Before you progress any further in this post: Boot up the ‘ole XBOX 360 and begin the download for Dishonored. While this review will not entertain you for the entirety of the 4.3 gigabyte download, you will at least have a head-start.
Review spoiler alert: Yes, its well worth the HD space.
In Dishonored, you play Corvo Attano – bodyguard to Empress Jessamine. But in fairly short order, you’re framed for her murder, jailed, bust out, and set about exacting your revenge/dispensing justice while tracking down the kidnapped daughter of the Empress, Emily. The story is very Man on Fire-ish, which is far from a bad thing given that Corvo is the John Creasey of the plague-infested city of Dunwall, the game’s setting.
You leverage a unique collection of weaponry and supernatural powers to sneak past or slay your way through baddies as you move from target to target. Its plays like a wonderful combination of Assassin’s Creed and Bioshock, and the game doesn’t lock you in to singular approaches to advancement through the game – which may be my favorite aspect of the gameplay.
You can play guns a’blazin’ or you can literally beat the entire game without killing a living soul.
That’s two very different play throughs. I actually have two files going at once:
1) There Will Be Blood. To quote Major Payne: “Killing is my business, ladies, and business is good.” While I’m not going out of my way to kill everything in sight, I’m definitely opportunistic with my death-dealing. You do have to shed some blood in order to unlock a high number of the achievements available. However…
2) All Life is Precious. …there are just as many achievements for taking the saintly higher road which requires lots of sneaking. If you want to stack a bunch of achievements in a single run through (like I’m attempting), you can try for zero kills, zero supernatural power acquisitions (outside of Blink which is unavoidable) or upgrades (leveling Blink up will void this achievement), and zero alerts. Swing this and you’ll net no less than 470G! That’s nearly half of the game’s achievement points before adding expansions.
- Very high replay value thanks to the violent and nonviolent options.
- Collectibles within games can feel like bad attempts at adding hours to gameplay, but Dishonored’s collectibles serve a variety of purposes that make them worth the effort. Bone charms provide a number of buffs and runes allow for the purchase and upgrade of the supernatural abilities. The Sokolov paintings hidden throughout net 300 coins which can be used to purchase and upgrade equipment. And the best part: You’re given an item at the outset of the game that shows you where the bone charms and runes are hidden!
- You can save anytime (so long as you’re not in combat) and anywhere which, if used judiciously, frees you up to experiment with different approaches with very little risk when failures occur.
- I had trouble with the drop assassination more often than not. Seemed to be a very picky quicktime event, but as frustrating as it was to miss and die or alert guards, its offset by the save feature I mentioned earlier.
- The game somewhat penalizes you for going Rambo. Its explained in-game that Weepers (plague infected people) and rat swarms (which can kill you fairly quickly) increase in number in proportion to the body count you amass. I’m not against this per se; it makes some sense within the context of the story. But it does feel like a light slap on the wrist for being bad.
Yes. It’s even well worth the $19.99 retail price in the Marketplace just in case you miss the August 31st deadline to snag it for free! Whether you’re winding your way through the shadows or ramming your sword through the necks of unsuspecting henchman, you’ll feel like the baddest dude alive.
I’m six hours in between my two run-throughs and I can’t wait to spend many, many more in Dunwall.