By John H
Dishonored, designed by Arkane Studios and Bethesda Softworks, is a stealth-adventure game, first released on October 9, 2012. Played from a first person perspective, the game follows Corvo Attano, bodyguard to Empress Jessamine Kaldwin. I will be reviewing the game based on four criteria: plot and story, gameplay, player and character freedom, and finally, the design and graphics.
The game of Dishonored is set in the port city of Dunwall, inspired by Victorian era England. Dunwall utilizes whale oil to power the city, which the government used to build powerful weaponry, leading to corruption. The city is stricken with a deadly plague, leaving rat swarms, corpses, and infected civilians in its wake. The story of Dishonored is about politics, scheming, power, corruption, and revenge. The Empress is killed by an assassin named Daud, who kidnaps the heir to the throne, Emily Kaldwin. Corvo is framed for murder, and is sentenced to death. As Corvo, you seek revenge on the people who conspired against you. You are aided by a group called the Loyalists, who wish to see an end to the tyrannous reign, which began once the Empress was killed. You are sent on missions to assassinate key targets, and rescue Emily Kaldwin, heir to the throne. Throughout the story, you are faced with betrayal, tough decisions, and much more. The only downside, is that the story is kind of short, and the conclusion is a little underwhelming. Overall, the individual stories of each distinct mission, and the story and characters of the game are very engaging, but the story is not long enough, the resolutions is not as grand as had hoped, and some elements are a little predictable.
To start off, I will be reviewing gameplay and combat. In the game, you are supplied with a wide array of offensive gadgets and devices, more suitable more a variety of playstyles. You also have a variety of supernatural powers that you unlock as you play the game. There are six abilities and four passive effects. The abilities require mana, which you somewhat regenerate. The passive effects are permanent bonuses that are always active, such as making you move faster, or have more health. The combat system in Dishonored involves a sword in your right hand, and either a gadget, firearm, or power in your left. Additionally, your sword can be used to block another sword attack, or when crossing blades with an opponent. As mentioned earlier, Dishonored involves stealth, so you can perform lethal and nonlethal takedowns if you sneak up on an enemy, either by killing him, or choking him unconscious. The game gives you countless ways of playing. Overall, the gameplay of Dishonored is very fun, combining stealth, gadgets, supernatural abilities, and sword fighting into a unique stealth adventure game.
Next, I will be reviewing the freedom the player has when playing the game, and I think that this is an area where Dishonored excels. In the game, you are given multiple assassination targets, and for each one, there are countless ways to eliminate them. There are even nonlethal options for all of them. For example, one of your targets is the corrupt ruler of Dunwall city, but instead of killing him, you could broadcast his crimes to the city and end his rule that way. The game allows you to be creative, which I like, as you can sneak through rat tunnels, climb through windows, or leap from rooftop to rooftop, and drop down on an unsuspecting victim. Personally, I wish that Dishonored didn’t have a mission based story, and was a free-roam game. That means that there is a large map, and you are free to explore. Based on all that, Dishonored is a very open ended game, with countless options, gadgets, and ways to play, but the game is restrictive in the fact that you have to do missions at a certain time, and can’t really explore a larger map, as well as the fact that you can’t change the way the story goes in a major way.
The final thing I will be reviewing, is the graphics, design, and the look of the game. To put it simply, Dishonored is beautifully made. From prison to a regal mansion, industrial warehouses to dark streets, flooded slums to military fortresses, and otherworldly dimensions to towering bridges, the game really has it all. The colors and atmosphere even change based on your actions within the game. The colors and contrasts are very well put together, and the combination of advanced technology with an old England design really gives the game a steampunk-ish feel.
Dishonored, winner of multiple awards for best adventure game, is a great stealth-action game. In a visually stunning world, Dishonored allows the player to be creative in a polished combat system, and features interesting characters and stories, where your actions affect the city and the final resolution. The downsides are the short story and underwhelming final outcome, and the mission based system of play as opposed to an open world. That said, I would highly recommend this game, and would give the game a solid rating of 9 out of 10.