With everyone and their grandma singing praises about Dishonored, I have to admit that I jumped into this game not really knowing anything about it. It’s not one of those games that people really talked about prior to it hitting the store shelves. So up until the point of having it inside my PS3, I had only watched the launch trailer for it, and to be honest it didn’t really tickle my fancy. So, has Dishonored managed to change my heart and mind? Find out after the jump.
Dishonored begins at sea; you’re Corvo Attano and you’re returning from a mission, 2 days earlier than originally planned, which consisted of asking other nations for help with the Rat Plague that has taken over the empire. So shortly after meeting up with the Empress and her daughter who seems really close to you, the Empress is ambushed and killed and her daughter is kidnapped. With no one else but you at the crime scene, you’re framed for the murder of the Empress and the kidnapping of her daughter who is heir to the throne. Six months later and one day prior to your execution, you’re helped to escape from your cell by an anonymous group who claims to serve the same purpose you do.
The plot is not really all that original, but this is when you’re actually introduced to the best part of the game: the gameplay. And it just gets better and better as you go along. The game world is surprisingly free-roaming in nature, and that automatically put me off because rarely do I find such freedom in FPS games. Normally, in a FPS game, you’re given a mission and the path is set in stone and you rarely can deviate from it. But in Dishonored, if you can see it, then you probably can get to it and interact with it, and that was something I had to get used to. Almost every door you see can be opened, and you do a fair bit of looting as well as you get to pick up money and other items. So this breathing room alone made the game feel like a little sandbox and really gets you to think as you play, as you can freely choose your path, whether that be the rooftops or the sewers, or through the guards patrolling the area, the choice is yours.
The gameplay in Dishonored is really something new and fresh. From the very first time you get ahold of a sword, a handgun, then a crossbow, you can tell that you’re in for something different than the norm, and yet it feels natural and perfect. The fighting is simple yet very well done. 3 or 4 swipes from the enemy’s sword and you’re done for. So with that in mind, you quickly figure out that blocking is an essential part of combat in Dishonored, and if you just happen to block a sword strike at the right time, you can put your opponent off balance and brutally put him out of your misery. The really cool thing about this game is how it accounts for different styles of play. You can either choose to kill your way through the game, or you can stick to the shadows and sneak to your destination. The game is gruesome and unapologetic about its depictions of what battle is really like. Oftentimes you’ll swing your sword and your enemy’s head will fly off his body and you get to watch the rats come feed on body. Other times you can have the rats eat them alive. Getting to your destination is not always possible without sometimes having to borrow a different body in order to get to where you want to go. All of that is made easy of course as your left hand wields dark, supernatural abilities.
Switching between weapons and magical abilities is really well done in the game, and in a way helps the game stand out above the rest in that department, because when you play other games, you’ll find yourself missing such mechanism. Holding down the L2 button gives you quick access to your weapons wheel/magic abilities and as I mentioned above, is a really clever integration into the game. Given the amount of time you switch weapons and magic, I can’t imagine how the game would fare without such fluidity. Even in the thick of battle, your favorite weapon is just a simple flick away, and I can’t tell you how many times that saved my life.
Overall, Dishonored does a great job in being able to serve up something different and fresh in the First Person Perspective with intoxicating gameplay that focuses less on long range shooting that we’re all so familiar with, but instead encourages a melee-meets-magic approach. But for all the things that Dishonored does different in the gameplay department, the Story is not quite as unique as you’d want it to be. At times, it does feel like the story is just merely an excuse to show off its wonderful gameplay mechanics. I never once cared for my character; as a matter of fact, I can’t even recall if I’ve heard him speak though I’m sure he must have done so at some point. The graphics are not bad – they’re adequate; you won’t find any graphical WOW moments in the game for sure.