In a holiday season steeped in massive first-person shooters like Halo 4, Medal of Honor: Warfighter, and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, it’s far too easy for some gamers to miss a game like Dishonored. For those in the know, the game has been building a wave of strong word of mouth for months, bouncing from positive preview to positive preview. The game is out in a matter of days, but before we post our review and close the book on the game, we’re giving you this rundown of nine of reasons we’re jazzed for this violent slice of steampunk joy.
Corvo Attano is a man on a mission
Dishonored’s protagonist may be a uniquely-skilled killer, but his motivation that draws us in more than his training. Corvo was once a bodyguard for The Empress, until she’s murdered in Dunwall, the fictional Victoriana sci-fi setting of the game. Corvo is unjustly blamed for the crime (making him“dishonored”), and now he’s out for bloody revenge against the many conspirators who wronged him, equipped with his deadly training, fancy weapons, magical abilities, and a one really cool mask.
The franchise is exceptionally new
We enjoy sequels to great games as much as the next member of the gaming press, but it’s hard to resist contracting some sequel fatigue from the upcoming slate of releases. Out of everything that’s on the way this holiday season, Dishonored is easily the highest profile game this fall that isn’t something we played before. Sure, the genre might be familiar, but the steampunk world, violent action, and chaotic powers are all something new to learn. In a fall as familiar as 2012’s, a game like Dishonored can feel pretty refreshing.
It’s made by a team that worked on Deus Ex, BioShock, and Half-Life
Dishonored is certainly a new franchise, but it’s filled with design touches that remind us of many formative games, which isn’t surprising when you look at the resumes of the people involved. Co-creative director on the project is Harvey Smith, who previously worked on Deus Ex and System Shock, and the development team also worked on BioShock 2, which explains why the mix of powers and choice feels so well-realized. And if you like how Dunwall looks, at least some of the credit goes to visual design director Viktor Antonov, whose previous claim to fame was designing the unforgettable City 17 in Half-Life 2. With a background like that in the design, this new IP doesn’t seem like as much of a gamble, does it?
There’s more than one way to get revenge
Once Corvo adapts to his new life as an assassin, players are quickly introduced to all the options at their disposal to take out your targets. You can sneak in silently for stealth kills. You can go all out and brutally wreak havoc. Or you could even possess a guard and have them do the dirty work for you. The world is your own steampunk, murder playground.
You can mix and match your magic
Corvo’s arsenal may have swords, knives, and crossbows central to it, but any old video game hero can wield those. Thanks to the ambiguous and otherworldly Outsider, Corvo has powers that work a bit like BioShock’s Plasmids, meaning they’re used in conjunction with his natural skills. Teleportation, healing, mind control, and wind blasts are just some of the powers he can use at a moment’s notice. With such diverse moves to use in reaching your goals, and it’s seemingly only limited by your creativity.
You can summon rats, but they aren’t your friends
What’s our favorite of Corvo’s supernatural abilities? That has to be Devouring Swarm, a grisly ability to summon a collective of rats from Dunwall’s huge collection of vermin. When enough are together, they’ll tear apart bodies, leaving a pile of bones in their ravenous wake. Though we love having the power to cause death via rats, you have to be careful, as the rats might turn on you without a viable alternative food source. Being ripped apart by rats is bad enough, but even if someone survives, there’s still the plague to deal with…
It has "weepers," which totally aren’t zombies
Much like in medieval times, Dishonored suffers from a plague carried by rats. The deadly infection has claimed many victims, with corpses crowding the streets and the waterways. As unfortunate as that is, you should be more concerned about the “weepers,” the afflicted still living with the curse. Called weepers because of the blood that flows from their eyes, those that suffer the worst from the plague functionally become the walking dead. Sure, zombies are hardly new to games, but at least these undead have interesting period costumes and blood tears.
Binary “good” and “evil” choices in games might have been novel years ago, but these days games need something more than that to spice up the proceedings. Dishonored’s way of showing your impact on the environment is its Chaos system, where the world reacts to how destructive you’re being in the world. Stick to shadows and avoid conflict, and the populace won’t get wise to the violence around them, but destroy too much and the people will start getting on edge, and that includes the violent authority figures. that can close off useful paths It’s an interesting way to punish/reward the player based on performance.
It has an underrated voice cast
Many games will brag about having currently hot movie and TV stars in voice cast, but Dishonored has more to brag about than featuring the starlet of the week. The cast includes Oscar winner Susan Sarandon, Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), and a cavalcade of lesser known character actors from critically acclaimed TV shows like Mad Men and Game of Thrones. We appreciate that Dishonored seems more interested in getting quality performances than grabbing headlines by casting the current flavor of the month.
Sneaking up on you very soon
Our review for the game will be hitting any day now, so we'll know then if our hopes for this game are unfounded or not. After learning so much about the game, how do you think it'll rate this year? Tell us in the comments.
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