game where you can kill everyone - or conversely no-one (There are always non-lethal ways to subdue your targets) - in virtually any way you see fit. Most players, like myself, will probably strive for a balance of the two game types, blending the games' sublime stealth system with a combat model that holds up equally as well. As such the game has extensive replay value - do you play like a ghost and never get detected? Or do you eliminate everyone you come into contact with? In Dishonored the choice is yours and you will want to play the game multiple times to see the consequences of varying course of actions. Couple this with a superlative art style and strong narrative well delivered by solid voice acting and you have what amounts to a refreshing change from other games.
This is a game that responds to how you want to play it and that is indeed a rare thing from games of today. Dishonored truly empowers the player and is all the richer for it. Buy this without hesitation now. You will not be disappointed.
on 27 November 2012
So anyway, it's a bad time to be a resident of Dunwall. The plague is in town, pest control are nowhere to be seen, the Empress has snuffed her lid to be replaced by a totalitarian regime of containment, and her 'murderer' is loose and happens to be a trained assassin called Corvo. That's you by the way.
Okay, so the story was concocted over a brunch and scribbled on a napkin in purple crayon; it's been done a million times and if you can't see the plot twists coming then there is something wrong with you, but what video game can genuinely claim to have imaginative writing these days anyway? Stick with Dishonored, there is a lot more to love.
The technical stuff first. The graphics are beautiful - what isn't these days - but the city itself has been sculpted rather than simply rendered. The architecture of Dunwall, from the slums to the palaces, are lovingly crafted and a pleasure to look at; towering, suffocating, oppressive. Even the early sewer levels, usually the lazy chore of any video game, are a pleasure. The slightly cartoonised characters also move in a fairly natural way, waving their unnaturally large hands around expressively when giving you the latest exposition. The sound effects are just that, really; swords clash, bottles shatter and doors creak. The music within the game is limited, no bad thing for a stealth-em-up, but is good for a bit of background tension, particularly when you've coughed too loudly whilst hiding behind a pillar and half of Dunwall's police force is haring after you.
The usual boring stuff aside, presentation is where Dishonored really scores some good points. There has been comment that the game has basically lifted the mechanics, nuts and bolts and all, from the Thief series, with further comment that this is A Bad Thing. Frankly, video game larceny isn't something to be endorsed but if you are going to shamelessly steal then you might as well steal from probably the greatest stealth game ever (yes, I'm including Metal Gear in that sweeping statement.) The controls are intuitive and perfectly tailored to suit either sneaky-sneaky-creep-strangle or hacking your way through the guards like an out of control combine harvester. The melee attack, which is to say your swordplay, feels particularly visceral and real - not just waving your blade vaguely in enemies faces until they are hypnotized to death - and with intelligent use of the block function you will rarely get into the kind of trouble you often found yourself in whilst playing certain other stealth games mentioned above. As if being an expert swordsman wasn't enough, Corvo isn't long into the game when he comes across the ability to influence his surroundings through bone charms; examples include being able to see through walls and teleporting to ledges. If this all sounds complicated, thankfully the menu systems are easy to use, with the standard telephone dial-esque quick select function for rapidly equipping various weapons or powers, which you are going to need in the heat of the moment.
The 'enemies' you encounter, including the poor sods patrolling the various areas you are trying to sneak through, are worthy opponents to all this hardware you bring. The AI is nicely tuned so that they don't simply follow fixed routes and will deviate to investigate a strange noise or even to have a chat with a fellow NPC. Tactical planning is rewarded with success, as is subtlety, and NPCs will react if they hear footsteps or gunshots or find their colleague slumped and snoring over a table having been cuddled into unconsciousness by Corvo.
My absolute favourite thing about Dishonored though is something that cannot be measured in polygons or AI code, something much more intangible and that is immersion.
First, a digression. Two of my top five games of all time are the steampunk epic Bioshock and Bethesda's Morrowind (with Thief not far outside the five.) Now, considering this is a steampunk Thief clone by Bethesda it should be, for me personally, better than a never ending chocolate cake that also makes tea and tells you nice things about yourself, but just because all the right ingredients for success are there, it isn't always that easy. The equally steampunky Bioshock II proved that you can take the same great atmosphere and game world and lose everything that made the original special, whilst Bethesda's trio of Oblivion/Fallout/Skyrim were prolonged exercises in buggy boredom. Worse than that though, none of them felt immersive enough for me to forgive their many faults.
The reason isn't easy to explain, but there is something about the Dishonored dimension that feels 'real' in the sense that you don't really matter as a character, that you're stepping into a universe that had existed before and will continue to exist after you've gone. In Oblivion/Fallout/Skyrim, you're already proclaimed the Saviour Of Every Living Thing before you've had your first autosave, and to be fair the Empress does her best to ruin things by whispering with her dying breath that "only you can save us", but all the same you are made to feel like a small cog in a larger machine, much as you were when you fell out of the plane into the original Bioshock, or you stepped off the boat as an ex-convict in rags in Morrowind. It means there is potential for character development, beyond what you might expect of someone like Corvo who is about as charismatic as a plank of wood. And even though the main plot and most of the dialogue is absolute bobbins, there is a remarkable cast of side characters and quests lurking in the backstreets of Dunwall fleshing out the city, making it feel more like a living thing even as it is dying. The addition of the various warning signs, debris of human life, even the crumbling adverts for products and places, all are jigsaw pieces turning an ordinary gaming arena into something much more organic. All the result of more larceny, this time from Bioshock's Rapture, but I return to my point regarding Thief. If you're going to steal, steal from the best...
There are faults of course. The voice acting is rarely better than adequate; some of the voice actors seem to think they'd signed up to a video game adaptation of Christmas panto. Also there is a moral choice system, the bane of modern games, forcing us out of the comparatively interesting grey areas into hard black and white. Dishonored's moral choice (between sneaking and killing) is better than most in that there are genuine consequences for the player, consequences that actually MAKE SENSE. For example, if you are Stabby McKillfeast in the early levels, don't be surprised to see an increased guard presence later on. Well, if you were the Captain of the Guard and you were losing men at three or four an hour, you'd lay on some extra hands as well wouldn't you? It's certainly better than Fallout 3's choice of being a bad guy shot by the good guys or a good guy shot by the bad guys (and woe betide you tried to be in the middle because you got shot by both...) There has been complaint that Dishonored giving you weapons but then disadvantaging you if you use them is a way of strong-arming you into picking the stealth route but, as I said before, combat is flowing and intuitive and easily parried so you can still mow down the entire city as long as you don't mind getting a 'bad' ending and being regarded as a greater social menace than the plague. It's also too short; the fact that it does have a lot of replay value is only a partial exoneration, but as the game tumbles in price it no longer seems quite as harsh as when it was first released.
So after all the nice things I've said about it, and all the nit picking I've done to find bad stuff about it, why only four stars? It's not going to threaten my top five anytime soon, but it's a welcome relief from the never ending brown stream of modern-warfare-battlefield-duty-calls games that have been stinking up the first-person shooting market for too long now.
It isn't going to make you think too much, other than how best to grapple that guy into a coma and sling him into a bin before his mate realises, but it would be a doing it a disservice to regard it as shallow, all window dressing with bits cribbed from other games, with no heart or soul. And one other point of praise; thank your chosen deity that Bethesda have bothered to test the game first before releasing it. Whilst they aren't the only developer to throw out half finished titles to meet an accountants demands for a certain market (I'm looking at you Codemasters), this is the first Bethesda game I've played in years without more bugs than an insect house. And if that isn't enough incentive to buy it I don't know what is...
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.
on 27 April 2013
A brilliant game and something different from the usual shooters and adventure games. The game is very rewarding and has great replay value as you can play the game as a rampaging maniac or a stealthy assassin, which ultimately affects the final outcome of the game. The use of powers is a great idea and something fresh and new. Although it isn't the longest game, you will enjoy every minute of it. For £15-£20 its a great buy. Recommended.
on 15 October 2012
Picture this. The corrupt leader of the world's most powerful religious order has just led a captain of the City Watch into his secret chamber, deep within the bowels of his impenetrable headquarters in the mighty port city of Dunwall. They talk about his most prized portrait, where the captain leans forward to inspect it, trying not to insult his leader with his disinterest. The godly man takes a step forward behind him, his voice full of pride, his hands full of glinting steel. Another step closer, and he feels the air shift behind him; the religious man blinks, his throat tightening - he can't breathe ... the next thing he knows is that he is awake, strapped into his own interrogation chair, with the Brand upon his face. With the Heretic's Brand, the High Overseer will be scandalized, cast out - possibly even sentenced. But how did this happen? How!?
I happened. I observed the guards from the shadows, hunted the streets for clues to cement my approach by stealth, and slid through the walls of light and brick like a ghost. For those who came close, they choked and fell asleep, and those who walked by, walk on unaware. The city is my armour; the shadows my shield; the night is my weapon, etc. etc.
Yeah, anyway. Onto the review; I read a few people here complaining about the texture quality employed in the game. I agree with them, but can't really say it bothers me; I mean the rooftops in the city are impressive, but there exists a compromise in terms of having unique, grandiose and impressively handcrafted architecture within each and every vista, against detailing the minutiae of every pane of glass. The scenes in the distance have depth and look painted with a brush. Assassin's Creed is expansive and realistic, but doesn't have many 'hollow' buildings. That's something reviewers should take into account; there's a lot of hidden depth here. I'm inclined to say "It's not an FPS, it's a sculpture, you morons!", but then this game does allow you to play it as an FPS, and the 'accessible requirement' of modern gaming means even the best art has to pander to the most dimwitted FPS-ers. So yes, I turned everything off that the modern dullard needs; No UI, No contextual menus, No crosshairs. I thought this was as close to hardcore perfection as I could get on the xbox, until I found the only real complaint I have with this game; the context-glow (or focus-glow, if you will) of items still exists whether you turn it off or not. That's a bug, which I hope will be fixed because it does detract from the immersion. Not massively so, however. Just enough to recall that you're playing a game, and are not totally part of the world.
So what's it like as a sneak 'em up? Well, you can lean in and out of corners. Throw things to cause distractions. Enemies are sound and light and movement aware in line of sight, whilst patrols randomise when suspicious, requiring map-memory and dextrous improvisation. You can knock people out. And hide their bodies, because if you don't hide them well, other guards will sound the alarm (if you don't rewire it first, of course!) There are varied routes and secret spaces, opened by sourcing clues from the environment, such as from written notes and eavesdropped conversations. The mission review screen is so reminiscent of Thief that it is basically tells you what you hadn't found, if you've been seen and how much chaos you caused (chaos relating to how much you affect the game world for good or ill). It truly is the best successor to the Thief series that fans are likely to play until the real thing comes out. And then you have the rooftops. The Moonlit Rooftops.
Each mission is so large and filled with challenging alternate objectives that you are unlikely to discover everything in your first play; each play area is as much vertical as it is linear, what with some of the special powers available, such as teleport, allowing you access to otherwise inaccessible places.
I love the fact that Dishonored blazes its own path, however. I love the ironic premise of an assassination game that challenges you to complete it by not killing anyone. That demonstrates respect for the hardcore sentiment within you; that need you should have to utterly master your environment. Playing this on Very Hard with no UI gives you a proper challenge; the challenge to be creative and yet methodical. A plausible heir to Thief.
If immersion and exploration are not your thing then stay away (from all games), but if you enjoy first person tension, creative epiphanies and being treated and respected like an adult with the ability to choose an intelligent solution to a problem then purchase this. You will not regret, nor forget it.
on 28 January 2014
I bought this game on a recommendation and put off playing it for a while thinking I wouldn't be into it. But I was wrong.
The open world element really gives you a chance to explore the world and experiment with your powers.
I LOVED the fact that you can temporarily morph into animals... I found some very inventive ways to sneaking into carefully guarded buildings using this method.
Despite the fact that I'm clearly rubbish at sneaking as my wanted level was constantly on high meaning there were extra 'baddies' about, I thoroughly enjoyed jumping about on roofs, scaling walls, scurrying through drain pipes and swimming in canals to achieve my mission objectives.
This dark and freaky world had me reluctant to put my controller down for days. I may have even felt depressed when I completed the final mission!
Highly recommend. Hope they make another one!