This may not be the most timely review of a video game, but I think it is a good idea to take a closer look at “Dishonored,” especially after the release of “Bioshock Infinite.”
“Dishonored” was released in late 2012 for Windows, Playstation 3, and Xbox 360. It shares a steampunk setting with “Bioshock Infinite,” but they approach the style in completely different ways. While “Bioshock Infinite” presents the player with lush colors and an initially thriving utopia in Columbia, “Dishonored” thrusts players into the dark, plague-ridden industrial city of Dunwall.
The similarities between the two titles doesn’t end with their choice of setting, there is also the odd relationship between their lead characters. Booker Dewitt realizes upon arriving in Columbia that his hand has been branded with the letters “AD,” while a branding is revealed on the hand of Corvo Attano, the lead character of “Dishonored,” early in the game.
This is not a knock on either title, mainly because any similarity between the two games seems unintentional, but it is hard to ignore, especially for someone like me who played the original “Bioshock” and “Bioshock Infinite” before “Dishonored.”
The one standout for “Dishonored” is the gameplay, which is leaps and bounds ahead of “Bioshock Infinite.” “Dishonored” is one of the few games that successfully blends the worlds of stealth and action, allowing the player to complete missions while hiding in the shadows, using the enviroment to your advantage, or by running through the world, guns blazing, using Corvo’s supernatural powers to eliminate every living thing in the area.
Even though the option is open to sneak past enemies or eleminate them, there are consequences for that actions you take throughout the game. “Dishonored” uses a “chaos” system that records the actions taken by the player, adjusting the game world and affecting story decisions. This does not punish the player, but it does affect which of the two endings the player reaches.
The story of “Dishonored” has moments of magnificence, but the eventual conclusion leaves a lot to be desired, and the player with have less of an emotional attachment to the game’s characters, especially when compared to “Bioshock Infinite.” On the other hand, “Dishonored” feels like a game that has its primary concern as gameplay, while “Bioshock Infinite” tended to feel like a game that rehashed old gameplay mechanics to tell a beautiful story, because that was the primary concern of that title.
As a gamer, if you are interested in games like “Theif,” “Bioshock,” or “Assassin’s Creed,” then there is no reason you shouldn’t enjoy “Dishonored.” It may take awhile to get used to it’s graphics, which look like a washed out watercolor painting (even with max settings on the PC), but once the player ignores the similarities to other games and submerges himself in the world of “Dishonored” it is an extremely rewarding experience. It may not have the amazing story of “Bioshock Infinite,” the originality of “Bioshock,” or the striking visuals of either of those games, but it is a worthy contender for a quick weekend romp through the city of Dunwall.