Fun? Yes. Satisfying….Mostly.

One of the most wanted games coming out of this year’s E3 was easily [amazon_link id=”B005C2D2MO” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Dishonored[/amazon_link]. With its unique blend of artistic styles (think steampunk meets Half-Life) and first person stealth play it was easy to see why it won so many “best of E3” awards. Now the game is finally here. Can it live up to a lot of the lofty expectations put upon it?

The answer is: mostly.

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Dishonored thrusts you in the role of Corvo Attano, who is the Lord Protector for the Empress of the city of Dunwall. He has returned home from a crucial mission when assassins appear and kill the Empress and abduct her daughter Emily. You are taken into custody thought to be the murderer and in the jail is where your adventure begins.

A note from a friend with the key to your cell makes its way to you and after you escape you are brought to The Hound Pits bar where you meet the people who released you. They are part of a small movement who realize you are innocent and that there is treachery in the city of Dunwall. The bar will be your main hub from where you will be given missions and begin to search for Emily and try and take the city back.

The city of Dunwall isn’t really an open world experience but the amount that you get to traverse on any given mission is sizable. There is no denying the detail and beauty in the old Victorian style. Buildings range from the ornate to the completely desolate depending on what part of the city you happen to be in but it never truly feels alive like the first time you walked around Rapture in Bioshock which you can’t help but compare this game to when you are playing.

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“Blinking” is so in these days.

Corvo’s ability to traverse Dunwall effectively and use either stealth or straight forward attacks is fun because of the sheer amount of unlockables in his inventory. Your main weapon of choice is a sword but much like the previously mentioned Bioshock you have the ability to dual wield a host of different abilities. Pistols, crossbows with sleep darts or incendiary arrows or you other magical abilities are use with your left hand. One negative is that you are given two different ways to access your abilities: the “quick” pull up with the d-pad and the ability wheel which pauses gameplay and lets you choose among all of your special attacks. The problem comes in the middle of combat when you need more than four options on the d-pad to quickly pull up because whenever you decide to use something not on your quick list the pausing of gameplay takes away from the free-flowing feel of combat.

Your main magical use will most likely be the “blink” ability which is a quick teleport that can be upgraded to go over greater distances. You will need to use blink effectively if you want to hop from rooftop to rooftop or escape from a group of enemies effectively. For the most part it works as it is supposed to but sometimes you will be left not hopping onto ledges as you need to and if you are in the middle of combat it can be a little annoying. It does feel really good to get the jump on an enemy by blinking right in front of them and burying your knife in their throat though.

The way you gain new abilities is by finding runes and bone charms throughout the city. The runes can be used to upgrade your abilities like slowing time, possessing animal or man and even releasing an infected rat swarm to devour an opponent. Likewise bone charms are used to add perks to your game such as health and mana increases, enemy grenades not exploding for longer or ammo pickups being more frequent. Now you are not just blindly wandering around levels in search for these items you are given a mystical heart that shows you how far away these enchantments are.

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Let’s create some chaos.

The story in Dishonored is not bad but a little on the weak side. After a good beginning it really becomes a bit bogged down with characters that are not ever really fleshed out so when we should feel a sense of caring for fallen people or betrayal by others I was only listening to understand the next mission. It is a shame really because the game sets up itself well enough with you wanting to rescue the Empress’s daughter but by the time a big event in the game happens (which anyone worth their salt can see coming a few missions before) you are not focused wholly on the story anymore. Maybe I was detached too early or expecting more out of it.

Arkane has done a good job with cause and effect in the game. Determined on how you conduct yourself during the game you will be treated differently by NPC’s and have alternate endings. You can choose to go through the game by straight up knifing and exploding anyone you find or you can go the exact opposite route and play the entirety of the game without killing a soul. At the end of each mission you are given a rundown of your effectiveness and given a high or low chaos rating which goes towards how your game will play out. I tried to get a good mix going of both but soon realized that I just like stabbing people too much and went straight high chaos. Dishonored encourages multiple playthroughs with how the city is affected by your actions which is a fresh approach. High chaos will see the city become more overrun with infected plague rats and weepers (infected humans that serve as a “zombie” type character) as well as the number of guards will be increased. Fans of games like Thief or early Splinter Cell’s will most certainly want to take the extra time and go complete stealth for the lower guard totals and clean hands achievement. You will need to keep your chaos rating under 20% to get a low ranking.

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[amazon_link id=”B005C2D2MO” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Dishonored[/amazon_link] is an ambitious title. There is no denying that. Arkane has attempted to fuse the best of many classic games like Thief, Half-Life, Splinter Cell and Bioshock into one package. For the most part they have succeeded. The game is aesthetically beautiful but never feels truly like its own entity like Rapture. I enjoyed my time with Dishonored thoroughly but never really attached myself to the story that I was hoping would be stronger than it was. It is refreshing in places but does not reach the heights that I was hoping it could. You can not go wrong picking this up if you are a fan of any of the previously mentioned games just keep your expectations in check. You may believe it is a game of the year candidate like many reviewers have said but as for me it was a very good game that tripped up in a few places.

 

NERD RATING- 8/10


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4 responses to “Review: Dishonored”

  1. […] One of the most anticipated games of the fall is Dishonored. This first person stealth game combines a steampunk look with elements from some gaming classics like Bioshock, Thief and Half-Life. If you have been wondering whether to pick up this game in the crowded holiday market go read my review of the game here […]

  2. […] out our review of Dishonored here to see what we thought of the […]

  3. […] again, this time at Dishonored developer Arkane Studios. We liked Dishonored and gave it an 8.0 review last year. I have been hoping Bethesda would not give up hope on Prey 2 and it looks like they are […]

  4. […] game received high praise from critics, players and other developers, but there was a sect of gaming where it was seen as […]

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