Age Rating: 18+
Genre: Action-adventure, Stealth, First Person
Developer: Arkane Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Game Directors: Raphael Colantonio, Harvey Smith
Lead story writers: Harvey Smith, Austin Grossman, Terri Brosius
Played on: Playstation 3
Released on: October 12th, 2012
Dishonored is an action adventure game set in the fictional land of Dunwall. Dunwall has been infected by the rat-plague that has turned the city into a place of darkness and desperation. The city has deteriorated into a valley of death, with the rats spreading the plague at an uncontrollable rate. Admist all the chaos, you play as Corvo, the personal bodyguard of the Queen of Dunwall. When the queen is brutally killed in front of Corvo’s eyes and he is wrongfully convicted of her murder, Corvo sets out to find and punish the ones who are truly responsible for the death of the queen and the kidnapping of the princess, the heir to Dunwall’s throne. But will revenge solve everything?
STORYLINE AND CHARACTERIZATION
The basic theme of Dishonored is your everyday revenge plotline; Corvo is wrongfully convicted for the murder of his beloved queen and the kidnapping of the young princess Emily. The game follows Corvo’s journey as he, with help from some allies, tries to track down the people responsible for the queen’s death and locate young princess Emily, the next heir to the throne of Dunwall.
Corvo is granted a set of super powers by a mysterious out-worldly being called ‘The Outsider’. Corvo, equipped with natural skills and supernatural power, sets out to avenge the Queen’s death and find princess Emily.
The best thing about the storyline of Dishonored is that it is to the point and easy to follow. There are no excruciatingly painful loops or unnecessary complications in the storyline. But, just because it is simple doesn’t mean that it doesn’t stick. The story of Dishonored does a wonderful job of keeping the gamer engaged. The story is more of a make-your-own-tale than a narrative. It responds to the player’s style of play and his choices. Every move you make will have a consequence; every life you take will alter the future. So, in this way, the player has a new experience every time he plays the game, given he or she changes his/her style of play every time. Although, the main storyline remains the same, the storyline changes in cases like the behaviour of your allies and foes, their dialogue etc, which is worth applause and the possibility of three sensibly varied endings shows how flexible the storyline is.
The characters are varied and designed in such a way that they cover a huge array of personalities; each character’s actions and dialogue go hand in hand with their personas. The voice acting is perfect. Also the gamers can interact with the side characters outside of cut scenes which breathe new life into them.
There is no doubt that the main storyline is solid. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the background story. The game isn’t properly introduced. The background story and narrative feels half hearted. Not that it isn’t there; the story of Dunwall, the Outsider (a fictional out worldly man who grants supernatural powers to Corvo) and every other detail related to the background of the game’s setting and characters is present in the game; only thing is that they are mere collectibles instead of a part of the main narrative. This makes the supernatural setting feel unexplained and as a mere game play element.
The other drawback of the story of this game is that it is predictable; way too predictable. Hence it becomes too subtle to deliver a kick to the gamer.
Since you are playing as Corvo, he doesn’t have any dialogue. It sounds wise but in effect it alienates Corvo from the gamer and doesn’t give any feel of character progression.
The gamer, as Corvo, has to perform a series of assassinations of key targets responsible for the murder of the queen and find the young princess Emily. Each assassination is more or less like a level; Corvo is dropped in a location where he has to find the target and eliminate him/her in any way possible. Corvo has a wide arsenal of weapons and supernatural weapons at his disposal
To put it simply, the gameplay of Dishonored is nothing short of a gamers’ paradise. The amount of freedom it gives to its players is quite exceptional. The levels are designed in such a way that the gamer has multiple ways to approach the target; lethally or non lethally. This kind of level design gives the gamer a kind of freedom only few games can offer. The levels/assassinations themselves are mini open worlds where the player can interact with different characters and do side missions for them in return for information or help in neutralizing the target. This gives the gamer various options; he/she can go at it on his/her own and take down the target or help the local characters in exchange for them neutralizing your targets for you. Or you could do a bit of both; get information in return for favours and then plan a neat assassination. This kind of game play, combined with expansive level designs with various pathways gives the game a very high and enticing replay value.
Corvo has a vast array of supernatural powers and upgrades which he can unlock by collecting supernatural whale bone carvings called runes. These supernatural powers are not only useful for lethal attacks but also play a huge role in maintaining stealth. Summoning plague rats can act both as a distraction and as an offensive technique; possessing a human or an animal can help you bypass tight security areas whereas stopping time can help you dispatch off enemies quickly. A gamer couldn’t have asked for a better set of super powers. And the best thing is you can finish the game without ever unlocking any of these super powers or killing a NPC; this gives the hard core gamers a chance to flaunt their ‘bad ass-ness’.
In addition to the supernatural powers, Corvo has many melee and ranged weapons which he can upgrade through the money he collects in different levels. The world is filled with collectibles, coins and blue prints that can be used to upgrade Corvo’s arsenal. This helps give the collectibles a sense of significance.
Between assassinations, Corvo is taken to the Hound Pits hub which acts as a hideout to him and his allies. Here he can rest, upgrade weapons, refill ammo and interact with other side characters/allies; which helps the gamer get a feel of the story atmosphere. It’s a cool addition which helps the gamer cool off and balances the pace of the game.
Last and probably the best feature of Dishonored is that the game responds to the gamer’s style of play. The atmosphere, the weather, the number of hostile NPCs or plagues victims, their behaviour, everything changes depending on the player’s style of play, which is quite astonishing. Play stealthily causing little damage as possible and you will have a stable and much dignified Dunwall; cause more chaos and you will have a much darker and hostile city. This feature greatly adds to the replay value as every gamer would be curious how different the level might have been if he had played it differently.
The game, although classified as a stealth game, has a huge scope for combat. But, melee combat could have been a bit more varied.
Given the diversity of gameplay this game offers, one would expect more variety in the AI. The AI is varied very limitedly and even those aren’t explained or introduced properly.
Now, there is always a risk involved in making an awesome game; you leave the gamer asking for more. The campaign length, which is a solid 10 hours (not counting the replay hours you are gonna put in), feels like it could have been longer with a bunch more of missions.
GRAPHICS AND MUSIC
The graphics might not be stunning, but are very detailed and beautiful. It has a certain texture that perfectly complements the mood of the game. Yet, one would have wanted much smoother graphics as at some points the graphics tend to become too rough edged.
The music is amazing. Eerie, slow and unsettling. The soundtrack perfectly fits with the setting of the game and will leave you buzzing the theme days after you have completed the game.