Dishonored is a first-person action/stealth game from Arkane Studios. Cutting right to the chase, this game is amazing and should easily be in the running for multiple Game of the Year awards. There isn’t anything quite like Dishonored on the market today.
The game has a steampunk feeling to it and takes place in the fictional city of Dunwall, which is modeled after Victorian London. A deadly plague has been sweeping through the city and the player will often stumble across wrapped up dead bodies, swarms of rats, and infected people known as “Weepers.”
The main character of the game is a silent protagonist named Corvo who served as the personal bodyguard to the Empress but is framed for her murder at the beginning of the game. He becomes an assassin under the employ of a group of activists known as the “Loyalists” in order to exact revenge on those who killed her and subsequently ruined his life. The Loyalists want nothing more than to overthrow the corrupt government and install the Empress’ daughter to power. Corvo is their means of accomplishing this task.
So Corvo is given high-priority targets and sent out on assassination missions. This is what Assassin’s Creed should have been like! There are no boring, repetitive tasks to carry out before actually getting a meaningful mission. Everything you do is important. What makes Dishonored so awesome is that there are multiple ways to play it. You can be either stealthy or go in guns blazing. While the stealth approach is a lot harder, it is also more rewarding. Killing people will result in more guards and more rats which also means the plague will become more widespread. The outcome of the game is subtly shaped by your decisions while playing.
Each mission itself also has multiple methods of accomplishing it. This makes the game feel a lot more dynamic and realistic. It is even possible to go through the entire game without killing a single person. I personally don’t have that kind of patience so I’ll usually end up murdering scores of guards on my way to each target. But that is why Dishonored is so great. It doesn’t force you to play a certain way. The game adapts to your play style rather than the other way around. The level of freedom given to you in Dishonored is a breath of fresh air.
There are a variety of weapons and supernatural powers at Corvo’s disposal which help both in combat and when slinking around. Powers can be acquired by finding hidden runes which are then spent on learning or leveling up certain powers. Powers include things like improved health regeneration, being able to slow down time, possessing animals, teleporting short distances, and summoning a swarm of rats that will attack and eat enemies.
One other thing that is really cool is that any valuables you find are automatically sold and converted to gold. This removes the tediousness associated with constantly loading up on items and then having to sell them later.
The controls are very smooth with the only real problem being that sneaking up on guards can sometimes be finicky. Sometimes you will mean to choke out a guard from behind only to start randomly blocking instead (the button is the same). This can end up getting you seen when otherwise it would have been a perfect stealth knockout. It doesn’t happen often, but it can be a huge pain when it does.
The graphics are really nothing to write home about but that is in part due to Dishonored’s quirky art style that doesn’t go for an ultra-realistic look. Sometimes the textures can also take a few seconds to load when entering a new area (on the Xbox 360 version) but aside from that, the game looks good.
Depending on how you go about it, Dishonored can take anywhere from ten to twenty hours to beat. There is no multiplayer, which could be a deal breaker for some gamers, but Dishonored is still well worth the $60 price tag. There is a lot of replayability to this game because of the various paths you can take and the different play styles it caters to.
If you are looking for a game with an interesting storyline and well-made game mechanics, you’ll definitely want to pick up Dishonored.
Final Score: 5 / 5
(This review was based off a review copy of the game).