Game Review: Dishonoured
One developer who has mastered creating games like these on a massive scale is Bethesda Softworks, with their Elder Scrolls games Oblivion and Skyrim; they showed us players they can bring mythical creatures, epic scaled battles and Bronze Age settings of unimaginable size to our home consoles. Now they bring us in control of an assassin whilst giving players freedom to complete their mission however they want with assistance of special powers in their latest release, Dishonored, a stealth first person adventure, and was one of the underdogs at this year’s E3 with a big future predicted for it and boy did it deliver.
Players take control of Corvo Attano, Lord Protector of the Empress of fictional city Dunwall and her daughter Emily. After coming back from a mission to seek help to rid Dunwall from the Plague which is slowly destroying the city from neighbouring nations, Corvo watches helplessly as the Empress is assassinated and her daughter is kidnapped. The assailants flee quickly leaving the empress dying in your arms, the empresses guards find you and instantly points the finger. Corvo is then locked up for the murder and is soon helped by people who believe in him and also from a mysterious character known only as the Outsider to which then Corvo embarks on a personal mission to clear his name and punish those who framed him. The Outsider grants Corvo special powers to aid him and tells him that they can be enhanced by collecting special stones baring his mark. The story is told at a nice steady pace which makes you want to find out what happens next. The game also has an unnerving knack at making you care about where the story goes and you feel a genuine instance of shock when the Empress is killed. This is story telling at its finest.
Dunwall and its inhabitants look amazing with Bethesda’s own trademark attention to detail that allow Dishonored to be a fantastically grim place to roam, and even live with its Financial and industrial districts and Dunwall tower giving the city a believable attribute. Even the cities rat population is highlighted in great detail and soon become your worst enemy as they scurry around in huge numbers. Although the game restricts you to a certain area within the city, the size of Dunwall is always evident which makes you wish you could walk around any district at any time.
Characters are finely detailed with visuals that give each person personality; you can instantly tell who is good and evil by just looking at them although you will get some shock throughout play through (no spoilers). Each assassination looks gruesome whether slitting a guy’s throat or blowing them up or electrifying them, the detail gives each kill a different sense of satisfaction even though this game urges you to be a good guy and not kill anyone.
The gameplay extracts a lot of its substance from Skyrim to a degree with the primary emphasis on stealth. The game urges the player to be the perfect assassin by hiding in the shadows until they either find the right time to strike or pass by undetected. Movement is identical to Skyrim however this time the player is granted with special powers which can be upgraded and obtained by collecting runes which are spread across each area. The powers range from “Blink” which is a short range teleporting ability to summoning your own posse of killer rats to fight for you, I loved each ability which helped me zip behind an enemy, kill him then zip away before any of his comrades could see me, superb fun. The choice is left to the player whether to render unconscious or kill an enemy by either pressing one button or another, the player can also collect weapons such as a pistol and cross bow with an assortment of types of ammunition if that one foe is annoyingly in your way and sneaking up is far too risky. The amount of choice is fantastic and the level design caters for the many different ways in which a target can meet their demise, wanna go high? Scale the rooftops and execute a dropping assassination from above, want to remain undetected? Swap drinks over to a poisoned one for the target to accidentally kill himself, need a quick getaway? Summon some rats and possess one using the possession ability to make way your escape.
Bethesda have done it again making an epic stealth game, giving players the freedom to choose how their targets can be taken out with as much chaos or subtleness as they want. The powers available make this game as well as the unique setting and story that keep the player hooked making Dishonored one of the best stealth titles out there. Every gamer needs to give this gem a try and experience the superb addictive gameplay for themselves and experience what it would be like as a deadly assassin.
Developers: Arkane Studios
Publishers: Bethesda Softworks
Release Date: 12th October 2012
Story – 4.5/5
Graphics – 4/5
Gameplay – 5/5
Overall – 5/5