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

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Fallout: New Vegas – Review (PS3)

Fallout 3 blew me away when I finally got round to playing it (it made No.7 in my Top 50 Single Player Games countdown) and when they announced another title in the series I was excited. Although it was being outsourced to another developer, it just so happened that the developer in question was Obsidian who made the underrated Alpha Protocol. Win-win, I thought.

Fallout: New Vegas sees you play as The Courier, a… ahem… courier who has his package stolen, is shot in the head and left for dead in a shallow grave. Saved by a passing robot you end up, not only conscious, but looking for revenge.

Make no mistake New Vegas is almost exactly the same as Fallout 3. You are saved (as opposed to being born in 3), create your character and then set off out into the big, wide, world.

However the same could be said for almost any open world RPG so you can’t be too hard on the game for that. In fact this is a game that refines what has come before it rather than making sweeping changes to the existing formula.

Graphically it’s the same engine so everything feels familiar. It’s not necessarily a big negative but it does mean that you will recognise animations etc from the previous game.

VATS returns, so if (like me) you’re an appalling shot in real time you can pause the action, choose a limb and let loose that way instead. Thankfully my favourite aspect from Fallout 3, the ‘Mysterious Stranger’ perk, is present and correct here as well – which helped me out on many occasions.

One feature that has been expanded on is the use of factions. In New Vegas there are various groups that you can align with – The New California Republic (NCR), Caesar’s Legion, Mr. House, The Boomers, The Great Khans and The Brotherhood of Steel to name a few.

You can play factions off against each other up to a point but as you get towards the end of the game you’ll need to decide where your loyalties lie. Fortunately for me I had sided with one group throughout and stuck by them all the way.

As is the case with the previous game the story is what you make of it by discovering locations and taking on side quests – though the urgent nature of the main quest meant that the story (for me at least) felt a lot more driven than that of Fallout 3.

In a way that was a good thing as it meant the game progressed at a more even rate but unfortunately it also meant that I didn’t quite get the same level of immersion out of the side quests – or maybe I just missed the best ones while pursuing the main quest?

Overall Fallout: New Vegas is a very good game. While it doesn’t do a great deal of new stuff it delivers a worthwhile experience that will tide fans of the series over until Fallout 4 arrives.

Rating: 8/10

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine