Dishonored – Review (PS3)

Dishonored puts you in the shoes of Corvo Attano – Royal Protector (Bodyguard) of Empress Jessamine Kaldwin. You arrive back from a trip abroad investigating potential cures for the plague that is ravaging your city, only to find yourself framed for the murder of the Empress and thrown in jail.

As you escape, try to clear your name and find Emily, the Empress’ daughter, you’ll take on the role of assassin rather than protector. Corvo receives a boost of supernatural proportions which allows you to unlock various powers, such as freezing time, teleporting or possessing enemies.

Sadly this array of powers leads to one of the more confusing aspects of the game design – the second ‘tier’ of these powers is so steep in cost that if you choose to back one power you will miss out on lots of the others. So you’ll need to make that choice early on or spend an extended amount of time during the game to find the runes scattered about the level.

I understand wanting to keep a reign on the player’s power so they don’t just get everything too early in the game but I felt disappointed that I didn’t get a chance to try out some of the powers at all because of my choice of levelling up one power. I do see that they don’t want it to be too easy but I genuinely feel all the powers at the lowest level should have been unlocked during the story playthrough.

My gripe with power design aside, Dishonored is pretty good fun. Depending on the powers available to you and your approach to the missions (in terms of where/how you get into buildings/areas etc) you can have some varied playthroughs. Add to that the numerous ways you can kill characters (or non-lethally complete the missions) and the chances are you and your friends will have all completed the same mission in a different way.

The game also features a morality meter of sorts in it’s ‘Chaos’ system. The more people you kill, the higher the Chaos rating per mission. This accumulates over missions and eventually contributes to which of the three game endings you’ll get. However it should be noted that Dishonored’s endings are more in line with Bioshock 2’s subtlety different endings as opposed to something with drastic changes likes Heavy Rain.

While the game has a strong graphical style I actually wasn’t overly impressed with the visuals themselves. Some of the water effects didn’t look that great and on occasion the game just didn’t look as sharp as I would’ve expected. The style of the game is a positive though, despite those graphical issues.

Dishonored looked like being one of the freshest, inventive games of the year – unfortunately the design choice of not allowing you to unlock more on your first playthrough hinders things somewhat. It’s a good, solid, rewarding experience but I was just left feeling it could have been so much more.

Rating: 7/10

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1 Comment

  1. […] elephant in the room of course is that 2012′s Dishonored essentially ‘out-Thiefed’ Thief and did it better in most senses. With more powers and […]


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