I suck at Dishonored. I won’t lie to you; there is just something in the way that I play video games that stops me from being able to play well when it comes to stealth. The worst thing is, I know it’s completely my fault, nothing more heartbreaking then realizing you are the sole reason death haunts you around every turn. You cannot get mad at the game with the usual “It glitched!”, “I pulled off a headshot, WTF” or “This is game is (insert expletive)”, all you are left with once death finds you in a blank stare, shake of the head and your ego slowly being ripped to shreds as you voice the two words that first come to mind. “I suck”.
When first introduced to the world of Dunwall, the English whale oil inspired fictional city that Dishonored takes place. I was blown away from the style; this Bioshock/Brink game style has its own personality and atmosphere that allows each aspect to complement each other. But no matter how beautiful the oil style world might be, gameplay is the heart of Dishonored. Now when I said I suck, I mean I’m horrible. One of the first pieces of evidence towards this decision was when I was hiding behind a pipe with a group of soldiers just out of eye sight, I knew they were there though and my stealth bones told me to wait, proceed when they are scattered and maybe spill some blood, one at a time. Yet the rest of my body saw a rat within sword range, like the perfect assassin I sized up my prey and swing, connecting with the pipe I was hiding behind. Next minute I am swarmed but what looks like an entire nations militant organization, bottles are thrown at my head, fists are swinging and I won’t lie, people were breathing fire…Death ensued shortly after.
We now bring forth the second piece of evidence in the case of me being terrible at Dishonored. Dishonored allows gamers many choices when taking down enemies, you can use your Blink ability to travel distances in a flash, this can also be used to stun enemies and produce an extremely silent and deadly kill, along with the ability to strangle enemies into unconsciousness and performing stealth assassinations from great heights. Speaking of assassinations from the air, I had never performed one before and was ready to try out my skills. I was on some pipes (Damn pipes again), stalking my prey from above and when my target was unsuspectingly distracted by talking to his co-worker, lining him up for certain annihilation. When his office-romance left, I struck, only I forgot to strike. Yes, I didn’t press the kill button, maybe I expected a button prompt or was so used to games holding my hand that it would just do it. So here I am landing on my enemy and we together fall to the ground in an awkward heap, the look of fear in his eyes that some random jester had jumped on him from the roof was priceless. Obviously his BFF wasn’t happy and came over shooting me in the face, sending me to the grave. Nobody likes a man who cuts someone else’s lunch.
My third piece and final of evidence was a simple mission to capture, incapacitate and abduct a certain member of society of interest. Now without spoilers I was able to get to him abduct him fairly well, from there I decided the quickest getaway was in the ocean. Now this is frankly my own stupidity, but I thought many games would have allowed it, the hostage died because, well he is unconscious and in water. So at this point, I assume you agree with my original statement, I suck.
The great thing is, it doesn’t bother me, and these stories are stories only I will experience and I can share them with others and get a great conversation about how terribly I dealt with the mission in comparison. It’s stories like this that make the game feel unique and very much like your own personal experience. Usually a game like this will frustrate me to death; I will just stop playing and move on, but Dishonored me by the throat, literally. The open world aspects that allow you to complete each task in any way you see fit, within the limitations of abilities you have in your arsenal. Arkane Studios has been able to encourage exploration, using a heart that is able to detect Bone Charms which give you added bonus abilities and improvements to your character and Runes which allow you to upgrade your magical powers and access more powers overall. These objects when searched out will beef up what Corvo can do for you and it really incentive’s exploration, I want to be better and I want my character to be as powered up as possible, so searching for these artifacts during missions adds to the amazing stories I can share with others.
This is what makes Dishonored so beautiful, the ability to have your own personal experience, complete objectives in your own way and then have those water-cooler conversations about how you both took the same mission, but ended up doing it completely differently. Not only that but the game doesn’t hold your hand like many others I have been accustomed too, the game will punish you if you do the wrong thing and it encourages you to improve your skill with more game time. Arkane Studios have been able to create a rich world that is definitely worth the visit.
So while I prepare to enter back into the world of Dunwall, knowing full well I will die countless times, I am looking forward to every single minute of it.
Jamie Briggs manages Analog Addiction where you can find all his latest reviews, interviews and features and also like them on Facebook. Also follow his daily life on Twitter @AnalogAddiction and their videos on YouTube