Dishonored (PlayStation 3) Review

By Adam Riley 23.11.2012

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

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.






Action Adventure



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   


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