A game that was held in very high regard among developers and the gaming press, but I think slipped under the radar from most of the general consumers, Dishonored stocked store shelves along side the questionable juggernaut Resident Evil 6. This review is proof, from me at least, that Dishonored was the correct game to pull off of the shelves.
Taking place in a fictional steam punk dystopia, Dishonored puts you in the shoes of Corvo Attano, the personal body guard of Jassamine Kaldwin, the Empress of Dunwall. In unfortunate events of deceit you are wrongly accused of murder and sentenced to death. The loyalist party still believing your innocence aids your escape from prison and gives you the tools you need to reclaim the government to the people, one assassination at a time. The mystical powers you attain are no mistake, you are the chosen one, but chosen for what?
Dishonored is a first person shooter at the core, with general FPS controls, your sword, crossbow, pistol, and powers are all controlled by an action wheel with quick d-pad equipping of your essential tools or “spells”. Your crossbow has standard, incendiary, and snooze bolts and you have access to spells after finding runes scattered around the world. You have a number of spells to choose from, some are used to vanquish your enemies while others are used to travel faster and more discretely through the cities and it’s buildings. Blink, which allows you to travel short distances in a “blink” of an eye (catchy no?), is the power you will use the most. Other spells include slowing time, possession of people and animals, rat swarms, and ability to see people through walls. The rat swarm is straight dirty and makes you feel either like the pied piper or that creepy Willard kid.
The combat of Dishonored is fluent and can be hectic, or it can be a combo ridden paradise. Blocking and parrying with the combination of spells makes you an assassination power house. Unfortunately I played through Dishonored in “stealth” mode, so I rarely, if ever, took part in combat. Shooting snooze bolts at curious guards and sickly weepers was the extent of my combat prowess. So here’s the part that makes Dishonored such a great game, choices. I’m not talking about Bioware‘s ethic’s wheel or Telltale Games‘ stressful timed responses in The Walking Dead, this is choices on how to play the game.
Dishonored‘s choices far surpass stealth and murderous approaches. It also expands to other aspects, paths taken, traps set, traps disabled, alliances formed, and many others I’d rather not give away for fear of spoilers. Just know that sparing peoples lives or taking them has their advantages and disadvantages. Unconscious bodies can be found by wandering guards while dead bodies attract rat swarms and more weepers, people infected with the plague and have nothing to live for except beat the living bejesus out of you. I chose the earlier choice and have made it my civil duty to kill no man…on purpose. I may have killed a few, but it’s not my fault the guy can’t hold his own molotov, and so what if I threw that one dude off a cliff, I was just hiding him, really well.
My travels through Dunwall were always well planned and thought out, one step at a time, methodically choking out victims and knowing exactly where I was going to put them. It sounds very basic, and sadly that is really the extent of the gameplay, but it’s the amount of time and energy put into said gameplay that makes Dishonored so good. If one way didn’t look good, there was almost always another way. It reminds me a lot of my first time in Rapture, seeing this oppressed society living in an industrial dystopic city. It’s an amazing sight, one you have to see and experience.
Dishonored is a very strong title that I strongly suggest to anyone who is looking for a lot of game to play. The differing styles of gameplay and trophies alone adds a lot of great replay value. Controls are clean with a smooth combo system and the stealth aspects actually work. Some would argue that the game mechanics were lacking, but sometimes, being basic is just what a game needs. I don’t believe Dishonored is “Game of the Year” material, but I do think it’s a game that should be in everyone’s library. Which is a shame because I worry that the general public doesn’t know what Dishonored is. If you look on the store shelves, would Dishonored catch your eye as a game you must play? To the average consumer I believe it doesn’t. Dishonored will unfortunately be a late bloomer, and I could see it really taking off in a few years. Let it get the love it deserves and snag yourself Dishonored, “before it was cool.”
Back to the Farm.