Initial release date: October 9, 2012
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Developer: Arkane StudiosI am a sucker for stealth games. The idea of being an assassin capable of feats no normal human could ever pull off holds a startlingly amount of lure for me. Though I am pretty horrible at these types of games (oh the irony) I usually jump at the chance to try out stealth games, even more so if it’s a Bethesda game. This led me to grab Dishonoured during the 2015 winter steam sale and after finishing the game – twice – I am filled with regret for not buying this game earlier.
I am a pretty stingy person in general so you can easily tell when I’ve fallen completely in love with a game. For one, if I state that I would not hesitate to buy the game at full price, meaning the price of the game when it was first launched, that means it has made a really big impact on me. Also, I usually won’t come back to a game once I’ve finished it. The fact that I played Dishonoured twice, is actually very surprising for me.
The game kicks off with a relatively boring cut scene with you on a boat. It serves as an introduction and provides you with some exposition on your character’s status, what you’ve been doing so far, and what you have to do next. Although it was boring, that opening scene captured my attention in an instant because of how brilliant the environment was. The dark and choppy waters were mesmerizing to look at, and as the boat proceeds further into the port, the grand and menacing city came into view and effectively stole my breath away.
While I was playing Dishonoured, I noticed that I rarely ever got tired of the surroundings. The places and streets in those levels are extremely detailed, and it gives the city personality.
The boarded up houses, the legions of soldiers patrolling the streets, rubbish strewn all over the ground, all of it adds to the realism of the corrupted city and it works wonderfully to immerse the player in its world. It also gives you some insight of the current state of the city. All in all, the praise for Dishonoured’s art style is rightly deserved.
While not open world, each of the levels or ‘Missions’ as termed in the game are very large and though they don’t doesn’t include a whole plethora of side quests, these options allow for a more diverse play through. For example, if breaking into this place is too difficult since there are too many guards spread throughout the vicinity – visiting one of the level’s NPC’s may open up a way to get to your target safely, or even provide you with a non-lethal method of taking out said target.
Okay, so maybe some of you might be wondering why ‘Non-lethal’ methods are in a game where you literally play as an assassin. To put it simply, non-lethal methods are useful in keeping your ‘Chaos’ level low. The chaos level a morality scale of sorts and depending on how many people you kill during your play through, you can get either a ‘good’ ending or a ‘bad’ ending. I got a low chaos ending on my first play through, so getting a high chaos ending was actually pretty painful in my second run!
Corvo Attano, the assassin cum ex royal bodyguard you’re playing as has little to no personality. The developers, Arkane Studios, said the reason for that was to allow the player to project themselves onto him, and though I think that they should have given him a little more personality other than head shaking, it still stands that they did a grand job. As the phrase goes, the devil is in the details, and I could still catch glimpses of Corvo’s own personality shining through at times – the way he twirls his weapon, his actions towards Emily, the empress’s daughter. The little things do matter.
Story wise, Dishonoured doesn’t break any new strides, but they were good enough that I didn’t see the plot twist coming. Of course, that could be me just being a complete idiot but the plot is more than serviceable, and though some have said that the game was rather short, I think that it perfect for me.
What makes this game even better, is the characters you get to interact with. It’s serves to show us how important voice acting can be, because it can literally make or break a game.
All of the voice actors did a spectacular job of bringing life to their characters, especially for Emily and the boatman, Samuel. The way the characters speak to Corvo are also a good way for you to interpret what they think of him – do they see him as a hero, a villain, or a pawn? Your choice to kill or to euthanize your targets also have a hand in what they think of you, so if you don’t want a certain character to ostracize you, you’d better choose carefully!
In Dishonoured, the player also gets to choose between a host of supernatural powers that will aid you in your mission of revenge. By collecting ‘Runes’ you can choose which powers you want to upgrade and this in turn affects how you play the game.
For example, if you choose to level up the skill called ‘Possess’ you can take control of rats, and this allows you to access a shortcut through certain areas without alarming the guards. If you max out that skill, you can possess humans for a short time – in which you can literally waltz through enemy territory without so much as a glance.
Even without certain powers, the player is still perfectly capable of getting through the obstacles of the game. In fact, the game pushes you to be creative with the way you approach each level, so you can be damn sure that your second or third run will be as interesting as your first depending on how you choose to proceed. Additionally, the game does provide you with weapons other than your trusty sword.
Again, these weapons can be extremely useful if you want to effectively take out all your enemies in a whirlwind of blood and steel, or have them fall asleep on their feet with a shot of the sleep dart. The choice is up to you. But I must say, that the sleep dart was the most useful weapon in my arsenal especially since I was aiming for a low chaos ending.
In the end, I completely and utterly fell in love with Dishonoured. I will definitely be going back to play it for the third time, and perhaps I’ll try my hand at speed running! I doubt I would be any good at it but it certainly won’t hurt to try. I’ll be getting the DLC sometime soon as well, and it’s a given that Dishonored will be a permanent, downloaded resident in my steam library.