Game Of The Year? It’s Certainly A Contender!
Posted 7 months ago By Vince - Vincent Deshaies
This generation of consoles has been no different than the ones that preceded it. At the beginning, we saw a plethora of brand new franchises that shook the industry to its core. Games such as Assassin’s Creed, Gears of War, or Uncharted have really left their mark in this console cycle. Everyone has their personal favorite, but for me, it was 2007’s BioShock that left me speechless. Not only was the atmosphere and story incredible, but the tight gameplay mechanics featuring smart genre blending was a big selling point for me. As soon as I saw the first gameplay trailer for Dishonored, I was reminded of my experience with BioShock. Getting brand new IP’s this late in a generation cycle is a blessing that rarely happens, but does this one deliver or will it fall into the abyss of quickly forgotten games?
In Dishonored, you take control of a guard, Corvo Attano, who is in charge or finding the ones responsible for the killing of the Dunwall Empress as well as the kidnapping of her daughter. In the meantime, Lord Regent takes control of Dunwall, and puts the city through a chaotic age of terror. Spoiling anything would be a crime in this particular case, but I’m pleased to report that the story is not only engaging, but also extremely memorable. As soon as you get past the introduction, you’ll find yourself immersed into the characters’ dilemmas while falling in love with the beautiful atmosphere the developers have created.
"Dishonored is a sublime, unforgettable experience that any gamer absolutely needs to try."
Dishonored is, as you may have noticed from the screenshots in this review, a first person game. However, it would be hard to call it a FPS. Mixing elements from RPGs such as Skyrim, stealth-action games like Assassin’s Creed, and more traditional shooters, the game offers a refreshing and unique experience that simply works incredibly well. Melee combat prevails in Dishonored; you’ll often have to hide in the shadows, slowly creeping up towards your prey or simply waiting for your enemy to expose themselves to your blade.
You also have magical abilities that very much reminded me of the plasmids from the BioShock universe. While those were already well implemented in BioShock, I found them to be even more elaborate in this game. Each power is unique, giving you possibilities such as slowing down time, teleporting, seeing through walls, or even quickly making bodies disappear in order to not be spotted. These elements help add a layer of strategy to some already complex and rewarding gameplay mechanics. If there is one element that truly defines Dishonored, it’s stealth. You can certainly play the game by running from one target to the next, without caring about the consequences, but players that want the full experience will definitely want to keep it slow and quiet. To add strength to this gameplay style, the developers have made sure that the environments are mostly wide open, giving you a variety of options to approach your different objectives. Given the smart level and game design, you’ll often be extremely stressed out in certain situations, really feeling the fear emerging from the chaos and controlled terror that fills your surroundings. When you conquer your enemies and complete your objectives, you’ll feel relief, but most of all you’ll feel rewarded and powerful. The studio has even pushed the envelope further when it comes to choosing your gameplay style. In theory, it’s possible to finish the game without killing a single enemy, and that includes bosses. While that play style will cost you time and a lot of patience, it’s definitely fun to experiment and replay levels in different ways, always keeping the experience fresh and incredibly fun.
On top of the main quest, the title has a variety of side objectives that you can fulfill. While none of them are nearly as thrilling as the main story, they’re a welcome addition that helps boost the amount of content. Dishonored does not offer multiplayer, which may be surprising to some, but I personally feel like it was a smart choice made by the developers. Instead of focusing on a multiplayer aspect that people will try once before going back to Call of Duty, they’ve decided to shift their focus to a deeper, more memorable single player experience. At the end of the day, the team at Arkane Studios has set out to deliver a hardcore, solo experience to please the hardcore gamers out there that have been longing for something new, something different from the short, blockbuster games filled with explosions and QTE’s. The game never really takes the controls away from you. It lets you personalize your play style without making any sacrifice in the quality of its level design. No matter what approach you choose to take, it will always feel like the “right” path. There is no clearly superior avenue around which the game is designed; all of them offer a polished, unforgettable experience.
While the lack of multiplayer isn’t a bad thing, Dishonored’s campaign can be a brief journey. The main quest can last you anywhere between 8 to 16 hours, depending on your play style, and the side quests, as I mentioned earlier, can prolong the experience. However, it must be noted that the title offers a ton of replay value thanks to those different approaches you can take. In fact, this is the first game in a long time which prompted me to restart the campaign as soon as it was done. You can always fault a title like this one for lacking a certain amount of content, but when a game pushes you to discover all of its secrets like Dishonored does, you know the developers have succeeded. Arkane has decided to provide quality over quantity with this one, and it shows.
Graphically, the game is a bit of a mixed bag. While the trusty Unreal Engine 3 is starting to show its limitations, the art style really shines in Dishonored. From the beautiful level design to the varied environments, you may find yourself in awe looking at the game. What it doesn’t offer from a technical standpoint, it offers in terms of sheer, natural beauty. As a bonus, though, the game’s performance remains consistent throughout and I never found myself wishing for better optimization. The sound work is also very polished, offering a lot of details you don’t often see in other video games. The sound design also compliments the stealth aspect of the game very nicely, contributing to the stress you may feel while maneuvering past a group of enemies.
At the end of the game, I felt incredibly satisfied. Rarely do you see a game that blends all of its elements so perfectly, as if everyone on the development team came together with one strong, powerful vision for what makes a great video game. Dishonored is a sublime, unforgettable experience that any gamer absolutely needs to try. Forget the Game of the Year nominations; this is a contender for best game of this generation.
+ Tight, varied gameplay mechanics
+ Smart game design
+ The storyline is as engaging as it gets
+ Great replayability factor
- A bit dated graphically
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Release Date : 2012/10/09
System : Xbox 360
Publisher : Bethesda Softworks
Developer : Arkane Studios
Category : Action-Adventure
ESRB : M
7.0 / 10
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