Systems: PS3, PC, Xbox 360
Original IPs are always a gamble. They are uncertain, a chance for failure or success; however, they are the only way gaming can evolve and find new ways to present a story or provide novel gameplay. Due to these difficult times, these IPs become more and more scarce. Companies want to be sure their investments make a profit so they invest all their chips into well known franchises. This is why when a new IP like Dishonored comes out everyone crosses their fingers and hopes for the best. As lady luck may have it, Dishonored turns out to be a full-house.
Story: Dishonored’s story is nothing spectacular. You play a man named Corvo Attano in a fictional place called Dunwall. You have been framed for both the death of the Empress and the abduction of her daughter. Imprisoned and alone, you are suddenly set free by an unknown organization with the sole purpose to reclaim your honor and rescue the heir to the throne. To make things worse, the world of Dunwall is full of corruption and a plague is destroying everything.
Although the story is a bit straightforward, there are a few twists that appear and the world feels completely fleshed out. As you sulk through the trenches of death, you can overhear the rabble of the citizens and guards. In fact, the most intriguing points of the story are actually heard through recordings and the conversations littered around Dunwall. Furthermore, depending on how you deal with your missions, the ending and certain parts of the story will change. Regrettably, the endings are not spectacular and leave a bit to be desired.
Presentation: Let us get right down to how gorgeous the world of Dishonored is. Dishonored does not focus on details but relies on soft textures. As a result, the world looks like an oil painting. One look across the decrepit city and you will bask in its strange beauty. Nonetheless, this work of art is not without its faults. The city of Dunwall looks great from afar but becomes much less stunning up close. This is a minor complaint overall but is still noticeable.
Unfortunately, Dishonored does not keep up the quality with animation. Other than Corvo, the characters are a bit stiff. There is not much fluidity in the gait of the guards, dogs, and the sickly society. In addition, the cutscenes, which use the in game engine, suffer because of the animation. At first, it seems that the characters each have their own particular movements and gestures, but, after a while, you begin to notice that everyone contains the same gesticulations. Generally, this made the characters seem more robotic and less lifelike.
The menu on the other hand is fantastic. It contains so much style and fits very well within the world. Luckily, this style comes at no cost. It is very easy to get from one menu to another, find your weapon, level up Corvo, or even invert the y-axis.
Sound: The sounds of the city, the whispers of your powers, and the swift slice of your sword all sound impressive; but, the sound design shows its true prowess in its execution. What does this mean? The sound interacts masterfully with the environment. For example, if you are listening to a recording inside a room, it sounds as if the recording is actually bouncing off the walls. Then, if you step outside the door, it no longer echoes and sounds completely different. All these little details really immerse you in the experience and are truly fantastic.
The voice acting on the other hand ranges from fair to stirring. Most of the characters you face are decent enough in the voice acting department. There are no major complaints, they are simply ho-hum. In spite of this, characters like the Empress’ daughter, Emily, are exceptionally done. Even with the subpar animation, you feel connected to these individuals due to their tonality and atmosphere.
Gameplay: Dishonored really shines when it comes to gameplay. First of all the controls are tight and responsive. Corvo is easy to control whether you are sneaking about or sprinting for a kill. Secondly, the powers are implemented admirably. Some powers like disintegrating downed enemies or summoning ravaging plague rats to devour victims are rather imaginative; however, Dishonored does a great job in executing known powers. For example, one particular power called blink is simply an adaptation of teleportation or the dash ability. But, it is realized so effectively that it feels completely new.