Dishonored - Review

Dishonored on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Pc at GAME

Royal Mission

Dishonored places you in the role of Corvo Attano, royal protector to the Empress of Dunwall, who sees her slain before his eyes by her consort before being framed for the murder. Her assassin kidnaps the heir to the throne in order to seize power for themselves and you're left top rot in prison for a crime you didn't commit. Thankfully it's not long before you're broken out of captivity by an eclectic group of activists who are united by their desire to overthrow the rogue government with your help.

Dunwall is an immaculately detailed, 19th century London-inspired steampunk vision that incorporates modern technologies and fantastic contraptions. It plays home to an upper class which revels in greed, crime and debauchery, and an oppressed underclass which has been ravaged by plague. Art lead Viktor Antonov, famed for designing Half-Life 2's iconic City 17, paints a grim picture but one that's realised with a richness few games have matched.

To achieve your goals you'll need to visit Dunwall's various districts to incapacitate key members of the ruling force using a great combination of natural abilities and magical ones, both of which are upgradeable throughout the adventure. Supernatural powers enable you to teleport to a nearby point, see enemies through walls, possess animals (and later humans), slow (and later stop) time, summon a blast of wind to send foes flying, or conjure swarms of carnivorous rats.

Dishonored on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Pc at GAME

Corvo is no slouch with conventional weaponry either. His flintlock pistol is as loud and powerful as a shotgun, and best suited to close range combat, while his blade is perfect for more subtle kills. A crossbow is his weapon of choice for ranged attacks with either tranquiliser darts or standard bolts, while he also has grenades and mines packed with coiled razor wire at his disposal. The controls are effortlessly smooth, enabling you to combine weapons and magic to devastating and satisfying effect.

Pure Class

In the early stages at least, the action stealth game does a great job of limiting your resources so as not to overpower you, and it's actually a more enjoyable experience if you take time to approach missions thoughtfully rather than simply going in all guns blazing. Corvo's abilities are equally suited to slaughter or stealth and the world changes around you based on your humane or merciless approach to objectives. Your chosen play style even has an impact on the ending you receive.

Dishonored on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Pc at GAME

This freedom of choice is reflected in some fabulous level design. You could risk braving a guarded front door, or attempt to scale a building's walls and sneak in via a window or rooftop. Alternatively you could take the form of a fish in a nearby canal and use it to swim through an underwater grate, or enter via a vent as a possessed rodent. The world is alive with possibilities only uncovered through exploration and experimentation, and the obvious solution is always the least satisfying approach.

From the story to the city and the gameplay, everything in Dishonored feels fresh and is a delight to explore, ensuring that the single player-only adventure lends itself perfectly to multiple replays. There may be plenty of ways to approach objectives, making it ideal for stealth and action fans alike, but whichever way you look at it Dishonored is one of the most exciting, original title of this console generation and is well in the running for the game of the year crown.

GAME's Verdict

The Good:

  • Great freedom of choice.
  • A wonderfully realised setting.
  • Plenty of replay value.

The Bad:

  • The ending feels a little abrupt.
  • A couple of graphical hiccups.
  • NPC dialogue is sometimes repeated.
SKU: Reviews-183657
Release Date: 11/10/2012