A plague has filled the fair city of Dunwall. As the bodyguard of Empress Jessamine Kaldwin, it was Corvo Attano’s sole mission to keep her safe. Fate had another path carved out for him. Empress Jessamine sent Corvo away to find a cure for the plague. Two months later, they are reunited. However, their happy moment is cut short when assassins appear. They kill the Empress and kidnap her daughter right before Corvo’s eyes, leaving the once great bodyguard to take the blame. Six months later, Corvo escapes from prison and joins a rebellion to both save the empire and enact revenge on those who locked him. With an arsenal of both technological and supernatural skills at his disposal, he is prepared to change the city that once betrayed him, for better or worse; one victim at a time.
Dishonored is the first 2012 title from Arkane Studios, and published by Bethesda Softworks. Thanks to the latter, many of Bethesda’s common traits are seen throughout the game. Many people who have played the game have all admitted that it felt like they were playing a combination of two or three other games. For myself, I felt the game had been a fusion of three legendary titles: Bioshock, Assassin’s Creed, and Skyrim.
This game carries the graphic designs (areas and characters) of Skyrim. Corvo plays as a supernatural assassin, so it seems obvious how Assassin’s Creed could have been an inspirational piece when designing the game. How it relates to Bioshock is the most interesting part: the power system. In Bioshock, you altered your genetic code with ‘Plasmids.’ In order to advance the player’s plasmids or gain physical enhancements, they must find and gather ‘Adam,’ the power source of the plasmids and the city of Rapture itself. In Dishonored, the player is given his/her powers by a legendary figure in the Dishonored universe: the Outsider. To upgrade powers or get enhancements, the player must gather Runes. The chaos system in the game is also similar to Bioshock’s choice system. In Bioshock, if you do something evil, it affects which ending you receive. In Dishonored, the player has a Chaos system. Should the player kill a large number of people, the game will become more difficult and result with a darker ending.
That is a bonus to this game. Although the game says that Corvo is now an assassin, the player can actually decide whether or not to kill people. Although it is difficult, it is possible to beat the game without killing a single person. However, if a player is trying to attempt a clean slate finish, I would strongly recommend saving multiple times, because players will definitely be reloading to try and change mistakes they made.
With supernatural powers, there is a small but exciting arsenal to choose from. Players can advance their teleportation powers, or summon a swarm of rats to devour their enemies. There is even a power to possess living creatures or even to stop time. However, there is no way to obtain all the power upgrades in one play through. I would strongly suggest that players only pick powers that benefit which type of path you take. If you want to be a true assassin and kill everyone, Rat Swarm would be a great weapon. Finding blueprints in levels can give players technological upgrades that are easy to get if you have the right amount of money to back it up.
All in all, Dishonored was a fantastic game that was put extremely well together. Although there are some problems here and there, and either ending will feel anticlimactic, the game idea itself is genius and players will want to play it all over again. On a scale of 1-10, I would definitely give this game a 9.5. It was a great game, but it was missing something that would have brought it to gaming perfection. Perhaps they will touch up on it if they make a possible sequel? Who’s to say; there is only one Corvo Attano in the world of games. There is only one question left: which path will you make him walk?