A bit over a year ago in my post about E3 2015 I mentioned Dishonored 2 and how excited I was for it, being a fan of the original.
Well with the sequel’s release finally upon us I wanted to take some time to talk about that original and why I love it so much.
So let’s not waste any time, mates as we take a look over the supernatural stealth romp that is Dishonored!
The events of Dishonored take place on the Empire of the Isles, which has prospered through the use of volatile whale oil to power it machinery and cities. However recently its capital, Dunwall, has fallen onto hard times with the sudden appearance of plague bearing rats giving rise to mass sickness. In order to find answers as to how to combat the outbreak Empress Jessamine Kaldwin sends her Royal Protector, Corvo Attano, to the other islands of the Empire seeking aid.
The events of the game begin with Corvo returning from his mission bearing ill tidings. However not long after giving the news to the Empress, assassins kill his sovereign and escape with her daughter, Emily. Corvo is then convicted of the crimes he bore witness to and thrust into prison to await execution.
Now, six months later, Corvo manages to escape and gains the use of the Mark of the elusive and powerful Outsider, granting him inhuman abilities.
Now with these newly found outworld abilities, you the player, as Corvo, must exact revenge on those truly responsible and find Emily.
The set up to the whole game is very solid and intriguing. Sadly I feel that the setup is not used to its fullest potential. One such ways is Corvo himself as a character having no, well, character; He’s another one of those “silent protagonist” meant to allow the player to portray themselves onto, but ultimately feels like a wasted opportunity. Luckily this seems to have been remedied with the upcoming sequel, as Corvo has been giving a voice in it, so my hopes are high.
That’s not to say Dishonored doesn’t have interesting characters.
Probably one of the most intriguing is the enigmatic, morally ambiguous Outsider who shows up every now and again to offer an assessment of Corvo’s current situation, always in a slightly amused tone. He’s a fascinating character who prevails throughout the game’s lore and though not many great details are given about him, scraps of information can be picked up from different sources in the environment to piece some things together.
Dishonored is a first-person stealth game in terms of game play and this is one of the places the Dishonored shines the most. The game gives you a variety of powers and tools, allowing you to handle almost any given situation how you please. The game is also very open about how you complete your objectives, allowing the players to travels levels via many various different routs.
As such the whole experience is very open to exploration and discovery, and though not a full-on “open world”, makes the game highly replayable.
One of the key contributors to this is the first power you ever receive;
A short range teleportation ability called “Blink”. Though initially limited in distance, Blink is immensely useful and will certainly be one of a player’s most used abilities. Fully upgraded and with the right skill it can easily be used to navigate levels as undetected as a ghost. With it in hand one truly feels the part of the deadly, supernatural assassin they are playing, a sensation that is tremendously satisfying.
In terms of interface Dishonored follows the modern ideology of keeping the screen as uncluttered as possible. The majority of the time the only UI are stylised status bars in the top corner and a stealth mode indicator at the bottom of the screen. Should the player need to switch abilities of weapons, the quick press and hold of a button brings up a hotbar of what they have. It all works very well, giving the player important information while still granting them full visibility of their in-game surroundings.
Dishonored is a treat in terms of visuals and audio as well with the entirety of the game done in a stylized fashion, reminiscent of a moody watercolor painting. Guards and enemies are thug-like in appearance, granting them a intimidating and corrupt air. The city itself is dirty and dark, lined with ruins of once great building and intimidating constructs of metal, giving it a foreboding presence.
This heavy, oppressive atmosphere is further built upon by the game’s use of sound. The meaningly whirl of machinery and brutish conversations between enemies makes the world feel all the more alive. However, these conversations can prove to be more than just background noise, as attentive players will be able to gain valuable information in some cases by listening in. Topping the whole experience off is a chilling soundtrack that includes the game’s own morbid version of the song “Drunken Sailor” sung by a chilling children’s choir.
Overall the whole experience is very atmospheric and strongly portrays the hopeless feeling of the cities situation.
Overall Dishonored is a very enjoyable experience which any stealth fan owes it to themselves to experience at least once. Though aspects of its story and characters are lacking in some ways, it more than makes up for it in its strong gameplay and atmosphere. So if you are looking for the change to navigate your way through a highly enjoyable dark stealth adventure, give it a go. Its one of my favorite games and I give it my wholehearted recommendation!
What about you, mates? Are you a stealth game fan? Have you played Dishonored before and if so, what are your thoughts?
Feel free to comment, I’m more than happy to start a conversation!