Dishonored – A Review

As I stood in Gamestop the other day, staring at the gigantic wall of PS4 titles, I had an epiphany: there are too many video games. Too many. And not too many shitty ones (even though a vast majority of them are, in fact, shitty), oh no. I’ve got so many games on my ‘To Play’ list that I spent probably a solid 15 minutes standing there wondering which one I should get.

I would stand and stare and then pick up Mad Max, look at it for a minute, and then put it back down. Then I’d go over to Just Cause 3 and repeat the process. Then I’d go over to the ‘New’ games section and look at Sniper Elite 4, a game which I’m still really interested in playing, and bring it over to Mad Max and stare at them both simultaneously. Needless to say, Kelsey was getting quite annoyed. See, I do this a lot. I do it in the beer aisle and always end up getting the exact same thing. I do it when we’re looking at something menial like cereal or cereal bars. But these are video games. Just like deciding what kind of beer I’m going to get, this is a very important life decision.

So I continued standing and staring, picking up and putting down, when finally, I saw it: Dishonored – Definitive Edition.

I know what you might be asking yourself. “What makes this a ‘definitive’ edition?” Well, it comes with not one, but two games: Dishonored (including all the DLC) and Dishonored 2. I never played the original, and how can you pass up two games for the price of one? After standing there for another five minutes questioning my decision and eventually flipping a coin to finally decide between Dishonored and Sniper Elite 4, I was walking out the door with Dishonored, and I was not disappointed.

When I put in the disc, downloaded the necessary updates (hooray modern gaming), and started up the game, I was immediately transported to the dark, dreary world of Dunwall. Well, it wasn’t really all that dark and dreary at first. The lighting was beautiful, and the whole ‘lock’ situation to get up to Dunwall Tower was a very neat addition to the intro. It really gave you the feeling that you were part of this elite group that was able to interact with the Empress.

But that feeling of beauty didn’t last long. Once the Empress was assassinated and I was thrown into Coldridge Prison, the tone of the game changed dramatically. The world transformed into a dark, death-ridden, crime-infested hell hole. It was a wonderful world they built, and the graphics looked great for the PS4 remaster.

I didn’t know much about the game going in except for that it heavily emphasized choice. A buddy of mine played the original in college and kept telling me about how he was trying to get through Dishonored without being seen or killing anyone, because it affects the final outcome of the game.

This intrigued me, so I, never one to turn down a challenge, wanted to try to do the same. Ask Kelsey, who was sitting next to me on the sofa for the majority of the time I played this game, but I think I let out more “Ah shit”s and “Fuck!”s during this than any game I’ve played in a long time. I tried. I really, really tried, but I can’t emphasize enough how difficult this game was, even on normal difficulty.

“Well maybe you’re just not a stealthy person,” my friend said to me. Well no shit I’m not, but that doesn’t mean I can’t try to play it that way. I’d peek around corners. I’d blink up to the top of chandeliers and hide out on rooftops. But as soon as I’d go through a doorway, there would be four guys that just pop out of nowhere. It wasn’t until the end of the game that I finally got the ‘Dark Vision’ perk that allowed me to see through walls and see enemy vision cones. That helped out a lot. A lot more than ‘Blink II’ did, I think, so I’d highly recommend grabbing ‘Dark Vision’ as soon as you can, especially if you’re going the stealth route.

As far as gameplay goes, if you took me out of the equation, this game is smooth as can be. It was amazing to see how much thought went into designing levels that would allow the player to have so much choice, while still leading them to a final goal.

That was probably my favorite thing about this game: you have so much choice and so much ability to play the game the way you want to play it, while it still leads you towards a definite goal and ending.

I had been in a gaming rut lately. I was getting bored of the whole open world concept that allowed me ultimate freedom. I was looking for some structure. Not Call of Duty structure, but a game with an actual story. A game that I could sit down and play for 10 hours and feel like I accomplished something. Dishonored definitely gave me that feeling.

Now, on to the DLC. I haven’t played all of it, but what I started was absolutely awesome. The first DLC, Dunwall Trials, is set up as time or skill trials (hence the name). I played a game of guess who, basically, with an assassin target. I snuck through a house using my ‘Stop Time’ and ‘Dark Vision’ powers to steal all sorts of goodies. It’s an awesome way to either hone the skills you developed while playing the campaign, or to just try to increase those skills outside of normal gameplay.

The second DLC, The Knife of Dunwall, allows you to play as Daud, the actual assassin that killed the Empress. I didn’t get too far in that, because if it’s possible for something to be more difficult than the base game, this DLC went above and beyond that. I think I died more playing as Daud than I did playing as Corvo in the campaign, but I really do want to go back and try to beat it, if for nothing else, to get some back story and depth to the rest of the universe.

I’m really excited to finish off Dishonored 2 (look for a review coming sometime next week), and then head back to the first one and play through the DLC. If you were didn’t end up getting into Dishonored the first time around, the Dishonored – Definitive Edition is definitely worth the $60 price tag.

 

Reed’s Review Corner

Dishonored – Definitive Edition

Score:

9.5 Crossbow Bolts out of 10.

Pros:

Fluid gameplay.

Lot’s of choice while maintaining a linear narrative.

Great world building.

Cons:

Very, very, very difficult. (This isn’t necessarily a bad thing.)

Load times are a bit on the long side.

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