Review: Dishonored

dishonored
(I actually finished this a few months ago, and have been tossing up whether it is even worth doing reviews for such old games. But I figure maybe I’ll do one that someone has not played, and maybe someone can discover something new, so why not, eh? Expect a few older games to show up, and you can decide for yourself if the review makes it sound appealing or not.)

Release date: 2012
Version played: Xbox 360 in 2015

Dishonored is a first person stealth/action game released in 2012. It was developed by Arkane Studios, and published by Bethesda Softworks, and featured a surprisingly high number of high(ish) profile celebrities doing some voice work, including Lena Heady, Brad Dourif, Susan Sarandon and Chloë Grace Moretz.

+ the stealth part of the now common stealth/action hybrid genre was surprisingly enjoyable, and the lean mechanic made for some tense moments, where you were sure enemies would see you but you’d just manage to escape unseen
+ the less offensive magic powers, such as Blink (teleporting a short distance) and Possession (exactly what it sounds like) were very enjoyable, particularly when paired with a pacifist/ghost playthrough. Bend Time (which slowed time around you either in a bubble, or entirely, was a real treat to use
+ the story was not particularly unique, but managed to not be ridiculous – you get framed for something that you didn’t do, and you clear your name. The ability to kill or spare most enemies and major targets, altering the difficulties of the following levels was interesting, and worked surprisingly well come the climax
+ the game was above average looking, and had that same sort of Bioshock-esque cartoony characters, with emphasised physical features, such as particularly large heads, or thin bodies, all set in a steampunk world.

– when the game forced you into action sequences (or you simply chose to go crazy on the enemy guards), the first person perspective did not work well with the combat. As with most first person melee games, it simply turned into a block-and-counter-kill parade, and the stupid enemy AI did nothing to provide any challenge
– a very small cast of enemy archetypes was disappointing, each vulnerable to the same sort of combat options, where the sole challenge seemed to be taking on large groups of them, which became inconsequential when doing the counter-kill method described above
– the offensive magic powers, such as Devouring Swarm (summoning a horde of rats to kill an enemy) or the very boring Wind Blast were just that – boring
– no use of extravagant combinations of powers was worth the hassle of the later levels alterations, and such it mean that a simple teleport-and-choke-out strategy was usually the most enjoyable, and the most practical

> I downloaded this for free back in November 2014 as part of the Games with Gold promotion, but never got into it enough to play it at the time. A sequel was announced at E3 2015, so I figured I might as well play through the first one.
> The Games with Gold version didn’t come with any DLC, and I didn’t really want to play more, once I had finished the main game.

Should you play this game: Although the game was interesting, I wouldn’t call it particularly enjoyable. Depending on your own imagination, it was possible to do some very cool kills, but I personally found the no-kill challenge (recognized in game, via both the story and Xbox achievements) to be far more satisfying. The stealth segments were watered down copies from games like Thief, and the first person combat was as always uninspired. I am glad it was free, because I certainly would not have paid full price for this game.

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