Dishonored is the first of this year’s two major Assassin themed releases, providing players with a first person take on the stealthy, dark practice. Despite its heavy competition, Dishonored does a great job to stand out in its own right, as unique game mechanics and a strong multi-consequence storyline make for a play experience that will keep you immersed for hours at a time.
In Dishonored players are given control of Corvo, a character who is first introduced as the Empress’s most trusted guard. The game starts as Corvo makes his return to the Empress, having been sent away to ask the neighbouring empires for a cure against the plague that troubles their city. Unfornately for the empire, their neighbours have no intention to provide a cure, and worse yet, members of the Empress’s own empire have plotted to have her killed. It isn’t long before this plan is put into operation either, as the empress is murderd by shadowy, teleporting assassin’s right I’m front of Corvo, leaving him to take the blame. The game then follows Corvo as he is burst out if prison and recruited into a movement that seeks to ensure the Empress’s daughter, Emily, retains control if their land. It is here that Corvo must use his stealthy skills and killer instinct to aid the movement and restore the empire.
The game’s mechanics do well to draw off everything that has been successful about previous Bethesda titles. Players may find a toned flair of Brink in Dishonored, as Corvo smoothly makes his way up and over the game’s various obstacles and buildings . This works really well given the game’s frequent requirement to stealthily move through levels, or make a quick escape from a very visual assassination. There are also elements that seem to owe themselves to Skyrim with the game’s use of two handed combat, and although this comes across slightly restricted at first with players not being able to pick up new weapons, it actually works really thanks to the game’s upgrade system.
Of course, Dishonored doesn’t just refine past game mechanics, as it also brings its own unique ones to the table in order to provide that accurate assassin feel. The game allows players to make use of both close combat and magic as they progress through missions. Close combat does well to provide that accurate assassin feel, as players can take advantage of the game’s stealth mechanics to sneak and up cut throats, or go front on and have a sword to sword bout with enemies. The interesting thing about close combat is the way the game seems to discourage group conflict situations, as whilst the game does provide a blocking mechanic, its first person views and strong enemy hits make it all too easy to die when taking on multiple enemies at the same time. This is probably one of the few times that I’ll say dying in games is good, as it encourages the player to find alternative ways around the map, trailing different combinations of their assassin armoury and magic to progress through the level.
Magic is another major part of Dishonored, as the powers provided to Corvo by the mysterious ‘Outsider’ provide further aid to your progression through each level. You are almost immediately given the ability to teleport short distances through the world, making for some it easy to move swiftly through the game in tight situations. The teleport mechanic also works really well if you decide to jump off of a building, as a perfectly timed teleport will allow you to whiz to the ground without taking any damage! Aside from teleportation, to Dishonored features several other magical abilities which allow Corvo to see enemies through walls, slow time and even possess rats. All of these powers combined gradually make for a improved play experience, as you are no longer playing as a standard knife wielding assassin who can run and jump, but instead as a hardcore teleporting, rat possessing, time slowing assassin who can run and jump!
Dishonored provides players with freedom to choose their skill progression through the game’s previously mentioned upgrade system. The upgrade system is something that can be split into two areas, as combat upgrades, such as enhancements to Corvo’s cross-bow and weapon capacity are managed at his home base, whereas magic upgrades, which are fueled by collected runes, are managed through the select menu. The upgrades in Dishonored work well to encourage continuous play, as the need to collect money for physical upgrades and runes for magic and abilities will keep players in the game for longer, as they explore every nook and cranny to find runes and cash.
Overall, Dishonored is a great game that does well to both draw on numerous successes of previous titles and also brings its own to the table. The game’s unique spin on Assassin style gameplay promises to keep players hooked on its world for hours. Furthermore, the game’s many ways to complete a level provide replayability to players who wish to spend extended time with the game. So what are you waiting for? Go buy it now!