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Dishonored 2 was vastly overshadowed at Bethesda’s E3 showcase earlier this year by the huge news of upcoming Fallout 4. Regardless, the cinematic trailer excited a healthy fan base which would agree that the first-person stealth game Dishonored is well worth playing.
One of the most important features of Dishonored is its setting. Dunwall city is ridden with plague and on the brink of destruction. All of the game’s areas have a great atmosphere, with so much to explore outside of your objective point. Breaking into a house you might find a room of dead bodies and a diary detailing the family’s sad fall to plague. Books of all types develop the backstory of the gameworld and corpse carts enforce its tone. The amount of choice afforded by delving into Dunwall fully immerses the player.
“One of the most important features of Dishonored is its setting”
Player choice runs through Dishonored. Stealth gameplay is robust and intuitive, but is only one option in the tools available. Swordplay, gun shooting and supernatural powers are all tightly controlled: enjoyable combat for when you are spotted or if you just prefer violence to sneaking. Excellent emergent gameplay is a big draw for Dishonored. Do you avoid the electricity wall, shut down the power or hack it to kill your enemies instead? Highly creative kills and multiple routes to achieve your mission are a staple of a playthrough. Optional side quests are frequent and there are even lethal and non-lethal ways to deal with each target you’re assigned.
RPG-like elements are featured too. As you progress through the story, equipment upgrades can be bought. Diligently scouring the levels for collectibles allows you to unlock and upgrade your supernatural abilities as well. Each upgrade adds more creative solutions to your repertoire, which will prove useful and deeply satisfying in missions.
Dishonored has a good story, but just as relevant are the stories the player makes themselves. Do you bring your deadly wrath upon those preying on the helpless, maybe you spare the one guard just doing his job amongst all of his corrupt colleagues. The plot itself will change depending on how much chaos you create throughout the campaign. Leaving more dead bodies leads to larger plagues of rats on the streets of Dunwall. Dishonored’s conclusion is a choice of multiple endings with a hundred different stories to get there.
“Optional side quests are frequent and there are even lethal and non-lethal ways to deal with each target you’re assigned”
Dishonored has, at most, a medium-length campaign. This is made up for with just how repeatable it is. Every part of the game is well thought out and the abilities are so varied that they deserve multiple playthroughs. In a way, the biggest hole in Dishonored is its flexibility. It’s possible to complete the game through several acts of violence. Some players have used this to create flawlessly beautiful combo montages, creatively using every ounce of the abilities provided in the game. But some gamers play as they would any FPS, which is fine but they miss out on how much more Dishonored is and can be for the player.
I’d highly recommend Dishonored. It has brilliant first person emergent gameplay with an intriguing plot and setting, but most of all it is incredibly fun.