This engrossing first-person shooter game Dishonored, published by Bethesda Softworks and developed by Arkane Studios, has great originality, a stellar voice character cast, and various ways to victory including several non-lethal options.
- Improvise and Innovate: Approach each assassination with your own style of play
- Use shadow and sound to your advantage to make your way silently through levels unseen by foes, or attack enemies head-on as they respond to your aggressiveness.
- Action with Meaning: The world of Dishonored reacts to how you play. Move like a ghost and resist corruption, or show no mercy and leave a path of destruction in your wake. Decide your approach for each mission, and the outcomes will change as a result.
- Supernatural Abilities: Combining your suite of supernatural abilities and weapons opens up even more ways to overcome obstacles and eliminate targets. The game’s upgrade system allows for the mastery of deadly new abilities and devious gadgets.
- A City Unlike Any Other: Enter an original world envisioned by Half-Life 2 art director Viktor Antonov. Arkane and Bethesda bring you a world where industry and mysticism collide, creating an atmosphere thick with intrigue. The world is yours to discover.
This single player game features non-linear paths that allow for extensive creativity while the first-person view enhances the considerable role playing elements. Set in the Empire of the Isles, the main protagonist Corvo Attano must endure and survive after, as the title suggests, betrayal and a set up involving the Empress Jessamine Kaldwine of Dunwall puts him in prison. The extraordinary circumstances also result in the Empress’ daughter Emily being kidnapped as mysterious antagonists turn Corvo’s life upside down. The strong emotional bond between Corvo and Emily progresses well throughout the story.
Now, Corvo finds support from Loyalists as Lord Regent, Dunwall’s new ruler, has a bounty on his head. A devastating plague makes circumstances even more dire. Additional mystery rises from characters like Granny Rags, voiced by Susan Sarandon who joins a stellar cast that includes Lena Headey, Chloë Grace Moretz, Carrie Fisher, Michael Madsen, and John Slattery (TV’s Mad Men) who plays an honorable admiral.
Corvo can turn the tides with strategy, stealth, and carefully chosen actions throughout this action packed adventure, which will surely continues in future installments. Players pave their own way as the impressive game intelligence notices when players break cover and offers several paths to complete missions and even the entire game without killing. The story seems like a familiar revenge driven mission, but the weapons customization, multiple gameplay options, and special abilities yield dynamic results and constant challenge.
Weapons can be accessed through a radial menu (L2 to access and L1 to select), but be cautious because the game still continues. Weapons can also be combined and designated to the directional buttons for easy access.
Weapons include pistols, knives, swords, crossbows, non-lethal darts, razor-flinging proximity mines, and grenades. Players can also use some objects for weapons and even distractions while basic blocks and counterattacks help in hand-to-hand combat situations.
The trial and error elements develop into appealing adventures instead of frustrating sidebars, which is an especially strong experience for gamers who enjoy choice and multiple options. A special mask obtained later in the game disguises Corvo and offers zooming options.
Movements, especially swimming, to specific areas can be challenging, especially in dark areas. Enemies and innocents can be targets. Innocent deaths present a unique game element. As the plague consumes the land, it needs targets too, so players can find advantages in killing less people and avoid devouring packs of infested rats…and even infested people who attack relentlessly. Regular enemies also have powerful attacks and will often go through anyone to get to you.
Corvo cannot talk, but makes occasional action/dialogue choices. Players can choose stealthy strategies that require patience and finesse or take their chances against increasing enemies because their actions attract more attention. Press the circle button to enter a quiet crouch and purchase quality boots for quieter movements. Corvo can loot items from dead bodies and move the bodies to other areas to avoid detection. All these decisions and more factor into the story and the ending, which increase the overall replay value.
The special abilities (equipped in the character’s left hand) promote player creativity and the constant challenge of winning the game without killing. Players collect special items called runes for special ability status and enhancement. Players cannot maximize every special ability, so distribute resources wisely.
These supernatural powers include windblasts, dark vision (special visual abilities), blink (special teleportation), and possession where players can step into a rat or fish for uniquely exciting gameplay that yields special advantages or try human swapping for even more creative possibilities (e.g. move an enemy into a dangerous path…like maybe their own fired bullet). Powers can also be combined.
Players add more variables with the difficulty level selection and time spent on item searches and accumulation. Many items are hard to find, but worth the effort. Players get multiple save slots in this well organized game plus navigational arrows for various mission destinations. Dialogue boxes appear when players have multiple choices (e.g. just as you step on a boat options appear to look around or leave…an obvious invitation for an item search)
Players can access journals for more information and gain additional intelligence from the environment (whispering dialogue, item placement, etc.). Bone charms, coins, and other valuables help players upgrade while collectible items like paintings enhance the overall narrative while giving players constant practice in finding well hidden items.
The unique visuals are led by co-creative directors Harvey Smith, (Deus Ex lead designer), who also co-wrote the story, and Raphael Colantonio (Arx Fatalis lead designer). They incorporate slow-motion effects while blending impressive lighting and shadow effects. The original music score from Daniel Licht and intense sound effects enhance the experience considerably. These sounds can help players avoid upcoming dangers and find enemy targets.
This first-person action video game Dishonored lets players incorporate their own gameplay style into an engrossing world. Small decisions add to the consistent blend of intelligent action and emotional character connection while familiar elements like stealth kills and magic powers put players in a comfortable position within an enthralling, original world.
Where to Buy: Amazon.com and other stores
What I Like: dual weapon/power format, high replay value, stellar voice cast, rewards for high observational and inventory management skills, special/non-lethal abilities, secrets/hidden items, conveniently continuous radial menu selection for items
What Needs Improvement: few story surprises, AI inconsistency, awkward difficulty when moving to specific spots and targeting certain objects/people
Source: Copy provided by publisher