I have to admit that when I saw the trailer for Dishonored earlier this year I was waiting in anticipation. With all the FPS games being released its great to have a game that is different yet creative enough to separate it from other games in the genre. Dishonored is a first person action/stealth game but it isn’t a FPS game. It is a stealth based game that offers freedom in the creative ways in which you can dispose of your enemies. Arkane Studios has a worked on several successful games in the past such as, Arx Fatalis, Bioshock 2 and Dark Messiah of Might and Magic. They would go on to release one of the most talked about titles of the year with Dishonored. After the long wait the time has finally come but is this stealth assassination game worthy of the hype and acclaim? Read the review to find out!
In Dishonored you play as the silent Corvo Attano who has been loyal to City of Dunwall while also serving as the protector of the Empress. Early in the game the Empress is murdered and Corvo is framed for her death thus resulting in his imprisonment. He is then given supernatural powers by an unknown individual. Afterwards he is released from jail and goes on a mission of revenge to kill those who have murdered the Empress, kidnapped her daughter and framed him. The city is full of high ranking individuals with a knack for greed, corruption and unjust law. Rats scour the city for dead corpses. Is is a gloomy and grim place that has been devastated by a rat plague. Thus, our story of revenge begins.
The game spans 9 missions and can take anywhere between 10-20 hours to complete depending on your play style and whether or not you want to collect all of the goodies scattered around Dunwall. The game gives the player a great deal of freedom when disposing of enemies. The campaign can played without killing a single person, by leaving a bloodbath or by utilizing the subtle approach and using stealth. You get a chaos rating at the end of each completed mission that tells you how many people you have killed. If you get a high chaos rating the next mission will increase in difficulty by introducing more guards and rats to impede your progress and make your life a living hell. The end of the game will also change accordingly. Dishonored offers awesome gameplay that breathes new life into the FPS genre.
Corvo can dispatch his enemies using a pistol that is very effective in close encounters. He has access to a crossbow that is especially helpful for long range attacks. It can fire off exploding bolts and sleeping darts. Of course he has his trusty sword which deals huge damage and can even be concealed. Grenades are great for taking out several targets at once. Coins are used to upgrade gadgetry and weapons. He has access to his superpowers. There are six active powers, four passive powers and 40 bone charms of which only 3 can be active at once. The game also has Mana which is necessary for using abilities such as, Blink, Dark Vision, Possession and Bend Time. Blink gives you the ability to teleport short distances. Dark Vision allows you to see enemies through walls. Possession allows you to possess a fish or rat. Possession of a rat is especially helpful when gaining access to a heavily guarded area. Bending time gives you the ability to slow down or freeze time for a limited duration. Wind blast gives you the ability to knock down enemies. Shadow Kill turns enemies into ash which is great if you don’t want dead bodies to be discovered. Probably one of the most utilized powers will be the Devouring Swarm which unleashes a swarm of hellish rats. There also Runes which allow you to harness magic. Staying out of an enemy’s cone of vision is vital. Lighting plays a crucial role in the game’s stealth element. You can peep through keyholes to see what is inside of a room. Sound can be used to lure an enemy away from his position. Enemy awareness can range from normal, suspicious, aware and actively searching. Enemy A.I. is good and bad because one moment you can be standing in front of a guard and he won’t notice you while the next moment he will spot you even if you’re hiding.
The game has some of the best looking graphics that I have seen. It looks amazing from a technical and visual perspective and is brimming with high production values. It was modeled after a Victorian London which gives it a striking appearance. The game looks like a beautifully painted masterpiece in motion. The water effects are amongst some of the best that I have seen which are similar to those seen in Bioshock. Lighting and shadows look really good. Character models are very detailed and colorful although their hands are too big. Just as impressive are the character animations. Levels are expertly designed. During my time spent playing Dishonored I never experienced any drop in frame rate or any screen tearing which is always a plus. Visually it’s stunning and unique at the same time.
Props have to be given to the game’s audio design which is excellent in its own right. The voice work is top notch. Several noticeable actors/actresses lend the voices to the game such as, Susan Sarandon, Brad Dourif, Carrie Fisher, Chloe Grace Moretz, John Slattery, Michael Madsen and Lena Heady. Each character has or her way of delivering their lines in a believable way which give them personality and charisma. They give the game credibility and help immerse the player in the world of Dishonored. Weapon sounds and explosions are great as well. The game’s score is composed by Daniel Licht who also worked on the score for Silent Hill: Downpour and on the hit show Dexter. He used a dark ambient score along with atonal textures including the Stardivari Hammer violin.
I thoroughly enjoyed playing Dishonored so much that I want to play through it again. I thought that it had it a pretty good story. It features a pretty lengthy campaign mode and plenty of replay value because of the various ways that each mission can be tackled along with collecting the game’s goodies. I enjoyed using the weapons and various powers and abilities. The graphics look like a hand painted canvas which is beautiful. The audio design is really good especially in regards to the game’s various actors/actresses that lend their voice work. The game’s score is also a huge highlight thanks to Daniel Licht. Dishonored offers awesome gameplay that breathes new life into the FPS genre and it is my game of the year for sure. The version that I tested is the PS3 version. It is also available for the Xbox 360 and PC.