I originally had my misgivings about Dishonored, ‘Dishonoured’ if you are English and picky about spelling. At a glance it seemed somewhat derivative. There are lots of action-RPG games that empathize player choice. I am a big fan of Bethesda not just Elder Scrolls and Fallout but some of their other projects too, such as Hunted: Demon Forge, which I recommend.
However the initial premise didn’t grab my attention, betrayed bodyguard to murdered Empress turned assassin, choices have consequences blah blah. But as soon as I started, I was hooked. I chose the bloody, high chaos route because I find it’s more fun that way, and that’s just the kind of guy I am. I still used a lot of stealth and I had a merry old time opening arteries with Corvo’s nifty folding sword.
Dishonored is set in the city of Dunwall in an era very reminiscent of steampunk/ Victorian culture. The city, which is at the mercy of a terrible plague, is a great place to explore. There are lots of shadows to skulk in and plenty of high rooftops and ledges to stalk your prey from. The 1st person gameplay features a mix of swordplay, ranged weapons (guns and a crossbow) and otherworldly magic. If you go the pacifist, undetected route then you won’t find the gun or the sword all that useful. Corvo’s crossbow, appropriately loaded with knockout darts of course, will be your go to weapon. You can also use your blink ability to teleport stealthily all over the environment.
But as I said I went for the high chaos route of cutting down any guard that got in my way and a large dose of bullets to the head for those that saw me coming. This route represented one of the extremes available, and I am happy to report that there were indeed consequences to my ultra-violent approach. More corpses meant more plague rats, more rats meant higher infection transmission, and more plague is generally viewed as worse than less plague. Your allies will respond to your choices as well.
The combat and assassination gameplay is excellent. The ability to drop assassinate was my favourite. Drop from a ledge or rooftop and take out the poor sap directly below you; it even works on the tough, armored enemies later in the game. The parry, counter-attack combat is great fun; the 1st person perspective makes it very visceral. You can’t always see an attack coming, very different from say Assassin’s Creed and it’s 3rd perspective. You need to react fast to get your guard up. Having your gun to hand is useful when you need to break through some guard’s block. Immensely entertaining to shoot a guy in the face while he’s attempting to block your sword strike. Maybe I’m just mean.
Dishonored is a fantastic game, the plot is engrossing and while a little predictable has great scope for you to make it your own. The gameplay/ combat is very different to your average 1st person action-RPG. The smaller pool of weapons and tactics available make it more fast-paced than the combat offered up by Skyrim and Fallout. A must buy.