Dishonored is a first person action stealth game developed by Arkane Studios. You know, the ones who worked on the design, animation, and art for little known game BioShock 2. Some could say it’s a classic. Typically you see stealth games in the third person, say Splinter Cell for instance. Dishonored will literally put you into the shoes of Corvo Attano, the Royal bodyguard for Empress Jessamine Kaldwin because you failed to thwart the assassination attempt on her life. She gets killed; you’re standing there with her daughter Lady Emily Kaldwin when the guards rush in immediately accusing you of killing her. It’s not pretty because you are imprisoned, tortured, and set for execution when suddenly, you are given a chance to escape, to restore your honor by a group of loyalists.
Your adventures in clearing your name will be within the city of Dunwall, which is a whaling port that runs on the power created by the hunted whales’ oil. The city is completely controlled by the whale and what the sea has to offer. The city has been besieged by a plague that is rather nasty and is spread through the rats that are slowly taking over the city. These rats are ruthless and if they are hungry enough, it will not be uncommon to see a group of them gang up on a human and devour him whole right in front of you eyes. Due to the hard times falling upon Dunwall, the city is falling apart and if you venture out to the city outskirts, it will be falling down upon you and there you will find most of the infection. Those who are still alive are called Weepers. Think of them as kind of a zombie pleading for help in a way. Ever since the Empress was murdered, Dunwall has fallen into an era of military control and a sort of odd religious cult like aura within the ranks of those who control it.
The technology you find throughout the game, as mentioned before, is powered by whale oil. Think of the design of these items to look like something from the wet dream of someone totally into Steampunk. There are not a lot of items to see in the game, which is fine because they lend themselves perfectly to each situation, but when you do, you will know the power of the Arc Pylon and Wall of Light. The Arc Pylon is a tower of power reminiscent of something that Nikola Tesla would have built. Walk near it and it will notice you’re not part of the cool group so to speak. You are then quickly met with a sharp electrical bolt of death dealing destruction. Quick and presumably painless, you will be at the load screen. The Wall of Light has the same sort of design as the Arc Pylon, but instead is a force field that will only let through those that are allowed to go through. If you decide to run through it, again a quick and painless death. Look at that loading screen again. The nice thing is, you are able to rewire these death dealers and instead of them going after you, they will in turn go after your enemies. Which is really nice to watch electrified human ash appear as an Arc Pylon decimates your pursuers.
Because all of this runs on whale oil, it has the unstable characteristics of nitroglycerin. Throw it or shoot at it with your gun or crossbow and BOOM, enemy death dealt. This is handy when you come up against the nastiness that is the games biggest threat, the Tallboy’s. These suck and if you can avoid dealing with them, be sure to do so. They will both take their stilt walking legs and attempt to stomp you and your little sword into a pulp, or if at a distance, shoot flaming arrows at you. In general, this is the biggest enemy in the game and as you progress through, you will end up seeing more and more of them. Besides having the occasional grenade or crossbow bolt to inflict in your enemies, you have your powers that have been bestowed upon you by someone known as the Outsider. It seems he likes to mess with things a bit by giving someone some special abilities and then sit back with some popcorn and favorite frosty beverage of choice and see what goes down. The first power you get and the most fantastic and useful out of all of them you can get in the entire game: the Blink ability.
This ability allows you to teleport short distances in the “blink of an eye” giving you the chance to move to places you may not normally be able to get to quite so easily. So if you are being stealthy and want to be able to move from cover to cover, this is going to be something for you to use. Additionally you can hop up on ledges of buildings allowing you to get a top down advantage over your prey. Besides having the Blink ability you will be able to get more of them by collecting Bone Charms and Runes, more on that in in moment. Some of the other skills you can earn are Force Push, which allows you to shoot a blast of wind from your hand causing whatever you’re aiming at to be blown away. Awesome if you are sneaking up behind someone standing at a balcony edge. Time Stop, which will allow you to either slow down time or stop it completely for a few seconds. No need to explain all of the super cool stuff you can do there if time were stopped and you moved normally. You may also earn Swarm, which will place a swarm of rats wherever you like allowing them to take on your enemies for a chance to escape, or watch if that is your fancy.
In addition to these magical abilities, you can also enhance some of your normal abilities like health upgrades, combat skills, carrying capacity, etc. As we mentioned before, you will be able to earn these by finding Runes or Bone Charms. You will be able to find these by a literal heart given to you by the Outsider that will show you on screen where these carved whalebone amulets are hiding. So if you’re in a safe spot, you can whip out your heart and following the increasing beat to the next amulet destination. And while you are on the way there, you can use the heart to hear “secrets” of the area and of those you are pointing the heart at. Kind of interesting little idea to give you some backstory on all the hell that has been taking place.
With only nine missions in the game, Dishonored is still super huge and extremely complex. You can easily run through the game in about 6 hours or so by just rushing everything at killing everything in your path. However, the game changes shape as you create more chaos in the game. The levels will get tougher with more enemies appearing as well as changing the way the characters in the game interact with you, especially Lady Emily. Which brings us to the entire game content itself. As we said, this game is big and rightfully so. It’s open scripted and there is never just one perfect path. It is open and you will be able to pretty much do whatever you want. With all of the information contained in this game, a game guide is going to be something you may be very much interested in. One of the best, if not only, game guides out there for Dishonored is the BradyGames Dishonored Signature Series Guide. You will get a complete and total overview of everything contained within the game. Locations of various collectibles game level and character histories. That means a complete campaign walkthrough if you need a little bit of an edge on how to approach an obstacle, especially with the entire map selection in the game. A look at how the Chaos System actually works in the game. Meaning you will be able to see what ways you can go to have a low stealthy approach or a high blood bring on the carnage approach.
In addition to the map and gameplay walkthrough, a major in depth review of all of the games’ weapons and powers. I have had BradyGame guides before and they continually produce the best when it comes to this type of literature. It is beautifully printed in color on a pretty good stock of paper. You won’t feel like it is going to come apart by using it a few times. And you can tell it wasn’t rushed through, although I will say that one of the nice things that would have been nice to see would be the safe combinations. Safes are found throughout the game and can be opened by doing some side missions for the various other characters in the game. Sometimes you will just happen upon these safes and not know the combination to them unless talking to these characters. I looked several times throughout the book, and they had everything else, except these lovely items. Not a problem though, because that is what Dr. Google was for.
Dishonored is going to be one of those great games that has a real possibility of having a sequel created out of it. The game ending doesn’t fully lend itself to that in particular due to the story line, but it does open up a lot of new paths so I would expect to see something in the next year or two coming from Bethesda and Arkane. One of the great things about the game is that you can replay any mission you would like, and end up replaying it completely different than what you did before. Just remember, this game is both stealth and blood fest and your choices will affect your progress. So be wary.
4 out of 5 widows