The world of Dishonored is fantastic; it is so rich and well-established by way of in-game books, notes, overheard dialogue and even just little scenes upon which you can stumble.
Some people call Corvo, the protagonist, boring and characterless, but what’s facinating is the effect that your actions – and by extension, Corvo – has on those around him.
People treat you differently by way of subtle changes in speech or tone and the lasting effect on one particular character is nothing short of brilliant.
The Good & Bad
As far as gameplay goes, Dishonored isn’t perfect. The stealth mechanics are pretty close to perfect, with leaning around corners, clearly visible alert warnings and a multitude of clever ways to get around without being seen, but it falls apart a bit in the combat. Corvo is heralded as a master of arms, able to ‘beat three men at once’, as a guard can be heard saying. Ironically, fighting more than one person at a time can be infuriatingly difficult. And that’s on moderate settings.
Because almost all NPCs use a combination of sword and pistol, you can cross swords only to be shot at point blank range by someone you can’t stop, they can kick you; an unblockable attack that deals as much damage as a bullet, or they can just swing their sword as you jump backwards out of range and hit you anyway. Their sword range is about three times the length of their sword and you must block every single hit.
The killy death tools are nicely varied, allowing for very stylish kills with grenades, crossbow bolts and shrapnel mines, and that’s not even touching on the supernatural powers. Adding them, the game becomes a flowing action of combat adding a clever third dimension to swordplay (at least the way I fight). Aside from just jumping and teleporting high, time manipulation, rat control and blasts of wind are just some of the tricks you can use.
Admittedly, you’ll probably find one or two powers that you use more than the others, but the options are there to experiment.
While the story can be a bit predictable, it serves as a good framing device to take you across the breadth of Dunwall, killing and stalking people of all kinds. Also all of the cutscenes are skippable for those who want to try speedruns.
The DLC is an interesting topic, allowing a new perspective on the story as well as some different powers and amazing sprawling levels.
Slow But Deep
The downside of these slow, stealth-based games is they can be lacking in F**k Yeah moments, but Dishonored makes up for that in lasting enjoyment, replayability and a world that you can be lost in for days.