Dishonored User Review
Graphically this game is a powerhouse, one of the best of this generation. We've come to expect things looking pretty and glossy by now but Dishonored opts for a grittier look. People are dirty, smog hangs over the city of Dunwall and the water has oil slicks running through it. This is not to say the game is ugly, it's anything but and the vast areas you'll be able to explore are all beautifully rendered. Perhaps instead of graphics we should focus on the art direction of the game. It's been said that Dunwall was based on a combination of London and Edinburgh at around the turn of the 20th century. The style has been called steampunk and that's not inaccurate but I've got a better frame of reference: Imagine Philip K. Dick had a nightmare and you were allowed to view it through the lens of Stanley Kubrick. This world is full of danger and oppression yet beautiful in it's own regard. It will not soon be forgotten.
You control Corvo from a first person perspective which lends an immediacy to every engagement and mission. You'll gain supernatural abilities early in the game and control them with your left hand while your blade controls in your right. You can swap for crossbows and pistols in your left hand if you so wish to be more mechanical in your fight, it's all up to you. Dishonored feels like a game celebrating the player. You can attack your missions in any way you see fit. You can actually play through the entire campaign without killing a single person -- and yes, how you play will affect your game as you progress as well as choices afforded to you late and ultimately, the final outcome. You can be a thief in the night. You can be the second coming of John Rambo. You are in complete control over just about every single aspect of your playthrough. Put simply, the more you explore the more of an unstoppable badass you will become.
Enough can't be said for the sheer multitude of gameplay options afforded the player. There are missions within missions that feel more organic than in almost any game to come before. Everything ties together and simply requires a little more effort from Corvo to accomplish. You could spend an entire hour on one mission just confusing the guards without accomplishing one bit of what you set out to accomplish in the first place. The best way to describe the design of the gameplay in Dishonored is to say this: They've created a puzzle game and masqueraded it as an action/adventure title. It is brilliant. Very few games give you the visceral thrills of a shooter while engaging your brain at the same time and wrapping the whole package in a tightly told story of political backstabbery. (Is that a word? No? I'm coining it then)
The voice cast is another beast all together. The team assembled here rivals many high profile films and it fits. That's the key, it's not slapped together for the high profile itself rather, it's designed to complement the character -- which should always be the most important factor when crafting a story. The sound design itself should not be overlooked simply because of the beautiful voice work done here. Blades clashing against one another, old time pistols firing, alarm sirens -- all pitch perfect. Samuel's motorboat, the sound water makes as you slosh through a sewer -- it all serves to suck you into the world. This culminates in the blaring megaphone messages popping up throughout missions. These messages can offer help, clueing you in on how discreet you've been or to how safe you'll be traveling through certain areas. On a more basic level it makes you feel like a put upon citizen living in this broken quasi-dystopia.
The campaign will take you about 9-10 hours to complete on average and that's not a long time but Dishonored blesses the player with a ton of replay value. The more chaos you create the darker the outcome your game will carry. There are three distinct endings (that I've seen anyway) you can achieve based on your stealthiness and the choices you make late in the game. The game is also designed as a series of interlocking missions. You will be graded at the end of each mission with a chance to replay the mission to achieve a better rating. That's old school. And for people that have been gaming since the beginning it's a breath of fresh air. A game that's challenging in all the right ways and gives the player incentives (almost antagonizing you) to try, try again-- damn, I thought those games were dead.
In summary, Dishonored is an absolute masterpiece. This game is a rockstar. A rich and detailed world the likes of which you haven't seen rendered in this way before. Sound design that is impeccable, rounded out by an estimable voice cast. A controller layout that feels like an extension of your hand and options that allow you to play EXACTLY how you want to play. Dishonored thought of everything. This was like a beacon at the end of this generation and at the same time it's put the impending generation on notice. I'm coming, with great ideas and near flawless execution -- step up or get out of my way. More please.
This user review does not reflect the views of the PSX Extreme Staff.