Dishonored Review: Why Did It Have To End?
I had the pleasure of diving into the thriving city of Dunwall during my time at the EuroGamer Expo so I was pretty pumped to give it a thorough play-through after Bethesda sent us a copy. I wouldn’t consider myself a stealth fan and you won’t find me playing the likes of Metal Gear Solid, but Dishonored appeared to have that something a little special. Did I make an early judgement or is Dishonored worthy of the high review scores it has received? Check out my Dishonored Review below to find out!
Modeled after the late 1800s industrial London, Dishonored takes place in the plague infested city of Dunwall. Ruled by oppressors after the mysterious assassination of the queen and the kidnapping of her daughter. You play the role of Corvo Attano, previously an assassin of legend responsible for protecting the queen and her family, that gains the ability to use supernatural stealth abilities to achieve his almost impossible goal.
Dishonored Review: Why Did It Have To End?
Legendary status turns to infamous as Corvo is framed for the assassination of the queen, thus forcing him to restore his name by any means necessary. The game has been praised by critics and players alike for its unique player-choice based game play with the use of the Chaos System. A players Chaos Rating is evaluated at the end of each mission with scores being dependent on player actions. I personally chose the stealth approach to every mission in the game, choosing to avoid any fatalities and remain unseen wherever possible. This kept my Chaos Rating low as I left few dead bodies and alerted even fewer guards, this offers a positive change in the Chaos Rating as the rats are not able to consume bodies and spread the plague.
This is where the true strength of Dishonored lays, player choice. I’ve played a handful of stealth titles in my time but very few offer the freedom and adaptability offered by the Dishonored game play. There are 9 intense missions for players to experience, each offering its own unique stealth and combat challenges. Every situation approached by the player, from a simple single takedown, to complex patrol routes and security equipment, can be tackled in a multitude of ways.
The choices a player can make are not simply exclusive to combat or stealth even though a vast array of abilities provide players with an arsenal of supernatural skills to offer an almost customized feel to the game play. But the environment itself also offers players more choice and freedom. The majority of buildings, especially those related to quests, can be entered in a variety of ways. Want to storm through the front door and take out everything in your path? No problem. Even if you prefer to sneak in through the top window and remain unseen, the option is there. Combining the environmental choices with the abilities and various quest objectives offers an experience unlike anything else you’ll discover in a stealth orientated title. As well as the story-driven main quest line there’s a bunch of hidden side quests and tons of collectibles. These definitely add to the experience and content of the game, but for players that enjoy playing rather than searching, they may find it reduces the overall length of the game quite considerably.
The skill system is a bit of a double-edged sword. Sure it offers a huge variety of ways to take-down your enemies but I felt the stealth options were lackluster. As an all-out combat assassin I could use the ability Blink, a teleportation like skill that offers extreme precision, before slicing the neck of my enemy and watching them disintegrate to dust with an added perk. I could also possess the minds of enemies and force them to walk into traps, electrified gates or even move them in the way of enemy bullets. But as a stealth player the only real upgrade I used was silent footsteps. Obviously I spammed Blink as often as possible, moving across the rooftops and disappearing behind enemies but other than that, I felt there could have been a lot more added for the stealth-like players. I went through the entire game and fired only 1 bullet for my pistol, during a quest, and only ever used my crossbow in desperate situations. I could carry 30 deadly ammunition for it, but only 10 of the stealth equivalent, Sleeping Darts. This didn’t make much sense to me as both could be just as efficient at dispatching of your foes, but one resulted in a guaranteed death.
If you’re a regular listener to our Suck My Controller Podcasts, you’ve probably heard me sing high praises for Dishonored since it was released early last month. Myself and Johnny Hurricane exchanged experiences within the game, and the majority of it was complimentary. That was until we actually got through to the end. The story was enthralling and the twist, which I won’t spoil, was slightly expected but still executed flawlessly. I felt a constant build up as I worked my way towards the inevitable clash with the mastermind behind the queens assassination, only to feel like I smashed my face into a brick wall on the final bend. I never expect much from game endings nowadays as very few are able to live up to the high standards us players expect, Mass Effect 3 anyone? Even still, I was really hoping for more from Dishonored.
It has taken me ages to write this review as Dishonored is a game I couldn’t really get my head around. On one hand it’s amazingly innovative and offers a variety of game play you’ll struggle to find anywhere else, but on the other hand it seemed to drastically lack various features in other aspects of the game. Stealth perfectionists could quite easily get 10-15 hours of game play, whereas their combat counterparts could quite easily complete the game in 6-7 hours. Despite some of my negative opinions of the game, Dishonored is a must-play title purely for the innovation it has brought to a rather stagnant genre. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience through the game and I would hazard a guess that my bitterness would have been heavily reduced by a much better ending. Regardless, Dishonored is a game that will have a massive impact on future stealth titles and Arkane Studios have to see the potential for an exciting series of games ahead.