Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Review No. 123 Dishonored - PC (18+)

Strong Points:
Many ways to dispatch enemy
Lots of choices which affect story and gameplay
Nice art style
Great powers
Good voice acting
4th mission offers a nice change for stealth missions
Great atmosphere
Can make you really think about your choices - you are not always the hero

Weak Points:
Amount of stuff to do in the first and second chapter (after prologue) can be overwhelming
Certain choices are black and white - even if you make a third option
The beginning can feel slow as you have limited powers
Quite large difficulty spikes
Has Bethesda's classic clunky animations
The enemy AI can be intermittent
Saving a civilian who then walks straight into danger again really hinders the job
More weapons and powers favour the lethal approach
Difficult to find enough mana potions, to begin with

In-depth Review:

Release Dates:
North America: 9th October 2012
France: 9th October 2012
Australia: 11th October 2012
Europe: 12th October 2012

Controls: can all be re-binded to fit your play-style

Dishonoured, with his story and voice muted, Corvo has one mission - vengeance on the killers of the Empress. Along the way, he encounters choices which can affect the entire world and its inhabitants from the shop owner around the corner to the military as a whole. Will you choose to abandon morals to get the job done or will you take the slower, more methodical route even if you put yourself in danger, to cause as little chaos as possible?

I personally chose the little chaos route, only taking down the people I needed to (mostly) and preferring the sleep dart to the incendiary. Overall, only two of the main targets fell by my hand and it felt really good to be able to shape the stories future in such an intimate way. Even when I got it wrong, which happened, I felt that I really did affect the game and was responsible for my actions, something which doesn't normally happen in games, at least not in a not completely black and white way.

For example, in the first assassination mission after the prologue, you have the option to save someone who was going to be poisoned. I tried to save him but must have made a mistake as by the end of the mission he was dead (I'd knocked him unconscious but either he fell or rats got him). This mistake affected the entire game and some characters storylines and actions but it wasn't just a simple yes or no question - 'save him or don't' - which popped up at a specific point. I felt really bad not being able to save him and it really helped to immerse me in my own little story of Dishonored.

The individual missions which make up the main story are full of little choices, none of which are black and white, and which can have consequences a lot further on in the game. For example. in the second assassination mission, all the choices you made in the first mission suddenly become very apparent. Given that the individual missions are so long, it was quite overwhelming to see so many consequences reveal themselves at once. My advice is to not question what you've done and just keep going.

Of course, to keep going there are plenty of options available to you. The big categories are stealth and Rambo, both of which you can do to great effect. But there are smaller sub-categories to these like whether you're going to go non-lethal or lethal and to what length? This, coupled with the many ways you can dispatch enemies gives you an impressive amount of options although I do feel that there are more options (in the way of weapons and powers) that favour the lethal approach.

Talking about powers and weapons, there are some really cool combos you can do with them. Blessed with the power of The Outsider, Corvo can bend time to his will as well as the local rat/fish population, teleport and even possess humans. These powers are really well balanced and the weapons complement them nicely. One of my favourites is to slow time and place a mine down, speed time up again and watch madness ensue.

The AI of the enemy is inconsistent shall we say. I was playing on hard difficulty so there was bound to be some increased range and sensitivity but sometimes I could get through no problem and other times I swear the walls had eyes. My advice is to take the first chance you get to move and remember that the people haven't seen you unless their alert bubble turns red. The fighting, on the other hand, was good all round with fluent fights breaking out and the enemy overwhelming me quickly (which I expected). Something which isn't good, however, is when you save a civilian from a mildly scripted sequence and they turn and get killed by a Weeper. Really hinders the job that.

The overall story is good, with lots of choices to make which affect little outcomes and twists I didn't expect, even if the ending is just plain abrupt. The individual stories are where the game shines though as you really feel like you are influencing the people around you and their lives. Voice acting is again, good overall, with life and character being brought to even the smallest characters. Dishonored also has great lore, with plenty of books detailing information about the characters and the world, allowing you to make informed choices about what you want to do.

The City of Dunwall is bleak and miserable, darkness and rats plague the street, fanatics and the military helping to clean up whatever the plague leaves behind. The art style really helps to immerse you in the world. even if it has aged slightly over the years. Basically a watercolour painting, the City of Dunwall and the surrounding area really is a sight to behold and with different levels introducing different parts of the city at different times, you will slowly gain a picture of this picture-esque setting.

Conclusion: overall, Dishonored is a game of choice, which it knows and lets you get on with it. Now, I'm off to sign myself to Satan and do a high chaos playthrough!

Rating: 85%

Thanks for reading, Satamer.

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