Yes, I’m finally posting my review of Dishonored. I’m not quite sure why I haven’t had my review up sooner, but it’s good because I’ve had the chance to play it again almost in it’s entirety. The first time I played, I tried at low chaos, but I ended up with high chaos by the end, as my play style was a little in between. Now, on my second playthrough, I’m doing it on low chaos, which is a lot harder but, in some ways, much more fun.
Pretty awesome, no?
One of the biggest aspects of the game that was showcased before it’s release was the system of choice. And, unlike in many games, that moral choice system works quite well. I’ve noticed changes in how NPC’s interact with me in the game based on how many people I kill. There’s also a clear difference in the amounts of guards, rats, and weepers that are present.
The number of guards, rats, and weepers is actually based on your chaos level, which is a by product of the choices that you make. So, say you choose to kill no one, hide all the unconscious bodies, and are nearly never noticed, you will have a low chaos rating. Personally, I found this system to be both intriguing and logical. Obviously, if there are guard getting massacred in the streets, more of them will be sent out. It’s also really interesting to see the differences to the game made by your chaos rating, and this is one of the games best aspects in my opinion, and definitely makes it worth at least checking out.
The gameplay is also stellar. More than anything, it fells like a steampunk version of Bioshock (A game that everyone loves to compare to this one, but, hey, it’s an apt comparison) with a little twist of Skyrim. Considering that it was published by Bethesda, it’s not really a very big surprise that it plays in a similar matter to Skyrim. The left hand can be equipped with a gun. grenade, crossbow, or any of your powers. And your right hand can only be equipped with your sword. This was slightly disappointing, especially since there’s all of three swords you can use in the entire game, and two of the three you will most likely only use for a mission each.
Great gameplay, great graphics
But the variety of powers and weapons adds a lot to the game. Powers range from Blink, a teleportation tool, to Dark Vision, which is similar to Arkham City’s detective vision, to bend time which allows you to, at first, slow time and eventually stop it entirely. Over the course of the game’s nine missions (I’ll discuss that more later, for sure), you’ll find runes, which allow you to buy and upgrade powers. Runes are relatively abundant, but there aren’t enough to fully upgrade every power. However, the powers you do choose to sue and upgrade will have a direct effect on how the game is actually played.
In addition to runes, you will find Bone Charms throughout the game. Bone Charms work almost like perks, with more useful charms being found later. They do everything from making potions more effective to boosting your speed. Only a certain number cam be equipped at a time, and this also mixes up gameplay.
Now, going back to the powers. Before I start this, I love the story and the lore surrounding the game, to the extent where I read almost every single excerpt of a book or letter that I came across. I just found it to be extremely interesting, but I’ll delve deeper into that later. Those of you who have played the game obviously know about the Outsider. I found the whole thing to be a little too supernatural. While I could honestly care less about realism in my video games (they’re not supposed to be real, after all, they’re just games), the whole concept of the Outsider felt a little silly, Well, not necessarily the ENTIRE concept, I think I would have found much more reasonable if the Outsider was simply a part of the culture of Dunwall, which he undoubtedly is.
So, a quick poll (Yes, I just discovered how to insert these and I really love them so pleas answer):
Moving on, I have to say that Dunwall is an incredible environment. While I am certainly not a fan of the fact that you rarely see any citizens, it does make sense that the areas of the city that you play in wouldn’t have citizens. They probably would have been cleared out of the areas surrounding the palace, the Golden Cat, The Office of the High Overseer, etc. Other than that very minor complaint though, I really like the world. It’s a classic steampunk dystopia, merging high tech with medieval tech, and, on top of that, a corrupt government. Oh, and the plague is ravaging the city as well.
Part of why the world is so great is the graphics. As I have mentioned on numerous occasions, graphics aren’t extremely important to me, but when a game has graphics at this caliber it’s certainly worth mentioning. The game uses the Unreal Engine, so it’s no surprise that the graphics are stellar, as I don’t believe that I have ever played a game on the 360 that uses the Unreal Engine that didn’t look good. But the point is, the graphics in Dishonored are awesome, and are definitely worthy of mention.
The final aspect of the game is it’s story. Honestly, I’m kind of on the wall with this one. The characters are really great characters. And the range of characters is great, from Corvo, to Emily, to the Admiral. All of them are written extremely well and they develop with the story, as do the other members of the resistance. Personally, Samuel the boatman is my favorite character. I find him to be extremely well written and very well characterized. Overall, I find that he’s just a great character.
He’s a pretty awesome guy.
As are pretty much all of the characters in the game, as I mentioned above. The story itself is handled extremely well, in part because of the world that it takes place in, in part because of the characters, in part because of the build up, and in part because of the writing.
I mentioned above that the character’s are written extremely well. And they all are. But it’s not just the major characters, but the standard guards. I never heard the same line used twice, and when you hear them talk, you get a sense of their mood as well. This is in part because of the great voice acting, but mostly because of the writing. The build up is another excellent aspect of Dishonored’s story. Seriously. Throughout the game, there is this great build up to the game’s final act, which I believe consists of the last two missions.
Sadly, the final part of the game is extremely anticlimactic. No joke. After all the build up – right through the last mission – the ending, is quite frankly, really bad. SPOILER ALERT!!! SKIP THIS PART IF YOU HAVE NOT FINISHED THE GAME!!!! The last thing you do in the game is this. The Admiral (who, along with the rest of the resistance, turned against you) is holding Emily to him and about to jump. He tells you to stay where you are or he’ll jump. The objective? Save Emily. What a joke. Bend Time, Windblast, grab Emily. And the game’s over. Sure, there’s that really poorly handled Outsider cutscene that gives you an epilogue, but for a game that pushed me to the edge emotionally, this was a massive let down. Massive.
Some of the best enemies in the game…
My only other complaint is that the game isn’t a full open world. I think the replay value would be a lot greater if it were full open world, and allowed for more questing and such things to pass the time. However, Dishonored opts for what I consider to be a Halo style, where each mission is it’s individual sandbox. I’m a huge fan of this, especially with the amazing moral choice that is present in Dishonored. It does detract form the replay value, and is a slight let down.
Regardless, from the point of waking up in prison all the way to the segment on the flooded district, Dishonored will suck you in to the experience. The story is, for the most part, extremely awesome. The moral choice system is great, and actually works shockingly well, and the gameplay and graphics both add to the game’s overall experience. The lack of a full open world is a let down, but the mini sandbox style is still pretty awesome. Therefore, despite a few shortcomings, Dishonored is an awesome game, and one of the best of 2012.