I have a confession. I do not like Dishonored. It's not that I didn't want to love it, I really did. On the surface, it's a new IP set in an interesting world. Full of otherworldly beings (well, at least one), political back-stabbing, and revenge. No, I wanted to love you Dishonored, but you wouldn't let me.
My problem isn't with the visuals, the sounds, story, controls. Oh, nay nay. My problem is with design choices the developers made. You're an assassin. You're out for revenge and you're given these amazing supernatural abilities to help you accomplish your goal. Yet, you're punished for it. For those of you not aware of it; the more people you kill the more guards, rats (the source of the plague, terrorizing the general population), and Weepers (Zombies, ok? They're zombies caused by the plague.) you'll encounter on the next mission you do. Now, don't get me wrong here, I'm all for upping the challenge by throwing more obstacles in my way. Obviously if I'm slaughtering all the guards and/or thugs in my path on one level, by all means increase them on the next. More lambs for the slaughter, and you have many fun ways of slaughtering them all.
Oh, that's going to have a negative impact on your storyline my friend.
My issue is that the story becomes negatively impacted by killing. Now, I could understand this if you go about killing innocent people. But guards and thugs? Really? At no point during the game, no matter how many guards you've spared do they even remotely act as though your previous mercy matters. They will still do their best to kill you. Not once does a single guard turn his back and be like "Oh, yeah, it's you. Well, since you haven't killed any of us in the past four missions, I'll just turn my back and pretend I didn't see you. Carry on. I hope you get your revenge and all that". No. They WILL kill you. So, in order to get the "good" ending, you can't kill anyone. Well, how do you go about that should things not go your way and you're facing down three or four guards ready to take your head? You run away. Yeah. The developers never once thought that perhaps they should have given you a non-lethal melee option for dealing with these people? Seems a little odd since you're so easily captured by an elbow to the face within the first ten minutes of the game.
So, Dishonored gives players the illusion of choice. You're free to go through the game as non-violently as possible or kill everyone. But, for those of us out there they actually like getting the good ending, we're limited to putting people in choke holds for the entire game with the exception of your primary target. High ranking movers and shakers. No, it's totally moral to kill them but not the guys in uniform trying to shoot your face off.
Sure, shoot at me all you want. I'll just run away and hide until you somehow forget I was there and stop looking for me.
What I found humorous was the uselessness of one of the powers you're able to get. Turning bodies into ash. Now, the first level of this power turns anyone you kill without being detected into ash. The second level turns anyone at all into ash regardless of if they saw you or not. The idea behind the rats and thus the plague spreading due to your killing is because you're leaving bodies behind for the rats to spread the plague further. Even if you have the second upgrade to the instant ash body disposal system, you still see an increase in the number of rats, plague, and Weepers. There's no body. It went "poof" the minute I stuck my sword through that guy's neck! How does that work, exactly?
I recognize that Dishonored is a good game. It really is, but Dishonored's false level of "freedom" ruined the experience for me in such a way that I couldn't bring myself to even get close to finishing the game.