I was going to do a full write up on this game, and I still might in the future, but my Steam review pretty much sums up how I feel about this game.
Dishonored is an interesting, if flawed, attempt to revolutionize stealth in a 3D engine whilst striving to obtain mass appeal. Dishonored is a game that really wants to reinvent the stealth genre the way Mark of the Ninja did for 2D stealth. The issue lies in the dichotomous intentions to produce a fantastic stealth game yet still be action oriented. While the stealth and combat engines were acceptable neither stood out and resulted in Dishonored, mechanically, lacking an individual identity. The choice to make this game action oriented bled into the stealth mechanics resulting in a half-baked skill tree for stealth. It really does feel like the game began production being a stealth title that was “focus tested” into a product that would sell better. The fantastical level design with seemingly infinite paths, the multiple endings, and the adverse game effects for killing reveal how the developers want the game to be played but there are too many elements that push against that. There are too many elements that lend themselves to killing and fighting.
The story is unfortunately pretty straight-forward and predictable, utilizing one of the most hackneyed plot twists. On the other hand, this game’s lore was handled by someone with a lot of love for the universe. There are notes littered throughout the world with accounts of time past as well hopeful wishes of a better future. Every device, person, town, building, and structure has pages upon pages written about them. But text blocks are the worst way to convey information in a video game. It breaks the flow of the game to have to find these texts and read them during a mission. If text is the choice of design to present the lore then a history book at the main hub would work much better.
In the end, I enjoyed and accepted Dishonored for what it is while simultaneous realizing what it could be. Its not a bad game by any means and has style in spades. But stronger focus on core mechanics could have propelled this game onto a much higher echelon.
These are a couple of the tweets I made while playing Dishonored as well.