After its exciting trailer was released by Bethesda in 2012, Dishonored served as a new thrill for avid fans of stealth, violent action, and adventure games. We’re going to look into the world of the first game in the Dishonored franchise in detail and give you our thoughts on this popular project from the creative minds of Arkane Studios in this Dishonored review.
|Type of game:||Stealth/Action/Adventure|
|Total Play Time:||12-16 hours|
|System Requirements:||CPU: Intel Core i3-3220 @ 3.30GHz
GPU:NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 / ATI Radeon HD 5850
OS: 64-bit Windows 7 or better
HDD Space: 9 GB
The World of Dishonored
Dishonored is a rather unique game in itself due to a lot of factors it presents in its gameplay. Below, we’re going to go over the key features of the game including the atmosphere and location, the main characters, its storyline, and additional DLCs and expansion packs.
Atmosphere and Location
The developers at Arkane Studios proudly describe the overall environmental elements of Dishonored with what they key as “whale-punk.” This idea is influenced by the familiar “steampunk” term, but instead of steam, many machines and power sources in the game depend on whale oil.
Throughout the game, you’ll definitely notice that the city of Dunwall has a vertical orientation in that almost all buildings tower over you in an intimidating manner for a Victoriana meets steampunk ambience. They also all follow a dreary grey/blue color scheme to emphasize the city’s saturated history of crime, oppression, disease, corruption, decay, and dark magic.
Dunwall’s design was greatly inspired by late 19th-century London and Edinburgh but was also mixed with the game’s otherworldly magic and whale-punk concept to give it a more unconventional yet innovative vibe. To better represent the game’s industrial late 19th-century London influence, composer Daniel Licht produced the many ambient and violin-heavy music scores of Dishonored.
Licht strived to make the player feel slightly unsettled, especially in high-risk stealth missions. He describes the music of Dishonored as an “evil fog” fading in and out of the game that creates the impression of always imminent danger. This subconsciously prompts the player to keep light on their feet and always be on their guard.
You play as the main character, Corvo Attano, who served as the Royal Protector of Empress Jessamine Kaldwin. He is forced to become an assassin after being framed for the Empress’s gruesome murder and sets out to seek revenge to get (spoiler alert) their daughter, Young Lady Emily Kaldwin, on the throne.
Neither an evil or good mystical entity, the Outsider is weaved into the story a short while later and is one of many who have been touched by the mysterious dark magic that is apparent in the game. He’s been reincarnated as the main harbinger of such dark forces by a malevolent group that killed him thousands of years ago, trapping his soul in a lonely place called the Void.
The Outsider brands Corvo with his mark, giving him powers that would help him towards his ultimate goal. Whether you use your powers to leave blood in your tracks or sneak your way through danger is your choice.
Corvo eventually meets with the Loyalists, a group that is dedicated to seeing that Young Lady Emily takes the throne. They are led by Admiral Havelock along with members Piero Joplin (Corvo’s inventor), Treavor Pendleton (a member of Parliament), Samuel (Corvo’s ferryman), Overseer Teague Martin, and Callista Curnow (Emily’s caretaker).
The Loyalists and Corvo work together to see that the Lord Regent Hiram Burrows – the Empress’s former Spymaster who masterminded her murder and framed Corvo – is found and taken away from power over Dunwall. You’ll come across many smaller side characters such as Granny Rags, Anton Sokolov, Whalers’ gang leader Slackjaw, and more who’ll give you a means of upgrading your skills and powers.
After Corvo returns from his voyage to gain resources and help with the fatal plague looming over Dunwall, he meets with the Empress only to be attacked by assassins led by their leader, Daud. The assassins also kidnap Emily, and after the ruckus, the Empress’s Spymaster frames Corvo and imprisons him.
From prison, Corvo is instructed to escape and meet with the Loyalists at the Hounds Pit Pub to discuss how they’ll neutralize High Overseer Campbell and save Emily. Emily is to be saved from a brothel called the Golden Cat where she’s held captive by Treavor Pendleton’s twin brothers, Lords Custis and Morgan. After removing the High Overseer, retrieving Emily, and getting rid of the twins, Corvo returns to the Hounds Pit Pub to celebrate.
The next mission is for Corvo to abduct the genius scientist Sokolov who is then taken to the pub to be interrogated. He reveals the identity of Lady Boyle, the Lord Regent’s financier, and Corvo’s next step is to kill or neutralize her. As Corvo returns to the pub, Havelock informs him that they can finally move on to the Lord Regent. Corvo sneaks into the tower of Dunwall, removes the Lord Regent from power, and returns to the Hounds Pit Pub for yet another celebration.
The story twists as Corvo is poisoned by Samuel under Havelock’s orders who intends to rule Dunwall through Emily, but Samuel proves his loyalty to Corvo by giving him a non-lethal dose. Samuel then lets Corvo drift away on the river, where he wakes up to Daud and his assassins attempting to collect their bounty on Corvo’s head.
He gets rid of Daud and his assassins to make his way back to the pub only to find it’s been taken over by Havelock. Corvo discovers where Havelock took Emily and hurries to signal Samuel to ferry him to the former Lord Regent’s lighthouse. Corvo then confronts Havelock, and once he finishes him, the player may or may not have saved Emily at this point.
The outcome of the game depends on how you played. A mostly non-lethal gameplay with low chaos will grant you a good ending where Emily takes the throne as Empress with Corvo at her side. The plague lifts as a new age begins and Corvo dies peacefully of natural causes after many decades, whereas Emily buries him next to Empress Jessamine.
If you killed every enemy in sight throughout each mission, the high chaos level will grant you a bad ending where the plague takes over the city and your peers look upon you as highly immoral and violent. If you fail to save Emily, Dunwall will fall and Corvo leaves the city by ship.
DLC and Expansion Packs
The Definitive Edition of Dishonored is worth getting since it contains all the DLCs available for it. The Void Walker’s Arsenal contains the Arcane Assassin pack, Shadow Rat pack, Backstreet Butcher pack, and Acrobatic Killer pack. Each pack contains three bone charms, a statue that allows an extra bone charm to be equipped, a book, and 500 coins.
The Dunwall City Trials contains ten maps that test and track the player’s combat, stealth, and mobility, ideal for players who want a challenge. The Knife of Dunwall is a short gameplay based on the Empress’s assassination from Daud’s point of view while the Brigmore Witches gameplay focuses on Daud stopping the evil Delilah Copperspoon from succeeding in her secret plans.
If you don’t get the Definitive Edition, the DLCs are relatively cheap and are great if you want extra content added to your regular copy of Dishonored.
Dishonored bases its gameplay style on your personal moralistic ideals as you choose whether to use the powers given to you for crude violence or passive stealth. Although the story of Dishonored is a bit predictable, the rest of the game’s unique industrial elements are what makes it such a renowned stealth action-adventure experience.
Feel free to share your thoughts on what you think about Dishonored or even ask any burning questions you may have.