Has anyone ever told you revenge solves nothing?
It turns out, they were wrong.
Revenge is a dish best served bloody in this story of allies and enemies gone horribly awry.
Dishonored tells the story of Corvo, the bodyguard and royal protector of the Empress and her daughter, Emily. You begin the story coming back from international travels to fight what is known in your city as the Rat Plague, having to leave the Empress’s aid in unfortunate times. Upon your arrival you are greeted with high praise, respect, and of course betrayal.
Without going into greater details, Corvo is setup by those he trusted and framed for the murder of the Empress, sentenced to be executed as an example for the entire city of Dunwall. Within your stay inside the highest security prison, being tortured to fake a confession of the Empresses murder, you contacted by a group looking to free you and reclaim the throne in the name of peace.
This begins your journey into a world of stealth and revenge.
While on the surface, Dishonored looks and sounds just like a Hitman or Assassins Creed type game. Get a target, execute said target, then escape safely and don’t allow the world to be any the wiser. Sure it could be classed among the many assassin games out there, but with this title there is a bit of a twist.
Open execution. Open execution is something that allows you the freedom to attempt the mission in whatever way you wish. Say you prefer to stick to the rooftops, never seen, never heard, striking quickly and quietly as any assassin should. Or maybe you prefer the under the radar, under the feet of the enemy, but leave the bodies where they lye style of play.
Then bring in the mystical powers, which allow you to do anything you desire, including a Blink move that moves you invisibly to a designated spot, you can bend and even stop time, and the most interesting of all, possession.
With these special moves, your mystical arsenal is broadened with an entire set of moves that help you kill any foes in your path. Unfortunately the weapons arsenal is limited to just a sword, a crossbow, and a Pistol, so you are forced to use your powers to avoid combat as much as possible. Sure that is the mark of a good assassin, but when put inside the middle of a battle and your energy is low, you are left defenseless.
The core of Dishonored is the story, within the world of a plague infested city you are sent on your way to kill those who set you up. As you progress, the story begins to hold more twists and turns than an M. Night Shyamalan movie, putting you in the midst of side stories that make you decide the future of the city and yourself. The wants to makes you regret your decisions in a very diverse way, shoving it in your face if you absentmindedly infected the citizens by your actions, causing entire sections to wind up as husk like shells of their former selves. Even something simple as killing or not killing the guards or has a bigger effect then them just ending up dead. Killing a guard and leaving it on the ground where he fell doesn’t just alert other guards, it also has the added effect of bringing in more Rats infected with the plague, which spreads it further into the city, killing many others you never intended to dispatch.
The musical scores of the game deeply convey the overwhelming obscurity of a city torn asunder by a force they can’t stop. Haunting tones, mechanical whirs and somewhat lifeless echo truly draws you into the dark soul of the game, revealing that at its heart, Dunwall City was once prosperous and thriving but now is just a ghost of its former self. The voice acting is setup with an interest cast of voices, while at times some characters would be better off being mute, like Corvo, there are some class acts pulling the strings within the character. My favorite voice?
The Heart you acquire that helps you locate spiritual items, and can read people’s lives by listening to their hearts. It’s rather morbid, I would like the voice of the grotesque beating, talking heart.
The graphics, while on par with some recent titles, starts lacking once you start looking closely at the facial aspects of the characters. It almost seems as if the rest of the world was focused and refined while the characters were slapped onto the game without a care. Sure some faces, mainly women, have amazing texture and hold a sort of human life in them, the rest of the characters could definitely go in for some plastic surgery and come out on top. The world looks amazing with beautiful water effects, stunning attention to detail, including the intricate balance of a dark and grimy world and the somehow protected upper class areas. The environments are the ones that truly shine in this title, leaving you breathless at times as you view the landscapes in your killing hours.
Gameplay is rather straight forward, built in wheel menus that give access to your powers and side weapons, such as grenades and spring traps. Outside the wheel, you control the character simply, timing your attacks, your blinks, and your assassinations. Very simple button presses control the action throughout the game, from your weapon swings, your powers, jumps, and sprints.
Dishonored proves, once again, the assassin formula can be changed to fit a new generation. From time bending spells to help assassinate targets, to possession and infiltration mechanics that lend the player a very unique way of entering undetected. I have to say I am impressed by this title, and with upcoming DLC, I wouldn’t be surprised if the joy I feel for this game grew.
Pros: Great stories, consequences on a unique scale, open execution, great musical scores and graphics, revenge with time bending
Cons: Character detail looks like they wash with sand paper, generic enemy builds, horribly partnered voice actors, weapons limitations (I mean, come on, assassins usually have tons of weapons, you give me a sword and a either a pistol or crossbow?)
End result: 8.9/10
The game has loads of potential to be something bigger, the limitations given to the character in weapons, however, hold it back from being something spectacular.