Imagine if the game Thief had a protagonist more suited for Bioshock and you get Dishonored.
Dishonored is a game by Bethsheda in which players take the role of Corvo Attano, the bodyguard of the late Empress of Dunwall. Imprisoned and accused of murdering her and kidnapping her daughter, Corvo busts out to search for the princess as well as eliminate those responsible for the assassination. However, he is not alone; not only does he have the help of a group of loyalists working against the current regime, but he has also been gifted with supernatural powers by a being known only as the Outsider.
Dishonored has many ways that a player can accomplish the in-game goals. While the game calls Corvo an assassin, it is entirely up to the players if they want to slaughter every enemy in their path or avoid them. The game provides ways for players to complete their elimination missions non-lethally, even if some of the methods might take a bit of brainstorming to figure out. This is probably the gamefs strongest point; players can not only feel exalted by completely decimating every person that comes their way with a combination of flashy weapons and deadly supernatural powers, they can also get the same joy by sneaking through the entire level without any guards ever even knowing theyfre there.
The game also changes depending on how players play the game. The game has a stat known as the Chaos stat which is affected by the number of alarms triggered, number of people killed, and certain actions taken during each mission. A high chaos stat, usually gained by those who take the path of combat and death, will result in a greater number of guards, carnivorous rats, and zombie-like weepers. On the other hand, a low chaos stat, usually gained by those who follow the path of stealth and technical pacifism, will result in less hostile entities. This is a nice addition that provides a good balance in gameplay. The combat-orientated player will not need to sneak around as much but will have to deal with more enemies; the stealth-orientated player will need to take extra precautions to avoid being noticed but will have less enemies to deal with.
The story itself is somewhat simple, particularly when it comes to characterization. Corvo himself is an almost completely mute character whose only sounds are death cries. The targets themselves only receive the barest amount of characterization as well; players are told that each one is a corrupt individual who is better off dead but one only gets small hints of it in a etelling but not showingf way. The game has an interesting tool known as the Heart that gives players more insight into the characters, but these ehidden depthsf never play a large role in the long run. It might not be a problem for players though and it certainly doesnft detract too much from the overall game.
The game has good atmosphere and controls quite nicely as well, making Dunwall a place that players can easily immerse themselves into. Characterization may be a little less than stellar but it does not hinder the game that much. The game itself never feels too unfair and provides many opportunities for self-imposed challenges that will surely have players booting Dishonored up again and again.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.