Friday, 2 November 2012


“Artistic freedom reminiscent of Bioshock meets Bethesda’s successful role-play formula to create one of not only this years, but this generations most intriguing and entertaining new IP’s.”

In an industry overflowing with iterations and sequels of the same projects it’s certainly a breath of fresh air when a new IP comes along and breaks the mould somewhat. Dishonored is a first-person role-play adventure that binds engaging combat, beautiful surroundings and an intricately woven story that is manipulated by your every decision. While these aren’t exactly new concepts in the industry, the way in which they are delivered here will certainly get your attention and provide a thoroughly engaging and wholly entertaining experience.

Dishonored places you in the shoes of Corvo, a former security officer to royalty and now betrayed and stripped of his rank, set for death. Corvo’s story of political betrayal is fascinating and is believable enough for you to make an instant bond with the protagonist, something that’s not always successfully accomplished by video game developers. Upon breaking out you are introduced to the first of a whole host of wonderfully written characters and the beautiful city of Dunwall – your playground and what a playground it truly is. Bethesda has once again brought a gorgeous world to life for you to explore. With the financial climate suffering and trade diminishing, this once prosperous city is ripe with interesting characters, mischievous plots and intriguing areas to explore.

Dishonored continues to impress with its incredible gameplay mechanics. While previous Bethesda titles have always been praised for wonderful design, combat has always been a weak point in the developer’s arsenal. This is certainly not the case here as a plethora of ways to tackle Dishonored is sure to bring about a host of fun and replay value. Players can choose to take a non-lethal approach, choking out enemies or using sleeping darts to quietly move through the shadows. Or players can take the more entertaining lethal approach and pull out the revolver crossbow combo and go to town. The most impressive thing about Dishonored’s combat is the vast array of supernatural powers that become available as you progress through the story. Corvo gains access to summoning powers, controlling the elements, bodily possession, slowing down time and a whole host of other amazing abilities, which transcend combat like the flash-steps called Blink that make exploring Dunwall a completely different experience. You can mix and match these awesome powers with standard melee or long-distance combat to create your own preferred battle style but with so many options you’ll be hard pressed not to get creative and mess around with these combos.

This is also where Dishonored’s role-play elements shine, as it’s an absolute joy to find bone charms and upgrade your abilities. The powers I mentioned earlier can all be enhanced and made more lethal or last longer. For example the time you spend in someone or something’s body through possession can be increased or the strength of your elemental gust of wind etc.

It’s also nice to see that the AI is of a decent standard to allow players the enjoyment of using these varied powers. Enemies will team up to take you down and for the most part, are vigilant of their surroundings. If you get caught up in close-quarters combat then prepare for a battle comprising of parrying and riposte as opposed to pure button mashing. However, you can avoid all of this by creeping in the shadows and taking down enemies quickly and silently, if don’t want them screaming bloody murder.

From a technical perspective Dishonored shines on numerous levels. The Victorian style of Dunwall gives off an ambience that screams poverty while the glistening sun sparkles perhaps offering some hope to the inhabitants. Steampunk elements have certainly influenced the visual development of this game and it has turned out brilliantly. The same can be said for the narrative and dialogue – a host of famous faces have offered their services including Susan Sarandon, Brad Dourif and Carrie Fisher to create a believable world surrounding you. Gameplay elements are for the most part efficient and consistent too aside from a couple of glitches or frame-rate issues that you may find on occasion, but nothing serious enough to spoil this experience in any way. Really taking time to explore Dunwall is where you’ll get the most out of this illustrious technical presentation. With so much extra content to find, hidden areas and vast catacombs all around you, it’s difficult to stick primarily to the story without taking some time to go and explore yourself and meet some of the interesting inhabitants.

Of course Dishonored’s structure pretty much requires you to replay the game multiple times so it’s highly unlikely you won’t eventually get round to exploring Dunwall. With so many important details affected by the way you play the game, going through again to change the ending and alter the development of the city will be high on your to-do list. The changes themselves aren’t staggered, but they provide enough emotional connection to make you feel the gravity and magnitude of your actions.

There’s no doubt that Dishonored is a rare gem in our current gaming market that is full to the brim with generic first-person shooters and spin-offs of continuing IP’s and franchises. Bethesda have taken a bold step introducing a wonderful new world, a host of interesting characters and brilliantly entertaining gameplay to ensure you have a high quality role-play game to see you through this holiday period. Considering how busy Christmas is going to be, I urge you make time for this truly engaging masterpiece.

9.0 | Gameplay |
Incredibly engaging and varied gameplay makes Dishonored a well-rounded and thoroughly enjoyable experience. You can choose exactly how you want to play, will you traverse Dunwall and spare every single soul, or will you slaughter those before you and seek revenge for the wrong-doing they have committed. A cool arsenal of weapons alongside supernatural abilities give you so much variation in how you choose to tackle each and every foe you encounter, ensuring you’ll have a blast whether you possess their body or blow them off a ledge with a quick gust of wind. On top of this your decision on how to tackle the enemies will mould Dunwall into a different entity that will give you a different conclusion to your adventure.

9.0 | Presentation |
A bold artistic design makes Dishonored one of the most beautiful games I’ve seen. Reminiscent of Victorian London, Steampunk influences combine to create an urban and industrial world brimming with life despite poverty, famine and the bleakness of it all. The story in Dishonored is interesting and it helps that you can ultimately shape its conclusion. The narrative and dialogue also brings the story and characters to life, while you remain silent as you take on board the information and choose how to use it to accomplish your goals.

9.0 | Replay Value |
It’s impossible to acquire all the powers and abilities in one single play through but even if that wasn’t the case, you’ll absolutely be playing this game over again. With a variety of ways to tackle Dishonored, you’ll need to try them all to see the different endings you can create for Dunwall and its people.

9.0 | Final Thoughts |
Although it’s a new IP, Dishonored doesn’t exactly bring something totally new to the table. It takes ideas that we are already familiar with but encompasses them in a vibrant and engaging world. This alongside technical polishing makes playing another moral role-play game incredibly fun while feeling almost new and refreshing. Ultimately it’s fair to see you’ve played this type of game before, but not quite to the same excellent standard.

Igor Kharin.

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