Steam daily deal today is Dishonored from our friends over at Bethesda and also Arkane Studios. Bethesda published and that’s how we like it in these parts. Have you played Fallout New Vegas? It’s like everything that was fun about Fallout 3 only better in every way. That’s right, I said it. New Vegas is better than Fallout 3 in EVERY WAY. Ahem. Now that that’s out of the way. You might remember Arkane Studios as the devs who make sequels to popular games that are relatively different than their predecessors, and generally critics and fans don’t remember them so fondly. The two big examples: BioShock 2 and Call of Duty: World at War. Neither of these examples were bad necessarily but they weren’t the same games as the originals and were not as good.
All they needed was another chance at an original triple Ayyyyyy title and they got it with Dishonored. Dishonored, for all in tents and porpoises, is a solid game that dreams big and never quite reaches the lofty heights it aims for but is still really good and ultimately leaves you wanting more. As well as wondering more.
The coolest part of the game is probably the environments and the world that has been created. This includes the lore, which is where the originality in the writing comes through. It’s an alternate reality type situation where the world runs on whale oil, and technological advancements are abound due to combustion. But the whales are also magical, and none too happy about getting speared. Also they have weird tentacles or something but you really don’t get to see them. Sadly, the whales, their fisherman, the magical bones they leave around, and a massive plague destroying the population of the city all take place mostly in the background of the main story. Books of lore left around are actually worth reading which is always a nice change, especially in an FPS. But nothing you learn really has anything to do with the storyline- which is a mere kidnapping/revenge/government overthrow tale. Each locale and mission teaches you more about the world around you, but ultimately this information is only useful because it’s just cool. And it is cool, but it would be way cooler if the plot was intertwined with the details.
There is another whole world/dimension where some cocky asshole lives that you get to visit, he gives you powers and it’s weird and trippy and surreal but you don’t spend enough time there to get completely acquainted. This too could have played a much bigger role in the story.
The game can be played in many different ways, although I recommend stealth because it gives time to really soak up the ambience and to gather all kinds of interesting backstory- you sense a theme here? You have a sword and a gun and a crossbow with different darts. I didn’t fire my gun a single time my whole play through, although I did use multiple darts every now and then. But there’s just something about teleporting behind someone and stabbing them in the neck and then teleporting up onto a rooftop for a quick escape. You hardly have to talk to any assassination targets if you don’t want to. There are scripted events that can be completely bypassed if you so choose.
Combat itself is fine, if a little bit clunky. But that makes stealth all the more fun. The key is to actually use the special abilities to vary the experience more, and to find the most interesting ways to take out targets.
Dishonored is definitely not perfect. It’s a flawed gem that gets better the more effort you put into understanding the world you are in. At 75% off for only $4.99 it’s a hell of a bargain. And definitely better than the sum of its parts. Verdict: buy it.