Game Review: Dishonored

Let me start by saying that I did not like this game in the beginning chapter. But that had less to do with the game and more to do with myself because I wasn’t playing it right at all. I’m pretty sure this had to do with me being so used to going into a game just shooting anything and everything in sight whilst being loud and obnoxious about it (ahem, Bioshock). But with Dishonored, you’ve gotta do this bad boy slooow (heh). It’s all about shadows and stealth. So yes, I was playing the game all wrong simply because I couldn’t transition out of  my usual rampaging and murderous mode. But once I did.. ho boy!

Anyway, this game is awesome! I absolutely loved the dreariness and steam-punk theme it had going on. But most of all, it is so incredibly imaginative. There are so many ways you can go about accomplishing one task; so many little twists and turns, in’s and out’s, so many options that’s it’s both glorious and irritating (but mostly glorious). Here’s the story: you play Corvo, an assassin who seeks revenge after being framed for the brutal murder of the Empress he was technically meant to be body guarding. The first five-minutes of gameplay taken up with sunshiny skies and innocent games of hide and seek are soon replaced by the dripping walls of a dungeon and the shambling footsteps of zombie-like citizens known as “weepers”.

*spoilers up ahead*

There are three ways you can play this game – either all in stealth, all in brutal kills, or a mixture of both. I decided to go with the former, since I wanted to be the saintly hero for a change. Within these choices, there are different ways to go about your mission. The abilities Corvo wields are a potent mix of explosive combat and creative cunning. When mastered, you’re rewarded with complete control of time and space, meaning with a flick of L2 you can stop time, possess the unlucky guard who just fired his pistol in your face, and walk him straight into the path of his own suspended bullet. With the world still in suspended animation around you, you can then blink a safe distance away to the rooftops above, ready to unpause time, grab your popcorn and watch the ensuing chaos. Need to infiltrate the hotel your mark is holed up in but do so in a super stealthy manner? No problem! Swipe the key off an unsuspecting guard or blink across the rooftops and through an open window or possess an unsuspecting fish swimming in the moat to swim through a grate into the hotel’s basement. The options are endless! This freedom of crafting your own route and set-pieces is one of the game’s main successes, because you have absolute autonomy and it forces you to pay attention to every scrap of detail in the world around you. You have to work for the answers to complicated predicaments, and each of Dishonored’s nine levels become a playground littered with opportunities for you to build glorious combos with your powers, and ransack hidden rooftops for clues to achieve your goals.  It’s a technical marvel I tell you.

It’s a bit hard to say anything bad about the game. I guess the dialogue could be better, because at times it’s very predictable and cheesy. And I suppose it would have been nice if Corvo actually opened his mouth and said a few things. But.. that’s really it. I haven’t played a lot of stealth games, but my interest in this category has definitely been piqued because of this game. For new timers like myself, this game isn’t hard once you get the hang of it because whatever route you take – up or down, left or right, the gutter or the stairs – you’ll always end up at the same conclusion: this game is pretty freakin great!

Rating – 4.5/5

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