Besides the people gushing about Dishonored (of which there are plenty), I read a few concerns about the basic concept. A common idea is that it seems to grab gameplay from five to ten years ago and use it more or less as-is… This is at least partially true. Penny Arcade also mentions the remarkably high thematic density – this is also true, and it brings with it a watered-down narrative that is by-the-numbers and predictable featuring mostly one-dimensional characters.

That being said, I did like the game. For all the disjoint elements it is very consistent and – above all – atmospheric. The thief-inspired sneak action might bring back some remnants of old design that maybe should have stayed old, but the additions to the formula make it an interesting take on the genre. Dishonored is also skillfully open-ended, it offers a multitude of possible solutions to every problem and just enough information that you can figure them out without feeling like it gave you the answer. The feedback mechanism for how you choose to play the game is also very clever, it kind of prevents you from experimenting with different approaches within the same playthrough but it would hardly be the first morality system that rewards absolutes over anything else.

It is punishing, forcing you to manually save and reload a lot. It also expects you to figure out what abilities would suit your playstyle and how to best employ them on your own.  So yes, it does feel kind of dated at times, but more often than not figuring out how the play the game is a reward in itself – like you are working with the game to find solutions rather than being contained in a box of carefully laid-out gameplay. Maybe having been around since games were less user-friendly is a requirement for enjoying that, but it is nice when a game encourages you to outthink it.

Posted on Oct 20/12 by Saint and filed under Reflections | No Comments »