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Jimquisition happens every Monday!
This week, Jimquisition gives you a brief lesson in pasta sauce, and ties it into the misguided quest for perfection currently plaguing the so-called "AAA" title scene. Expanding on a few ideas found in last week's...

Dishonored photo

Dishonored's lore summed up in a minute

They make it sound so simple
Apr 19
// Allistair Pinsof
Dishonored is the game with the racists people in the sky? Or is it the one with the head crabs? I've been playing Black Mesa and BioShock Infinite recently, so Dishonored feels like a distant memory, despite it being my per...
New releases photo
New releases

New releases: The Knife of Dunwall blinks into existence

Plus Injustice, Rise of the Hutt Cartel, and Soul Hackers
Apr 15
// Fraser Brown
After a couple of lackluster weeks of new releases, we're spoiled for choice this week. A plethora of games drop, begging for your attention. Time to blow more money. At the top of the list, for me, is the latest piece of Di...

Bethesda versus freemium multiplayer sequels

Apr 15 // Jim Sterling
"I’m not sure I know the answer to that," confessed vice president Pete Hines in conversation. "It might be that we were simply set up as a different type of company. Our origins were as a boutique-type developer, not a massive publisher with huge overhead and thousands and thousands of employees. We come at things from a different perspective, having gotten into this as a developer that published its own games." Though it may have started small, Bethesda's projects these days are large in scale, and as risky as any release from the likes of Electronic Arts or Ubisoft. Despite this, the company has enjoyed major success with games that other companies are too afraid to touch. Dishonored, if we believe the words of Bethesda's peers, should have failed. It's a brand new IP, a single-player game, without an online pass to protect it from the scourge of GameStop. What's more, it's a linear experience, with a running time some would call too short to maintain player interest. And yet, the game sold quite well, with Bethesda going so far as to call it the beginning of a new series.  Hines admits there is some truth to the belief that it's difficult to sell a game like Dishonored this late in the generation. There is a gamble at play, but ultimately, it can be even less of a risk to just let passionate developers work on the projects they want to work on, rather than force them to do something else.  "There is certainly some truth to the premise. It is more difficult to establish a new IP than it is to go with something people know. It adds risk. And when you're talking about development budgets as big as they are now for these releases -- plus all the support that goes along with that -- from QA, Sales, Marketing, Legal, Finance -- a lot of people are gonna spend a lot of time working to make that game a success. "In listening to the kinds of comments you're talking about, what I really hear is people talking about the risk. You're taking a bigger chance that all that work by all those people is going to pay off. And going with an established IP helps reduce that risk and better ensures success. "With a game like Dishonored, you're talking about a talented, experienced developer like Arkane, with two industry vets -- Raf and Harvey -- leading the project, and they're making the kind of game they know and love; a game they'd always wanted to make, but never had the chance," Hines continues. "From my perspective, it's less risky to let them do that and put that passion in to something they believe in, even if it's new IP, than to tell them to go make a game based on some IP we own that they don't have that same passion for. Or if we made them include some kind of multiplayer because that's what market research says we need. But that wasn't the game they wanted to make. Talented people making something they love and believe in is where, I think, success happens." But surely, single-player gaming is dead, no matter how passionate a developer is. Why is Dishonored surviving in the face of that stark reality? The Bethesda camp believes it's not so much reality as it is people skewing the narrative based on their own interests.  "It's important to note that quite a few people who tend to say those kinds of things do so because it's not what they're doing," explains the VP. "No publisher or developer making single-player games ever comes out and says single-player games won't work. Guys that do mobile games predict that console gaming as we know it is dying. People that do console-only games proclaim that PC is dead. Funny how people don't predict failure for the thing it is they're making or doing. They make those statements to build up or defend what they're doing and tear down what they aren't doing. "Or, they just don't know what the hell they're talking about." Hines remains adamant that solo experiences still have plenty of life left.  "Single-player games aren't going anywhere. Bethesda Softworks has been making single-player games for all of our 25+ years in the industry. We're still here, we're still making them, and people are still buying them. Dishonored was single-player and people really loved it, and it sold well. Skyrim was a complete success. A single-player RPG. There's practically a cottage industry dedicated to talking about how that isn't possible or why that won't succeed. Console fans won't get a game like that. Has to have multiplayer of some kind. PC gaming is dead. It's gotta be a shooter. RPGs are a niche. Etc. "People like fun games. They have games they like to play by themselves, they have games they like to play with others. Every game doesn't have to be all things to all people. And so the Skyrims and Fallout 3s and Bioshock Infinites and Walking Deads of the world aren't going anywhere. Just stop already." A quality solo experience can be achieved with dedication and resources, but often the narrative campaign has to share space with a multiplayer mode, often suggested to be crucial to any game's success these days. That in mind, I was curious as to whether or not Bethesda felt Skyrim could have benefited from an online mode, whether it indeed could have led to the game selling better.  "Given how well it did I'm not sure that's possible," Hines informed me. "Actually, I'm pretty positive the opposite is true. The time and energy we would have put into adding online/co-op/whatever functionality to Skyrim would have taken away from the single-player experience. I don't think the game would have been as good. We'd spend a lot more time working on how it all works when one person is playing versus two people, and the end result would have been a lesser game. "Todd Howard has explicitly said this in the past, so I'm gonna go with what he thinks. I think multiplayer really helps when multiplayer is important to the game experience the developer wants to create. If it's not important, leave it out." Some publishers seem to have an ulterior motive for sidelining solo experiences, with some of them quite open about their fear of single-player games being beaten and traded in. The used game market is a long-running boogieman of the industry, replacing rental services like Blockbuster after the nineties. Again, Bethesda concedes that secondhand games are a concern, and may not have an answer, but companies can try to combat them by offering quality products.  "Absolutely it's a concern," said Hines. "We have tried to mitigate it by creating games that offer replayability, by supporting them with DLC that's worth hanging onto the game for, or offering tools that let them take things further. "There's no doubt that being a videogamer is expensive. Games are not cheap to buy because they're expensive to make, and people are looking for ways to keep it affordable. I'm not sure anyone has figured out a solution that works for everyone, and there simply may not be one until someone figures out how to include developers and publishers in the loop on used games sales instead of keeping it all for themselves." Bethesda is not a dyed-in-the-wool customer hero, it has to be said. The company has had its fair share of difficulties with the game buying public, one of the earliest being the notorious Horse Armor DLC -- a useless downloadable purchase for Oblivion that, well, added armor to a horse. It's funny, however, that what was once such a controversy has become a norm. Many games ship with silly cosmetic content that can be downloaded at launch, for a price. Sometimes, the content's even on the disc itself, demanding cash for an unlock.  These days, Bethesda's DLC plans aren't quite so obnoxious, and have certainly taken a step back from the kind of practices seen in games like Dead Space 3.  "Horse Armor was really the first time anyone had tried any real DLC, and was us taking a shot in the dark as far as what DLC might look like or include. We obviously evolved from there both in terms of what we offered, and more importantly what we charged for it. So I think it was partly what the very first one happened to be and how everyone reacted to the very idea of any DLC. If the first DLC had been "Fighter's Stronghold," we probably still would have seen a reaction, but I don't know if it would have been the same kind of reaction. "As you said, we do like to try to make DLC a bit more substantial and haven't done the things a lot of other folks have tried that you mentioned. There are a lot of ways to do DLC, we've tried to stick with what feels right, what fits the game, and what can be successful. Every game is different and the size of the DLC and timing is always going to change based on what the team wants to do, how long that will take, what other project(s) they need to move onto, etc. I can't say what will or won't work for anyone else, just that we're very pleased with the reaction to the DLC we've done over the years and we're going to continue to try to do things that fans want and enjoy." In the mainstream market space, Bethesda remains something of an anomaly. In a way, its recent library of lengthy solo role-playing games and linear, narrative-driven first-person shooters may look old fashioned, even archaic. Its bread and butter is a stable of games rooted in the past of the industry -- its established franchises are venerable, its new ones informed by the design of past generations. In a world where every other publisher is grasping at the new in total uniformity, however, Bethesda's seasoned approach comes off as positively fresh.  Bethesda isn't perfect. Its history with the PlayStation 3 could certainly have been better, and its games regularly pay for their huge size with many documented flaws. When it comes to the business of making and selling games, however, it's one of the few large publishers left I can respect. Even as The Elder Scrolls experiments with an MMO spin-off, and the company prepares to announce a free-to-play title by way of Battlecry Studios, I am consistently pleased by Bethesda's desire to demonstrate success with games other companies are terrified of failing with.  You did good, Bethesda. Keep doing that. 
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How Dishonored, Skyrim and Fallout find success where none should be
The game industry tells us many things in order to justify its various activities. Multiplayer is added to so many games because solo experiences are dying. Online passes are needed because used games are killing creativity. ...

Dishonored photo

Dishonored's Corvo goes on a live action killing spree

With great powers come total carnage
Apr 05
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Dishonored's combination of magic and weaponry made for a perfect mixture of making you feel like a total overpowered badass. Stringing together kills all while teleporting around levels like your Nightcrawler from the opening of X-Men 2 can be thrilling, but you probably want to make sure you're not about to kill anyone important while on your spree.
April Fools photo
April Fools

Developers let loose in fake Dishonored walkthrough video

Featuring "the oddest threeway that has ever been in a videogame."
Apr 01
// Allistair Pinsof
Dishonored co-directors Raf Colantonio and Harvey Smith are serious guys who make serious games, but in the above video we see a different side of them. The three minute long, heavily edited walkthrough plays like an E3 walk...
Game of the Year et al. photo
Game of the Year et al.

Journey kills at the Game Developers Choice Awards

More than half of the awards, including Game of the Year
Mar 28
// Steven Hansen
Game of the Year, Innovation Award, Best Audio, Best Game Design, Best Visual Arts, Best Downloadable Game. That’s 6 out of 11 total awards, and the game was ineligible for two of them (and I’m still not sure why ...
Dishonored's initial plan photo
Dishonored's initial plan

Dishonored was originally to be set in medieval Japan

Don't call it steampunk. Or do, but it's not meant to be.
Mar 28
// Steven Hansen
Arkane Studios’ Sebastien Mitton gave a talk at GDC in which he revealed the warmly received Dishonored was originally set to take place in medieval Japan. Mitton continued, “We thought medieval Japan was not goo...
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Single-player lives

Single-player games still alive says Dishonored dev

All this negativity is just a phase
Mar 27
// Raz Rauf
With so many online multiplayer games such as Halo and Call of Duty becoming successful franchises, console online gaming really took off this generation. In doing so, the demise of single-player games has become a hot topic ...
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Focusing in Thief

Hocus Focus: One of Thief's newest systems is optional

And yet...still present. At least presently.
Mar 27
// Steven Hansen
A lot of scrutiny has been directed toward the newly announced, next generation Thief game. In fact, enough people in the official Thief forum have been concerned about a detective mode-esque "Focus" ability that Eidos Montre...

Saints Row IV, Battlefield 4 & The Phantom Pain

The Destructoid Show waves a big purple dildo around
Mar 15
// Max Scoville
Hey gang! I'm back from wherever I was, and I've brought with me today's Destructoid Show! Big news today with the first trailer for Saints Row IV, which looks as nutty as you'd expect it to. That'll be shown off at PAX East ...
Bethesda Shop photo
Bethesda Shop

Get Skyrim shirts from the official Bethesda store

Celebrate the pubs of Skyrim
Mar 14
// Joshua Derocher
Bethesda now has an official shop where you can buy a good-sized and varied selection of merchandise related to Skyrim, Dishonored, Fallout, Doom, Quake, and Wolfenstein. Everything from t-shirts, hoodies, mugs, figurines, lithographs, and messenger bags.  Personally, I would love to wear a Winking Skeever shirt with a pair of Vault 101 sneakers. That's the pinnacle of fashion my friends.
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Dishonored: The Knife of Dunwall DLC out April 16

Step into the murderous boots of Daud
Mar 13
// Jim Sterling
Bethesda has today announced the second bag of add-on content for Dishonored, titled The Knife of Dunwall, is slated for a worldwide April 16 release date. It'll be available for systems across the board, enjoying release on ...
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Journey wins big at the BAFTA Game Awards

The Walking Dead and Unfinished Swan win two awards each
Mar 06
// Alasdair Duncan
Looks like the folks at thatgamecompany might need a new trophy cabinet after Journey picked up five BAFTA Game Awards last night at the ceremony in London. The PlayStation Network title won awards for Artistic Achievement, A...
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Xbox live games sale

Dishonored and Borderlands 2 50% off on XBL today

Also: Arkham City and Red Dead Redemption for $15
Mar 02
// Allistair Pinsof
The week's Xbox Live Arcade sale continues on, with 50% off Dishonored, Borderlands 2, and many more games. You may be able to find these titles cheaper at retail, but if you must play these games now -- and you really shou...

New GDC talks on Dishonored, Journey, and...NASA?

Houston, we have news blog
Feb 13
// Dale North
This year's Game Developer's Conference, which takes place in late March in San Francisco, keeps filling up with more interesting talks and sessions. New ones announced this week are all interesting enough that I'm already tr...

Jimquisition Awards: Dishonored

Five Days, Five Games, Five Awards
Dec 17
// Jim Sterling
The very first Jimquisition Awards are here! Five days, five games, five awards! We kick off with one of the most compelling new retail IPs released this year, a classic in the making from Arkane Studios and Bethesda. Yep, it could only be Dishonored!

Dishonored's 'Dunwall City Trials' DLC gets a trailer

Complete with a rap and everything!
Dec 06
// Jordan Devore
Dishonored is one of those games that's mesmerizing to watch someone play well, and this trailer for the impending Dunwall City Trials add-on is no different. Releasing across all platforms on December 11, the downloadable c...

Bethesda: Dishonored sales 'exceeding expectations'

Success paves way for franchise
Nov 27
// Jim Sterling
Bethesda has told Destructoid that Dishonored, the critically acclaimed stealth-action title released last month, is performing above sales expectations, and the publisher is definitely pleased. While it declined to reveal ac...

Dishonored: Dunwall City Trials DLC coming December 11

Ten challenge maps and new Achievements
Nov 27
// Jim Sterling
Bethesda has announced that Dishonored will be getting its first downloadable content offering on December 11. Dunwall City Trials is a series of ten challenge maps designed to test you on stealth, combat, and agility.  ...

Dishonored has three bits of DLC on the way

Bethesda announces expansion content for murder simulator
Oct 25
// Conrad Zimmerman
More content will be coming for Dishonored, according to Bethesda. They've confirmed plans for three expansion products, the first arriving in December. "Dunwall City Trials" will include ten challenges for players to attempt...

Here's how to customize Dishonored's FOV even more

Oct 09
// Jordan Devore
Some people have specific tastes when it comes to their field of view in games. Being able to customize this setting from within a menu is always appreciated, but it's still not something I would expect to see in every major ...


Two hot games, one launch day
Oct 09
// Jim Sterling
If there's one thing my Twitter feed has been telling me this week, it's that gamers are desperately choosing between XCOM: Enemy Unknown and Dishonored, two good looking games that, in their own ways, stand out among the gen...

The DTOID Show: XCOM & Dishonored reviewed, RE6 DLC

Rayman delayed, Artemis coming to iOS
Oct 08
// Max Scoville
Oh man, what a big week for gaming. Like, because they're putting out a bunch of games and stuff.  In addition to reviews of Dishonored and XCOM: Enemy Unknown going up today, we've also got word that Rayman Legends has been delayed until Q1 2013, cyberhackers have discovered Resident Evil 6's kinda-sorta on-disc DLC, and spaceship bridge-simulator Artemis is coming to iOS. 

Dishonored gets a midnight launch event in Austin

Oct 08
// Dale North
The Austin-based Arkane Studios will be celebrating the launch of their latest, Dishonored, tonight at the Gamestop store in the Arboretum at Great Hills, and you're invited. Starting at 10:00 pm, co-creative directors Harvey...

Review: Dishonored

Oct 07 // Jim Sterling
Dishonored (PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 [reviewed])Developer: Arkane StudiosPublisher: Bethesda Release: October 9, 2012MSRP: $59.99 Dishonored tells the tale of Corvo Attano, bodyguard to a beloved Empress in a kingdom beset by poverty and plague. After returning from a diplomatic mission, the Empress is assassinated, her daughter kidnapped, and Corvo framed for the crime. After months in captivity, Corvo escapes his captors with the help of a coalition of loyalists, who set him up to become their assassin, dispose of the usurping regent's conspirators, and return Princess Emily to the throne. In many ways, Dishonored tells a classic story of conspiracy and revenge, playing it safe by sticking to a rather formulaic plot. Relying on familiar archetypes and well-worn tropes, the narrative doesn't do much to surprise the player. However, by sticking to established territory, Arkane has diverted its energy to telling the story very well, doing a remarkable job of painting the fictional city of Dunwall as a real dismal and oppressive place. The plague-ridden, poverty-stricken streets are beautifully realized in all their misery, painting the picture of a desolate realm that may not even be worth saving. All this in a world that isn't made up of browns and greys. Bright skies and colors abound in Dishonored, yet still the game remains so perfectly murky. The crapsack world of Dishonored is invoked by its characters, especially the unquestionably vile people you're sent to assassinate. From religious hypocrites to cowardly noblemen, the villains of Dishonored are rotten to the core, as ugly outside as they are inside. It is true that most of them play to the kind of tropes we've seen in many "corrupt regime" storylines, but rarely do games present them with the same level of energetic nastiness seen here. Not since Snake Eater's Colonel Volgin have I encountered enemies so deserving of justice. Subtle? Perhaps not. Incredibly rewarding when one of these horrible monsters gets a blade jammed in the trachea? Without a doubt. [embed]236085:45281[/embed] Played from a first-person perspective, Dishonored provides players with ample opportunities to be a rampaging murderer or a stealthy professional. A range of weapons are at Corvo's disposal, from conventional swords and pistols to deadly mine-like traps or rewire tools that turn enemy weapons against their masters. Early in the game, Corvo is also granted magic abilities by the mysterious Outsider, allowing him access to short-range teleports, wind blasts, or a miniature army of rats that swarm guards and eat all evidence of dead bodies. Weapons can be upgraded by finding coins and spending them at Piero's workshop. Piero can upgrade your mask to include optical zooms, make crossbows and pistols more efficient, and craft stealthier boosts or better traps. Magic is upgraded by finding runes scattered throughout each area, located by equipping a magical (and gruesomely detailed) heart that pinpoints each location. Although the heart makes finding the general location of each rune easy, getting to the exact position can be tricky, as a few are deviously well-hidden. The heart also finds bone charms, a limited number of which can be equipped for passive abilities, boosting Corvo's various attacks and defenses. Using magic and equipping charms feels very similar to the Plasmids and Gene Tonics in BioShock, one of several very clear similarities. The loot and health regeneration system are also nearly identical -- certainly not a bad thing, especially if you're a fan of 2K's now-classic shooter.  Though a master assassin, Corvo does not necessarily have to kill anybody. In fact, despite having a variety of deliciously effective murder weapons at his disposal, the former bodyguard will never be put in a position where taking a life is necessary, even if it looks like there's no other choice at first glance. A dream game for fans of pacifist runs, every single encounter is designed with player choice in mind. You can murder absolutely anybody, be they enemy or civilian. Conversely, you can become a ghost, wreaking revenge on a psychological as opposed to physical front. The player is given magic powers and weapons that aid either approach, with a crossbow that can fire regular bolts or tranquilizers, and skills that could see Corvo possess a rat and run right under a guard's nose or toss a sticky grenade right into his face and watch him explode. Of course, one can always take a balanced approach -- using stealth to slaughter foes one by one before taking out the remains in bloody combat. It's impressive just how well Arkane managed to bring both stealth and combat up to snuff, with neither element mechanically deficient or dominant. Trying to become a ghost and remain totally unseen is definitely the more challenging approach, but that doesn't mean players attempting such feats are powerless. There's a solid balance of lethal and nonlethal powers, and they all work exactly as intended. The stealth system is quite clever, especially since players can't just hide in shadows and expect not to be seen. True environmental awareness and judicious use of teleportation or possession will be required to get through each level unseen, as is the regular hiding of unconscious or dead guards. Combat, meanwhile, is a more slow-paced and tactical affair than your average run-and-gun experience. Corvo always holds his sword at the ready and can equip anything from offensive spells to pistols, bows, or bombs in the other hand. His firearms need to be manually reloaded after each shot, encouraging careful, well-timed firing. Similarly, enemies are good about blocking and dodging melee attacks, so learning when to defend and counterattack is essential. This deliberate and almost graceful approach to battle means that even murderous players will at least need to be clever and pick their fights wisely. It's more than possible to survive a fight with five guards at once, especially if you're summoning rats and blowing tornadoes around, but you need to have a confident knowledge of Corvo's strengths and limitations before engaging anybody. Just rushing in, blade swinging, will lead to frustration.  The emphasis on choice is not paid mere lip service, either. Each chapter of the game holds a true multitude of options for navigation. There are always several ways to infiltrate any territory and multiple methods of dispatching a target. Playing through a mission more than once really opens one's eyes to how impressively versatile each level is and how natural this versatility feels. It's not like there's one violent route and one stealth route, all but signposted with obvious air vents and the like. Stealthy routes are so seamlessly integrated into the environment that some of them are practically camouflaged. Only with astute observation will players find new ways into buildings, which is exactly how it should be. Dunwall regularly feels like a real city that's being exploited by the assassin, rather than a mere videogame level designed blatantly around stealth mechanics. Even if that's all an illusion, it's one that works. Environmental design is impeccable in this instance. With regards to taking out the principal targets of each mission, there are many ways to murder them, and always at least one nonlethal option. There is really nothing stopping you from just barging into a conspirator's room and shooting him or her in the face (aside from guards and security, of course), but for those playing mercifully, there are alternatives. You could set a target's own trap against him or find a way to discredit him so that his influence in the empire is non-existent and any threat to the loyalist cause is terminated. I couldn't describe examples without spoiling some brilliant moments, but suffice it to say there are genius-level ideas on show. Nonlethal options invariably require more guile and patience, but they are among the most satisfying choices, often seeming more cruel and punishing than simply ending the target's life. Whichever approach is taken, it's the getaway that really hits the sweet spot. Once the target is neutralized, Corvo needs to leave the area and find Samuel the boatman to get back home. That feeling of escape, whether you snuck in and out or kicked the doors down and found yourself running with guards in hot pursuit, serve as the ultimate payoff for each mission, and it's a payoff well worth reaching. It's a rare game that manages to deliver psychological rewards so well, but Arkane manages it like an expert. Relief, leading to pure elation, is a dividend received with gratitude every single time. Although players are free to act as they wish, there's no doubt in my mind that Dishonored considers the nonlethal approach the "right" way to play. Not only is it more satisfying to take enemies out by giving them more fitting and ironic punishments, the game world itself makes the player feel more justified for doing so. NPCs will mostly treat Corvo better if he keeps his hands clean, and the ending will be less dark. This is a little philosophically troubling when you consider that simply murdering some of the characters is often less sadistic than the "passive" alternative, but Arkane gets around this by still allowing for some murders while keeping Corvo's soul relatively stainless. Player actions are not guided by morality but by a "Chaos" system that determines how one's behavior affects the game world. The more brutal your approach, the higher Dunwall's Chaos rating will be, increasing the amount of vicious rats or zombie-like "Weepers" that stalk the streets, attempting to spread the plague. Chaos is quietly monitored in the background, logging how many times the player kills or is spotted, how many dead/unconscious bodies are found, and whether or not alarms are sounded. The more Corvo's "Masked Assassin" persona is seen, the more oppressive the world becomes as paranoia grips the ruling classes. However, as noted, the player doesn't have to be passive at all times. Chaos ratings can be brought down from high levels by completing subsequent missions stealthily, and players are allowed to kill at least several people per mission without raising the rating. That said, there are rankings available for those who kill nobody or remain completely unseen during the course of the campaign, and it's incredibly fun to shoot for such distinctions. The biggest thing holding Dishonored back is its visuals. Artistically, this is a gorgeous game. The steampunk aesthetic and decadent European architecture is fantastic, as are the exaggerated character models that give everybody a stylistically unpleasant appearance that helps craft the thematically unattractive world. However, the actual graphics seem dated and simplistic, especially when the texture issues are factored into play. Many surfaces are littered with blocky artifacts, and some textures blur or pop in abruptly when approached. Similarly, character animations have trouble with body parts moving through each other. In its worst areas, objects can look like poorly compressed JPGs. While hardly a deal-breaker, these visual setbacks can be hard to ignore in several places. The sound design at least makes up for a big portion of any aesthetic troubles. Daniel Licht lends his vast talent to the soundtrack, producing subtle yet atmospheric tunes, and an all-star cast of voice actors do a solid job of bringing the characters to life. Highlights are Susan Sarandon, pulling a fantastically creepy turn as the deranged Granny Rags, and the ever-talented Brad Dourif taking on the role of awkward genius Piero. My one other, slightly more petty complaint is that I'd have loved to have seen more variety in Corvo's offensive and magical options. While the environment is rife with possibilities, I feel that when it comes to employing one's practical skills, things feel a bit too conventional and obvious. Out of all the spells, only the rats and wind are really useful for offensive players, while the weapons (bows, bombs, pistols and swords) are fairly ordinary. They're fun to use and very well implemented, that I cannot deny, but I do feel this is one area where Arkane could've really gone to town, and it's an opportunity sorely missed. Same goes with some of the stealth powers. Being able to do more with rewired machines or possessed characters could have really added some tactical depth to the ground-level action. To be fair though, the whole rat-summoning thing is one of the more disturbing and unique powers I've seen in a game, so there is at least that one horrifically nasty plaything. In any case, the conventional approach to the player's arsenal does little to undermine exactly how ambitious the rest of the game is. To truly appreciate Dishonored's campaign, it really should be played twice -- or at least have its mission replay menu utilized a few times. There's more than enough to experience that it's wholly worth playing both a high and low chaos campaign, and it's only when doing so that one gets a real appreciation for everything Dishonored can do. This is a game that set its sights high and tried to balance two distinct play styles. That it attempted this was noble, but that it succeeded so elegantly is inspiring. On the subject of replay, a note about length for those who find it of paramount importance -- you can blast through the campaign in about six hours, if you choose to do a simple kill-all run and don't bother finding items/performing optional tasks. A more realistic run will bring you up to around eight or ten hours, and could take even longer if you choose to go for the subtle ghost runs and nonlethal eliminations. Dishonored is that game of 2012. It's the big intellectual property that comes to retail and shows up the competition by being bold, original, and -- more importantly -- brilliant. Easily deserving of its place among the BioShocks and the Borderlandses, Arkane's aggressive, non-aggressive, unsubtle, sneaky, thoroughly versatile tale of intrigue makes for the kind of game that reminds us this generation isn't all straightforward shooters and "me too" trend-seekers. Its level design is some of the very best, its willingness to let the player decide their own path is exhilarating, and the satisfaction gleaned from a mission well done leaves one hungry for more. Some dated visuals and a conventional arsenal do little to hold back what a truly beautiful, multifaceted, and ultimately invigorating adventure Dishonored manages to be.
Dishonored photo
Honor before glory
It seems that once or twice a year we get some new intellectual property demolishing the idea that only sequels perform well, shaking up the market in some exciting way. Despite having no big franchise name attached, it catch...


Dishonored: The Hand that Feeds

Sep 26
// Fraser Brown
Bethesda and Arkane Studios have released the second part of their series of shorts, Tales from Dunwall, fleshing out the intriguing setting of Dishonored. Where the first short, "The Awakening", revealed the origins of an&n...

The final Dishonored documentary video is now live

Sep 18
// Chris Carter
I have to admit, I have intentionally avoided information on Dishonored as much as possible so that I can go in blind. That all ends today with this video that wraps up the Dishonored four part developer documentar...

The freedom of Dishonored

Sep 13
// Fraser Brown
With Dishonored almost upon us, Arkane Studios have a third developer diary out which will no doubt cause you to salivate to such a degree that you drown, and are unable to play. How cruel. This one is all about choice, cons...

Latest Dishonored developer diary is all about immersion

Sep 12
// Brett Zeidler
Arkane Studios has pulled the curtain back once again on Dishonored through an always welcome developer diary, this time talking about immersion in the game. It starts out with the title's Visual Design Director, Viktor Anto...

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