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Review - Dishonored (PS3)

 

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Dishonored. It's amazing how a game, completely new could become so highly anticipated by many consumers who have never played it before. Goes to show how much a difference proper display of a game makes in it's selling. And Arkane Studios and Bethesda did an excellent job. However, it doesn't go unnoticed the similarities this game shares with other hit titles Bioshock and Assassin's Creed. So can Dishonored be just as captivating as everyone had hoped, while still remaining original? Let's find out.

PRESENTATION

Dishonored has some really unique graphics. It's hard to describe them. Though definitely not the prettiest game you'll see these days, there's something intriguing about the look of Dishonored. It has a somewhat cartoony look to it, but it maintains such a dark and down mood it feels odd to describe the graphics in that manner. Point is, it fits the mood excellently, and what it doesn't impress in beauty, it impresses in excellent tone. 

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My biggest gripe is that the character models all look so similar. The citizens of Dunwall are not very welcoming to the eyes but it works. The thing is that all the citizens look like they're made from 1 of maybe 5 different archetypes. With the exception of the major cast (who still has strong resemblances), you'll feel like you've seen everyone somewhere before. and you probably have. This isn't uncommon in games, but for some reason, it really stands out here.

I don't fully know how to explain that the sound effects fit into the theme, but they do. From the beeping of the dangerous wall of lights, to the starting of the city intercom, the sounds just blends with Dunwall so much. Other noises such as being discovered while attempting stealth remind of of Metal Gear 3, but get my heart racing none the less.

STORY

The story behind Dishonored is just dripping in bloody revenge. It's kind of slow going at first, but half way into the game things go into overdrive, and you go with it.

You play as Corvo, Lord Protector of Dunwall's Empress. After returning from a trip, your mistress is assassinated before your eyes, and her daughter kidnapped. You soon discover the plot behind it for the claim of the throne. It's then up to a small group called the Loyalist and mostly Corvo to bring swift justice and revenge to those responsible.

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I've only told you what you get to hear at the very beginning of the game. To tell you anything else would ruin it. There are 3 different endings to experience as well, and though each is relatively different, I found all but one of them to be slightly unsatisfying. 

Dishonored is possibly one of the best revenge stories I've played, just expect things to go along fairly slow until you get about halfway.

GAMEPLAY

This is where Dishonored truly shines. On each mission you go on, there is a multitude of way to complete your objectives. From different play styles, to different routes, you'd be amazed at how 2 different peoples playthroughs can look. A friend was watching me play a portion of the game that he already completed, and he said that he hadn't even been down the area I was. It really makes for a personalized experience.

As I said, there are several ways to tackle a level, but mainly, there are 3 ways yo go about it: You can go in stealthy, eliminating enemies 1 by 1 while keeping a low profile. You can go is swords flashing, killing all who oppose you, leaving a bloody trail. Or you can attempt the ever-so-challenge non-lethal method, choosing to chock out and put to sleep enemies and leaving everyone very well alive.

Each works well, though obviously some are harder than others. To help these out, there are weapons and special abilities that aid you on your quest, and though some of these work better with certain play styles, how and when you use them is entirely up to you. 

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Let's looks at the combat. It's fast, powerful and aggressive but don't expect a fight back. The AI is fairly smart in combat: they'll block, step back and shoot at you, and even call for back up. If running straight into to a run to slaughter everyone sounds like the easy route, you better think twice. Combat can be even further enhanced with use of a pistol, grenades, and abilities like "Rat Swarm" and "Wind Blast" in which you use the force of wind to blow enemies back into walls and their allies. Combat is very intense and aggressive and there's a lot to enjoy.

So what about stealth? Definitely requires a lot more time and thought. Use of the silent crossbow, sneaking up behind people for the kill really make a difference. Abilities such a "Blink" which allows you to practically teleport from one place to another in sight, and an ability that let's you see people through walls, will help to plan your attacks with stealthy precision. What's really great though is that you're not severely punished for getting caught. Enemies will attack you, and combat ensues as it would, but once they're finished off, you can hide their bodies and be on your way, sneaking into the next area. So you won't have to keep on reloading your save files on this one.

You may want to save often for the non-lethal route however. Definitely the most challenging. You'll have to choke your enemies out rather than kill them. You can utilize sleep darts to get them from a distance, as well as abilities that let you freeze time. Even for your major targets, there's a non lethal way of "eliminating" them. For example, on one mission I was able to choke out my target and take her down to a basement where a man I had met earlier agreed to take her from Dunwall and keep her in hiding in exchange for her life. This play style will yield what is in my opinion the better ending. But it is hard, and getting caught could really mess you up, so save often.

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Dishonored definitely provides tons of replay value with it's many ways of play, and playing as 1, then going back and playing it differently is a whole new experience. As mentioned, the levels are huge, and there are multiple route to take and optional objectives to pursue. 

Sound like an open world game doesn't it? Well it's actually not. Though each level feels very open world like, It still plays out in level form. You visit one area at a time, and won't return to it once you've completed the main objective (unless you select that level to be replayed in the main menu). They even bring up a screen with your stats at the end of each.

RECAP

Dishonored is a good game. A very customized experience, a new world that you'll actually want to explore, and a blood thirsty plot. My only wish is that the game didn't feel so much like going down a check list of targets, but it's a minor gripe. But to answer my question earlier, despite striking resemblances to Bioshock and Assassin's Creed at first look, this game feels nothing but original. I definitely recommend it to gamers who favor stealth gameplay, as the stealth is exceedingly well worked here. Also, action fans will enjoy the combat, and those looking for a dirty challenge can try to tackle the game non-lethal. Give this one a try.

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Comments
  • Great. Looks like a interesting game. I might have to try it.

  • This was one of my favorite games of the year. It was a great play and I enjoyed it from start to finish. I just started my third play through, this time no one will die by Corvo's hand. Achievement hunting at its best