Most people are familiar with the Thief franchise and what it means to the gaming world. The first game in the series is considered to be a pioneer in the stealth game genre. So when Dishonored was announced it was a pretty big deal. It was marketed as a spiritual successor to Thief and I have to say Arkane Studios (the developers) have delivered on that promise. And without much further delay let’s talk about what makes Dishonored so good.
The game is set in a steampunk/supernatural world, on an island called Gristol, the largest of four islands that form the Empire of the Isles. You will be stepping into the shoes of the empresses’ bodyguard, Corvo Attano, who is returning from a mission given to him by the Empress. Corvo was away for a few months in search of a cure for the rat plague, a terrible disease that is consuming Dunwall City (the capital). Unfortunately, there is only bad news but something far worse is about to happen.
As Corvo delivers the news to the empress, the guards disappear. Then young Lady Emily (the empresses’ daughter) notices some men on the rooftop. Turns out that those men are supernatural assassins hired to kill the Empress. After a brief confrontation with the assassins, Corvo is left incapacitated, the Empress is killed, and her daughter kidnapped. With the empress dead in his arms Corvo is approached by the Royal Spymaster and is framed for the empresses’ assassination (hence the title, Dishonored).
After six months in Coldridge Prison, Corvo learns that the Spymaster and other higher-ups are behind the assassination. He is then contacted via letter by a group of loyalists who want to help him clear his name, rescue Lady Emily, and get her on the throne. After escaping Coldridge he meets the loyalists, a group of amazing characters each with their own purpose, story, and a dash of mystery. They inhabit an old pub called The Hound Pits, in the run-down part of Dunwall.
After being shown his quarters, Corvo beds down only to wake up in a strange place. He is greeted by a black-eyed man who calls himself The Outsider. This man gives Corvo a gift, a mark on his hand which allows him to use otherworldly forces. After waking up and realizing that what just happened wasn’t a dream, Corvo sets out to clear his name and punish the people responsible for all the chaos.
As I said before and in the title, Dishonored is a spiritual successor to Thief. And like Thief, you’ll be playing from a first-person perspective. It’s kind of an open-area game where you can free roam but only in that certain area, and the level design is amazing. The stealth is pretty well executed. You have a lean mechanic which allow you to peak from cover and Corvo is able to climb over, and squeeze under pretty much anything. You can even hide under tables.
However, the AI could use a little work. I’ve completed the game on all difficulties and the enemies aren’t very perceptive even on the hardest one. Their close proximity awareness is better on very hard but other than that I haven’t noticed much difference. They are however much more ferocious in a fight on higher difficulties and do significantly more damage.
Speaking of combat, the system is pretty simple. You use your left mouse button for your sword attacks and the right mouse button for your ranged weapons and powers (i played on the PC but I think it’s the trigger buttons for consoles). You can block attacks with your sword and parry if you time your block well enough. I’m slightly disappointed that there’s no dodge mechanic but the combat system we have works well enough.
As for the ranged weapons we have a one-handed crossbow and a pistol, both of which can be upgraded (the sword is upgradable too). You’ll also have a number of throwables at your disposal such as grenades and traps. Now let’s talk about the coolest thing, the powers. The Blink ability will be your bread and butter but there’s much more. With powers like Bend Time, Possession, Devouring Swarm, and so on, there is something for every playstyle.
Now, before you read any further I am required to issue a spoiler warning. I will be talking about major plot spoilers so finish the game before you read the rest. Everybody good? Good. So the game has this chaos system where your actions have an impact on the game world. The system is very black and white with no gray. The way it works is that if you kill a certain number of people you will have a high chaos rating, which gives you “the bad ending”. It’s kind of dumb that the fate of the empire relies solely on not killing one too many bad guys. Also, the game offers so many ways to kill a person yet it punishes you for killing too much.
Despite some of its issues, Dishonored is a great experience. The characters are great, the world is rich with lore and mystery, and the story is good and it has a nice little twist. I would recommend this game to anyone and give it an 8.5/10. As usual, for more game reviews and news make sure you stick with GameBuz.