Dishonored

Posted On: 10/8/2012  Publisher: Bethesda

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Dishonored was revealed earlier this year and has caught our eye a few times over the past several months. Developed by Arkane Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks, the game can be described as an action game or a stealth game. Thatís all up to you and how you play through the game. Youíll see different influences from Assassinís Creed to Bioshock mixed throughout into its own unique package. Youíll run across a few flaws but as a whole package Dishonored is quite a game.

You play the role of a bodyguard/assassin named Corvo. You are tasked with protecting the Empress and her daughter, Emily but things go horribly wrong and you find yourself in the middle of a conspiracy. You find yourself accused of killing the Empress and having her daughter kidnapped and you are immediately thrown into prison. With the help of some allies youíll escape prison and now you search for Emily as well as answers to who actually killed the Empress. Well, all that and to exact a little revenge for the time you spent in prison.

Dishonored can be played purely as a stealth game and you can actually make it the whole way through the game without actually killing anyone other than designated targets. Itís not an easy task but it can be done with time and patience. There are many gadgets, tools and special abilities to help you accomplish this goal but the one ability you must have yourself is patience. Without it, youíll never succeed taking this route.

 
 

You can also go in guns and swords blazing. Youíll attract all sorts of attention and at times you can be completely overcome by guards. Some guards will be armed with guns while others will have swords and there are even some special assassin types that have special abilities like yourself. I for one liked mixing up my gameplay style with a little stealth and a little action. If I alerted guards then I would just focus on taking out the opposition completely and then move back into a stealthy mode.

There is an issue with the AI in this game. At times the AI can be just plain stupid and other times they seem like they have eyes in the back of their heads. I alerted a whole troop of four or five guards that came running at me. I ran underneath some steps and they ran onto the steps and just stood there telling me to show myself. They kept saying they were going to find me. Well heck, they were right behind me as I ran under the steps. Throughout most of the game things went pretty well with the AI but there were those definite moments when I just scratched my head.

As you progress through the game youíll find coin and runes that will help you upgrade your equipment as well as abilities. There are quite a few abilities you can purchase and upgrade such as Blink which allows you to quickly and swiftly move from one point to another. It allows you to cross gaps as well you wouldnít normally be able to cross. There is also an ability that allows you to see enemies through walls, and ability to possess animal and human targets. Those are just a few of the powers and abilities at your disposal and all of these can be upgraded to higher levels. So in essence there is an RPG element to this game as well. Now there is a catch. You can only have one power equipped at a time. You can access your other powers as well as weapons through a radial wheel by hitting the left bumper.

 
 

Youíll also collect special bone charms that give you bonuses or upgrades to your powers and in game moments. You can equip up to 6 bone charms at once when you buy the upgrades. This can give you a great advantage over the enemy in a variety of situations.

One of the cooler things in the game is your possession skill. This ability allows you to control another living thing such as a rat or an enemy soldier to your advantage. You can use it to sneak into heavily guarded areas which definitely comes in handy. Again, youíll have to find runes and bone charms to access these abilities and they are hidden throughout the levels. You can equip the beating heart ability which can direct you to the location of runes and charms.

One of the downsides to the 2 handed weapon system is that you are forced to always use a sword. Your sword is always in one hand and the weapon of choice in your other. For instance, you canít equip a gun in one hand and a crossbow in the other. I am not exactly sure why this was done. But thatís the way it is. It doesnít really detract from the game but it would have made for some cool combinations.

Dishonored is a fairly linear game but each area you enter has various paths you can take to reach your objective. As I mentioned, throughout each level you will find all sorts of goodies from coinage to food that restores your health to runes and bone charms. Youíll have to look about pretty good but let me give you a tip. When you enable the special Dark Vision that allows you to see through walls you will also see green items which are items you can pick up or consume. So be sure to always explore each area thoroughly using the Dark Vision.

 
 

The checkpoint system is fairly decent but there are a few instances where youíll have to redo everything you just did which can be frustrating. There is an option to save games manually and that is what I would suggest to anyone. One thing I did not like is that you start from a checkpoint or game ave spot with the same exact health that you had before you died. There is no health refill of any kind so you need to be sure to find some food or use an elixir before continuing to the point that killed you before.

Visually the game looks great. There are some times where you will find textures and objects loading a little on the late side but overall Dishonored has a look of its own. The characters are well animated and the voiceover work is pretty good. I do somewhat have an issue with our protagonist not having a voice but again itís just preference and not really anything that makes or breaks the game. The musical selections seem to fit the game appropriately and the upbeat tempo during battle scenes gets your blood going.

Dishonored will get overlooked by some which is unfortunate. Itís a great game and one that everyone should check out. With replayability and many different ways to play the game the experience would be different for each person. All of your actions have consequences which can completely shape a whole new path through the story. I do wish there were more side missions and a little more open world play. You can go back and replay missions to collect things you missed and gather achievements but the lack of multiplayer will be a downside for a lot of folks. I do hope they would reconsider playing it though because Arkane and Bethesda have a bit of a sleeper hit on their hands. Its unique, fun to play and engrossing from start to finish and thatís just what any successful game should be.

 
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