44 of 46 people found the following review helpful
on 17 October 2012
Dishonored is magnificent.
Dunwall is a world of plague, corruption, decay, superstition, distrust, magic, intolerance, survival and most of all it's oppressive. Yet conversely it's also a world of technological breakthrough and industry (think Thief 2 the Metal Age) that is well and truly now on the down slope. Society is gradually collapsing on the back of an almost unstoppable plague and subsequent rat infestation. And the leadership itself is involved in a desperate internal power struggle and so willing to sacrifice any last remaining remnant of justice. Resources are short, punishment is quick and severe.
Visually the game takes on an 18th - 19th century feel and look, and the art style emphasizes the above further in an unique and appropriate way to Dishonoreds world. The city areas are predominantly degraded, grubby and dirty. Rats are everywhere, sometimes in large groups and can be a real threat that the player must take into account, either through plain avoidance or perhaps by indirectly using them to an advantage as they attack anyone dead or alive on sight.
Slap bang in the middle of this hell you'll occasional find examples of excess and opulence, often the surrounding locations of your targets, and amazingly sophisticated pieces of technology integrated throughout all the environments (usually for the purpose of oppressing the populace in some fashion) running on whale fat which is the worlds primary fuel source and utterly dependent upon it.
Along with so much in the rest of the game, the machines can also be manipulated to aid the player in various ways. But it's the combination of using everything together in multiple ways that makes these interactions feel so varied - this is when the action truly comes alive. You will end up doing a lot of experimenting just for the fun of it.
This is one of those rare games brimming with choice (real choice this time) atmosphere and depth.
As a lot of people have mentioned the gameplay does have a Bioshock feel to it. But as far as atmosphere goes for me it feels more like a 'Thief' title. Perhaps the perfect combination of Thief and Bioshock. Regardless, just as with the `Thief `universe there's a depth here so rarely felt in other games.
You can be heading to an objective, stealthily negotiating the rooftops and alleyways... and suddenly come across a story.
For example at one point I entered a open window only to discover several fly ridden corpses inside and a women's diary recounting how her family had all, one by one, succumbed to the plague. And that now, despite her best efforts and ultimate failure to save them, she herself was also dying. It's these little unscripted encounters, these little human stories and the direct result of them discovered before your own eyes that make the game world feel SO damn deep and interesting. You want to know what's down that alleyway or round that corner or where that rat hole leads etc.
Sometimes these moments will lead to other optional objectives with very real rewards and hidden secrets. But mostly they're just little snippets of information that further add to the depth of the world. I spent many hours just exploring the environments for these stories. Reading notes, reading books and eavesdropping on conversations. There's so much of it.
There's fun to be had here even if you don't care about any of that stuff. Being a super badass assassin is delightful fun regardless of whether you read a single note.
But if you are the kind of person that really gets an added kick out of a deep convincing world and enjoys that side of things - then this an absolute must buy for you. Very rarely do I enjoy a game to the point where I'm truly dragging my heels because I don't want it to end. I'm sure those games are rare for everyone whatever your taste. But for me at least, it's Dishonored that has that effect.
57 of 62 people found the following review helpful
on 12 October 2012
First off I'm going to briefly mention Steam... Just buy yourself a movie or three to watch while it slowly downloads the game... The game weighs in at over 5GB, and took me about 4 or 5 hours to download.
When a game intro introduces you to a lovely interesting looking world then dumps you in a prison and makes you crawl through a sewer, you just KNOW its a Bethesda game.
As usual with Bethesda art direction, lighting and textures are superb, it is a truly beautiful looking game...
This it has to be said is definitely in terms of look and feel Bioshock crossed with Thief but that is no bad thing.
However it is not the game I bought, I was sold an a fps by reviews which it is not, its not an fprpg either, its a stealth 'em up, play it like a stealth 'em up and it becomes far more enjoyable and immersive, sure you can charge through levels guns blazing/ sword 'decapitating everything that breathes, but the game will be short as hell and a surface experience. In terms of stealthiness you are given options from stealth killing everything to the Thief style 'try not to kill anything' to ghosting through each level.
Has to be said choking someone out is rather satisfying though.
The only difficulty with most stealth 'em ups is enemy AI and Dishonored suffers with the usual 'psychic' issues, it can be very twitchy in this area; enemies spotting you hidden 8 foot up a wall deep in the shadows through a metal pipe being a particularly bad example.
However these issues mostly add challenge and just enhance the puzzle of getting around stealthily although you probably will utter oaths that would make a whaler blush.
I'm not a massive gamer the last game I bought was Skyrim, I'm a picky, picky gamer, I like a game that doesn't drag me around on a leash but lets me amble around digging through the trash, admiring the nurnies and collecting stuff and these games are few and far between, this is a fine example and a perfect balance between tense and relaxed playing, and the gentle snores of the KTFO enemies add a soothing warmth to the experience too...
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 23 July 2013
Dishonored is a first person shooting game created by Arkane Studios and published by Bethesda Game Studios.
Things I like about this game.
Graphically this game is beautiful, lighting and textures on the pc version make for pleasurable viewing.
The faces of the people in the game are also graphically very well done with a lot of detail and a realistic look to them, scars and wrinkles included.
The level design in this game is also another strong point, all the levels have a great atmosphere, beautiful skyboxes, lovely models and generally a very well polished feel about them. You can instantly see there has been an awful lot of effort gone in to level designs for this game, none of them fail to hit the mark with something a bit special and quirky in them.
Enemy appearance, I feel they did a great job of this, all the enemies are slightly exaggerated in their appearance, which fits in very well with the visuals of the rest of the game.
Things I feel didn't quite make the cut.
I feel the game is almost like an empty shell, whilst the visual are strong other elements have a lot to be desired.
Enemies, damn I feel there is a lot of problems here! Lack of variations, basically throughout the game you're fighting the same guys over and over again.
Lack of personality's, the enemies are boring, their all clones and lack any uniqueness from one to the other, so it gets rather boring, they never do anything different.
Lack of intelligence from the AI, you can open doors in front of them, stand right next to them, hide behind glass which is obviously see through, throw bodies at their feet and they wont even notice!! Great job. Probably the worst AI I've seen in a game.
Basic combat, it's very repetitive, disappointing and that's all I have to say on the matter.
The crossbow, deadly, silent and easy to use.
This weapon makes killing enemies too easy, unrewarding and you can carry up to 30 ammo meaning you can wipe up every guard on the map in next to no time.
Special abilities, with such bad AI these skills are just not needed, some are cool, fun to use but for me they made the game too similar to Skyrim and many other titles. In essence these skills lacked any skill to earn or use.
The game can seem very linear at times, even though the levels are designed in a way to give the player many options for routes, but ultimately it still feels like you're been forced throughout the game.
Overall I feel the games not terrible but it's not amazing either, it's okay and somewhere in the middle.
For the £10 price tag on the PC version (July 2013) it's well worth a go.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 1 May 2013
I remember when I first purchased Dishonored. I was on-the-fence whether to buy this, or Assassin's Creed III. However, after playing all the previous Assassin's Creed games, I thought I'd give Bethesda's then-new stealth game a try. What a wise choice!
I've never been a big fan of the strictly stealth games (as in, "you cannot be detected") and so Dishonored provided quite a relief when I discovered that stealth wasn't a necessity for most of the game. Of course, the player can choose to stick to the shadows and become a silent instrument of devastation, but the "all guns blazing" (or, in this case, crossbow and pistol blazing) option is left open throughout the game.
The story of Dishonored is rather interesting, with twists involved that'll make you re-evaluate everything you thought you knew about the game. I'd say the story, in its intrigue and intelligence, isn't too dissimilar to BioShock Infinite. The characters are well-designed, too.
There's a good amount of lore and backstory ready for the player, accessible through the considerable amount of books scattered throughout the game. But don't worry, the books are much more digestible in their length than those in Bethesda's Elder Scrolls series!
The abilities and weaponry available in the game makes Dishonored an enjoyable experience for the combat-driven gamer, too. Summoning a swarm of rats and using sleep-inducing crossbow bolts are just two of the abilities available to the player in-game.
Overall, a great game with few flaws. 5/5.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 9 January 2013
Dishonored is quite possibly my game of 2012, and that's because of two things. One is that it's extremely satisfying to play through stealthily. Not 'fun' per se, because if you want fun then there's a whole host of action games that came out last year, but immensely gratifying. Every stealth-based game since Thief has tried to pull off that feeling, but few have succeeded. Dishonored is one of those few. It's one of those rare games where you can take pride in not having committed any acts of violence, and while it's not the lightest game in tone whatever path you choose, it's certainly up to you to decide where on the sliding scale of grimness your experience falls. It still manages to retain that delightful feel of sneaking through an area undetected, even among some annoyingly psychic rat swarms that come out of nowhere. The experience of some levels is also slightly ruined by the fact that alerting plague victims counts against your no-detection run, which is rather silly, and there's really not enough variety in the enemies. But since this is a game more about exploration and creativity than just killing or hitting things, I can't hold that against it too much.
The other is that the atmosphere is top-notch. As I said, it's not a happy game, and Dunwall is not a sunny place, but it doesn't need to be because it's trying to tell the story of a city in decline without actually saying it in so many words. The quarantined districts, the piles of bodies, the 'weepers' who are essentially plague zombies - none of them speak, but obviously they don't need to. It's much like City 17 from Half Life 2 (as indeed the lead designer of Dunwall was the same person who designed City 17) in that you get almost no backstory unless you read into the details in the environment. It doesn't always work properly, because the guards often spout repeated lines about how the city couldn't get much worse, but that they should gather for whiskey and cigars tonight anyway. But when it does work, it really works. Watch out for one of the later levels set in an abandoned and flooded area of the city. You can still see how it used to be a thriving financial district, but has been eaten away at by the plague much as the population has.
If you like the Warren Spector/Ken Levine type of game, then you owe it to yourself to play Dishonored, because there simply aren't enough of them, and this is a beacon among the fog of stagnant modern shooters. Get some decent quality sound equipment and get immersed in the setting. It might be plague-ridden and rainy, but you'll find yourself coming back for more. I've already played it twice, and I've only had it two weeks.
52 of 58 people found the following review helpful
Lets get the bad stuff over with first. Dishonored uses an old game engine, so although there's a lot of talk about Dishonored being the best game of the year, it is certainly not this year's game in terms of technology: it uses the Unreal engine, and you will not be seeing Crysis quality textures, bump/environment mapping, alpha effects or particle effects. It is also certainly not an FPS: if you don't like stealth games, this one is not for you.
We're looking at a stealth game similar to Hitman or Thief, but with Magic thrown into the mix, and a quirky Bioshock `period' style (although the period here is `Steam-punk Victorian', rather than `1930s Americana'). In the game, you become a rogue assassin, are wanted for a crime you didn't commit, and have to save the princess and right a few wrongs along the way.
If you've ever played Dark Messiah of Might and Magic (which is actually created by the same team, Arkana), you'll probably see Dishonored as a natural progression from that. Arkana were also involved in Bioshock, and one of the lead designers was also involved in HL2, so there's a bit of all that pedigree shining through.
Rather like Hitman/Thief, the missions operate within a sandbox rather than as a scripted `on rails' progression, so there is always more than one way to complete each hit (i.e. stealthy, gung ho, or a downright clever route for those with watchful eyes and nosy ears), and you can do each mission in a `good' or `evil' way. There are also always a few sub-missions thrown into the mix for good measure (many of which only become apparent whilst you are on the mission, so none of the missions are ever straightforward!), and an RPG element: weapon/gadget enhancement and magic skills that you use to make your character more suited to your play style. The weapons and gadgets are much more useful than other games though, because they are so open ended. For example, you have a teleport ability. This allows you to reach otherwise accessible map areas (sneaking over enemy by using roofs and pipework). But you can also use it combat if you are quick (walking up to a guard and teleporting behind him, using the confusion to either watch the guard run in the wrong direction, or being sneaky and knocking him unconscious from behind).
Despite the use of an aging graphic engine, the graphic design is excellent, and they seem to have got around the texture issues by using a graphic style that doesn't really need high resolution (not quite cell shaded, but something that doesn't have that much in the way of complex textures). On the flip side, I can see some critics complaining of 'dumbed down console graphics', but I do think the graphic style fits in so well with the game that few people will care. Only glaring issue is that most of the city you travel around is empty. This fits in with the storyline (there's been a plague), but bustling, Assassin's creed type cities are noticeable by their absense in much of Dishonored. Oh, and as you will find, you can't trust anyone...
Fun factor. Sandbox missions are not for everyone. If you read the game blurb and got to the bit where it says `you can play it as a grunt and shoot everything', then your game will be disappointing: best results occur if you at least try to play as a stealthy character, because Dishonored makes a poor FPS. If you loved Hitman or Thief and are happy to accept a beautiful graphic style over an up to date Directx 11 game engine, then Dishonored is probably for you. If Modern warfare and Battlefield leave you wanting something that allows you to be clever occasionally, then this is definitely the game for you. Many game magazine reviews have gushed over this game, and they are right: it really is a return back to form for intelligent PC game-play (as opposed to all the other technically perfect but morally suspect and creatively bereft war FPS franchises out there... note the word `PC' there: PC is the best version).
Finally, hardware: as the game doesn't use high textures, there is no need to play it at 1080p. I got excellent frame rates and quality at 1600x900, everything else maxed out on a very trailing edge system for gaming (ATI 6870, Q6600 email@example.comGHz, 8Gig memory, Windows 7 64 bit).
I can't end this review without saying something about the big elephant in the room: release date.
I really want Dishonored to do well so Arcane do more similar games, but the release date screams `this is not a Christmas release and the publisher decided to put it out in the lull before Christmas'. Unfortunately the main reason for this is probably that the game is not cutting-edge DirectX 11. Much as I would like Arcane to get as many sales at full price, my reviews must benefit buyers not sellers, and I must conclude by saying that the release date suggests that this game's full price shelf life will probably not last till the big Christmas push (less than a month away) as it is clearly not targeted as a Christmas release. So if you want a great game for mid price, I don't think you will have to hold off buying for long.
A sad statement to end on (as this doesn't really impinge on the game's quality but is actually totally to do with game retail industry shelving rules - I've seen similar issues in book publishing, which I used to work in), but if you are reading this within a month of release date, you may end up buying mid-price by waiting far fewer weeks than is usually the case.
** Update 12 Oct 2012 **
There are currently no visual effect injector mods (one of the things that really enhanced vanilla Skyrim), but if like me, you feel vanilla Dishonored looks a little flat in terms of contrast, try the SweetFX injector (it works with any game: google is your friend). I enabled LumaSharpen and tonemap, giving it a more gritty and more contrasty look. To use it, you edit SweetFX_settings.txt, setting 0 or 1 for each effect in the 'choose effects' bit, then place all the files in your dishonored/binaries/win32 dir. You can then toggle sweetFX with the scroll lock key.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 1 June 2013
I enjoyed this a lot, but found the stealth aspect to be frustrating. It's so hard to avoid detection at times that I found myself approaching the game from a FPS perspective and going for all-out attack to get me through some of the more heavily policed sections.
Sticking to dark areas seems to make little difference to your visibility, it seems to be more about proximity and line of sight, which is unrealistic. Unlike games such as Thief which had a kind of visibility meter, with this stealth system you are never quite sure how visible you are, and once you're spotted it's very hard to escape the multiple pursuers.
Despite the flawed stealth aspect, it's still a fun and original game, and solid in all other areas. Looks great in 3D too.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 26 November 2013
A lot of my friends play this game so I decided to give it a go when it came up at £10. To my surprise I really enjoyed this experiance and I keep playing it again to try and get a good ending.
The biggest pro is that this game has a brilliant story line and without giving too much away: You play as Corvo, the queen's protector, and the city you live in is suffering a plague which is ravaging the city; so the queen sends you to find a cure but when you get back and meet the queen to tell her the news all hell brakes lose... Another pro is that this game has multiple endings (2 endings) a good and a bad but to not spoil this game I won't tell you how to get the good or bad ending or what happens. There is also a leveling up system with perks you can use to make you life easier.
To be honest there is not much cons to worry about and the only one I have is that the story ends! But not to worry as expansion packs have come out to extend to fun silent gameplay.
I really enjoyed this game and I have already completed the expansion packs so I give this game 5/5
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 21 October 2012
There are a few games out there that capture the soul, creating a world that the player just falls into, a world that we haven't seen before, where as much is not said as is said. If I think back to some of the great games of the past, such as Thief or Fallout, part of their appeal was the sheer scope of the world they crafted, where the game itself seemed but a small window that fired the imagination. Dishonored is another such game.
Set in an industrial revolution capital city, beset by a deadly plague, Dishonored creates a world of contrasts; rich & poor, technologically advanced vs squalor, with a hint of magic thrown in for good measure. The plot itself is not enormously unusual (although it has just enough twists to keep it fresh), but what sets Dishonored apart is the way it's told, the depth of characters/environment & the sheer scope of opportunity presented to the player. The world itself is suitably morally dark & ambiguous for the setting, with some excellent portrayals of just what people have to do in such an epidemic. All of the enemies fitted in well with the setting, from City Watch to anti-magic Overseers to thugs & assassins, and I was particularly impressed with the choice of animals as potential antagonists rather than mere backdrop.
There is strong influence present from the likes of the Thief series or Deus Ex, but taken further such that you truly can choose how you will complete each mission. Nothing stops you killing every living thing on the level (if you can), but equally, you can choose how best to be that shadow in the dark that was never seen. Do you save a passerby being mugged in the dystopian backstreets, risking your primary mission with delay in return for potential information & the warm fuzzy feeling of having made a difference in the dark, or do you pass on by, leaving them to their fate? The game reacts to your choices at a subtle level - individual choices tend to feed back immediately if they're going to, but your overall approach is reflected as the game progresses both by the missions & the characters you influence. What sets stealth games apart from most is that the world doesn't revolve around the player; the world instead goes about its business & the player disrupts it. However, Dishonored ensures that the world feels your influence over time - in that sense, the world still does revolve around you, and is a refreshing blend of design choices.
In terms of actual gameplay, the game allows you to pick from a variety of powers gifted to you by the enigmatic chaotic entity The Outsider (chosen & upgraded via runes found during gameplay), as well as a pretty large number of more mundane weapons, and yet the real magic of the game is that you might use none or all of these at your discretion. Do you blink across behind that guard, or snipe them with a crossbow? PC controls are a little fiddly, as the game would really like you to have three primary controls due to the way sword combat is implemented, but once you get a feel for it, combat is well executed & yet remaining challenging if you get into a full-on melee with multiple enemies. The game's defaults aren't necessarily the best but you can remap just about everything, and most importantly, turn off a vast array of 'helpful hints' that make the game significantly more easy - by default you get a pointer to where to go next and alert meters on guards and other such things that no self-respecting stealth player would keep turned on. Dark Vision is a power to use sparingly as well.
At a more technical level, the graphics & sound are absolutely superb. Everything fits. The graphics are a muted palette of watercolours, and thus it's rather like playing in an extremely detailed painting, and yet the choice works well for the setting. It also enables the game to play with fairly minimal requirements as the texturing is pretty low resolution without detracting from the experience. There are a variety of tweaks out there for the engine's ini files to improve the default settings (that are more aimed at a console's limitations) and improve the game experience further. Field of view can be tweaked (thank god) although it could have done with a wider range. Level design is excellent. There are few occasions where you feel like the designers had to throw in convenient cover for the player's sake, and almost always alternative ways to approach every problem. The chaos system enables quite a bit of replay value, along with the challenges of achieving ghost or clean hands playthroughs, or a playthrough without powers... Much like the game itself, the replay value comes from the player seeking new ways to approach the game.
Like any game, there are of course things one can criticise. The lack of use of shadows makes for a sometimes confusing experience until one gets used to simply dealing with line of sight - if the guards are looking at you, chances are they can see you, even if it's night-time and you're in very deep dark shadow. If you're playing from a ghost perspective, the controls are awkward because there's an assumption around use of the sword, when in truth you'll never use it. The game has a combination of hints & powers that really can make the game too easy; it depends on the player's willpower to turn them off and give themselves a challenge. The plot really needed one or two more missions to ramp up the suspense & divert the player to other areas - as it stands it's feasible to sink 20 hours into the game if you're thorough, but only just. Perhaps DLC will address this. It really depends on whether you're the type to blindly follow a pointer to the next objective, or one to wander and enjoy the entirety of the game's world, read every book, find every painting, and so on.
In summary, Dishonored is a superb entry into the stealth genre, worthy of sharing shelf space next to Thief 1-3. It crafts a masterpiece of a world, one that I would be delighted to return to. A thinking person's stealth game where you can perturb the world as much or as little as you like - destined to become a classic, I feel.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 12 October 2012
Arkane are a game developer that seems to understand the most important (at least, for me) aspects of creating a game: Atmosphere and immersion. Dishonoured is a stunning world to explore, and the story is engrossing. These two points make the game worth the money for me and, to top it off the game play is top notch.
I would say it's a strong mixture of Bioshock and Deus Ex: Human Revolution. You have a array of magical 'rune' powers which are not too different from the Plasmids system of Bioshock, and various stealthy takedown manouvers that are not so different from Deus Ex. This being said, Dishonoured is certainly not a clone; it adds a plethora of unique and interesting gameplay twists that you will have a great time playing around with. You can manipulate the environment with various traps, manipulate time with the Slow Time rune, and even pocess rats to scout out the map before you sneak your way through Assassin's Creed style. Gameplay is open ended, you can get to your targets many ways using all the styles of play. Actions you do alter the story in surprising ways.
The game play offers so much choice that there will be something for everyone - you can slice and blast your way through the game FPS style, or you can stick to the shadows and stealth your way (you can complete the entire game without a single kill, too). It rewards smart players with changes to the difficulty and environment depending on how you play; if you go out chopping off heads and blasting your way through there will be more enemies in the following areas.
Where the game really shines though is the world. The city of Dunwall is 16Th century / sci-fi steam punk / mythical city in ruins, the inhabitants are on the brink of both extinction and losing an ongoing war against the corrupt government that is enslaving, oppressing and experimenting on them. A plague is destroying most of the population and turning some into Weepers (zombie like plague victims). The government is experimenting new weapons and technologies on the poor and the infected, whilst an underground movement of liberals are trying to muster up a strong enough rebellion to take back the city. It's truly fantastic in both vision and execution, with an array of interesting and believable characters. Strong voice acting and near perfect atmosphere help bring the world to life. Its violent, gory and mature from start to finish. The city itself reminded me of Tim Burton's London in the Sweeney Todd film.
It is by no means a perfect game, since there is probably no such thing, but it comes so close and I really enjoyed it. It took me around 14 hours on hard difficulty, but I suspect the average playthrough will be 15-18 hours for most players.