Dishonored (PlayStation 3) Review

By Adam Riley 23.11.2012 14

Review for Dishonored on PlayStation 3

The world of first-person shooters is filled to the brim with blast-a-thons where mindless shooting is the order of day, yet thankfully there are some that have started to develop the storyline further to encourage players to become more engrossed in the goings-on, rather than feeling separated from the original premise. This year's reboot of Syndicate -- which whilst a great game overall, was rather a disappointment due to being so different from its source material -- was a good example of that, drip-feeding plenty of story elements to draw gamers further into the experience. Bethesda Softworks, fresh off the back of the phenomenal The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, teamed up with French outfit Arkane Studios, the group behind the likes of Arx Fatalis and Dark Messiah of Might and Magic before helping on the design side of BioShock 2, for an intriguing take on the FPS genre, and Dishonored is certainly deserving of the praise it has received so far.

Dishonored (yes, without the 'u' ) sees players take on the role of Corvo Attano, a personal bodyguard to the Empress who rules over a city called Dunwall in what is meant to be an alternate version of London in the 17th Century. Corvo is also somewhat of a father figure to the Empress' daughter, but when villainous fiends magically appear in an enclosed courtyard to kill the leader and kidnap the young girl before just disappearing into thin air, the slow-to-arrive armed guards find poor Corvo stood there with bloody hands and the conclusion of 'traitor' is immediately jumped to. Six months down the line, just as the subsequent execution is about to take place, a reprieve of sorts occurs, with an escape plan initiated by a mysterious group, and so begins the adventure and attempts to unravel the truth behind the tragic event, all the while roaming streets plagued by rats and infectious disease.

The initial stages of the adventure work as a smooth interactive tutorial, teaching how to make use of the various methods of control and functionality without making it seem too much like hand-holding. The beauty of the way it has been crafted is that new features are carefully introduced with no disjointed feeling, and soon enough the context-sensitive action button will become second nature for climbing up onto structures, looting corpses, throwing objects, and so on, as well as using the jump function to traverse small open distances. The main missions are not all that is on offer in Dishonored, though, with the adventure being more open and allowing for plenty of deviations from the on-screen objective prompt that reminds of where to head next for story progression's sake. It is the extra little side-quests that help flesh out the experience overall, bringing a whole extra level of enjoyment to proceedings.

Screenshot for Dishonored on PlayStation 3

In many ways Dishonored comes across as a Metroid Prime-style title, so rather than falling into that generic FPS category, it blends into more of a First-Person Adventure game, with lots of additional information to uncover, extra characters to meet, supplementary notes to check unearth, and special abilities to upgrade during the journey. Players can also make the conscious choice of whether or not to kill others, since after all Corvo was a protector to start with, not a mindless assassin for hire (although he still wields a blade and various other weapons for when necessary, obviously!). Selecting to talk to key people, overhear conversations from safe distances, and sneak up behind certain potential assailants to merely knock them unconscious, all plays a part in the way the final stages play out and it is this aspect that makes this much more engrossing than a run-of-the-mill shooter.

Corvo can also gain numerous abilities and upgrades over time that transform him from a regular Joe to a truly special warrior, able to leap across great distances, scale walls, see into buildings from the outside, gain night vision, slow down time, possess creatures, and do so many other things, including tracking down special runes and artefacts. There are times when 'going rogue' is equally as fun, however, as the surrounding environments hold plenty of hidden secrets, from random items to collect through to charms. Everything is topped off with intricately detailed landscapes, a highly atmospheric soundtrack, and fantastic voice acting that ups the immersion levels considerably. With roughly 90,000 words in AI-driven one-liners and spoken dialogue, plus around 40,000 more found scattered across scrawled notes, tattered books and meaningful graffiti, those that love good novels will be enamoured with the game, its sizable cast of around 100 characters, and the way they will be sucked right in from start to end.

Screenshot for Dishonored on PlayStation 3

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

When reading that Dishonored has nine stages to work through it may sound ridiculously short, but there is so much depth to each area and there are so many side-missions, alternative routes, and general extras to uncover, that it lasts far longer than expected. It also proves to be a refreshing break from the standard FPS fare, proving to almost be like Metroid Prime in its adventure elements, fleshing the story out with hidden notes and extra characters that add more to the experience. With Dishonored, Bethesda and Arkane have definitely delivered one of the most engaging games of 2012.

Developer

Arkane

Publisher

Bethesda

Genre

Action Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

This game is mentioned a lot in ZombiU reviews. Something about not wanting to play it as an action shooter.

Really? From the small bits of ZombiU I've played, I didn't get the same feeling as Dishonored...Unless, of course, the demo parts were purposely intense for the media to get stuck into straight away, rather than mindlessly wandering around.

I'm not a massive fan of intense shooters - I much prefer the languid style of finding stuff and the stealth part of Dishonored really drew me in as well; having to 'hide 'n sneak' at times was fun.

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Watch Adam on the BBC! | K-Pop Korner FB Page | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

From what I read, you''ll do well to sneak around in ZombiU. I hear you should turn off your flashlight before you turn a corner. Keep it on and you'll attract zombies for sure.

It's not supposed to be an action packed FPS and that's why the slow combat works.

Very interesting stuff!

As for Dishonored, I've never played Arkane's previous two games...but I really like the vibe this gave off and I'm certainly pleased they're now part of the Zenimax parent company, meaning the chances of them working with Bethesda again is pretty high.

Who else here has tried Dishonored? Canyarion, have you actually tried this, or are at least tempted to?

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Watch Adam on the BBC! | K-Pop Korner FB Page | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Just ordered this one the other day because of a great sale on Amazon. Heard nothing but good things about it. Glad to see you concur as well Adam! Looking forward to playing it.

Jacob4000 said:
Just ordered this one the other day because of a great sale on Amazon. Heard nothing but good things about it. Glad to see you concur as well Adam! Looking forward to playing it.

It will be interesting to hear your thoughts on it! I haven't read any other mentions of Metroid Prime, but I definitely felt the search for extra pieces of information was reminiscent. I spent loads of time wandering around, digging up bits and bobs to get the most out of the story.

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Watch Adam on the BBC! | K-Pop Korner FB Page | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Sorry, I don't play first person shooters anymore.

Canyarion said:
Sorry, I don't play first person shooters anymore.

What made you go off them? I've never been a massive fan, and the only ones I really played extensively were Doom (SNES), GoldenEye and Perfect Dark (N64).

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Watch Adam on the BBC! | K-Pop Korner FB Page | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Yeah I played lots of shooters 10 years ago. Golden Eye, Perfect Dark, Half Life... But as graphics became more realistic, so did the violence.

5 years ago I was playing Team Fortress 2 and later the demo of L4D... and whenever I closed my eyes, my brain was headshotting people/zombies. I can get so sucked into shooters that I decided it's best for me not to play them.

Yesterday I resisted the temptation of L4D1&2, together for €8 or so. The only shooters I'll play these days are ones where you only kill monsters. Or anything that doesn't look like humans.

You know what, that's a very good point indeed, and for those easily offended by overly realistic deaths in games, Dishonored is certainly not one to try...However, saying that, I like the fact that you can actually play through without bloody deaths, so it comes down to a moral choice.

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Watch Adam on the BBC! | K-Pop Korner FB Page | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Yeah that's the thing that interested me most of your review. Being able to beat the game without killing anyone is nice.

Canyarion said:
Yeah that's the thing that interested me most of your review. Being able to beat the game without killing anyone is nice.

It certainly made a change, and although it extends the game considerably -- having to slow down the pace to sneak up behind people or take the time to find alternate ways of getting info -- it also feel good to keep the lead character from straying too far from his original role of 'bodyguard.'

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Watch Adam on the BBC! | K-Pop Korner FB Page | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

It's also worth noting that this game is worth at least two play through's: High Chaos vs Low Chaos and witness how the story progresses, how the characters react to you, and how you shape Emily's life. Some of the conversations and voicing can be extremely shocking between the two and pathetic fallacy is cranked up to max in the last few sequences.

The abilities that you are given and chose to level up allow you to play completely differently and to find different paths and ways of getting through each of the levels. Can't get through a gate? Possess a guard and walk through, equally, reverse the gate and trick guards to walking into it. Getting ganged up on? Stop time and take out everyone at the simultaneously. It's something that's not so prevalent in a low chaos situation, but when you start experimenting with it you can get really creative.

There's also the Outsiders back story which is equally interesting and the art style is gorgeous and the AI aren't stupid which is always a bonus. The true challenge comes from playing this title like Deus Ex:HR - No kills, no alerts which is harder than it seems because even knocked out bodies can be devoured by rats or cause you hindrance as weepers later on.

Great review Adam. 

( Edited 26.11.2012 21:00 by Echoes221 )

Thanks, Cal. I'm glad you added your thoughts because I know you've played it, probably far more in-depth than me Smilie

It's a superb game with so many possibilities that makes it far better than a run-of-the-mill FPS, in my opinion.

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Watch Adam on the BBC! | K-Pop Korner FB Page | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

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