Dishonored 2 has been out now for a little under two months and has been received with a mostly positive reception. It’s prequel, the original game Dishonored has been out for over four years now and thanks to a very good Steam Christmas sale I got my hands on this little beauty for about five pounds. Hoorah, there’s nothing like cheap games to really boost the Christmas Spirit and bring in the New Year. All that aside, four years is a long time in gaming years so let’s take a look back to Dishonored and give it a quick Zombie Chimp once over.
You play as Corvo Attano a spy / diplomat with more than a few combat and stealth skills, returning from a voyage to foreign lands to try to get support to vanquish the foul rat plague running rampant through the city of Dunwall. You return to the Tower of Dunwall to tell the Empress that nobody can help, but before things get too far assassins do what they do best. They attack you, kill the Empress and run off with her daughter, Emily.
Before you get chance to tell your side of the story the Spymaster and a handful of rather surly guards capture you and imprison you for the Empress’ murder. Six months later the Spymaster has now taken over and you’re imprisoned. As you’re interrogated you find out that the Lord Regent was behind the entire plot, and what’s a little harder to take is that you are due to be executed the following day as a scapegoat.
Luckily for you, a group of Empire Loyalists are very interested in your unique skill set so they get you out of jail and take you back to their safe-house, where they ask for your help in killing the Lord Regent and rescuing Emily.
Of course, there is much more to the story than this, including a rather mysterious character called the Outsider who bestows upon you some very special skills, his own brand and of course a hidden agenda. Who is behind the plague? Where did it come from, and just how are your actions going to change the City of Dunwall.
Dishonored is a stealth-em-up, a game where charging around and killing everyone you meet is likely to end with a rather untimely and unglorified death. Dishonored is all about staying hidden, using rat tunnels or roofs to travel and then taking out your targets with precision and care.
If you’re not feeling too bloodthirsty there are non-lethal ways to take out your opponents such as sleep-darts and non-lethal take-downs but if you prefer the blood to fly a little more freely there are bullets and grenades and your rather trusty sword up their nether-regions to clear enemies from your path.
As you progress through the game you can also pick up and use certain more supernatural skills, to give you the upper hand over your enemies. These skills can let you turn vanquished enemies into ash, control enemies, or even stop time.
The game is primarily quest based. The quests given to you by the various NPC’s tell you what must be done but they do not bother you with strict instructions on how to do it. Do you sneak through gently and completely unseen, taking out only the people in your way in non-lethal ways? Or do you put a crossbow bolt through the head of everyone from the roof tops. It doesn’t really matter.
Well, actually yes it does. The way you act during the levels is tracked by a chaos system. Setting off alarms, killing people, number of dead bodies discovered etc. will all raise your chaos level. This chaos level will subtly change the city of Dunwall for future quests. You may find that there are more rats and plague ridden citizens or that allies may refuse to help you or even turn against you.
This all has to be weighed up as you approach each level. The direct combat approach is certainly quicker but you’ll go through health potions a lot quicker, and your actions will raise your chaos level. The silent stealth approach is slow, methodical, may mean you’re reloading from old saves a lot more, but you’ll go through less ammo and potions and your chaos level will stay low. The choice is yours really.
Graphics & Sound
Considering Dishonored is now over four years old, it is looking damn good for itself. The backgrounds and streets feel suitably dark, dank and the corpses lying around add that sort of plaguey-feel. Sure, some of the enemies and NPC’s look a bit off when you get up close but I’m nit-picking here trying to find something that’s not quite right.
The NPC’s voice acting is done well, and the noise of the streets adds to the eerie dead feel. Again, considering this game is so old, it has aged very well and stands up against todays’ games as a veteran game.
This depends on if you’re using a joy-pad or keyboard and mouse. Both of which have their pro’s and cons. The joy-pad method has all the buttons you need right where you need them, but aiming with your crossbow is always a little trickier on a pad than with a mouse.
I’m currently using the keyboard, which means my aiming is spot on of course and it’s a well-placed headshot every time. Though, as you can probably guess some of the keyboard controls are a little out of the way. L-Alt and L-Ctrl used for zooming and non-lethal take-down feel a bit of a stretch. If you are going to use a keyboard and mouse, I’d recommend changing the non-lethal take-down from L-Ctrl to something a little more accessible.
There are three levels of difficulty, easy, medium and hard and there is a well-balanced, yet striking difference between the three. As you increase in difficulty, enemies spot you a little easier, and hit a lot harder. If you try playing on the hardest difficulty, you’re forced into staying silent and unseen, because mistakes are a lot harder to bounce back from.
There are a few reasons to go back and keep playing Dishonored. Once you’ve completed the game through, you can try completing the game again but in a different way. If you were more direct on your first playthrough, try playing without ever being seen, or playing through and not killing anyone. You can even replay each level from the opening screen if you enjoyed a certain level and want to try out a different approach.