Dishonored Reviewed

So I was lucky enough to get my hands on a copy of Dishonored last week and was keen to find out if all the hype from E3 was deserved or not. I rushed home, copy of game in hand, and threw it straight into the PS3 eager to try out this new IP. However I was met with the familiar installation screen, so I went and made a cup of tea, wrote a short novel and then returned to find the game finally installed. Ok so it was more like 25mins not a lifetime but, boy was the wait worth it. The game opens straightaway with stunning visuals, a boat ride across the harbour to the city of Dunwall, with exquisite lighting and incredible colours, for a moment I was completely transfixed missing the opening story completely.

Luckily I didn’t miss anything too important. Unfortunately that’s also the way it goes with most of the storyline, it isn’t the most gripping story ever told. You play Corvo, Lord Protector to the Empress of Dunwall, a city beset by a plague of rats that is decimating the population. It’s a huge, sprawling industrial city that made its fortune on whale oil and, as you find is very much powered by the oil. Framed for the murder of your beloved empress and wrongly imprisoned, you set out to seek your vengeance.

From the offset it feels like a cross between Bioshock and Assassins Creed with just a hint of Half Life 2 thrown in there. It has to be said the city feels very much like Victorian England meets City 17 and it’s not just the robot-walkers that conjure up this feeling, the general layout of the city and the feel of it all bring back fond memories of Half Life 2.

However this is a completely different game, a game driven more by you and your choices than an over-arching intricate storyline. Do you sneak past the guards and subdue them where needed, or do you brazenly stroll through the city carving a bloody path through all that stand between you and your vengeance. This is where Dishonored comes into its own, each of the 9 levels is its own sandbox environment, with its own workings and you can choose how to play, how to level your weapons and gear, not to mention your void powers. There are 10 powers to choose from and each lend themselves to different styles of gameplay, ranking up blink, dark vision and agility will allow you to perch on rooftops and observe your enemies, their patrol routes etc. and then find a way around them. Whereas vitality, blood thirsty and wind blast let you rip through multiple enemies to leave a mass of bloody corpses in your wake.

 Even the choice to kill your way to the end or to stealth it impacts the storyline, more corpses means more rats which leads to an ultimately darker end game than if you avoid killing too many guards. Admittedly the AI is inconsistent and fairly dumb, for lack of a better word. You can be peeking out from behind a wall one hundred per cent sure that you can’t be seen and yet the guard spots you, but run into the nearest building and watch through a window as he tries to find you and nothing, he goes back to his patrol, satisfied that you’ve been dealt with. Not to mention the imagination they must have been using when they came up with the name for the mysterious stranger from the void, The Outsider, who imbues you with your powers.

 However, I can forgive them here, as they pretty much used their entire imaginative quota when coming up with the game concept, and what a concept. Equally matched with astounding gameplay, that will have you leaping from buildings, bending time and swash-buckling your way to revenge. Every moment you pull off a daring escape, or impossible feat is matched by complete failure, when you over reach and fall to your death, or are inevitably eaten by a fish, as you frantically head for shore. It’s this balance that makes the game what it is, it drives you to carry on trying different styles of play and punishes you when you fail. The game is a masterpiece and but for a few shortcomings is virtually perfect. As much a work of art as it is a gore-fest, few games these days genuinely surprise and fewer still surprise in their delivery of gameplay and choice, Dishonored does it all and smashes any preconceptions you have about the genre, it’s a breath of fresh air in a market that has become stale of late. It’s hard to see any game that will be anywhere near as innovative as this in the near future so enjoy it while it lasts. 

Pros:-                                                                                          Cons:-
Innovative gameplay                                                                  Buggy AI
Stunning visuals                                                                         Fish
Evolving storyline

Overall Rating          9/10

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