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Hands on with Dishonored

Dishonered is a FPS action-adventure game published by the good folks at Bethesda Softworks and developed by the very talented people at Arkane Studios. Released back in October 2012 in Australia; and has been classified MA 15+ by the Australian classification board for Strong bloody violence.

Storyline

The story follows the Empress's protector: Corvo Attano who is her legendary bodyguard in the fictional, plague-filled world of Dunwall. He is framed for her murder, imprisoned and left for execution. Why? Because there are some nasty fellows who want to rule themselves, of course! The daughter of the Empress, Emily who was kidnapped during the assassiation is is being held hostage in an attempt to control Emily as she is put into power.

So Corvo's toast? Right? I mean being held in a prison by magical powers and propoganda spreadh about his "antics" you'd think he's a goner for sure?! Not quite. Corvo has some outside help and is aided by these "Loyalists" who wish to reclaim the Empire. Together with a mysterious "Outsider" who's beyond-world abilities allow Corvo to seek out bloody revenge on those who conspired against the Empress and framed him for her murder.

Beginning snippets

Gameplay

While being an FPS primarily, Dishonoured does focus on stealth and being hidden. Those who have played Hitman before will be familiar with stealth concept, however you'll quickly find that you can be in clear view of an enemy, in certain cases, and they'll fail to see you all together. OK, you might be in the "shadows" but it all seems a little too easy to escape the vision of NPC's. Stealth is achieved by hiding behind objects and building's or, as mentioned, being in the shadows.

Peering through keyholes is a groovy feature - this allows players to scope out rooms before entering - of course you can also use the "Dark Vision" ability to see through walls if you have unlocked it.

Primarily, you'll use Corvo's folding sword (which looks fantastic!) and secondly his magical/supernatural abilities. These magical abilities (such as Dark Vision and Blink) are gradually unlocked as more "Runes" and "Bone Charms" are collected. Players can also pick up non-objective items for instant cash credits. Cash can be used to purchase goods from NPCs in the game (generally in safe havens.)

Other mortal weapons include a crossbow with various bolts types, a pistol and grenades to name a few. I find the sleeping darts humorous and being able to choke-hold someone to sleep is a novel feature.

As you progress the through the game, you'll have the opportunity to collect Keys (to unlock goodies and progression areas) and collect "upgrade schematics" for weapons. 

Journal and inventory screens

Working through the levels, the game is designed to support the player's style - if players wish to be a hack'n slash player or more geared for stealth then the decision is theirs.

First hand experience in the hack'n slash department is that bullets and ammo are in limited supply however the combination of magic and Corvo's folding sword is more than adequate if pickin's are slim.

Various enemies in their natural habitat

Similar to an RPG, players actions and missions throughout affect the games outcome and player's actions are tracked by a chaos system recording the amount of damage, kills, violent actions and the game world is altered by changing the story line.

Alerting enemies is easy if done on purpose (like smacking a wall with your sword) however they are quickly distracted and return to their set paths if you stay quiet and out of sight - they will alert each other by communicating and you might quickly find numerous guards after you.

Hardware Requirements

Minimum:
• OS: Windows Vista / Windows 7
• Processor: 3.0 GHz dual core or better
• Memory: 3 GB system RAM
• Hard Disk Space: 9 GB
• Video Card: DirectX 9 compatible with 512 MB video RAM or better (NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 / ATI Radeon HD 5850)
• Sound: Windows compatible sound card

Recommended:
• OS: Windows Vista / Windows 7 (enhanced for 64-bit OS)
• Processor: 2.4 GHz quad core or better (enhanced for multi-core processors)
• Memory: 4 GB system RAM
• Hard Disk Space: 9 GB
• Video Card: DirectX 9 compatible with 768 MB video RAM or better (NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 / ATI Radeon HD 5850)
• Sound: Windows compatible sound card

 

Pasted from http://store.steampowered.com/app/205100/

 

Thanks to the Unreal 3 Engine - this game runs beautifully on my Intel 920 + GTX580 @ 1920x1200 with all the bells and whistles. The GPU isn't stretched and there is no lag what so ever.

Observations

No doubt about Dishonored - its one of the most beautiful and attractive games I've seen in a long time. Largely thanks to the painted textures and engaging cast of actors.

The gameplay and mechanics seems a little too simple and, in my opinion, gets a little boring. Why? Maybe because Dishonored crosses some boundaries to RPG and back again to FPS such as the ability to enhance magic abilities, customise weapons using a smith (the Smith needs materials which players gather in their quests) - and it seemed to lack depth to stand itself apart from other FPS/RPG games.

Having played a lot of RPG games, picking up items and storing them in your inventory would mean players are limited in the amount they can carry and secondly players would need to sell them at a merchant - this adds to the strategy and craftiness of the player. In Dishonored, that process has been cut out and there is no middleman - objects picked up that are not essential to missions are converted immediately to cash. Novel idea but I felt a little robbed by not being part of the process.

The story line is straight forward to follow but isn't engaging for long periods and I don't really care if the girl is rescued or not. I'm not drawn in to the game enough to even want to complete the missions, let alone the game and this is where it falls over. If it wasn't for the Unreal3 engine and the superb graphics I don't think I would've gotten past the first hand full of missions.

The levels themselves are well laid out and maximimse what's been given however the designers have given you a sandbox to play in - and the sandbox is small - I feel is extremely restricted in size and interaction. You cannot enter every building and some are only available for quests. Doing so, a sense of claustrophobia is present even in the open streets.

Enemies seem a little too easy - especially the hardest of foes and are no match for Corvo. Character movements are smooth, easily controlled and accurate which make enemies easy pray.

No match for Corvo!

Audio is excellent and the fighting, crunching, shooting and ambient noise is effective and marries well with the graphics.

Conclusion & Verdict

Dishonored has been given excellent reviews and equally as good ratings across all the mainstream gaming sites. I personally don't see it. I'd give the game 9/10 for graphics/audio and this is much deserved - kudos to Arkane for this, however overall 6.5/10 for gameplay and longevity.

Trivia

Dishonoured boasts many A-Grade voice actors:

Susan Sarandon --> Granny Rags
Lena Headey --> Calista Curnow
John Slattery --> Admiral Havelock
Carrie Fisher --> Street Speaker
Brad Dourif --> Piero Joplin

Developer Diaries

Arkane have been kind enough to post their "developer diaries" on YouTube. Well worth the watch if you're into "special features." You can find the links below this article under "Related Items."

Last modified onSunday, 20 January 2013 11:57

Additional Info

  • Developer: Arkane Studios
  • Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
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