released on Oct 09, 2012
Dishonored is an immersive first-person action game that casts you as a supernatural assassin driven by revenge. With Dishonored’s flexible combat system, creatively eliminate your targets as you combine the supernatural abilities, weapons and unusual gadgets at your disposal. Pursue your enemies under the cover of darkness or ruthlessly attack them head on with weapons drawn. The outcome of each mission plays out based on the choices you make.
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This game is excellent. I suck at it, but it's so much fun. Assassin's Creed wishes it could do this.
Dishonored is one of the few games I've ever played where a direct recommendation of "play this with a controller/keyboard and mouse" cannot be made. Generally speaking, I enjoy playing stealth games with a controller. Stealth, like racing games, is a genre that benefits greatly from analog sticks. At the heart of a great stealth game is nail-biting tension and suspense. Vulnerability is stressed through risk outweighing reward. On a keyboard, all of your inputs are static. Are you pressing up? Good, you're moving up. Jolting an analog stick up can mean the difference between shuffling silently and bringing in nearby ears for inspection. Even in games where this choice tends to be an illusion, it heightens the already high stakes of weaving in and out of crowded spaces as little more than a specter in the night. If that's how you choose to play Dishonored, I recommend it. Leaning and inventory management can feel a little less natural than they would on a keyboard, but they're functional and aren't as distracting as they could potentially be. In the words of Godd Howard himself, "it just works."
The other side of the coin is this: combat-based playthroughs require vastly more precision than two analog sticks can allow. Far from the stealth game half of this game is, aggressive playstyles in Dishonored turn the game into a psychotically frenetic action-platformer about style. The ability to teleport goes from a neat tool for traversing large areas undetected to a weapon that allows you to change your position on the fly. Double jumping allows you to exploit the verticality of each level, creating moments where countering an attack means raising a blade from above as often as it does parrying a swing. Grenade kills are a gory spectacle that separates torsos from limbs and then torsos from themselves. But this brutality exists for more than shock value alone. Each decapitated body part can be picked up and thrown to be used as a distraction or to stagger oncoming attacks. Being of the same lineage of Dark Messiah, Dishonored features a host of supernatural abilities to go alongside teleportation, one of which allows you to throw enemies to the ground with a gust of wind. Paired with the ability to stop time completely, falling bodies go from quick executions to rather grim bridges used to access nearby rooftops. Also paired with the ability to turn the weapons of your enemies into your own, it allows you to disintegrate unaware platoons. As both a stealth game and a power fantasy, Dishonored succeeds.
As a narrative? I don't know what to tell you. This is where things start to get a little bit more complicated. At the heart of Dishonored isn't its cast of characters or the journey you go on but the morality of your actions. The choice to go silent or to leave bodies in your wake is one not only made for your character but the world he lives in. Going on a murderous rampage causes everyone to hate you while the world falls to shit. It's daring and bold, and I can't say it works entirely because this game loves to give you tools to just murder the fuck out of everyone. Your supernatural powers can be used to sneak around guards. But when upgrades can make my powers deadlier while others encourage me to go on thoughtlessly violent killing sprees, I don't know if I feel like the game is trying to instill any morals in me and succeeding in its job. Especially since the detail of this setting only makes me care about the characters I'm told to get rid of, the non-violent approach to Dishonored's narrative can feel a bit hollow.
Outside of that, though, this is one of the best immersive sims I've ever played. This is one of those quintessential 'reload your save every five minutes' games, and it's always a blast to revisit. I do wish its attitude toward women were a little friendlier. I wouldn't say it's the most misogynistic game I've ever played, but averypaledog's review hits the nail on its head.
They tried so hard... and got so far. But in the end, it falls short in a lot of ways.
Fun first person stealth game! Mechanics are satisfying and story is interesting. The AI can act very strangely at times which can be frustrating. Apart from this, I really enjoyed this game.
A really good immersive sim with a focus on high-tier stealth gameplay. I really enjoyed both playthroughs, but I really felt the good and bad hasn't aged as well. I wish it was more morally ambiguous, because it is weird a game about assassination technically punishes you for, well, assassinating someone. The world was decent as well but I felt like it was lacking in some aspects, and we are told a lot more about things than shown about the city's history and politics.
This might be a superb game– bordering on perfect– but there were elements in my playthrough that marred the experience.
The apocalyptic tone of Dishonored story encouraged me to play villainous eschewing my normal RPG playstyle of a very moral character. I killed so many people, folks, often pointlessly and brutally. There was a lack of grace and a stupidity to my methology so maybe that’s why some mechanics felt so empty? It made the game not as infectious as I would hope. That and the fact I took a multi-month break in the middle of my playthrough.
I can imagine a replay would shine this game brighter, which I am planning down the road. The visuals hold up very well and the world is so immersive. The game length is about just right. So will I adore this game down the road? We’ll see. I think this game is fairly great– maybe I’ll see it for the masterpiece it’s known to be?