Set in a dystopian world that gives off a overwhelmingly steampunk vibe, “Dishonored” challenges its players to bring justice to the corrupted officials of a once functional society. Players are presented with a large variety of methods to play though the game, each requiring differing levels of finesse, patience, and self-control to pull off that all provide the player with separate experiences by the time the credits roll.
Although the game is primarily focused around its above average stealth gameplay, the option to run through the city swinging a sword like a berserker is entirely open. Priding itself in the sheer variability of its gameplay, “Dishonored” is a game that allows its players to set the difficulty of its gameplay with specific story-driven challenges and not just a sliding bar.
This effect is accomplished through the player’s utilization of the stealth and combat mechanics of gameplay. Though the option to run willy-nilly through the streets is entirely possible, at its core, “Dishonored” is focused around the cloak-and-dagger approach expected of a proper assassin. Not adhering to the stealth nature of gameplay trivializes nearly all of the gameplay into a whirlwind of awkward, clunky combat that would leave any self-respecting warrior of the night blushing into their palm.
On the other hand, when running becomes taboo and crouching becomes the pose of choice, the game shines brighter than ever. The disconcerting atmosphere of the broken down city of Dunwall and tense fear of being discovered makes for a glaring contrast to the humorous experience slicing down swaths of hapless guards as they struggle to provide the player with any meaningful sense of resistance.
In addition to the effect of stealth-based combat on gameplay difficulty, players are also given the ability to defeat their enemies with non lethal methods. Though it may not sound like it at first, choosing the path of non lethality will increase the challenge of the game twofold. Whereas a murderous assassin is given at least a dozen different methods of taking out any particular target, future Batmen must rely only on chokeholds and sleep darts if they want to put someone down for the duration of a mission. Furthermore, to take out the main targets of each mission, a special advent of the main quest must be unlocked by talking to certain individuals before the mission can be completed.
Of course players that decide to follow in the footsteps of the Dark Knight by keeping their bloodthirst to a minimum and receiving low chaos ratings for each mission will receive the “good” ending. The rest must settle for a slightly less happy go lucky peak into the future of this dystopian world.
Finally, the plot of the game revolves around a bodyguard to the queen, Corvo, being betrayed and imprisoned by some of the most distinguished members of the imperial government, players are introducing to a colorful collection of despicable individuals. Each antagonist comes with their own unique quirks, designed for the express purpose of trodding on morals and bringing the absolute worse human traits to bear on the conscious of players.
Aside from providing the game with its own definitive atmosphere of corruption and despair, the setting helps to add a final layer of challenge to the game’s more righteous objectives. In order to achieve the “good” ending, players must not only have an higher level of skill with the game’s mechanics, they must also make a conscious decision to spare the lives of these less than ideal spectacles of human existence.
Assuming that a player is immersed in the roleplaying aspect of the game and truly cares about what is occurring in this fictional reality, to look passed the natural desire to extract vengeance for the wronged bodyguard shows self-control.
Considering these points, “Dishonored” is a must play for individuals that find pleasure in the satisfaction of stealth-based gameplay. Its multi-leveled difficulty curve, makes for entirely different gameplay experience with each playthrough and its setting is filled with enough lore to fill a short story if all the books and letters are read. Also the bleak dystopian setting is also an interesting environment to teleport around in at the very least.