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Review

Dishonored Review

  • Game release: October 8, 2012
  • Reviewed: October 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.

by

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.

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

/ Staff

With his Apple IIGS as the spark and his neighbor's NES the fuel, Chris Watters' passion for gaming caught fire early. Years later, you can find him aiming down virtual sights, traipsing through fantastical lands, and striving to be grossly incandescent while desperately avoiding sunburns.

Discussion

30 comments
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

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 !!!

pitosga
pitosga

This is the first review I've seen having "The Good" without "The Bad".

3Dsoldier
3Dsoldier

@legionofme Agreed.. although i still haven't finnished this game yet (on xbox360) but from what i saw, i guess it's being overated.

Phlanxion
Phlanxion

@dlavizzo Had the same feeling. Half life meets fable meets splinter cell meets bioshock.

max-hit
max-hit

@nnjavanish Half Life is a masterpiece. This games is an over-hyped and over-ratted piece of shit. 

game-time
game-time

 Half-Life was more of a horror FPS. This Dishonored game is more like a mystery crime story in a century old setting, with a touch of horror, kind of like Call of Cthulhu. But Resident Evil 6 was more like Half-Life than this game was.@nnjavanish

Yamakoichi
Yamakoichi

 @BurningBen

 The difference with Bioshock I was bored by the time the plane sank, atleast dishonored kept me interested

kinectrocks
kinectrocks

 @BurningBen

 you are way off with that statement. The story is excellent compared to (no disrespect)  AC 3 how can you compare this to bioshock not even close.

 

pitosga
pitosga

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

Rivboets7
Rivboets7

 @game-time 

Im guessing you need the actual game to play the dlc but that would be cool if you didn't!

00J
00J

 @max-hit You cannot save her you cannot save her you can not save her you can not save her you can not save her you can not save her you can not save her you can not save her

nnjavanish
nnjavanish

 @game-time Well, first, I said 'feels alot like Half-Life', to the extent of the game's graphics and engine, or closer to Half-Life 2, I should say. The game-play elements are very similar in that the levels are very open with nearly-limitless backtracking, and logical ammo and health placement. Saying it's more like RE6 than Half-Life seems arbitrary and nocuous.

TheDoomTurtle
TheDoomTurtle

@kinectrocks @BurningBen

This game totally feels a bit like bioshock.  Similar idea of sword in one hand and something else in the other (supernatural powers, spliced abilities) and how the city is falling apart in places.  Let's not forget weepers as the new splicers.

game-time
game-time

 @Rivboets7 yeah, some DLC doesn't require the actual game, some does. It would be nice if all you had to have was a save file or something.

max-hit
max-hit

@Yamakoichi @max-hit I usually avoid arguing with hipis. But maybe you should've spent more time checking out my other ratings. Call of Duty games are good games but they don't worth +60$. They worth around 10$. The point is I don't understand how it relates to Dishonored. Hating a game or liking another doesn't make you a longtime/cool gamer.

Ultra_Taco
Ultra_Taco

 @Yamakoichi  Says the guy who seems very depressed about video games and doesn't respect other people's opinions. 

jedi2357
jedi2357

@GSquadron @snakebite6x6x6 First off, you never advertise your own review on another's website. Dissing Chris's excellent review so you can get hits is both terrible and dumb. As for your writing, use spell-check and grammar-check. Perhaps take inspiration from professional reviews for the writing. And don't create accounts to advertise your own review.

game-time
game-time

 @nnjavanish Don't get me wrong though, I would never dis Half-life, I love Half-Life, still waiting for another episode!

game-time
game-time

 @nnjavanish Half-life is a fairly straight forward horror FPS with a straight forward story. Cool game but not many twists or much mystery like Dishonored.  (Me comparing to RE 6 to Half Life is based on the gameplay action and horror elements.  A creature popping out of a vent and surprising you, the creep factor, that kind of thing. I was mostly thinking of Half Life 1 however)  I still can't see many similarities between even Half-Life 2 and Dishonored, sorry. Dishonored has more controls/functions than a standard FPS because of the special powers you have and Dishonored is mostly a stealth game as well, even if you go guns blazing the game's still designed for at least some stealth or cautious gameplay leading up to a fight.  

Rivboets7
Rivboets7

 @game-time 

Wow I didn't know that.  Thats nice to know I don't always need the game to play the DLC.

Yamakoichi
Yamakoichi

@max-hit 

It relates because you give an overated game a good review, yet you call a good game that is taking a different approach overated; it would also appear the best of 2012 seems to disagree with you too

Yamakoichi
Yamakoichi

@Ultra_Taco @Yamakoichi 

Says the guy who does not know what depressed means, also I love oppinions, however they are stating oppinions as facts. Learn the difference

Dishonored More Info

First Release on Oct 08, 2012
  • Xbox 360
  • PlayStation 3
  • PC
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 User RatingOut of 4006 User Ratings
Please Sign In to rate Dishonored
Developed by:
Arkane Studios
Published by:
Bethesda Softworks
Genres:
3D, Action, Adventure, Open-World
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