It has become relatively rare for a game that is purely
single player to be released these days, but here we have
Dishonored, a first-person action game from Bethesda.
For: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Three and a half stars (out of five)
Dishonored is set in the isolated city of Dunwall, a
city being decimated by an unknown plague that has wiped out
half the city and is threatening the other half.
You play Corvo, a former bodyguard of the Empress, who is
framed for her murder and the abduction of her daughter,
Emily, by a group looking to gain control of the city.
There are two distinct ways of playing the game, and how you
choose to play it has a direct effect on the health of the
The first is to channel your inner ninja and avoid being seen
and make calculated strikes, entering and leaving areas
without anyone knowing you've ever been there.
In order to successfully do this you must make full use of
the supernatural powers given to you by a mysterious figure
known as the Outsider. These powers include blink (high speed
teleportation between two points) and the ability to possess
animals, such as rats and fish, to reach previously
The other option is to go in all guns blazing and swords
drawn and hack and slash your way through the city.
I began the game with the best intentions of doing it
completely stealthily, but it wasn't long before that went
out the window and I was butchering my way through the
guards. This is fun, up to a point.
As you make your way through the city, you can't help but
feel that you're missing out on the true experience that the
developers intended. The game is meant to be played
stealthily, but several game-design decisions make the
stealth aspect incredibly frustrating.
Sometimes you can sit in plain view and not be seen, at
others you'll be in complete darkness and be seen from a
kilometre away; the blink will transport you next to ledges -
rather than on top of them - causing you to fall large
distances to your death; strangling a guard makes no noise
but gently lowering a body alerts guards standing metres
All of these detract from the overall experience and
result in resorting to the slashing and shooting.
The developers have obviously taken a leaf out of the superb
BioShock's book, in attempting to give character to
Dunwall, and they have succeeded. The unique art style (and
stunning graphics) mixed with the 18th/19th century
London-esque architecture draws you in, perhaps not to the
same degree as with BioShock's Rapture, but
certainly more than most. Dunwall could be a real city.
I went into Dishonored with high hopes, and came away
frustrated at the gameplay and the missed potential. With a
few tweaks, it could have matched the quality of the
environment and story premise, but it just left a bad taste
in my mouth.
The premise was excellent, but the execution was a little off
- Simon Bishop.