"Attention Dunwall Citizens..."
I picked up the game "Dishonored" a few weeks ago during Steam's "Summer Blowout," when it was only $5.00 US. You play as "Corvo," the bodyguard of the Empress of Dunwall. You are framed for her murder and condemned to death. The reason I've decided to review this game today is that, for this weekend, you can play the game for free if you have a Steam Account, and you can own the game for only $5.00 again.
"The Plague Will Take Us All..."
The game itself is set in the SteamPunk City of Dunwall, one of several "City States" in the world. SteamPunk, for lack of a better definition, is basically a mixture of Swords, Sorcery, and "steam powered" machinery. In Dunwall, whale oil is the source of "technological" power, converted to electrical energy by processing. Basically think of a world where technology is powered exclusively by batteries.
The city of Dunwall is in trouble. A plague of unknown origin, spread by aggressive rats, has devastated much of the city's population. No one has found a cure, but there are elixirs available that prevent the spread of the disease, if you can afford them. Most of the poor population cannot, and so large sections of the city have been depopulated - left as festering ruins. "Weepers," plague victims in the last stages of the disease, roam the streets - mindlessly attacking everyone they see in their madness.
"The Loyal Opposition...."
In the opening sequence, the Empress is killed, her daughter is kidnapped, and you are framed. The "Lord Regent" who has seized power spends months trying to wring a confession out of you, and your execution is certain.
It is on the eve of your execution that the "Opposition" makes contact with you in prison, arranging your escape, and offering you a chance to take revenge on the men who have done this to you, if only you can find your way out.
Thrown into this mix is "The Outsider," basically a god-like being who watches the world of Dunwall and offers "help" to various people. His motives are never made clear, and contact with him has different effects on different people. He is mostly neutral to benevolent towards you, but observes your actions with "great interest." He grants you powers by collecting his "runes" and "bone charms" as you adventure through the game.
"A Darker Ending..."
One of the features of the game is that how it "ends" is dependent on your actions. Both endings are somewhat satisfying, although the "darker" one is more fun to get to. It is possible to complete the entire game without killing anyone, or even being detected by enemies. "Possible," but as the saying goes, "not probable."
"G*d %#$& plague, G*d #$*@ rats, ridiculous...."
I love this game. The depth of the environments, the detail, and the AI combine to bring the plague ridden city of Dunwall to life. The mix of technology and magic are well developed, and while you can get a variety of "powers" to make your tasks easier, you won't need anything besides "blink" to finish the game.
The language is coarse - this is not a "children's game." The guards are often heard cursing, complaining about their lot in life and the unfairness of the world. There's talk of drinking, smoking, gambling - all the vices. One of the missions involves the "Golden Cat" - which is basically a brothel. There's nothing, however, that you wouldn't see or hear walking down the streets of most urban population centers.
I have played through three times, and I'm still surprised by what I find. The biggest challenge was the "no kill" tour I did. It is not possible to do all of the "side quests" and achieve "no kill," but the side quests do change based on who you kill and who's left alive!
Overall, it's worth the $5.00 I spent. If you have time this weekend, check it out for free!