I decided to take a stab at the Dishonored series since the sequel released late last year. With its initial release in October 2012 worldwide for all platforms, minus Nintendo, developed by Arkane Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks, it has gotten high ranking reviews from IGN, Game Informer, and Eurogamer.
You play as Corvo Attano, the bodyguard to the Empress of a plague infested city, returning home to report on your mission to find a cure for the plague. During this instant, she is assassinated before your eyes and her daughter is kidnapped, and you are framed for it all. You get sent to prison awaiting execution until you learn of a group of Loyalists who believe you’re innocent of it all. They help you escape and send a boat to escort you to their hideout. Surprisingly enough they wish to recruit you as an assassin for their cause and persuade you to exact your revenge against all who wronged you. The game evolves as there is a mechanic at the loyalists hideout that will upgrade your gear as well as sell you ammunition. Then there’s an other worldly being, known as the Outsider, who imbues you with magical abilities. With these resources and your natural talent, you become a fully equipped assassin.
Although this game is about being an assassin, you can play any way you like. You can go on a murder spree or be as silent as the wind. There’s actually an achievement for not killing anyone during your play through, but good luck with that. While there is no stipulation on what difficulty to play on, this game really just gives you all the freedom to play your way. I think the only down side to playing aggressively is the machinery that gives the guards an edge against you. They have lightning conduits that only strike non-guards, a giant revolving tower that shoots a laser beam at you, a mechanism called the “tallboy”, and of course the alarms that if set off will cause you to be swarmed by all the guards in the area. The abilities you receive work to balance out the guards advantage though. Of course some are catered to a stealth play, but your ever faithful blink ability can be used for all situations.
The tools of an assassin wouldn’t be complete without his trusty blade but game play becomes fun and interesting when you take into account all your weapons and abilities. While you’ll always hold your blade in your right hand, your left hand works everything else. You’ll get to cycle through it all with a neat selection wheel as well as quick selecting your favorites by mapping them to your D-pad, “Pick your poison”, as they say. You can go loud with grenades and a handgun or silent with a crossbow and sleep darts.
Now for my opinions on the actual playthrough of the game. I have to be honest I thought about getting that achievement for not killing anyone but I knew it wasn’t going to happen as soon as I sprung an alarm and had to fight off about 7 guards with just my blade and a pistol. While this game gives you all this freedom, I found that being stealthy is the most difficult part. They make sure that you get punished for getting caught attempting an assassination. It’s worth mentioning that how much you kill versus how much you don’t has an affect on your end game, at least that’s what the game told me. I spent close to 14-17 hours to completing the campaign and I have to say it’s a lot of fun. By no means did I try to perfect this game at all and there are some collectibles that can be found in each mission but I didn’t always go for them. It’s very visually appealing, nothing is ever too bright or dark. My only personal critique is about the story line and how it progressed after a certain point. It felt very predictable to me but that didn’t stop my enjoyment of it. I also didn’t feel too attached to any characters in the game although I don’t think you’re suppose to feel any emotion but joy when you successfully terminate your targets. The voice acting was also very well done. So my conclusion is, if you’re looking for a fun, free play, single player action game, this game can sit atop with some of the best of them.