Back in 2012 I didn’t play that many single player games. I was studying and was watching a lot of speedrunning aswell as trying to speedrun myself. It was a couple days before October 12th. I logged onto Steam and found a game on the front page that was about to be released. The game was Dishonored, a title that I’d never heard or seen before. I thought it looked interesting with its very unique look with a more stylized choice of graphics.
I was gonna have a pretty slow weekend, so I wanted a game to play by. When I saw Dishonored, I bought it, preloaded it and at release I played it. I WAS HOOKED! The dark nature in the parallell victorian universe, really spoke to me. Revenge stories are also always interesting to me. I was actually watching the TV-show Revenge at the time.
The overarching story is that Corvo Attano, the Royal Protector, framed and accused to have killed the Queen he swore to protect. He is obviously framed. You follow the story of Corvo, getting revenge on those who framed him. With a little help by The Outsider, a mysterious man with otherworldly powers, Corvo becomes a very dangerous threat to his enemies. The most stand-out ability, that really defines the way you play is the Blink ability, making Corvo able to teleport a short distance to reach new places.
Being set in a alternative/parallel Victorian England where whale oil is the the main source of energy, really give the game a special flare. I love games that do quirky things, but explains them so they work in the universe of the game. Just small things like the guards sing “what shall we do with the drunken whaler” just adds to the atmosphere.
Dishonored has a lot of things going it. Free roaming levels that encourages exploration, but there is still a set goal to beat the level. How to beat the level does however often involve a choice. This is what makes the game stand out. Almost everything you do is followed by a choice, but the choice are often anchored in gameplay, not just a dialogue menu choice.
Do you want to go berserk and slaughter the enemies. Do you want to go stealthy, lethal, non-lethal? Do you want to hide the knocked out or killed enemies so you don’t alert other enemies, or do you not care about it? Sometimes there are different ways to get to an objective location. This makes it very exciting play the levels in different ways. Leaving a lot of dead bodies around may increases the amount of rats and Weepers (Zombie-esque monsters) in following levels.
There are alternative objectives to find during the levels that can help you and also alter the outcome of the level or a future level. In addition to the main and alternative objectives there are collectibles, runes and bone charms. These are helpful to customise Corvo to the player’s liking.
I am very happy that I chose to purchase a completely unknown games for me, even before it was released. It’s one of the best gaming experience for me. Dishonored has been a benchmark for me when it comes to level design and stylized graphics for 8 years.