Player freedom, it’s a dying mechanic. With so many major blockbusters practicality playing themselves, Dishonored promises to create a game that offers complete player freedom while drawing you into the world of Dunwall. Does this ambition stealth action game stand out or should it be left in the shadows.
In Dishonored you take control of Corvo. At the beginning of the game the empress is murdered, the heir to the throne is kidnapped and you are framed for the murder. After escaping prison you are tasked with finding the young girl and lead a rebellion to stop the corruption that is in power in Dunwall.
Dishonored is set across nine missions. That may sound like it may be a short affair but it’s anything but. It’s not that often you can say this but if you rush through the game, completing only the main task at hand, it could take you less than 10 hours but then you’d be “playing it wrong” Dishonored is all about the journey and not the destination and that journey is completely open.
Each mission you are tasked with completing a task. Each mission though is like a mini-sandbox, allowing you to approach the situation any way you want. It’s up to you whether you want to take to the rooftops, stay in the shadows, or even take the main street with sword in hand and take on whatever the game throws at you.
However, depending on what you do within those missions, it will affect the world as you go along and ultimate create a darker ending. The more bodies you leave lying around, the more the plague will spread and rats will become larger in number. The game though can actually be played without killing a single soul but with the amount of choice at your disposal, it’s quite hard to stick to just one playstyle in the first playthrough.
And Dishonored is a game that should be played right through more than once. On top of your sword, gun, and crossbow, you are given supernatural powers that you unlock by finding runes throughout the world and buying and upgrading the powers. The one automatically given to you is blink which allows teleportation over short distances. Each power you chose though adds a new aspect to approaching any situation. Possession allows you to possess a rat to go through a vent while bending time allows you to freeze time and take out multiple enemies without any time passing by. But it’s only when you put multiple powers and weapons together will you truly get the full potential of the tools at your disposal. Attach a springrazor to a rat, possess the rat and run it into a bunch of enemies and watch carnage unfold.
The possibilities can ultimately be only held back by your imagination as experimenting what works and what doesn’t is huge chunk of what makes the game so enjoyable. Stealth offers the most gratification. Always remember to save often if you want to experiment with which way to go and what powers to use about doing that. Simply replaying a mission you’ve just completed can bring on an entirely new experience with different powers needed, different mindset, and even different enemy encounters. Sometimes taking a stealthy approach can land you in hotter water because you’ll never know what enemy may be lurking around the corner.
The world of Dunwall is captivating. Everything from the visuals, to the people, and the characters you meet along the way. One of Dishonored’s strong points is its art style. This really looks like a Victorian England moving painting. It doesn’t blow you away on a technical standpoint but the artistic style will definitely make it much more memorable. The missions also bring completely different personalities and colour palettes. One mission will see in decrepid buildings ready to crumble to the ground where others see you walking around a beautiful mansion with colours bouncing off every surface. Regardless though of where you are in the game, it is visually spectacular. Never has a world looked so captivating since 2007’s Bioshock.
Dishonored is a game that proves a new IP can come along this late into the console cycle and just blow away the paint by number blockbusters we’re about to see. It’s creative, beautiful, and a success on every level.