Not another over-hyped first person game published by Bethesda…
Do any of you ever feel like you have to watch out for some game companies? Do you ever see certain logos smeared across the front of video game cases and say to yourself, “Ah, crap. Not these guys,” and subsequently avoid said games like the plague? Only two groups do that for me, the worst of the pair being Electronic Arts. They’re not the focus this time around, however. This time I’m talking about Bethesda. Bethesda’s games are buggy, and that’s not subjective. Anyone who’s played one of their games has encountered a glitch, freeze, or crash to desktop issue. And when they don’t make buggy games, they make generic games.
Dishonored. It’s the new first person assassin thriller of the year, right? Shame the only original aspect is its theme and setting, and even that appears to be a cry for help. Set in a plague rat-infested quasi-supernatural steampunk/clockwork Victorian era, Dishonored is here to make an anti-hero out of you. Or is it? No, that’s a joke. You will wind up killing everybody. When the game says, “Be stealthy and have a low body count or slaughter your way through the enemy forces,” what they really mean is “try to be stealthy for a few missions, then realize that having to reload every time you’re accidentally seen is a pain in the ass.”
So that’s one issue. The plot is a cliche all on its own. You’re Corvo Attano, the Empress’s good friend and bodyguard. Suddenly, the old and bald villain stereotype has the Empress assassinated, kidnaps your inheritor-to-the-throne love child, and frames you for the entire thing. Hence the title of the game. Your mission in life from that moment on is to clear your name and rescue the cute little girl that wanted to play hide and seek with you in the intro.
Oh, and by the way, a mysterious and magical preacher called the Outsider wants to give you magical powers. He teleports you to his crazy little realm and talks about how cool he is for a little bit while making repetitive gestures and facial expressions, then kicks you back to the real world and tells you to find whale bone charms and runes to increase your magical prowess. Gotta catch ‘em all!
Between that and your arsenal, you have a lot of ways to kill people. You get a flintlock pistol, a crossbow with standard or sleep darts, “clockwork” mines, and a nice little sword. Magic-wise, you can give yourself dark vision, summon rat swarms, turn unaware enemies to ash when you kill them, blink teleport, and much, much more! Each and every one of these spells is underwhelming except for the rat swarm. Also, mana doesn’t recharge all the way, so you have to spend money on potions if you want to cast offensive spells consistently.
Dishonored manages to turn a sandbox game linear by severely limiting your resources. Each area contains a specific amount of money and items to be picked up. When you complete the area, your acquired loot carries over to the next. However, if you backtrack and do the same area again, you don’t keep the extra resources you collect. Instead, your best run carries over. You can’t even go backwards with your equipment. Hence, too damn linear. The developers even explicitly state that it is impossible to acquire all items and abilities in one playthrough. Screw that! Yes, you’re expected to play through the game multiple times. Probably once for each ending, then more for the rest of the goodies. Nothing like a little playtime buffing!
Conclusion? Dishonored isn’t all it’s built up to be. It’s by no means a bad game, but it isn’t amazing. The fact that it’s linear makes it restrictive to players who like to hoard, empower, and roam, but for those willing to endure these tribulations, Dishonored can provide some action-intensive ass-kicking combat. It’s a far cry from a hardcore assassin game, but for what it’s worth, it’s immersive.
I typically don’t link video reviews, but ZeroPunctuation’s one of the only reviewers I could find that didn’t have their tongue down the back of Dishonored’s pants. The main points I’m focusing on here are the painfully linear play and black and white morality, which everyone else is having a hard time finding problems with because they’re far too busy swinging swords and guns and crossbows around while teleporting short distances. It seems games with hype are either beloved or letdowns, eh? Here’s the link. you know what to do: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/zero-punctuation/6445-Dishonored