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Review

Dishonored Review

  • First Released
    released
  • Reviewed Oct 7, 2012
  • X360

Dishonored's engrossing world and intoxicating interplay of supernatural powers make it a game you'll want to play more than once.

Dishonored is a game about many things. It's about revenge; armed with deadly weapons and supernatural powers, you seek vengeance upon all of those who orchestrated your downfall. It's about a city; the plague-ridden industrial port of Dunwall is lovely to behold, exciting to explore, and seething with secrets. It's about people; an array of vibrant characters await you, and as you get to know them, you are drawn further into their intrigues, hopes, and heartbreaks. But above all, it's about choice. The incredible variety of ways you can engage or evade your enemies makes Dishonored impressively flexible and utterly captivating.

You play as Corvo Attano, former bodyguard to the empress and current death row inmate. The prologue chronicling Corvo's crime not only inflames your desire for revenge, but also sparks your affection for a vulnerable character. These dual fires foreshadow the choice you have to make each time you encounter an enemy: do you walk the bloody path of brutal vengeance, or take the nonlethal high road and rise above the violence that suffuses the city? Your actions have small, yet tangible consequences throughout your quest, and it's up to you to decide what kind of retribution you want.

A cadre of conspirators helps you escape imprisonment, and you find out that they are plotting to bring down the very men who wronged you. These characters embody familiar archetypes--the dutiful admiral, the egotistical nobleman, the cheeky servant--but Dishonored is not content with one-dimensional portrayals. An excellent voice cast (which includes a number of notable actors) and stylish character design help bring these people to life. As you listen to them talk (you remain mute throughout), read their journals, eavesdrop on conversations, and learn whispered secrets from an arcane, psychic item you acquire, you come to know the characters and the world they live in. This kind of knowledge is engaging, so even when the main plot follows some well-trodden paths, you're always interested and eager to press on.

Exploring Dunwall is another one of Dishonored's great pleasures. The city prospered from the whaling trade in the recent past, but has fallen on hard times since the influx of a deadly plague. Brick walls and wooden beams loom over alleys crawling with rats, while granite facades and metal barricades block off the cobblestoned plazas of the wealthier neighborhoods. Dunwall evokes a British city in the grip of the industrial revolution, but painterly coloring and slightly exaggerated proportions give the place a unique feel. Though some texture details can be slow to load in the console versions, the lovely artistic design is undiminished, making Dunwall an immensely appealing place to inhabit.

This could be a decadent ball or a disastrous bloodbath, the choice is yours.

Of course, there are tangible benefits to exploration as well. Sewers, alleys, apartments, and estates all hide items that restore your health, reinforce your arsenal, teach you secrets, or allow you to gain new supernatural powers. The large areas you must traverse to get to your targets are riddled with out-of-the-way places to explore, and finding them reveals not only hidden goodies, but alternate routes as well.

Figuring out how to move through the environments is an enjoyable pursuit, and one of the first powers you get allows you to teleport a short distance. The quick pop and blurry whoosh of this power provides a nice audiovisual accompaniment to the thrill of defying natural law, and if you choose to supernaturally augment your jumping ability, your range of locomotion is drastically increased. Though you'll likely have some awkward moments as you try to go places that the game won't let you, Dishonored's level design is consistent enough to make such moments easy to avoid once you get the hang of things.

In addition to these superhuman movement abilities, you can choose the power of possession. Slipping into the skin of a rat or the scales of a fish allows you to navigate small tunnels and reach new areas, and when leveled up, you can even possess other humans for a short while. Acquiring and improving your supernatural powers requires runes, though, and there aren't enough for you to max out every power. There are no bad choices, thankfully, though some clearly favor lethal or nonlethal approaches. Pacifists will appreciate the ability to stop time, for example, while assassins might favor the power that instantly turns corpses to ash.

Powers are equipped in your left hand and are accessed with a radial menu. This menu also contains your pistol and your crossbow, each of which has a few different ammo types. Sleep darts are the only nonlethal munition in the bunch, and they are invaluable to players who try to play the entire game without killing anyone (yes, it's possible). The rest of your options are decidedly deadly, including grenades and razor-flinging proximity mines.

With such nasty weaponry and formidable powers at your disposal, you have a startling array of ways to deal with hostiles. Simply sneaking by them is often effective, as is creeping up from behind, applying a sleeper hold, and dragging the bodies to a dark corner. Killing can be quiet too. A deadly drop from above makes no noise, and a properly timed windblast can blow an enemy off a high ledge, never to be seen again. If you prefer to see the whites of their eyes, your sword is always in your right hand, ever ready to duel. You are a formidable swordsman, able to block and counterattack against most blows, but clanging swords bring more guards or thugs, and they won't wait until their allies are out of the way to take a shot at you.

Enemies are prone to fatal dips in intelligence from time to time, but they are generally tenacious and alert enough to put up a decent fight. Once you start experimenting with powers, weapons, and environmental elements, Dishonored's amazing flexibility shows its stuff. Summon a swarm of rats to devour an enemy, and then possess one of the rats to sneak up behind those foes who come running. Blow enemy projectiles back in their faces, killing them instantly. Freeze time, enter a room with hostiles, drop a live grenade, exit and close the door, and then watch the explosion through the keyhole.

Messy, but effective.

Sure, you didn't really have to watch, but taking a playful approach can result in even more supernatural fun. Blow bottles off a shelf from a hidden perch to terrify the maids. Snatch a painting while a guard is looking at it instead of waiting for him to walk away. Throw a corpse off a balcony onto a guard, but freeze time before it hits, so you can watch his reaction when you appear in front of him as he gets clobbered from above. Dishonored has multiple save slots available, and taking advantage of the ability to tear things up and then reload a fresh start encourages you to engage in some absolutely delightful mayhem.

Yet even though it allows you to wipe the recent slate clean, Dishonored still begs to be replayed from the beginning. Unlocking different powers, finishing missions in different ways, striving to be more or less murderous, and seeing a different endgame all offer appealing incentives to give it another go. It's a rare game that feels so compulsively replayable, but Dishonored is such a game. The compelling abilities, the bold artistic design, the colorful characters, and above all, the freedom of choice--these are the things that mark Dishonored as one of the truly remarkable games of this year.

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The Good
Great suite of abilities encourages creativity
Spacious environments riddled with pathways and secrets
Lovely design brings the city to life
Superbly voiced cast of interesting characters
The Bad
N/A
9
Superb
About GameSpot's Reviews
Other Platform Reviews for Dishonored

About the Author

Chris enjoys aiming down virtual sights, traipsing through fantastical lands, and striving to be grossly incandescent.
31 comments
Ripper_TV
Ripper_TV

No bad? Right... how about pathetic visuals?

redder1111
redder1111

true successor to AC II. this is the real meaning of being a deadly assassin. and it completely deserves the score.  

Gulraizrashid
Gulraizrashid

and give resident evil 6 8.5/10 surpise surprise now keep barking at me!!

Gulraizrashid
Gulraizrashid

in these days professional reviews are all that matter isn't well no i give 7.5/10 and give hitman absolution 8 /10  i know i m good!!

mtait01
mtait01

just grabbed this on psn for $30 and i'mm about 3 hours in - good game so far but I am a little disapointed to be honest as I thought it was supposed to be amazing - also it is ugly as anyway

doctorstone89
doctorstone89

i understand metacritics lower scores for the console, only have it on pc and xbox 360 and man the 360 version is so ugly

Tzo4
Tzo4

Bioshock + Undying + Oblivion

               +THIEF!!!!

=Dishonored.....

GunEye
GunEye

Loved this game.

daviz88
daviz88

after seeing some of the preview of the game it similar to skyrim with a different setting and maybe better magic.

NinjaMaddy
NinjaMaddy

 Mmm I wanted this game. But my brother decided to get Hitman: Absolution :'l

legionofme
legionofme

Oh and the review above... only good points?  Perhaps ask someone who can offer a balanced view to review?

legionofme
legionofme

I just don't understand the high scoring or the rave about this game.  360 is my only gaming platform and still, Dishonoured was just another  'on rails' RPG with very few choices of impact and a 'climb and see' mechanic ripped from Assassin's Creed.  Conversations were linear, NPC reactions were repetitive and most of the supernatural powers made obsolete by your need to work secretively.

Disapointing. 

Phlanxion
Phlanxion

Just got this game. From the very get go it feels like the best way to play this is complete stealth and not kill anyone. Reminded me of Splinter Cell.  You have to save every time you do something. Started the game on normal, managed to not kill anyone on first level but during the second level it's nearly impossible.  Superpowers are cool but not amazing. You use blink mostly and most effective weapon is Cross bow with sleep darts. The cover mechanic is bad, leaning is redundant. Would have been better with a Rainbow six vegas cover scheme where you can see your player. You don't really ever get to see Corvo's mask and face. Enemies are particularly lame to me, has way too much of an English bloat feel to them. Don't like the conceptual art on the enemies. Best aspect of game is the multiple of varieties to dispose of enemies. The re rout tool is cool, and the whale oil exploding cylinders are fun.  Is I cool game. I just finished second level so maybe I'm not obliged to write a review yet. If I could go back in time 2 days when I was at the store, I wouldn't have gotten this. Instead I would have got Far Cry 3 or Halo 4. 

Anandu114
Anandu114

very much a different game .....as compared to the rest but i felt very bored while playing,the missions are not so lively....

disneyskate
disneyskate

The only thing I didn't like was that sometimes it was hard to figure out where to go, and also there were a lot of ugly textures.

dlavizzo
dlavizzo

If you don't see the visual and audio cues stolen from Half-Life 2, then you just aren't a gamer. I actually almost called the City Watch the Overwatch. Same oppressive, citywide broadcast system, same implacable steel guard shacks and door-bars, same faceless, masked sentries in droves...ill post a screenshot later but there's actually a part when you first enter the city that LOOKS like that Half-Life 2 HDR demo. Not that that's a bad thing. I really liked this game and I thought they took the "inspiration" from Half-Life 2 and made it work for them. A little homage isn't always a bad thing. But let's not kid ourselves and say that there is NO similarity between the City Watch of Dishonored and the Overwatch of HL2

Taz_12_Dave
Taz_12_Dave

Brilliant Game.  I hope there is some future single player DLC or even a full sequel game?

nnjavanish
nnjavanish

I don't know if anyone already said this, but this game feels alot like 'Half-Life', albeit with different elements.

kinectrocks
kinectrocks

There were no negatives give it a 10/10 for crying out loud

 

BurningBen
BurningBen

I'm confused... Was it really that good. I found gameplay to be somewhat repetitive after the first 30 minutes and it got kind of boring quick. I don't know how they do it but the story is so much better in all the different trailers they have than it actually was in the game. After the first three missions i didnt even listen to the story anymore. And it really wasn't that "new" of an idea. It reminded me of assassins creed mixed with bioshock. 7.5

IamMrBlonde
IamMrBlonde

the nights are lonely the days are so sad.

zpluffy
zpluffy

The reason Gamespot gave this 9.0 because it's different approach. Look around, most games are all about shooting, multiplayer shooting, red vs blue, shoot this, shoot that, zombies, blabalabalabla. Few games try something different. This game is not only you are able to shoot things, but you have so many choices of approaching things. The blink power, being able to take over an animal, cool gadget, etc.. It's different! Same thing will happen to Bioshock infinite. It'll get 9.0 as well. hahhahahhahahahhahahahah

pitosga
pitosga

I liked the random laughter at the end there. 1up.

game-time
game-time

Hey, I beat the game, but I hear there is some DLC for the story that will be coming out next year. Does anyone know if I must keep the game in order to play the DLC when it comes out next year? I kind of want to sell the game for some dough and just play the added story content later.

Re-Skull
Re-Skull

THE GAME IS AWESOME , but too short !!!

alipower
alipower

graphic is not high unfortanly. but gameplay is nice. some is like bioshock

4r0d0
4r0d0

Fun but, too high of a score. Especially for Gamespot to give it a 9.0 I was expecting the world. Feels more like an 8.0 - 8.5 range game from how it played. After playing through once, I was more compelled to go back and play through the original Thief and its sequel Thief 2: The Metal Age.

Jonny-Two-Delta
Jonny-Two-Delta

I love how it has a list of "the good" and nothing of "the bad" XD

PinchySkree
PinchySkree

From #1 to #9 in a week because everyone finished it in less than that time.

mgsells
mgsells

9 is a fair score, maybe even a little low. This game came to me as a loan from a friend, he said I had to check it out, that it was great. I didnt know anything about it, no hype, no anticipation. It's great! Not many games do I want to play again, but I cant wait to play this game again with a different stagety.

downloadthefile
downloadthefile

9 is high but I don't regret buying it or playing it.  I enjoyed it a lot, just not as much as I would have hoped.  I just wish this wasn't the only game of this nature that I could buy.  And I don't mean 1st person stealth action games.  I mean just a solid, long single player game with a unique story/background and some intrigue.  Very few of those, even from the companies that are supposed to make em.  Like BioWare.  I swear, Quantic Dream and CD Projekt are the only two companies really doing different stuff nowadays.

fedelm
fedelm

I agree this game is great and a lot of fun. I actually played through it twice...

 

...In a weekend

 

It's too short!!!!!!!!! Where's the demerit for shortness???? I don't know why I keep coming here for game reviews...most of the times games are completely over-rated (D3 anyone?)

bunty_007
bunty_007

well, all these comments come according to the rating by GS... true, isn't it?

McNicolr
McNicolr

At first the graphics was a disappointment, however the epic story line (which allot of games are lacking today) and the seemingly endless  possibilities of game play to suit any style of games make this game one to keep on the top shelf 

mleclerc182
mleclerc182

It's definitely an awesome game but we all know that GOTY is going to go to Assassin's Creed 3 :)

CRAPCOM1926
CRAPCOM1926

Not GOTY but is a good game. The Goty goes To Borderlands 2.

Scorchstar
Scorchstar

Undoubtedly Game of the Year.

 

I have a copy of the game, a day after launch, and I am loving it. I have put 9 hours on the game, and I am up to the third-ish mission/proper level. I don't know how many missions there are, but one of the best things in the game is the different pathways you can go through, side missions and the powers, but the best of all, is actually dieing. In my point of view, dieing is like "Oh hey, I died. Lets try another way in / kill the objective", and I end up having many tries to accomplish that. Always play on hard, or else you're not playing it right. The best way to play the game: Don't save too often, save everytime you get to a new part of the level, and when you die, take multiple pathways.

hellkick
hellkick

the comments allow are pulling me to play, gonna give it a try

Haasdude
Haasdude

Best game I've played in a long time...took me about 21 hours to beat. I'm confused about the complaints with the length - if you beat this in 4 hours then you're doing it wrong, lol.

philMcCrevis
philMcCrevis

Can't wait to play this.  didn't even see it coming.  

RiSe1993
RiSe1993

I love this game, although the ending came too soon. It felt like one of those endings where you expect the bad-guy to slip away and you'll get another 3 missions in order to find him for some grande finalle, but instead the credits rolled over my screen. Though the great replay-value makes up for that.

ppettie
ppettie

Dishonored is a fabulous game.  Very fun to play and cool game mechanics with various methods for taking care of your enemies and targets.  My only gripe is I do not think this game is worth the $60 price tag.  The game contains nine missions and I was able to complete the game in nine hours (finished with low chaos then loaded a previous save and did the last two missions killing everyone to finish the game with high chaos).  Even with the future release of DLC, I can not see this game having a high replayablity value.  I would compare this to LA Noire- once you've played through one or two times, you've gotten all achievements/trophies and there's no reason to come back to it.  I got 32 achievements from one play through.  My advice is to rent this from a Redbox instead of shelling out $60.

Klikandclick
Klikandclick

Reminds me of the Thief games. Those were the days...

lukszu
lukszu

Depends on the gameplay style, Dishonored shows its real values. If run & gun COD style then probably you would complete the game within 8hrs or less and feel some disappointment about its length. But Dishonored is not to be played like that - this title shows its superb qualities with a slower, stealthy walkthrough, while forcing you to plan every step in advance and offering many benefits coming from exploration - above all, you collect the runes & amulets which are a key issue to gain/improve your special assassin skills, furthermore you can find money and many valuable items, which can be spent for equipment/weaponry upgrades afterwards. The stealth gamplay itself is exciting, challenging and can be fulfilled with thrilling encounters with your foes - here there are many ways to get rid of your enemies, with creative kills and bodies disposal afterwards. Obviously you can go into open fights, but to act like a "ghost", kill or knock senseless each foe step by step and remove/dispose their bodies afterwards is much more fun and challenging. Ive clocked more than 10hrs in the game and currently Im in the 4th mission; For sure one of the best games of 2012;

Dishonored More Info

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  • First Released
    released
    • PC
    • PS3
    • + 3 more
    • PS4
    • Xbox 360
    • Xbox One
    Dishonored places players in the role an infamous assassin who was the once-trusted bodyguard of the beloved Empress until he was framed for murder. Using supernatural powers and deadly weapons, you must sneak, shoot, and stab your way through a dystopian city in order to depose a cruel tyrant.
    8.4
    Average Rating4115 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate Dishonored
    Developed by:
    Arkane Studios
    Published by:
    Bethesda Softworks, Bethesda Game Studios
    Genre(s):
    Action, Adventure
    Theme(s):
    Modern
    Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
    Mature
    All Platforms
    Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, Strong Language