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Dishonored: A Review

Alright, I’ll say right from the beginning that I’ve long been a fan of assassination games. I dropped an unthinkable amount of money into Silent Scope, the first arcade game I ever found that actually gave you a sniper rifle to use. I fell in love with the Assassin’s Creed series—even if the first one was terribly repetitive, it was still a hunting thrill that no FPS could ever give me. The later ACs were even better, developing a strong backstory for the characters and the cause that drove the action forward and made the player crave the next installment. (At least, up until the present-day storyline ended…and it was terrible…but that’s a story for another day).

My love for Assassin’s Creed led me to put off playing Dishonored until it sat in the discount section of a Steam Summer Sale…and I just couldn’t say no. On the surface, the two games are actually quite similar: blah blah blah personal story, blah blah blah vendetta to resolve, blah blah blah assassinate stuff; in fact, I think that was what kept me from playing Dishonored for so long—I was already caught up in the world of Ezio Auditore enough that I simply didn’t want to jump into another world and learn a new character. Little did I realize that, outside of those very basic similarities, the two games differ considerably.

Other than the setting, which is sort of like a dystopian, Victorian novel, mixed with magic and guns, the most noticeable difference is that Dishonored is a TRUE stealth game. With AC, if you get detected (and you will), you can always choose to run away, or hang in there and slaughter all of the guards in the area. There are no story ramifications to worry about, and, realistically, not much chance of being overwhelmed and killed.

Dishonored is another story; your body count and visibility (measured as “chaos”) impact the ending you will receive, and I often found myself completely outnumbered and outmatched by a swarm of guards if I wasn’t sneaky enough with my kills/non-lethal immobilizations. Additional achievements and rewards are also available for those sneaky enough to make it through entire levels without killing, or being spotted. While this stealth focus and the carefully crafted levels do take away the potential for the kind of sandbox-style freedom seen in AC, they leave the player with nervous, sweaty-palmed anticipation and fear that take the game to a whole other level.

The addition of magical powers also lends a unique feeling to Dishonored. Situations where it would normally be impossible to remain stealthy become manageable, as the player teleports, briefly stops time, or possesses the body of a rat to get past difficult checkpoints or to appear behind their victim. There are a number of other powers, as well, including a “dark vision” that I initially expected to be useless, but proved essential for stealthy gameplay, allowing the player to effectively see through walls and determine viewing angles for NPCs.

The only power I found a little disappointing was one that causes bodies to disintegrate after a kill; while this would normally be quite useful, as body detection increases chaos and the puts the guards on alert, I often used the non-lethal option for eliminating NPCs, which meant I still had a body to hide (amusingly enough, this often resulted in a small room being heaped with guard bodies, but I digress).

Dishonored would make a fine addition to any assassin-game-loving gamer’s collection, and I personally recommend it for PC (having not tried it on console). Grab your short blade, put on your mask, and turn on your Dark Vision; it’s about to get ugly.

Snootchy boochies.

For anyone looking to pick up their own copy of Dishonored, and unwilling to buy from steam, it's also available on Amazon: Dishonored

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