How many times have you said to yourself, “what if there was a world run purely on WHALE oil?” I am sure, if you are like me, this is just about every single day. The world of Dishonored finally gives you that maritime fantasy.
Dishonored is a brand new first person stealth IP. Getting a new IP this late in the console cycle is rare, but getting a stealth RPG that is actually good this late in the cycle is an incredible feat. Whoever signed off on this plan should be given a medal, because this game is one of the most refreshing experiences in a long time.
You play as Corvo, a voiceless protector of the empress and her daughter. The world they govern is infected by plague. Rats cover the streets devouring corpses as they run amuck. You have just returned from an expedition trying to find a cure. As soon as you get back to the empress, she is killed by a group of assassins with amazing powers and pin the murder on you. They then kidnap her daughter Emily. Your only goal is to get her back.
The game does an amazing job getting you to love this family. From the dialogue and brief interaction with Emily, it is very clear your character is attached to them, more than just a simple guard. The whole world is lovingly crafted. The game is level based, but each level is like a mini open world. There are NPC’s to find and interact with, side missions, and a few surprises to discover.
Each mission’s main objective is to find and assassinate someone. How you accomplish this is completely up to you. Your character develops powers by finding runes around the levels. Depending on your play style, you upgrade the powers you want. These include things like a short teleport, slowing time, and summoning a swarm of rats. How you use these to complete your mission is completely open. You can possess a guard and walk through their defenses, teleport to rooftops, or just flat out murder everyone. You have to be careful with that last one. Making more bodies means the plague will spread faster, creating more enemies. This mechanic is actually quite brilliant, the game recognizes you want to kill a lot, so it gives you more things to kill. If you don’t want to kill though, it is possible to complete the entire game without murdering anyone. In order to do this, you must investigate every situation in order to find the alternate way to dispose of your foes. I found this style of play to be extremely rewarding. It requires a lot more problems solving and forces you to use your powers in a variety of ways.
The real story of the game is the one you make. How your character deals with these situations. Unfortunately the actual story isn’t that amazing. It is a very simple revenge story with a not a lot of payoff, but the world they have built is so rich and “lived in” that I didn’t mind.
Whether you want to mindlessly murder everyone, or be a shadow disposing of foes in a non-lethal fashion, you can. How you complete the game is really up to you, and once you have, you’ll want to do the whole thing again to experience the other side of morality.