It was back at E3 2012 that I first had my run-in with Dishonored’s Dunwall. The game’s city, as explained to us during a short presentation by Arkane’s Raphael Colantonio and Harvey Smith, was meant to be flexible, allowing our actions to shape it and its denizens. The “Steampunk meets Victorian meets Half-Life” design aesthetic was to allow both science and spiritualism to happen as we chose to attack the game through stealth or aggression, almost any way we wanted to.
In a nutshell, that was the summary.
In reality, the nut inside that shell was as thick as any brazil nut I had ever come across.
The depth of Dishonored can be attributed to more than just the political intrigue and backstabbing wound through its plot. It’s more than the living, breathing world that relies on us to be its heartbeat. It’s more than the well-designed mechanics of mixing magic with weaponry. The depth of Dishonored is in the level of choice that we’re offered, that makes every playthrough worthwhile and more satisfying than the last. It becomes commonplace amongst friends to compare how one quest is approached, what its outcome is, and the thought process behind the method of resolution. At times I felt guilty for socially maiming a marked target instead of killing him, only to breath a little easier knowing that the fate I left him with was far worse than death.
Choice can be a pervasive element in Dishonored, at times forcing its way into scenarios and taking time away from our ultimate goals. But, as corny as the expression is, the “journey” we experience that comes from the series of choices makes up for the game’s shortcomings.
Whether it was sneaking around and dumping sleeping policemen into dumpsters or going postal on henchmen, Dishonored provides a variety of outlets and methods for players to experience it.
Read our full review: Dishonored