Dishonored (PS3) review
My feelings towards Dishonored changed many times while playing the game, at times I felt the game was rather poor but at other I found it great and so by the end I was left thinking the game is not great but overall it is good.
The world of Dishonored is a bleak place where a plaque has ravaged a steam punk themed city. The commoners are left to fend for themselves against the plaque and the take little notice of the plaque and the commoners that are suffering.
The story sees you take on the role of Corvo Attano, a trusted bodyguard to the Empress, but when the empress is killed and her daughter Emily taken before your very eyes you are treated as the killer by the aristocrats who plotted her death. After you escape the aristocrats and Lord Regent who was the main man behind the killing you join the Loyalists to help rescue Emily and return her to the rightful position as empress. At this time you are visited by a mysterious man who gives you special powers which you can use to your advantage. And so you dawn a mask and begin your journey to restore order to chaos.
Missions are handed out and done from the Loyalist HQ. To start every mission which is mostly to assassinate or silence someone, you are ferried from the HQ to the location. One on location, missions can be done in a variety of ways which include stealth, brute force or any other alternative methods you can find. Mission environments are pretty open and offer a large number of ways to complete missions which depend mostly on which powers you possess at the time. Personally I didn’t enjoy the sneaky approach and when attempting to do so I usually ended up getting stuck with no obvious way to go apart from fighting. Missions are a nice length and don’t over stay their welcome but the overall game is a lot shorter than I had expected which is not necessarily a bad thing because the game just says here is your mission and/or side mission and complete it in however long it takes, there is no running around the city trying to find the general area to take up time, the game just goes straight to action and personally I enjoy that because it seemed the developers didn’t want to try and artificially extend the game to much.
In assassin games stealth is the most important element, get it right and you have a great game. Dishonored’s stealth is hit and miss with crouching behind objects and staying above enemies working well, but what really annoys me about the games stealth is that you could be in stealth behind a wall say and an enemy could be looking right at you and he wouldn’t even seen you, this issue really took the experience of stealth away from me and it happened on several occasions, another issue with stealth is leaning. Leaning allows you to peak around a wall, but if say I looked out and a guard saw me peaking out he wouldn’t react, he would look straight at my character and act as if he had seen nothing. Getting caught while sneaking is another problem, I could be perfectly hiding behind a wall and suddenly I would be attacked, once I was behind a wall enemy looking straight at me not seeing me and suddenly an enemy attacked me, I was left confused as I didn’t see any other enemy around. So as you can tell the stealth in my opinion isn’t exactly brilliant but when you combine stealth with your powers like blink which allows you to teleport short distances it gets good, you could argue the game forces you to use your powers to stay hidden even if you are hidden. Overall Stealth is alright but nothing special.
While stealth is lack luster the combat is a lot better. Stealth combat is nice and easy you can just kill or knockout an enemy you are behind, but to knockout you have to press and hold a button which is a lot more effort than just pressing one button and killing him. The weapons you have include your powers, a sword, gun, grenade and crossbow. You can hold two of these weapons at a time, but you always have to have your sword in your right hand, so you can only really change the weapons in your left hand which does remove some options like dual wielding powers. Once you get into combat the enemies are pretty tough as you have to block sword swings and counter a lot, but you have to be wary of soldiers carrying guns which knock you back and when you have no ranged ammo it can be a bit of an issue. The gun which is a pistol can only carry 10 bullets and is good to have when in a tricky situation, the crossbow is also handy but for a different reason because it can use sleeping bolts for ranged non lethal take downs. Overall combat in Dishonored is challenging and fun.
Now about the powers you can use in the game. Powers are great situational abilities to have with blink great for getting to far away locations and possession great for finding additional ways to get around mission locations. There was one really disconcerting part of the game when it came to the powers and that was the loyalists in the HQ took no notice of my powers, never questioned the mark which symbolizes the powers or anything. Powers are gained by collecting runes which are hidden in various locations when on missions and to find the runes you use a human heart given to you by the mysterious man who originally gave you the powers, so I would suggest before leaving an area make sure you find the runes that are in your mission area. There are also other hidden items called bone charms which give permanent buffs such as increased health or allow drinking water returns health, these charms can also be found by using the heart. The powers in the game really make the game interesting and make an alright game better, but the fact no one acknowledges the powers until near the end takes me out of the experience a bit.
Now for the main mechanic of the game, the chaos system. This system really makes the game great. The chaos system is a system which kind of makes you reflect on what you did during the mission. Killing a lot of people you get a high chaos rating, but being stealthy gets you a low chaos rating. The Chaos system at face value might not seem like much but as you get further into the game the chaos system takes hold as the game changes depending on your rating for example playing with a high chaos rating makes enemies act differently and can also alter the story in seemingly small, but pivotal ways, with that said you don’t have to be crazily cautious with kills, and knockouts in all levels, there is some leeway if you get a high chaos level once as you can lower it again on the next mission. Overall the chaos system is a great mechanic and it really makes you think through your actions more.
Finally the characters you interact with in-game are nothing special. The main characters felt bland and uninteresting and honestly the most interesting one was the ferryman who brought you to your mission.
Overall despite all the issues with the game I really enjoyed it and I would recommend it. The story might have being short, but it was to the point and didn’t over stay its welcome, combat was challenging and rewarding, the powers where interesting and helped greatly and finally the chaos system made it all worthwhile as it brought a human side to the game as it caused you to reflect on your actions and face the consequences of them.
- Developer: Arkane Studios
- Publisher: Bethesda
- Genre: Action adventure
- Rating: 18
- Platform: PlayStation 3, PC and Xbox 360
- Release date: out now
- Website: http://www.dishonored.com/
Author: Aaron Meehan
Hi, I’m the creator of SG Gaming Info. When I’m not working on my writing or creating content for this site’s YouTube channel, I like to relax and enjoy character driven story games.