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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
(continued from previous page) ...with your target. This resident could offer some assistance if you rub his back, too. So, you'll perform a task for him, and then he'll give you a key to a side door. This allows you to avoid all those guards protecting that front door. Once inside the office building, you'll stick to cover to listen as guards talk about your target, and learn he's doing work in his office. You will have plenty of opportunities to either kill enemies, or use your teleport ability to evade to a higher vantage point, essentially eliminating the guards' vision. Once in the target's office, you could of course stab him in the throat or shoot him with a bolt from your crossbow. But how about something more sinister? You could put him to sleep with a poison bolt, pick his limp body off the ground, and throw him in nearby water, drowning him in the process. Of course, you could run through the level, stock up on bullets and crossbow bolts, and just kill everyone on site. The choice is in the player's hands.
Just about every piece of Corvo's arsenal, including your magic, is upgradeable through collectibles or cash. This again adds another layer to how players can customize Dishonored to fit their style. You can focus on tools, guns, magic, stealth, or even just boost your health. The customization gives you reason to play again and again to try a different approach.
The controls in Dishonored may catch you off guard at first. You dual wield weapons or magic, both tied to the left and right triggers, open a radial menu with L2, block with R2, and have hot buttons--equipment or magic--tied to the D-pad. While button mapping is pretty traditional, some of the mechanics are a bit off. For example, you can press the X button to scale objects or interact with certain objects. But, it doesn't work so well, and on occasions you may find yourself tapping away at X to try and leap up crates as guards chase you. Otherwise, the controls are pretty tight and work as advertised.
The city of Dunwall almost serves as a character in itself. The graphic style leans heavily towards steampunk and the city feels built at the turn of the century--not this most recent century, mind you. You'll find large pipes running throughout the city--offering layers to traverse--and there are details from newspaper clips speckled on brick buildings. The city and characters definitely feel British, but the overall presentation may turn off some gamers. That's largely because character modeling is exaggerated, hands are way too big, and faces can look muddy. This is obviously a style Arkane Studios was looking for, but there are moments you may wish you could turn the resolution up. The story is also a bit disjointed, but it's clear we'll see a sequel--or, rather, we should hope--and that could give the developers further room to build out the direction.
But the game mostly hits all the right marks. If you like exploring, this is the game for you. Around every corner, hidden in every crevice, you'll find collectibles, short cuts, and potential new information. The level designs are extremely strong, so you'll have the chance to play Dishonored again and get a completely new experience by trying a new route.
The enemy's artificial intelligence is generally strong. If you are being chased and run between zones (this includes clicking on an area that brings you to a loading screen), those baddies will track you down and go into the new zone. They have a tendency to give up, though. If you lose them for more than a few seconds, they stop looking in your general area and instead start the perimeter check. Once ... (continued on next page)