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A game full of options, Dishonored puts choice in the hands of the player in nearly every element--gameplay, level progression, even storytelling. Dishonored is one of the greatest new IPs in recent history, and one of the best games of the year.
- Options in just about every element of the game
- Clever abilities and engaging gameplay
- Excellent level design
- Minor control issues with platforming
- Interesting art style, but just fair graphics
- Some disjointed story elements
Dishonored has something to offer just about everyone. Engrossing narrative? Check. Violence? Check. Intense action? Check. Clever characters? A rich fantasy world? Superior level design? Great gameplay? Check, check, check, and check. Dishonored has all of these elements, and then some. When added up, you have the makings of a good game, but it's the options in just about all these elements that truly makes Dishonored such a rewarding, personal experience. If you are looking for a game with a focus on stealth, then Dishonored is your game. Don't want to waste your time hiding in shadows and would rather run around with guns blazing? Dishonored is your game. The overall blueprint--the core of Dishonored--is very strong. But the fact you can play it numerous times and get different results depending on how you play puts this title among the best of the year.
As assassin Corvo Attano, you'll destroy enemies with a backstab from your sword, a swift shot with your crossbow, or even a shot straight to the face with your gun. Corvo can stick to the shadows or perch on ledges above enemies to minimize fight sequences. Or he can take the middle road, engage enemies, but eliminate them one-by-one without deadly force. He can navigate each level without being seen, and even eliminate final targets without spilling blood.
As is the case for just about every story, the protagonist is on a mission. For Corvo, that mission is largely driven by revenge after being falsely accused of murdering the empress. The killing of the empress should come as a big surprise for the residents of Dunwall, the industrial city marred by a deadly plague, largely because Corvo was her protector, her Kevin Costner bodyguard. While the story is worth exploring for yourself, you'll find out early in the game that Dunwall is full of corruption, there is a secret legion that will lend a helping hand, and that you'll be granted access to magical powers.
Each mission is essentially tied to a key assassination as you work to clear your name. You're assigned these missions by a brilliantly voiced cast of characters, each with evolving interests and rich personalities. Missions split into side objectives, again granted by a colorful cast. Throughout each mission you'll find notebooks, journals, books, and other literature to further expose the city's secrets, useful information for your level objectives, and even random tidbits of useful information that grant even further options.
As you venture through each mission, you'll have the opportunity to sneak by guards, use brute force, or put them temporarily out of commission. There are repercussions for your actions, largely geared towards the killing avenue. The more you kill, the more plague-infested rats appear throughout the level. These little buggers are a pain, and if enough swarm you, they could kill you. But eliminating enemies could also shift the story and prevent certain side objectives from opening.
You have a bit more in your arsenal than just weapons and shadows. Corvo is bestowed magical abilities by a mysterious entity. These powers start off as a basic quick teleport, but you can unleash new abilities like slowing time or seeing enemies behind walls by collecting relics in each level. This again opens a plethora of options for the player. While you can't rely only on magic to get through a level, these abilities offer another option to your toolbelt of tricks.
Here is how a mission could play out: Corvo will get orders from his protective legion to assassinate a key enemy. He'll then arrive at his destination, blend in with the crowd, and make his way through a specific part of the city until he reaches his mission objective indicator on the map--we'll say it's an office building to keep it ambiguous. But instead of walking through the front door, you could meet a resident who also has some guff with your target. ... (continued on next page)