Dishonored – PC
Developer: Arkane Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Release Date (NA): October 9, 2012
Nerd Rating: 7.2 out of 10
Reviewed by Dovahkyle
First I want you to picture Skyrim meets Assassins Creed. I was reluctant to try this game as the previews led me to believe it was an Assassins Creed rip off, but then I found out it was a Bethesda game, so as the Bethesda nerd I am I had to give it a fair shot. Powered by the Unreal Engine 3, this world is awe inspiring to take in. Although set in the fictional city of Dunwall, it bears an uncanny resemblance to early London during the plague.
The cast features many known actors and actresses such as Susan Sarandon, Carrie Fisher, Michael Madsen, and Chloe Grace Moretz. With a star studded cast like this you would expect the story to be pretty dramatic, and you would be right. Along with winning Spike’s Video Game Award for best Action/Adventure game in 2012 as well as the British Academy Video Game Award for best game in 2013, it also won the Inside Gaming Award for Best Environmental Design and Playstation Official Magazine named it their Game of the Year. I can’t disagree with any of these titles as this in a great all around game, the plot, although not as original as some might think, is inventive.
Gameplay: The game starts with the main character, Corvo Atanno(the Empress’ body guard) being framed for her assassination, forcing Corvo(ironically) to become an assassin. The game is very cloak and dagger, with magical aspects to it(but you literally have a cloak and a dagger). There is no real learning point in the game, I just died allot at the beginning trying to figure out what I was supposed to be doing. Typical for and Bethesda productions, the player starts in prison, but unlike past games, you actually have to escape instead of being freed. I quickly learned the essence of stealth and the importance of disabling the enemy before I was noticed. The kills are entertaining, kind of just push the attack button when close enough and it cuts to an automated assassination scene, that is if I was undetected.
Killing the enemy is almost never required as killing can cause a darker outcome to the game, the choice is left to the player to decide whether death or unconsciousness is going to be the end for a potential enemy. Being that the entire game is mission focused, there is allot of freedom with the missions. There are usually four or five different ways to get to the main objective and then how to complete the main objective is left to the whims of the assassin.
Killing someone with a trap, running out of a window of a three story building and diving into the river to escape, was just the first mission I did. I’m sure there was a more glamorous way to complete the mission but, hey, I like swimming. Don’t forget to hide the bodies, whether dead or not, hide those bodies. I had to keep telling myself this, as it was the reason I kept getting noticed, carrying bodies is pretty fun honestly, because trying to find new fun places to throw them is great, out of a window, off a bridge, under a table, the choices are endless, the question is, where will you hide yours?
Combat damage is negated with your standard heath potions and the excessive use of magic abilities will require some of that blue stuff to keep you trucking. The sword fighting, which I think is really like a “oh crap he saw me”, last resort kind of thing, is OK not really my favorite sword game(that would have to be Assassins Creed), but it does have a cool block feature which can knock an enemy back so he can be stabbed in the throat. I really prefer the spring razor traps or the crossbow with sleep darts my self, but to each his own. There is also a gun, flintlock I think, but I rarely used this loud weapon.
The magic abilities are strange, but original and I loved them, sometimes I’d forget what I was supposed to be doing because I was just blinking all over the place, here are some examples: Blink, teleports to wherever the player is looking; Dark Vision, allows player to see people(and there view points) and at higher levels, objects through walls(I used this allot, completely necessary for being undetected); Possession, allows player to possess rats, fish or hounds, which opens up all new avenues for completing mission, as some places can only be reached by the smallest of creatures. These abilities are leveled up by finding runes throughout the game and spending them on the powers I wanted, I could also find bone charms which could be activated to have constant effects on Corvo, like breaking windows quietly or holding breath longer underwater.
There are neat little gadgets like the spring razor trap I mentioned earlier, to be used throughout the missions, if the player so chooses. There are automated defense systems within the city such as the wall of light, which is a large wall of electrodes that will fry anyone dumb enough to walk through it, these can be reprogrammed by a rewire tool, to work for Corvo. Sticky grenades, arc mines and choke dust are among the gadgets to purchase throughout the game, although there are a few more.
Story: I found the plot to be, although a little predictable, overall good. Without revealing any plot twists, Corvo, the main protagonist, is framed for the murder of the Empress in a devious plan to place someone in the throne who could be controlled. The mission is to assassinate everyone responsible until all that is left is the goodies. The city is riddled with the rat plague, and victims in the last stages, called Weepers(essentially violent, fly vomiting zombies), wander mindlessly around the city’s alleys and sewers looking for a potential friend to infect. Rats in swarms can consume an entire person, while alive, so don’t underestimate the large groups of rats, I did, and I died, stupid rats. The storyline will keep you entertained, but the cut-scenes(really just conversations with people) are a little drawn out, luckily there is a skip option on the scene, so I could get back to killing ASAP.
Controls: For me the controls were a little difficult to get used to, obviously being a keyboard, I could’ve changed the default mapping, but I don’t have time to rework every game, so I didn’t touch it. The block is the CTRL key which is tricky to hit(with my pinky finger) in the split second reaction that is required to successfully block an enemies sword strike, and the activate button was the F key, if anyone has played any Elder Scrolls games on the PC then you will know that E is the activate key and this took me a while. E and Q are the lean buttons in Dishonored, it allows the player to lean around a corner to spot enemies without being seen, very useful, but I still kept leaning every time I was trying to pick something up.
Graphics/Sound: Although my laptop is not top of the line, by any means(I am forced to play on it because I use it mostly at school, so a super desktop is not really gonna work for me), the graphics really impressed me, I can’t say I got to enjoy it to it’s full potential, being that I usually have to turn the graphic settings down to get my FPS higher, but they were probably the clearest and most realistic details I have every witnessed on my humble Toshiba Satellite. The most realism was really the way the character moved on screen, wobbling back and forth as I ran, or swam, and the screen seemed to actually move where I suspect Corvo’s head was moving during actions scenes.
Replayability: I guess it’s got a little replayability being that the player could kill everyone (causing a high level of chaos) the first time through and then just knock everyone out(causing little to no chaos) the second time to create different endings, but essentially it’s the same game either way, so I can’t award a very high score here.
Overall this game was allot of fun(when my laptop wasn’t crashing), I love the options for completing missions, even when I thought I had screwed up I could still complete it a different way, just remember jumping out of a window into the river is always an option. The gadgets, magic abilities and weapons make for a unique attacking or combat situation for everyone, I don’t think I was ever bored, always trying to figure out the best, quietest, or most sinister way of neutralizing opponents and the sneakiest ways of accomplishing missions, this is definitely a great once through title and as usual I was not disappointing with Besthesda, and pleasantly surprised by Arkane, go ahead and give a go.
*Flagstomos Rating System*
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