It’s been three years since the release of Dishonored, and at this point, there’s not a lot left to be said. The critics before me have it covered pretty well: it’s a good, if perhaps a bit charmless, stealth game.
I’m a fan of the genre, I’ve put countless hours into quality titles like Mark of the Ninja and Thief, and I prefer to play as a stealth archer in Skyrim. But Dishonored was a bit of a miss with me; I like my stealth games to be less about a power fantasy and more about the survival-like minimalism of sneaking and dodging.
There’s an air of drama and intrigue that stealth games need, one that was disturbed by Dishonored’s implementation of combat and special powers. In attempting to be everything to everyone, Dishonored lost the edge it needed. As a result the game comes off as dull. That being said, it’s competently put together and if several hours of escapist fun are what you had in mind, you’ll likely get some good playing hours out of Dishonored.
Firing up the game for a second time, I decided to go the pure-stealth route, avoiding combat though it would substantially reduce the difficulty of the game.
I find the opening sequence of Dishonored uncompelling and again found myself struggling to invest my attention span in the game’s first few minutes. But as time progressed, I got caught up in calculating the danger of every enemy encounter, timing each scenario to perfection. I like the fear that comes of being defenseless and how it plays into the tension driving each confrontation. In that sense the game provides enormous entertainment, to the point that the boorish, uninspired art direction and constant story cliches can almost be overlooked– it’s harder to notice them when the worry over being detected drags each minute out to an hour. For that experience alone, I suggest you play Dishonored, with the goal of a kill-free playthrough.
If you haven’t had a chance to get around to Dishonored yet, the Definitive Edition is probably your best option; the graphics are definitely an improvement and the $40 for both the game and all its DLC (Dunwall City Trials, The Knife of Dunwall, The Brigmore Witches and Void Walker’s Arsenal) is a good deal.
It’s also not a bad time to get all caught up, what with Dishonored 2 on the horizon (which is what I’m sure Bethesda intended by re-releasing the original). You may want to take a pass if frame rate is an issue for you, as the game is locked at 30 fps, but overall it’s a decent game with a great price on its polished new look.
Dishonored Definitive Edition was developed by Arkane Studios and published by Bethesda. It was released on August 25, 2015, on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 at the MSRP of $40. A copy was provided by the publisher for the purposes of review.