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The Next Level In Gaming

After getting a taster of Dishonoured at Eurogamer I was keen to play it Dishonoured from start to finish. The premise and game design was intriguing and with Bethesda softworks attached as publisher that could only be a good sign. But…Dishonored surprised me. Not necessarily in a bad way but I had misjudged the nature of the beast.

The set up is fairly simple, you play as Corvo, a former bodyguard to the empress and her daughter. You have been wrongly accused of the empress’s murder, so you are forced underground and given the opportunity to take revenge against those who have killed, overthrown the empress and kidnapped her daughter princess Emily in order to restore the status quo. At your disposal are a set of nifty assassination tools and traps. You have also been given powers by a mysterious outsider who seems to like to meddle in the affairs of mere mortals.

So far so intriguing, but as you get beyond the initial stages of the game little niggling doubts began to grow in my mind and questions began to undermine it. Why can’t I get to know the side characters better? Why am I blindly following orders? Why won’t Corvo talk? These are fairly mild problems but after a while they began to impede my ability to enjoy Dishonored in the same was as say Assassins Creed.

Then there’s the moral choice system of the game, which is slightly odd as its tag line is revenge solves everything. If you want the good ending then all you’re going to do is buy as many tranquillising darts as possible and spend more time with your hands around guy’s throats than the Boston Strangler. I don’t mind taking the non-lethal approach but when you’re so hamstrung by it, it can sap some of the joy that is to be had in the game. I like blowing guys away with my pistol, squaring off with them with my blade or setting traps for them to walk into. It’s satisfying to make the kill and not get caught or to not have to kill certain people but sometimes I just don’t feel right.

Now, on to the good stuff; I loved the environments and the powers you were given to explore them. While not beautifully rendered they add so much character to the game that it leaves other aspects struggling to keep up. Well apart from the combat and killing which, if you’re throwing caution to the wind, can be a lot of fun. Also the ability to approach each mission with different powers and do it a different way makes it engaging.

I like Dishonored I really do, but it just leaves so much half done or lacking that it’s stopped from being a truly great game. It’s said that the mark of a good storyteller is to leave you wanting more, and while I would love to see a sequel to this I just wished more could have been done with what was there, even with the Dictaphone and log entries you find lying around. Sometimes…dead is better.

- That Bloke In The Beanie

8/10

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That Bloke In The Beanie On October - 31 - 2012

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