Should you buy it? Read our Dishonored Review
When Dishonored was first announced, based on the first artworks and details, I wasn’t interested at all in the game. I thought it would be a Bioshock clone. Then months later came the amazing CGI trailer showing part of the story, the powers and all the amazing things you could do in the game. Sure it looked totally badass and epic, but I still didn’t believed any of that. Many publishers today make outstanding CGI trailers for their games and when these games release, they are completely different from what they’ve shown (yes I am talking to you Techland). Then E3 came and that’s where things got interesting. The gameplay was like nothing I’ve ever seen. I was stunned and my interest for the game skyrocketed. The waiting was killing me and finally on October 9th the game released and let me tell you that the waiting paid off!
In Dishonored you play as Corvo Attano, the Royal Protector of the Empress. At the beginning of the game, you are returning to Dunwall from your last mission in the name of the Empress. Dunwall is going to ruins. A rat-plague is infecting everyone around the city and it is decimating the population each day. You meet with the Empress and Emily, her daughter, but then something happen, something really bad. Supernatural assassins murder the Empress and take hostage Emily. You try to fight them off, but they still get away with it. Royal guards and high political figures come to the murder scene and they frame you for the murder. You are thrown in prison and 6 month later, just before your execution, someone helps you escape this prison. This is where the game “officially” starts.
The path to clearing your name in Dishonored is something very interesting. You can go bananas and kill everything that stands in your way or you can do it by not killing anyone whatsoever. The choices you will make will shape your fate and that of the empire around you. Being a total badass and killing everyone, guards, civilians, weepers, and the targets will result in the dark ending, but not choosing doing so will result in the “good” ending. This doesn’t mean that only the ending will change. How different characters see you and interact with you will change too. How all of this is done is amazing to watch and play.
In six months many things have changed. Corrupted high political figures have come in command. The plague continue to kill many people. The whole city is being eaten from inside out. But there is still hope. After you escape prison, you meet Simon, your trusty boat driver which take you to the Hound Pit Pub. This is where you meet the Loyalist, a group of people who stayed loyal to the Empress even after her death. They believe that only you, Corvo, can bring justice to place. You are tasked to find Emily and eliminate these corrupted figures. The story is one of vengeance filled with twists, some that you will see coming and some not. Everything is delivered beautifully and it will keep you hooked till the end. The character development here is stellar and the amazing voice acting only adds to the amazing experience. Each character is its own persona. Scattered throughout the world there are books and notes that adds and fills the whole story of Dunwall’s past and present. Arkane Studios truly brought this whole universe to life!
On your first night at the pub, in the middle of the night, you awake in a strange world. You traverse this world only to find the Outsider, a mystical and supernatural figure, that empowers you with supernatural abilities. He also teaches you how to upgrade and acquire new powers by utilizing runes, mystical bones. How you find these runes, I’ll leave it to you to discover when you play the game for yourself. He will also appear several times later in the game, describing the effects of your actions you’ve made. He is an interesting character, but to find more about him you’ll have to find books and notes to fully understand who is he and why is he doing what he is doing! Maybe in the future DLCs we will learn more about him, maybe play as him or confront him? Who knows…
These Loyalist, apart from providing you with the different missions, they also provide you with the different tools and gadgets. You meet this interesting character named Piero, he’s like Q from 007 of this universe. He creates ammo, new gadgets and upgrade your existing ones, if you pay him i.e. The game has an economic system, where you acquire coins by finding them in the environment or by finding different objects or paintings. Finding paintings works as a collectible system here.
There are a total of nine missions in Dishonored and I know that nine doesn’t sound a lot, but you must know that these missions aren’t like the typical ones with just one objective. In a mission you have your main objective that is to kill or find a nonlethal way to get your target and the optional ones. So you are looking at 1-2 or maybe more hours per mission, depending on the way you play the game. The first playthrough I choose to play as a badass and I suggest everybody to do that way first. Now I am on the last mission of the nonlethal ghost playthrough and the experience is totally different from the previous one. During the missions you are sent to different locales of Dunwall. So you’ll attend a society gala in disguise, scale a bridge, wander through flooded districts and stalk across rooftops.
Enough about the story, lets talk about the gameplay. In this term, Dishonored is a breath of fresh air. The use of the sword, guns/gadgets, magic abilities and parkour here is like something you’ve never seen or played and it’s all done in the first perspective. The guys at Arkane created something truly amazing here. The sword combat is extremely satisfying. Parrying, blocking and swinging, it all feels so natural. Throw in some amazing slow-motion executions like chopping a head or limbs off and you’ll know what I am talking about! The pistol and crossbow are fantastic to use to. You can upgrade them to shoot and reload faster, but also to shoot different projectiles with different effects. There are also grenades, normal and sticky ones, but the most interesting gadget is the spring razor. Its a proximity mine type of thing that doesn’t explode. Instead it unleashes strings that cut the enemies in pieces. Apart from the lethal ways of taking down the enemies, there are also non lethal ones like choking them or firing a sleeping dart. If you are on the stealth playthrough, be sure to stack up sleeping darts ammo, upgrade your boots and equip specific bone charms, because you will be moving and carrying bodies for quite a time.
All of the above are very cool to use alone, but when you combine them with the magic powers that Corvo has, that’s where this game shines the most. There are only 6 different active powers and 4 passive ones. Note that you can’t upgrade to the second tier each one of these so you must choose your powers depending on the way you play the game. The first time I played I upgraded Blink to the second tier, I got Dark Vision II and Windblast II. For my passives I got Agility II and Vitality II. I also unlocked Possession and Bend Time, but I didn’t used them as much. Other than the passive abilities, there are also some mystical artifacts you can equip to boost different stats. These are called Bone Charms. They impart permanent boosts and buffs to your character. For example, one gives more health, one speed up you swinging, one makes climbing a little faster and so on. There are a lot of them and finding all of them can provide a challenge, but it is also a lot of fun.
Blink is the first power you get in the game and it’s a short range teleport that is very useful in traversing through the environment. Dark Vision is something like the Detective Vision from Arkham City where you can see the enemies and different usable objects. Windblast summons a powerful wind that knock back enemy and their projectiles. Agility increases you speed and if you upgrade it, you can double jump which is very useful. Vitality increases the overall health and health regeneration. Possession lets you posses animals like rats and fish, but if you upgrade it you can control guards. The first tier of Bend Time only slows time, but the second one completely stops it. There are also some other powers, but you better find more about them when you buy and play this game.
Maybe now you will understand why I said that combining powers and gadgets was an amazing experience. Imagine this: There’s a room with 5 maybe 6 guards, what do you do? Kill the with direct confrontation? No! Use the pistol and crossbow to take them out from far away? Maybe. What about freezing time, blink to the middle guard, attach two spring razors on his shoulders, fire three bolts to the guard that is not in the group, blink back to safety and resume time? The result is EPIC! You just cleared a room full of guards without being seen or heard by anyone. This was only one way. You can create many and many different scenarios. You have the tools, use them how you want!
Traversing through the environments in Dishonored is done masterfully. I like to refer at Corvo as Ezio Auditore’s cousin :D. His climbing ability mixed with the use of blink makes moving a lot of fun. Arkane truly captured the feel of what being a supernatural assassin would be like. The level design is amazing. The game is a true sandbox. You are not limited to one path. Depending from the mission, you will have different entry and exiting points. What you do in a level is completely up to you. Dishonored really is about exploration and experimentation as much as the end goal.
Visually the game is a treat for the eyes. They really went the extra mile here. The attention to details here is great. The city of Dunwall and all its locales, from terraced urban streets to industrial warehouses, menacing fortresses to regal palaces, are beautiful to look at. The intelligent use of colors and contrast, and beautiful lighting really brings this game to life. The character models looks superb and their animations are topnotch! I could talk literally for hours about the amazing art direction of the game, but the devs can explain and describe it way better than me, so better watch the video down below. The game has some minor problems like some frame-rate stuttering and some object clipping, but who cares!
To sum up, Dishonored is an amazing game. It does everything superbly and it is truly a breath of fresh air. The story is very interesting and with some twist along the way it will keep you hooked on. The gameplay is fantastic and like nothing you’ve ever seen or played before. Visually the game is stunning and the voice work is outstanding. Also the replay-value here is immense as you’ll want to play this multiple times. Dishonored is an experience that nobody should miss. Now quickly blink to the nearest shop and buy it!