PS3 Reviews: Dishonored Review

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Dishonored Review

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Graphics:

 

9.2

Gameplay:

 

9.8

Sound:

 

9.7

Control:

 

9.4

Replay Value:

 

9.5

Overall Rating:       9.5

 

 

Online Gameplay:

Not Rated

Publisher:

Bethesda Softworks

Developer:

Arkane Studios

Number Of Players:

1

Genre:

Action/RPG

What do you get when you combine the gameplay freedom of an open-world RPG with a more linear adventure complete with a decent story, gripping atmosphere, and fantastic character performances? Answer— One of my favorite games of the generation thus far. Developer Arkane Studios has successfully tapped into my psyche, extracted the majority of elements I typically want to see in a game, and created Dishonored. It isn’t perfect but it’s damn close. I want a bit more focus on the narrative and the AI isn’t perfect but besides that…

It’s odd to say about such a great-looking game, but given the nearly unparalleled excellence found in the rest of this production, it’s accurate to say the graphics are actually the “weakest” part of the game. They’ve got that flat sheerness I so often associate with a PC-oriented environment, which means less vibrant color and bright hues. Still, the atmosphere is just so amazing, so beautifully depicted, and so immersive, and every aspect of the presentation, from the animations to the effects, is superbly done. The city of Dunwall is ripe for exploration and more visual variety and quality waits around every corner.

Led by some of the best voice acting you’ve ever heard and a fitting, sometimes haunting, soundtrack, the audio brings your quest for revenge to another level. The balance can be off at times, but the top-notch performances and ambient sounds – which continually add to the immersion factor – override any minor technical misgiving. You’ll hear snippets of conversation as you wander about, and everything from the most trivial discussion to the shocked cry of a guard upon discovering your presence is phenomenal. It’s the combination of every sound, voice, and effect that encapsulates you and transports to you to another world.

Dishonored’s tagline is, “Revenge solves everything.” That should give you an idea of what to expect; essentially, there are a whole lot of people who deserve their comeuppance. And considering that the city of Dunwall isn’t exactly the friendliest (or healthiest) place in the world, you have ample reason to embark on a quest of retribution. The town itself is large but it’s nowhere near as large as Bethesda’s open-world RPGs like The Elder Scrolls or Fallout. This admittedly cuts down on that majestic, epic scale we’re so used to seeing, but I appreciate the nod to a pretty solid storyline and quite a few interesting characters.

The citizens of Dunwall suffer from a deadly plague while the privileged few sit in the lap of luxury. Unsurprisingly, many of your targets fall into the latter category, and the best part is that you get to figure out exactly how you want to accomplish your vengeful tasks. Ways to eliminate targets range from the brutally straightforward to borderline impish methods of stealthy assault. Using rats is always fun, for example. The bottom line is that it’s always up to you; the choices are many and you’re almost never limited or restricted in any way. And through it all runs that aforementioned narrative, which adds flavor and personality.

You will step into the “dishonored” shoes of Corvo Attano, a former royal bodyguard who starts the game sitting on death row. When you learn more about your situation, you’re likely to respond with, “Okay, that’s it…these fu***** are gonna die hardcore.” But maybe you want to rise above; maybe you opt to take a higher road. And if you don’t wish to become just like the rest of the animals who seem to have control over the city, you can adopt nonlethal methods of completing your goal. That sorta runs counter to the whole prospect of “revenge” but hey, it’s a challenge and one well worth attempting if you’ve got the requisite patience.

You will come across a few helpful allies in your quest, and you should always listen to what they have to say. In fact, you should listen to what many people have to say, and that includes strangers on the street. Doing so could clue you into secrets of the city of which you were formally unaware, or might give you insight as to the patterns and behavior of the guards. You might also stumble across information pertaining to some mysterious items or equipment, so it’s typically in your best interests to eavesdrop. On top of which, just because the game isn’t the size of Skyrim doesn’t mean exploration has disappeared. Oh, quite the contrary. You just can’t go as far, that's all.

Personally, I really love getting super powerful in my games and having a totally unfair advantage over my hapless adversaries. Therefore, I will not harp on the erratic AI found in the game, which sometimes results in some awfully funny takedowns due to a guard who was inexplicably missing part of his brain. Besides, for the most part, guards and other authority figures are pretty sharp and when alerted to your presence, you better watch out ‘cuz they’re not all pushovers. That being said, having supernatural powers still makes me feel like a complete bad-ass, even if I can’t totally max myself out. Yep, more decisions to be made…

On the surface, it might annoy some people to learn that they can’t fully maximize each of their sweet powers and skills. But I say this, coupled with the myriad of ways you can approach each mission and objective, greatly enhances the replay potential of the game. So if you first succumb to the red haze of revenge and rip through a bloody spree, you might want your second play-through to focus almost exclusively on evasive powers and sleeping darts. The latter is possible, but I’d recommend trying it on your second adventure. Yes, I’m implying you’ll play it more than once. You may not be able to help yourself.

One of the reasons I compared this to Bioshock in the past is simply that you have a first-person perspective, magic-like abilities in your left hand, and the freedom to customize the progression of your character. Add in the great story and characters, and one could make further – and somewhat accurate – comparisons to Irrational’s top titles. However, I must make one thing plain— Dishonored is very much its own game. The atmosphere is compelling and unique, the style is singular, and the combined allure of freedom and emotion generated by a linear narrative is intoxicating. In short, it’s not wholly innovative but it’s still a singular experience.

The control is fluid and reliable, your skills are super cool and almost always crazy effective. I’ve always said that the only way you truly have freedom is if all your mechanical options are useful; even if I have a hundred ways of trying to kill an enemy, if ninety of them suck, the game isn’t quite so open, now is it? The more great options, the better the game gets. I love the fact that this game encourages inventiveness and ingenuity at every turn and in this fashion, it reminds me of the first time I played Grand Theft Auto III. I remember the sensation well: "Oh, there are just so many ways to nail that target…what to do?" ‘malicious giggle’

Your surroundings also play a key role in how you progress, and with different enemy types, you’re constantly assessing and reevaluating. It’s true that when I’m so intent on the task at hand, I usually forget about the story, but maybe that’s inevitable. It’s also a fact that the AI can be a little erratic, which stops this game from reaching into the extremely rare upper-9 echelon. But like I said, these are minor drawbacks and when one examines the entire package as a whole, it’s difficult to find much in the way of fault. As for a comparison between the PS3 and 360 versions, I’m sorry, but I didn’t have time for that. Let’s just say the PS3 version has given me no problems. So I'm crossing my fingers.

Dishonored is almost exactly what you want it to be. It’s almost exactly what I wanted it to be, at any rate. The solid story, the fantastic voice performances, the unbelievably well designed city, the attention paid to every small detail, the sheer amount of ridiculously fun skills, and the focus on player creativity is all amazing. I’ve never been one to nitpick; if the game envelops me and I can’t stop playing, I tend to be positive and overlook the shortcomings. But in this case, I never have to overlook much. And why? Because as I said at the start, it’s just that good.

The Good: Beautifully designed and highly detailed environment. Some of the best voice performances of the generation. Tons of unique and highly effective abilities encourage ingenuity. General freedom (character progression and exploration) is a huge plus. Decent story with intriguing characters. Great control.

The Bad: AI can be a little erratic. Story importance tends to wane.

The Ugly: “…I love the game but I’m almost waiting for the other shoe to drop…the PS3 version better be as reliable as I think.”

10/9/2012 Ben Dutka

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Comments (34 posts)

La_Bete12
Tuesday, October 09, 2012 @ 10:22:02 PM
Reply

Great review! I got a question for you though, in your honest opinion do you think that this will be game of the year or do you think Assassin's Creed 3 still has a good chance?

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, October 09, 2012 @ 11:59:08 PM

No idea. I don't like to speculate. :)

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, October 09, 2012 @ 10:48:28 PM
Reply

Awesome review, I agree with all of that and I'm about to go play some more as soon as I'm done commenting here. This game is everything I thought it would be and a little more. I'm getting really good at precognition :)

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LimitedVertigo
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 @ 7:01:18 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjgwb0hSzKg

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 @ 12:12:35 PM

I dunno what that was LV but it sounded pretty cool. You've gotta give me a list of your favorite J-pop too.

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FAREEZ
Tuesday, October 09, 2012 @ 11:11:27 PM
Reply

Good review, already play this game and it great, i hope more developer make game like this instead of making generic shooter and action game(RE6)...

Agree with this comment 2 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

fatelementality
Tuesday, October 09, 2012 @ 11:28:01 PM
Reply

For some odd reason, I could never get into Bioshock. I love all TES games, but don't like Fallout or even Borderlands. I pretty much don't like mixing RPG elements with shooters. Is Dishonored going to be up my alley Ben?

Last edited by fatelementality on 10/9/2012 11:29:18 PM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, October 09, 2012 @ 11:59:39 PM

Well, this isn't a shooter like Bioshock, Borderlands, Fallout, etc., so......

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Kiryu
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 @ 1:39:34 AM

This is more like Deus Ex.

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Beamboom
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 @ 4:10:03 AM

I refuse to accept that Fallout is a shooter.
It's a RPG. There are stealth skills in Fallout too, should you want to invest in those skills.

Agree with this comment 2 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

LimitedVertigo
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 @ 7:02:39 AM

Fallout3 is the RE5/6 of the RPG/FPS genre. It does nothing well but a lot of things okay.

Agree with this comment 4 up, 2 down Disagree with this comment

Underdog15
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 @ 9:00:35 AM

@LV
haha, nice.

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Beamboom
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 @ 10:54:23 AM

Oh ffs, Fallout 3 is *not* a FPS! Damnit it's not even a FPS hybrid! It's a RPG with an (optional) first person view.

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TheAgingHipster
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 @ 11:19:55 AM

I dunno, Beam, I played it like an FPS. Never used the VATS system, always took the time to line up my shots, minded my ammo, etc. It's definitely an RPG, but I think the beauty of the game was being able to play it however you felt most comfortable.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 @ 12:15:15 PM

The fact that you can shoot guns in Fallout 3 doesn't make it an FPS. Use your imagination people.

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TheAgingHipster
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 @ 12:52:32 PM

Nope. You could use guns in Resonance of Fate, and it certainly wasn't an FPS. But Fallout 3 could certainly be played as an FPS. That's my point.

For example, if I described the following game:

You play as though you're looking through your character's eyes. You pick up new guns and ammunition, and have a wide selection of weapons to use. You have to manage your ammunition. You can shoot from the hip, or aim down the barrel or through the scope. You deal more damage if you strike the head or a vital point.

That could just as easily be describing Cod, BF3, or Fallout 3. Granted I'm omitting certain elements of Fallout's gameplay, but that's the point--it allows you to play it as an FPS if you want. That's part of the beauty of it.

Last edited by TheAgingHipster on 10/10/2012 12:52:50 PM

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Beamboom
Thursday, October 11, 2012 @ 4:11:41 AM

If you don't consider the whole picture but pick out particular elements of a game, then any game could be any genre. Really, it could.

Simplified you could say that all games have elements of strategy, management, timing, targeting, equipment, development, and so forth. Everything from arcade racers to adventure games, RPGs to platformers.

I could easily have described Ratchet & Clank in a way that would make it sound like a classic RPG if I wanted to - still, to call R&C an RPG is simply just flat out *wrong*. There's no way around that.

Fallout 3 is not even 100% realtime - a staple for all shooters.
Is it possible to play F3 only in realtime? Yes, but that's avoiding a core element of the gameplay.
Fallout 3 is *not* a shooter!

You have to consider the whole picture or classifying games in genres would make no sense whatsoever. And Fallout 3 is a RPG.

Last edited by Beamboom on 10/11/2012 4:18:39 AM

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TheAgingHipster
Friday, October 12, 2012 @ 9:44:15 AM

"You have to consider the whole picture or classifying games in genres would make no sense whatsoever."

Which is why I avoid classifying games most of the time.

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xenris
Tuesday, October 09, 2012 @ 11:36:19 PM
Reply

This game actually lived up to my hopes of what it would become. I am so glad it turned out not only good, but in my opinion utterly fantastic.

You can tell the love and passion these devs put into this game. They created something they wanted to play and something THEY thought would be cool. Not what they thought would sell well based on social trends. I do hope this sells well though because it is an amazing game and I'm so excited to see more from these guys.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 @ 1:35:45 AM
Reply

I like to sneak and skulk on rooftops, looking down at my prey :)

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Kiryu
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 @ 1:36:16 AM
Reply

I hope Harvey Smith does a sequel to Deus Ex Human Revolution next.
I'll play Dishonored till then.

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OverBerg
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 @ 3:56:12 AM
Reply

Completely sold at this point. Thanks for the very solid review.
Turns out I'll have some time management decisions this weekend between playing this game and watching football...
I'm sure I'll figure out a way to do both.

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Lawless SXE
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 @ 4:30:13 AM
Reply

I was expecting more shortcomings to be honest. Sounds utterly amazing!

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___________
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 @ 5:14:33 AM
Reply

taking the day off work tomorrow so i can stay home and play this.
been waiting a long time for something like this and FINALLY its happened!
so hopefully this ends up selling like hotcakes, just to prove YES new IPs CAN sell well!
and yes there is a audience out there for something new and unique!
it just has to be good.

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LimitedVertigo
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 @ 7:01:53 AM
Reply

I'd say this is one of those games that reminds you how great your job can be. Thanks for the review.

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Yukian
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 @ 9:10:01 AM
Reply

I am curious... if we didn't get almost any info before the game came out, would it still have garnered this much popularity...?

I say it 'cause before, we knew a game was good because someone played it or blindly bought it 'cause it sounded interesting... that's how I knew about Final Fantasy VII...

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Geobaldi
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 @ 9:36:55 AM
Reply

After playing some of it yesterday, I'm getting a lot of deja vu. It plays a lot like the Thief franchise for the most part, just with a little more in depth melee combat and supernatural powers thrown in. Which isn't a bad thing, as I totally love that franchise and still own all of them. But I feel a tad bit letdown for the time being. Still a great game, but I was expecting something more. I'm hoping that further in the game things will flesh out more.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 @ 12:18:54 PM

Slow down, read the letters and books, do some exploring, examine the historical interpretation, soak up the environment. The world and the city and the characters are all very lovingly and carefully created and fleshed out.

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AcHiLLiA
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 @ 10:37:47 AM
Reply

Great review. No brainer for me, this will be on my wishlist.

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CrusaderForever
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 @ 12:04:18 PM
Reply

Very special game and loving it so far. Playing on the hardest difficulty and using non-lethal so far. The lean mechanic is really cool. They cannot see you if you are leaning, but if you just sneak a peak without leaning they will see you. Really addicting and I love the art direction and story. Well done Arkane Studios!

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mzz
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 @ 8:03:58 PM
Reply

Arigato Ben! you've no idea how relieved I'am that this game turned out great. good review. Will definately pick this one up. Kudos to Arkane Studios for a job well done

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farfus
Thursday, October 11, 2012 @ 12:58:11 PM
Reply

Am enjoying it a great deal as we speak!!

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berserk
Thursday, October 11, 2012 @ 6:30:45 PM
Reply

Great game , did nt expect to like it that much . I was sure it would be a 7.5 - 8 kinda game but i was so wrong .

My only disappointment is that i expected more graphics wise on my PC .When a game is that good it s something that is extremely easy to overlook tho ( why i still play lots of ps1 games ) .

When i think about it , there is another complaint .When i play x-com ( awesome game too ),i often think about playing some more dishonored , the same thing can be said about x-com when i play dishonored tho .

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dillonthebunny
Saturday, October 13, 2012 @ 5:43:19 PM
Reply

so I brought this on Friday lunch time... by Saturday evening im done :( it was so good, but so short! no NG+ and you cant carry weapons or skills over when you redo the missions.

oh well, it was good while it lasted.

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