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‘Dishonored’ Review!

by on October 17, 2012
 

STORY

You are ‘Corvo Attano’, the legendary and loyal bodyguard to the Empress, upon your return from travelling in the hope of finding aid for the plague that has hit your home city of ‘Dunwall’, you’re welcome home party is not quite what you expected.  On your arrival you are ordered to see the Empress straight away and before you have anytime to give her any kind of update, you are ambushed by assassins that kill the lady you swore to protect and they kidnap her daughter! Before you can come to terms to what just happened you are taken to prison and it is become very clear that you have been framed for a crime that you did not commit.

Attack my rat minions! Attack!

After enduring a tough integration, one that ‘Jack Bauer’ would have been proud of, you are taken to your cell as you await execution the following day.  But then, when things appear that they could not get any worse, you are granted an unexpected opportunity to escape prison and your scheduled execution.  It is not clear who is helping you or why, but one thing is clear, you will stop at nothing to gain revenge on those that have killed your Empress, taking her daughter and leaving you as their scapegoat! How will you seek your revenge? That my friend is purely down to you.

GRAPHICS

From the very early footage prior to ‘Dishonoreds’ release , even though the game looked stunning, I could help but think that it looks alot like the awesome ‘Bioshock’.  It’s not until you actually get playing ‘Dishonored’ that you then realise that not only does it have its own identity, but it is also very stylish.  The developers have strayed away from a more realistic look as ‘Dishonored’ essentially lives in its own universe, it was a very clever idea to give it a look that can’t be compared to many other games on the current market.  In some ways, it’s almost like the game has come straight from an oil painting canvas, many of the characters have a certain cartoon look about them and almost every male character has an oversized chiselled jaw, but its these elements that help make ‘Dishonored’ stand out from the crowd.

The world in which you are free to explore is as lush and stunning as you could ever want to see, in so many ways it actually remind me alot of ‘City 17 from the legendary ‘Half-Life 2’, apart from its had a modern day make-over.  To be honest, any game that even has any kind of visual hints from iconic games such as ‘Bioshock’ and ‘Half-Life 2’, has to be onto a winning formula.  ‘Dishonored’ already has a very immersive storyline that will suck you in from the off-set and with its own unique charm and beautiful visuals, it makes for one hell of a powerful story telling potion.

Can you fly Bobby?!

GAMEPLAY

Looking at ‘Dishonored’ from the outside, it looks just looks like a First Person stealth game with some tricks, in a sense it is, but it’s not until you play the game when you begin to understand the true depth to ‘Dishonored’.  Gameplay wise, it borrows from such games as ‘Bioshock’, but adds its own spin on things that makes ‘Dishonored’ a truly unique gaming experience.  Upon playing my second mission, I had one main objective and that was to infiltrate an enemy base and rescue a certain individual.  The objective was marked as a waypoint, so I set my way on its path.  It was then when I naturally started to scout patrolling guard’s paths, I looked around and thought to myself, instead of taking out that guard, there’s a box of crates that I can climb onto and those rooftops are starting to look like a tasty scouting viewpoint.  So I proceeded to make my way on to the rooftops and from here I managed to scout a few more guards’ paths.  Then a very odd, yet creepy lady caught my eye.  I was intrigued to see what she was up to, so I made my way towards her, forgetting about my main mission objective.  It was upon approaching this lady that she offered me a little side quest and promised me rewards upon completion.  So I accepted her offer, finished the side quest and got my just rewards and this quest then led onto another opportunity, one I’m sure that will bite me on the ass, later in my story.

But this wasn’t just about the extra quest, a character that I saw in the corner of my eye intrigued me, she had something sinister about her, I wanted to know a little more of her character.  So when this quest was finished some time later, I set myself back onto the main quest.  But it took me a little while to get there, I was in my element finding multiple roots to my destination, experimenting with the various ways in which I could take out the guards or avoid them altogether and searching for the ever so important hidden ‘Rune’ stones that will give me new or improved powers.  Technically you could fly through each mission in an attempt to finish it as fast as possible, which would be fun in its own way, but that’s not what ‘Dishonored’ is really about.  I felt the need and desire to know my surroundings, enhance on my skills and get to know some of the town folk, it’s almost like every character or building has its own unique personality, their very own role to play in your story.

Be careful how you go about your business, someone is always watching.

But as much as a powerful tool that character is, there is also a very powerful in-game mechanic called the ‘Chaos System’, not to mention all the cool powers you can obtain in ‘Dishonored’. Both will play a huge part in your game, but let me start with the ‘Chaos System’.  The best way in which I can describe the ‘Chaos System’ is that its ‘Dishonoreds’ take of ‘BioWares’ morality system that was such a huge success in ‘Knights of the Old Republic’ and the ‘Mass Effect’ series.  Depending on how you act in a mission or decisions you make towards particular characters will affect the outcome of your game and how some of the in-game characters will think and act towards you, this obviously depends on whether you’re a good or bad egg.  The main factor that will affect your Chaos rating will be whether you decide to kill, choke out or sneak past enemies such as guards.  Obviously its if you kill most of the time, your Chaos rating will sky rocket, choke them out and it should remain low, just makes sure that bodies are not discovered by other guards or worse, eaten by rats!  If you want to be a good guy and you aim to keep a low chaos rating, and then stealth is the key, avoid combat situations all together and if you can, only kill less than 20% of characters in a mission and you should sustain a low Chaos rating.

The other key factor to ‘Dishonored’ is the powers that you can obtain, I won’t go through them all obviously, but I will mention a few.  The power that I found myself relying on alot is one called ‘Dark Vision’, the first stage of this power will give you the ability to see through walls and give you an advantage to any surprises that maybe lurking around the next corner.  ‘Blink’ will allow you to teleport quickly over short distances and combine this with a ‘double jump’ you may acquire later in the game, it’s a very handy tool for getting in and out of missions and even handier when making a quick getaway.  Another power that you may have seen often during gameplay trailers is one called ‘Possession’; ‘Possession’ does exactly what it says on the tin and gives you the ability to possess living creatures.  At stage one, you can temporarily possess animals, upgrade to stage two and you possess an unsuspecting human.  But be warned, if your animal or human dies during the possession, you will suffer the same fate.  The final handy power that I will mention is called ‘Windblast’, which will create a very powerful gust of wind that will knock enemies off their feet or damage certain objects, this is a particularly handy power when surrounded and outnumbered by the enemy.

Unlike most FP games, firearms will not be your 1st point of call.

You can upgrade any of these powers by collecting ‘Runes’ during a mission; each mission will offer a certain number of ‘Runes’ to be found.  ‘Runes’ can then be exchanged to unlock new or upgrade existing powers.  Though supernatural powers are not the only tools at your disposal, throughout the game you will rely on more conventional weapons such as the trusty dagger, crossbow or even grenades.  Many of these weapons can be upgraded using in-game currency via your very own answer to James Bonds gadget master ‘Q’, through a friend named ‘Piero’.  As a little heads up, I’d advise visiting ‘Piero’ before you embark on a new mission to upgrade weapons or even top up on ammo.

Upon completion of each mission, you will be greeted to an end of mission stats screen. Here it will details stats such as ‘enemies killed’, ‘civilians killed’, ‘alarms raised’, ‘dead or unconscious bodies found’, ‘Chaos rating’, ‘special actions’ and ‘hidden items found’.  These kinds of details depend on the type of gamer that you are how you approach ‘Dishonored’.  This, along with the fancy gameplay mechanics are all part of how you are encouraged to play the game how you want and if I was to pick the most immersive factor of ‘Dishonored’, it’s the freedom of being able to play how you want to play.

AUDIO

Other then the gameplay itself, ‘Dishonored’ is all about the story, a true tale of good vs evil, politics and how things are far from what they seem.  ‘Dishonored’ will have reeling in almost from the very start, it’s one of those games that makes you lose track of the time and a very good reason for this is of how well it tells you it’s story.  I don’t know who got who on board with the voice casting, but they need a good pat on the back, that’s for sure.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a lead character, a random peasant on the street or one of the guards, just by hiding in the shadows and listening to each character talk, you genuinely believe that each of them have their own story.

There’s something truly engrossing about ‘Dishonoreds’ characters, just who they are? Will I come across them again later in the game and will they have a bigger part to play, that will surely come along and bite me on the ass?! ‘Dishonored’ is immersive in almost every single way and the audio is no exception and I can’t think of too many recent games that tell as strong of a story as ‘Dishonored’ does.  I believe the story is that strong in fact it wouldn’t not surprise me if the makers of ‘Dishonored’ follow in the footsteps of ‘Assassins Creed’, ‘Mass Effect’ and ‘Gears or War’ by releasing of series of novels, I would certainly add that book to my collection.

Reminiscent of Half-Life 2′s ‘Tripods’.

REPLAY VALUE

Seriously there is so much replay value to ‘Dishonored’ its untrue; normally to have the game to score high in this department normally means extra game modes or online multiplayer, but not ‘Dishonored’.  Early on in your campaign when you’re participating in your first proper mission, you get a glimpse at the kind of depth that this game has.  Not only do you have a variety of insane powers, which depending on what you pick, you give a big helping hand in the manner in which you play your game. Start up a new game with different powers and you’ve got a different style of playthrough, you also have a in depth morale system. Will you listen to the ‘Angel’ over you right shoulder or the ‘devil’ over your left?  Depending on which path you take, it will drastically affect the outcome of your campaign, not to mention the multiple endings.

Then after each mission is complete, you can go back into anyone and replay them to collect all the hidden objects, complete side quests or to see how it plays out being a good or bad guy.  ‘Dishonored’ is a game that you will treasure in your collection and I’m sure you will be coming back to it long after you’ve finished your first playthrough.

CLOSING VERDICT

I’ll be honest when the viral trailers began all those months ago from Bethesda hinting at ‘Skyrim’ DLC; I was intrigued to what the ‘Sean Bean’ lookalike in the video had in store for us.  Then it turned out that the video was not in fact anything to do with ‘Skyrim’, it was ‘Bethesda’ announcing an all new game in ‘Dishonored’.  At this point, I felt a little deflated, cheated if you will.  It took me a while to get over my sulk and I didn’t really take much notice of the released gameplay footage that followed, instead I watched as my friends got excited at the prospect of playing ‘Dishonored’.

Believe it or not, these pair are not the creepiest characters you’ll meet in Dishonored.

Then something happened, as I started to discover about the universe of ‘Dishonored’, I started to get reeled in with the hype.  A couple of my all time favourite games in recent years are ‘Bioshock’ and ‘Half-Life 2’ and ‘Dishonored’ seemed to be influenced from the two, but yet seemed to have its own clear identity. I become interested in its world, the powers and the multiple ways in which you could play through the game.  So as release week approached, I started to get rather excited about playing ‘Dishonored’, so I thought I’m going to give this game a chance.  After finally getting my mitts on a copy, I took a while to get a chance to play the game with a busy weekend and having to be careful of what games I play in front of my son, in many ways all these factors probably helped build up a little more anticipation.

So when I finally got to play ‘Dishonored’, I found a game strong with characters, an immersive world and real depth in gameplay.  It’s a game that has me losing track of the time and not many games in recent years have been able to get a hold of me like ‘Dishonored’ has.  I would urge anyone that loves gaming to please give ‘Dishonored’ a chance as its not only among one of the best games that I’ve played in recent years, it’s a game that will be talked about amongst other legendary games in many years to come.

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  • Nosgoth1979
    October 18, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    Great review! I’ll be playing this on PS3, but I’ve heard there’s not much difference between the console versions. It sounds like an excellent game; I’m just not quite convinced it’ll last long enough to be worth buying. Especially after some highly anticipated games (like Deus Ex: Human Revolution) have been a letdown and left me a bit skeptical, so now I try not to get my hopes up too high. These days I follow some advice I got from one of my coworkers at DISH and I don’t buy a game until after I’ve rented it and had a chance to log at least a handful of hours on it. It’s saved me a good deal of money in the past six months or so. So Dishonored is already in my Blockbuster @Home queue, and I’ll get to play it soon.

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