Magnificent And Important Advent Calendar: Day 21

By RPS on December 21st, 2012 at 12:00 pm.


Some games stand in the light, and allow us to examine their mottled skin. Others cower back in the dark, fearing the searing beam of our critical gaze. But which of these is Game Twenty-One? YOU DECIDE!

No, actually, we will decide.


It’s… Dishonored.

Jim: Dishonored almost feels like an ode to game design. But not quite. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the best-designed game, just that it seems to revel in the stuff where design is required. It seems considered, like a portrait. An artefact intended to capture the essence of a thing. To convey a specific message with a tightly defined purpose.

Design appears on the surface of everything. The glorious and shabby world, the range of powers, the nature of the levels, the behaviour of the AI, it all seems primarily about the designer’s work. It’s very much taking the design-as-everything lessons from earlier eras of greatness – see Ion Storm, Looking Glass – and trying to put those lessons into practice in 2012. It manages remarkably well, an with a sort of flair for production that makes the entire game seem like a luxury.

Someone – I can’t actually Google who it was, because I am out of range of internet, and will have forgotten about writing this passage by the time it’s published on the site – commented that The Outsider can be seen as analogous to a game developer. He’s setting things up, adding systems and features, and toying with the consequences. Corvo is the player, and the player is Corvo. In this way Dishonored looks even more like an elegy to the art required to create it.


There’s so much to be in awe of. It’s so crafted and crafted just so. It’s hand-built and refined, with the smoothed edges you get from an expert knowing where people will rub up against it.

John said to me – and he’ll probably reprise that thought somewhere here – that he wished Dishonored had been about something. He was referring, of course, to the rather contentless plot, which meanders hesitantly onward, hinting at things that don’t end up occurring, without surprising anyone along the way. That doesn’t seem to have been about very much at all. And it would have been grand if the game had been about power, or greed, or something. But perhaps it’s a game that really just about itself, and about game design generally.

That could be enough.

John: Gosh, I really enjoyed playing Dishonored. I enjoyed it so much that as soon as I finished it, I started playing it again. That almost never happens with me. And I got about a third of the way in again, and then I forgot all about Dishonored.

It feels like a game with an expiry date. I loved it, I raved about how much I was enjoying it, and then its time was up and I didn’t think about it again. I think that’s a big part of why one of the best games this year isn’t our bestest game this year. And a large part of that is to do with what Jim mentioned above: it always felt like it was about to be about something. Those ninja enemies – a couple of them appear randomly in an level midway through, and suddenly it’s ooh, intrigue! Then they’re gone again until the end, when they’re just a slightly harder enemy to kill (and a brilliant one too – that level skipping across the rooftops, taking them out, was a real highlight) and then that’s that. The super-telegraphed ‘twist’ delivered exactly what you were expecting, no surprises, and then felt compromised by some people still actually being on your side despite seemingly betraying you. Even that hint – and at the time they felt like lovely, subtle hints – that there might be something between Corvo and the pub’s maid, went forgotten. The Outsider – I can’t even remember what I thought he was about at the time, so thrown away his character became by the end.

I’m sure they were saving stuff up for a sequel. But that’s a terrible way of going about storytelling. You tell your whole, amazing story in your game, and if it’s detailed and interesting enough, people will want to know more, be told more tales in that world, and from there your sequels should grow.

BUT! Moany moany moan moan! It’s a great game! A contender for our 24th door, one we discussed at length. It was mechanically so wonderful, it was such a satisfying sneak-and-stun game to play, and it managed that magical and all-too-rare feat of letting you feel like you were becoming genuinely more powerful within the world, while still matching the challenge to your powers. The contrast of experiences from traversing that bridge and moving around that masked ball, the myriad tasks in the brothel and the machinations of the various factions in the main town. It was constantly interesting in the moment, and truly bended itself to your will, allowed you to play it as you wished. That was a real treat, a memory of the glorious days of Thief, and a demonstration of where Human Revolution fell short – a guide, even, for Square’s inevitable sequel.

It may require a concerted effort to put myself back into the place of recalling why I enjoyed it so much at the time, but at that time it was one of 2012′s finest moments of entertainment.

Alec:

We live in the age of the grandiose promise. Time and again, we’re given fancy talk of moons on sticks and games that are all things to all humans, and time and again we end up with spectacular but fairly obvious products as a result. Dishonored met is promises. It did what it said it was going to do, and then some. There was an “it’s too short!” lobby, yes, but those snarling beasts exist to undermine others’ entertainment, not for true justice.

Personally, I can’t think of anything in Dishonored where I suffered that deflating sense of harsh reality colliding with my lofty dreams of what the game was. I think that speaks to the tightness of its design – Arkane seem to have been clear, since the game’s earliest public showings, about what it is they were making and offering. They realised their realistic promises rather than had to compromise cometh the hour.

There’s almost zero fat on Dishonored. It is tailored and lean, most every aspect (let’s not talk about the Krusts, eh?) included because it serves true purpose either in function or scene-setting, and as a result we have a moderate number of wildly varied, themed levels rich with paths and possibilities, rather than a soggy marathon of similarity. Yes, the overarching story was oddly hollow – I think, perhaps, there’s too much archly tucked under the surface rather than built colourfully on top of it in that regard, and that does take a heavy toll on Dishonored’s overall personality – but the capsule tales of each level and the grey morality of their respective antagonists were strong and sharp.

For me it was a game about missions rather than The Mission (er – I don’t mean the band), but I suppose an encompassing rise and fall and rise again structure is something of a commercial necessity. Oh for a world where Dishonored was a true episodic game, a new, branching and cunning mission every month for its master assassin, just doing his job.

One more thing – while Dishonored went further than many games of its type in terms of offering complete paths and solutions for non-lethal play, perhaps my single favourite thing about it is that it nonetheless challenged the urge to box-tick and Achievement-collect in that regard. I was resolute, in my first play, that I would kill no-one, but I was presented with two circumstances where I had to question that decision, where what superifically seemed like the noble thing to do might actually have been a dark one. The first of those two – spoilers here – was Granny Rags, who I did opt to kill because the threat that hidden monster presented to Dunwall’s uncared for poor was so great, and so monstrous, that it transcended my inclination towards non-lethality.

The second was Lady Boyle, the target in that wonderful hiding-in-plain-sight masked ball level. When I opted to have her kidnapped and smuggled away by an admirer rather than slain, was I sending that woman off to be someone’s sex slave? Was that perhaps not worse than taking her life? I still feel chilled and ill about that decision, about the awful, awful thing I might have done to a selection of bytes and pixels in order that my moral compass not waver. The rescue of the princess and the riddles out the Outsider did not stay with me for long, but what I did to Lady Boyle will, I think, haunt me for some time to come.

(Spoilers end).

Adam:

While there is an actual heart in Dishonored – and plenty to say about it – Dunwall is the game’s most important organ. It’s the thundering bank of pipes from which the whalepunk fugue bellows and it’s the cerebral labyrinth through which the player squints, blinks and boggles. There are books instead of cutscenes and, within the context of the areas available to explore, I found more flavour in the few words describing foodstuffs and affixed to maps than in the billion dollar world-building of Avatar. Dunwall is a grotesque Dickensian nightmare of whale-flesh, class division and plague, but Arkane don’t harp on about it. Dunwall just is.

I hadn’t played the game before release so when Jim went hands-on at Gamescom I found myself in the strange position of being excited about an upcoming game while at Gamescom, where games were being beamed into my eyes with such force that it was hard to be excited about anything except the fresh air and cold beer waiting at the end of the day. Dishonored was the one game I didn’t want to play – I wanted to experience it from start to finish, not to be dropped into a mission chosen to demonstrate a specific aspect that could form the focal point of a preview. All I wanted to hear when Jim met me afterwards was – “It’s the sequel to Thief 2 that you’ve been waiting for”, because, apparently, I didn’t have the imagination to believe it could be anything other than that.

That Dishonored wasn’t Thief became clear when Jim talked about how the powers were slightly concerning. I stopped listening then. I didn’t want powers, I wanted a rope arrow.

When I actually started playing, it didn’t take long for me to start enjoying those powers I hadn’t wanted. What Dishonored offers is stealth as an expression of agility and movement rather than secrets and shadows. Corvo is the arch-manipulator, folding the environment to his will and leaping across architectural dilemmas that would thwart an ordinary man. He’s the first stealth superhero, or at least he’s my first stealth superhero and he doesn’t hunt monsters he hunts men. Dishonored’s best boss battle is against a bridge. You have to cross it.

I’ve completed the game twice now and that’s enough for me. It is strangely fleeting, a short story that doesn’t linger in the memory rather than a novel that will always have a place on the shelf. But it also captured that Looking Glass feeling that’s been missing for so long and it gave us Dunwall. I worry that more of Dunwall might not be a good thing. I’d rather leave it as a fragment of fiction, a place forever in disarray and transition.

But then what would I have Arkane do next? Well, has there ever been a first-person Golden Age superhero game?

Nathan: 

I don’t usually read books in games. I mean, I’ll pick up the odd Ancient Tome of Infinite Plagues here or there for a stat boost, but I generally play games to, you know, play them. That’s not to say I don’t appreciate the obsessively crafted fictions underlying it all, but I tend to experience them on a need-to-know basis.

I’m not really sure why I picked up the first book I saw in Dishonored. Maybe it was the alluring industrial-magic mystique of Dunwall’s structures. Maybe I saw a glowy thing and reflexively decided to interact with it. Maybe it’s because I really, really like whales. Regardless, the second that cover opened, I was slurped up by a black-hole-like force. Dishonored’s bizarro whale-punk alterna-dimension was just so fascinating to me. I mean, look at this entry about a holiday called The Fugue Feast. I DEMAND IT.

“The new year has not started and thus the time that follows is ‘outside’ the calendar. A period of celebration and feasting begins, during which the people abandon the very practices that keep them whole and healthy over the year… Families return to their homes, wives to their husbands. Enemies put down their weapons and fires are extinguished. No complaint is given for those who have wronged others, deviated from ancient codes, or discarded oaths; for this time during the astrological alignment does not exist, and is not recorded.”

That’s wild! There’s an entire holiday devoted to just saying, “Fuck it” and busting down the chains of civilized society. I want to live in a world unhinged enough to do that. But reading about it was a nice enough consolation.

And yet, for all its unabashed strangeness, Dishonored also portrayed the mundanities of day-to-day life in its plague-worn world remarkably well. The lovely Paul Walker already put the Heart under-the-knife for us, but I can’t discuss Dishonored without gushing about it myself. Much as I loved mixing and matching powers to slither and slice my way through brilliantly designed levels, that achy, breaky, oh-so-talky organ was probably my favorite thing about the entire game.

Thanks to its manic whispers, I became obsessed with this miniature workplace drama unfolding just beneath the surface of my heroic deeds and superpowered skulking. On the surface, there were just a bunch of faceless NPCs milling about the Hound Pits pub, but the Heart let me see so much more. These people had goals and dreams and lives, and well, they were kind of terrible.

For me, it all came back to Cecelia, a seemingly nondescript employee who was sort of just… around. She swept floors, tended to rooms, worked behind the counter – that kind of thing. I didn’t think much of her, but then the Heart told me she was supporting multiple kids all by her lonesome, and one of them was showing symptoms that sounded distinctly rat plague-y. A couple times, I also rounded corners to find her boss shouting at her for not tending to my comparatively pampered existence well enough. And yet, she was always dutiful. Overtly exhausted, yes, but unfaltering in spite of the pressures constantly threatening to crush her. If she resented me for being the indirect cause of so much grief in her life, she certainly didn’t show it.

I love that Dishonored gave multiple dimensions to even its itsy-bitsiest of bit characters. Even amidst all its world’s madness, people were still people. Flawed – sometimes to the point of being unforgivable – creatures, certainly, but determined to keep on pushing forward nonetheless.

It really is a shame the main plot was so shit, though.

.

140 Comments »

  1. LennyLeonardo says:

    That thing about the Outsider being a link to the developers: I said that in comments a while back. Maybe that’s what you’re thinking of? Probably not, I’m sure a real journalist said it better somewhere else.

    • Adam Smith says:

      I think Jim might have been thinking of Joe Martin’s words, both on Twitter and in his review over yonder.

      • LennyLeonardo says:

        Ooh! Thanks for the link. By the way, if you were wondering what that tooting sound was, it was just me playing with this horn I own.

    • woodsey says:

      Chris Thursten (PC Gamer) asked them about it during an interview before launch.

  2. Deathmaster says:

    The WIT and other posts about this game were so positive on RPS, my assumption was this game would be this year’s Goatee. I wasn’t that impressed, it looked pretty but it was flawed.

    Hotline Miami then? Make it happen.

    • Hidden_7 says:

      Please, it’s going to be XCOM for sure. It was only ever going to be Dishonored or XCOM I think. Hotline Miami will definitely make the calendar. Couldn’t say what the third game is going to be though.

      • lordcooper says:

        My money’s on The Walking Dead being the mystery game.

        • LennyLeonardo says:

          I was wondering about that too, so I checked to see if it’s already on the list, and it is. Day five or six I think.

          • lordcooper says:

            Oh drat. I did do a search before posting that comment, but apparently these things don’t get tags. It’s going to be Far Cry 3 then.

          • LennyLeonardo says:

            “Drat” is an excellent word. Props.

          • obvioustroll says:

            But not as good as “kerfuffle”.

            We are in a kerfuffle trying to work out the number one spot.

      • hap says:

        We haven’t seed Deus Ex yet, that’s GOTY in my books.

      • USER47 says:

        How about Spec Ops: The Line?

        • Deathmaster says:

          Drat, and double drat. Shut it, Muttley.

        • ArthurBarnhouse says:

          I really hope Spec Ops gets at lest one of the remaining days. It was the game that had the most impact on me this year.

        • Runs With Foxes says:

          I will have a new-found respect for RPS if they leave Spec Ops off the list.

        • PeteC says:

          Looks likely that Far Cry 3, XCOM and Hotline Miami will be the three games left. A shame Spec Ops didn’t make it into the 24 as it deserves some recognition for what it did. No game has had the effect on me that one had.

          How the devs got the go ahead to make that I don’t know but massive props to all involved. Can’t wait to see what Yager come up with next.

      • Memph says:

        I think the smart money’s on Xcom. It’s to my astonishment that Orcs Must Die! 2 hasn’t shown up yet though. My personal GOTY by far (and an actual PC exclusive that would’ve been just as at home on console – fancy that!), followed by Dark Souls. However, I can’t disagree should it be Xcom as it’s yet to be hit with Steam’s sales hammer enough to fit my brokeass budget.

        • soco says:

          Yeah, I’m a little surprised by a lack of Orcs Must Die 2 myself. I fully expected it to show up in the last few days, but with so little remaining and a handful of games we know are going to appear it seems as if OMD2 is getting left by the wayside. Shame.

    • Prime says:

      No. Hotline Miami is not game of the year. Not by a long chalk.

      • Mordsung says:

        No game is GOTY. It is an entirely arbitrary award based on opinion.

        Any game could be GOTY to someone, and no one person’s opinion on what the GOTY is is more valid than another.

        I could say any game is GOTY, you could say any other game is GOTY, neither of us would be wrong.

        • lordcooper says:

          Even WarZ?

          • Mordsung says:

            If you look at the purpose of a game as “to provide enjoyment”, which is basically saying “to make my brain produce chemicals that make me feel good.”, then any game could be someone’s GOTY because any game can hit that niche for someone and cause their brain to spill the happy stuff all over the place.

            I’m sure there are a small handful of people who absolutely adore WarZ and who are having their brains flooded with delicious dopamine every time they boot up the game.

            We’re obviously not those people, but they exist.

            You can’t choose what you enjoy, your brain either pumps out the good stuff or it doesn’t. A person’s taste is not a lot different than any biological trait they have. They can’t control what they enjoy.

          • Brise Bonbons says:

            That’s a pretty darn narrow definition of a game’s purpose. Games, like paintings and literature, are often representations of our world (or a similar one), and have numerous benefits as such. See the game as learning tool: From those which teach combat skills (chess or a flight sim or even a sport like wrestling), to those which explore history, science, management, and log cutting. I avoid “art” games, since you strike me as disinterested in them.

            That said, I don’t think we differ so very much. We agree in that play is almost always enjoyable for organisms on this planet – but I think that’s just down to play itself (and the learning that often accompanies it).

            Mind, I’m not debating the brain science here; it tells us much about certain patterns in games and their effect on us. But i doubt it defines the entire scope of what games are and how to measure them. Among other reasons, a game can provide us enjoyment because play is enjoyable; but to say that is its primary purpose seems to put the cart before the horse – and smacks of an attempt to deny any discussion of other possibilities.

            As for this:

            “You can’t choose what you enjoy, your brain either pumps out the good stuff or it doesn’t. A person’s taste is not a lot different than any biological trait they have. They can’t control what they enjoy.”

            I have trouble believing that. Are you saying no one can ever study something they didn’t enjoy previously and learn to enjoy and appreciate it? Or are you just saying it’s difficult with a bit of hyperbole thrown in?

            I would love to see the science which says that what we enjoy is more or less hardwired into our heads and unchangeable, if you can point me to it.

        • Prime says:

          Thanks for that sorely needed lesson on subjectivity, Mordsung. I am a far better person for having heard it. You’ve taught me a lot. And I’m honoured you ignored the chap who actually brought up the subject of goatees in order to teach me this lesson.

          However, if you’d care to allow yourself a re-think, perhaps my comment was not about GOTYs per se but a reflection of my own subjective opinion of Hotline Miami? I’ll extract the essence for you: I didn’t like it. Flashy, well put-together, but oh so very shallow and almost without point or impetus to keep playing. More of a toy designed to test reaction times than a game.

          • Brise Bonbons says:

            Interesting take on HLM, though I can’t recognize the game I played in your description.

            I’m not going to argue content with you, but I’ll say that I never once finished a level (at least not in a scenario that was memorable enough to stick with me) because of good reaction times. Good timing, yes, in a sort of musical bum-bum-BAH sense, but that’s different.

            I’m not saying you should like the game, I just want to offer a counter point for anyone who might still be on the fence about buying it.

            Note: HLM is very close to being my personal GOTY, and I don’t think there’s a lot of room to criticize it objectively. That said, it is certainly an odd title I don’t expect everyone to love – to each their own and all that.

        • Premium User Badge Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

          According to the moral of The Incredibles, if any game can be GOTY, no game can by GOTY.

          Ah, Pixar, my moral compass in this world of compromise.

          • Skabooga says:

            Wall-E is the greatest environmentalist tract produced by man.

      • Terragot says:

        It’s going to be Hotline Miami though, which, while I understand this is a blog and is purely based on opinion, showcases the bizarre state of games journalism.

        Or you know, I’m just not that fussed by a 3 hour shooter who rides it’s style & success of a cult film.

        • Godwhacker says:

          I really hope it isn’t HM. I enjoyed it, but it was hugely superficial, and more than a little smug to boot.

          • Wedge says:

            I’ve had it crash and crash and crash and I stopped being arsed and maybe I’ll check again if it’s been patched up in a little bit. But I have plenty of other games to play that don’t do that. It would bother me less if these were weird system compatibility crashes or something, but it’s clearly issues in the actual game code based on the error messages it’s spitting, and I find that significantly less excusable.

        • iucounu says:

          I dunno, I think Hotline Miami has a lot going for it. The whole art and sound direction of it isn’t purely DRIVE, it’s a sort of distillation of a couple of DRIVE’s stylistic beats, through the lens of the Commodore Amiga. It does something transformative with the material; it’s not a ripoff. There was just something about it being rendered in that way, with that kind of game design; it was like, if this had come out in 1988, this would have been the game you were still talking about today, when the world had only just caught up with the levels of irony in the aesthetic. If they’d made this game on an A500, as they probably could have done, it would have been one of the very best beloved games of that era. It’s an artifact from a parallel timeline where it cost me a lot of money in smashed joysticks. There would have been questions in Parliament over the violence. There would be a Kickstarter to remake it, and they’d be asking for a million bucks. If I were writing games journalism instead of slightly drunken post-Xmas-party bollocks in comments threads, I’d want to write about it.

          I think I’ll get hundreds of times as many hours out of, say, XCOM and Dishonored than out of H:M, but it’s a very memorable, interesting, well-executed original.

    • CMaster says:

      The three games remaining are pretty evidently Far Cry 3, XCOM and Hotline Miami. The hivemind have talked the most about XCOM, but perhaps raved the most about Hotline Miami. Far Cry 3 came in late, and has received some pretty glowing mentions from 3 members of the hivemind now, but hasn’t got an awful lot of coverage, or even a verdict. That could be of course becausse they’re saving up for a suprise GOTY announcement.

      I’d still go for XCOM and HM as the most likely though.

    • Premium User Badge Jackablade says:

      My money is on XCom. Hotline Miami is brilliant, but it seems a little too ephemeral to give it the game of the year. XCom seems like a more “important” game in the greater scheme of things. Or that’s my theory at least.

      • Flint says:

        I don’t think something being ephemeral etc is really a disqualifier, after all World of Goo was RPS’ Game of the Year in the past.

      • Isair says:

        If we’re talking disqualifiers, XCOM is a half-broken game that doesn’t quite live up to the standards of 18 years ago. You could probably make a compelling argument for why that makes it a fitting GOTY, but I’m not sure why you’d want to.

    • Armante says:

      Please, not Hotline Miami. I understand everyone has their own likes and dislikes, but HM is so completely not a game I enjoyed the brief time I played it, that it would feel wrong to me.

      Just my opinion, btw. Maybe Xcom?

  3. Baboonanza says:

    This probably is my GOTY, the only game I played this year that I was thinking ‘This is utterly amazing’ whilst playing the whole way through without getting bored by the end. I don’t really care that the plot was shit.

    • SominiTheCommenter says:

      Me too. With a good plot it would skyrocket, but it’s still my GOTY.
      I still didn’t play XCOM, or Hotline Miami.

    • Zanchito says:

      I concur: for me, this game was just perfect in every regard. YMMV, of course, but it oozed so much style it could have been programmed by James Bond himself.

  4. Dozer says:

    http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/images/12/dec/red2.jpg

    What’s up with your faaaaaaaace?

  5. Gnoupi says:

    “I can’t actually Google who it was, because I am out of range of internet, and will have forgotten about writing this passage by the time it’s published on the site”

    Rock Paper Shotgun: delivering articles to the Internet via messenger pigeons since 1873.

    • Premium User Badge Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      Dear Sir (or, conceivably, Madam),

      I write to acknowledge receipt of your pigeon. I regret that I cannot send the document you have requested, for it has not been found. Please notify your manservant that, in the barbarous but commendably concise technical parlance, “Error 404″ has occurred. He is to stoke the boiler vigorously before trying again. It is probably not necessary to thrash him unless he is laggardly in performing this duty.

      While your man shovels coal into the maw of the fires once more, please enjoy an amusing little interlude we call “Adventure at Castle Shotgun” (Enclosed).

      Yr. obd’t. &c,

      A. C. “Custard” Smingleigh (Lord), OBE (Withdrawn).
      Brigadier, Her Majesty’s 3rd Mounted Extremely Irregulars (Catering), (Discharged, Dishon.)

  6. SuperNashwanPower says:

    Damn, they put Dishonored here. RPS GOTY is going to be Far Cry 3 isn’t it? Please dont let it be that. Its good, but not as good as Dishonored. A game with that many unskippable cutscenes, turret sections, dreadful checkpointing (that breaks), inane story and awful QTE boss fights really doesnt deserve quite ALL the praise its getting, even though it has some high moments. The open world stuff is awesome but brief, and the missions with more open maps are great, but that still leaves a third of the game which was eyelash rippingly awful, and map limitations seemingly designed to frustrate the ones which might have excelled.

    I think I would rather see XCom or something up there. Maybe it will be XCom.

    • kataras says:

      I agree, FC3 was such a let down in the end for me. I couldn’t bring myself to finish it. Dishonoured, however flawed, is still a great game.

      • SuperNashwanPower says:

        Absolutely. I forced myself through to the end of FC3, but felt compelled to finish Dishonored – even if its payoff was weak.

        SPOILERS (EDIT: For the interminably curious, that is spoilers for Far Cry 3 – not dishonored):

        I was also disappointed that Citra just turned out to be a bunny boiler girlfriend. I was hoping for just one truly honourable person on the island. Maybe that was the point – to add to the sickness of the hollowness of the killing. A noble Citra would just have validated the experience, rather than making me feel a total w*nker surrounded by w*nkers.

        • P7uen says:

          Appreciate the put spoiler tags, but you mentioned 2 games and FC3 is now spoiled for me (luckily, I couldn’t give a monkey’s, I’m just going in for the sparkly trees and sharks).

          • SuperNashwanPower says:

            Sorry chap, but thats what Spoiler tags are. If you carry on reading past them, its a bit like wandering past a sign that says “Danger: Mines” and being shocked when you notice your gonads making a break for the stratosphere.

            You’ll like the trees though, and the w******t

    • malkav11 says:

      I doubt it. The hivemind does seem to have enjoyed Far Cry 3, but not without significant quibbles.

      • SuperNashwanPower says:

        I think I was just surprised that its COD-like elements weren’t more strongly stated in reviews. John’s Wot I Loathe talked about the story, the mission areas and the static characters, and so TBH I was surprised when about half of the story missions suffered from all the things modern warfares would have got a pasting for.

        I got the impression they were expecting nothing of FC3 (whereas I had high hopes for it) and were so surprised that it featured the great open world bits, that they sort of overlooked the ‘cinematic’ bits and to an extent, forgave the QTE boss battles. I also wonder if any of them suffered through the Lost Expeditions edition, which particularly showed these problems (NB if given a choice – go for the Monkey Business pack!)

        Once I had forced myself through the early dross, and given up on the ‘my husband is gay’ side non-missions, the 2nd island did get better and the open-ish bits e.g. the comms base and driving to the airport, were awesome. I just was left wondering why they had to shove the crap in there, and moreover why this wasn’t more roundly jumped on by the RPS chaps.

  7. Dances to Podcasts says:

    “That’s wild! There’s an entire holiday devoted to just saying, “Fuck it” and busting down the chains of civilized society. I want to live in a world unhinged enough to do that.”

    Oh, right. You don’t have carnival.

    • Marijn says:

      But you do have Occupy, so why didn’t you join that, Nathan, you fucking POSER?

    • Dinger says:

      I thought it was Saturnalia.
      The Lord of the Rings had a crappy plot too, and sometimes some appalling writing. But the world it painted was something else.
      What I find amazing about the plot is that we’re supposed to care at all. We’re thrown into a world that is just morally repulsive, with disturbing parallels to our own fossil-fueled exploitation of the poor of the planet and exhaustion of every living thing to feed our overpopulation while waiting for the next pandemic. In Dunwall, everyone is loathsome and redeeming features are hard to find, and you expect me to believe that the best of endings is a “New Golden Age”?
      Yet somehow I do care.

      • MvBuren says:

        I think it is almost certainly Roman — in addition to the Saturnalia, the very ancient Roman calendar had a period of about fifty days between the end of one year and the beginning of the next, whose exact ending was decided by priests. The reason, I think, was that there was no farm work to be done in the winter, so there was no need of a calendar to tell you when to plant and when to reap. Wiki says this was changed by King Numa, who invented January and February to fill in the gap.

    • The Random One says:

      They do have Mardi Gras, though, which is the same thing (parades, floats, everyone turns into a sex fiend, wake up five days later hangover and missing a kidney)

      • Supahewok says:

        That’s just New Orleans. And I guess Vegas is technically like that all the time. If you don’t get stabbed.

        • Sparkasaurusmex says:

          Many major cities in the US celebrate a knock-off of Mardi Gras

      • Saldek says:

        In Europe you have to hang out with Berlusconi for that sort of lifestyle.

  8. Ernesto25 says:

    My GOTY the level design is almost as good as the old deus ex as you don’t notice how you could have played it until the second play-through. Im glad they put the option the turn all the indicators off.

    • KenTWOu says:

      the level design is almost as good as the old deus ex

      Dishonored gave you too much freedom, so there is no challenge during navigating through levels. I don’t think that it’s possible to compare such level design with original Deus Ex. Original Deus Ex had slightly different principles.

      • Ernesto25 says:

        i agree it did and the cost was far harder but i still enjoyed the freedom that i felt with Deus ex, “compared the Human revolution’s man size vent to get around obstacle” level design.

        @Terragoat I agree with that plus combined with the jumping helped me move mirrors edge style.

        • SuperNashwanPower says:

          The only things that felt out of place were those odd, seemingly deliberately constructed random holes in the sides of buildings – the ones as if there should be a balcony / shutters but there isn’t. I looked for some sign that those things had fallen off, but there wasn’t. It was just a perfect, square hole allowing access to the side of a building.

          Still the game was total badassery IMO

        • KenTWOu says:

          @Ernesto25
          It was more Crysis 2 style than Mirror’s Edge. And I think that Human Revolution level design has more than just ‘man size vents’ everywhere.

    • Terragot says:

      I’d argue it’s better. The blink ability was a brave choice, giving the player that much power, but the level design is built around it, and works fantastically.

      Also, how they flesh out the story through merging mechanics, characters and the environment was incredibly suprising. Example being the pistol duel, or even the guest lodger which I came across at the end of that particular level.

      • KenTWOu says:

        The pistol duel? Do you mean that pistol duel where it’s possible to shot your opponent from non-lethal weapon and his servants pretend he is dead?

  9. kataras says:

    That’s wild! There’s an entire holiday devoted to just saying, “Fuck it” and busting down the chains of civilized society.

    As far as I remember that was the original point of Carnival (along with celebrating fertility). I think it still survives in some way in some part of the Andes. Social Anthropology class was many years ago, so I don’t remember exactly…

    Oh and the game was really good.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      There’s a good deal of theory that suggests that all forms of festival are about breaking and remaking social structure/conventions to a certain extent, in order to a) give people a chance for fun and b) reinforce those bonds by showing them in relief.

      I learnded that at a unimaversity so it must be true.

  10. ILR says:

    “But perhaps it’s a game that really just about itself, and about game design generally.

    That could be enough.”

    So, it’s the gaming equivalent of There Will Be Blood, then? That would explain why I have a hard time getting immersed in this game.

    • Runs With Foxes says:

      Ugh. Immersion has nothing to do with the overarching plot and themes.

  11. BenLeng says:

    The thing that struck me most about dishonored is, how gorgeous it is. The Art direction is absolutely flawless: the characters, the architecture, the textures- everything brilliant! I did get a very strong HalfLife 2 flashback from the game, besides the art direction, there were the first person cutscenes, the guided tours through a beautifully realized world – but also some instances where you could clearly feel the invisible hand of the level designer guiding you (that already bothered me in HL2).
    Gameplaywise it was great, but did not hook me quite as strongly as hotline miami did.

  12. strangeloup says:

    I believe it was on RPS’ recommendation that I turned all the indicators off and set it to the second-hardest difficulty. Which is why I haven’t finished the bastard thing yet and I’m still stuck on the bridge level.

    It seems to have occasional moments of incredibly annoying really wonky difficulty, where you’ll cock up slightly and suddenly every bloody guard in Dunwall converges on your position. Usually just after it’s autosaved, and your last manual save was half an hour ago.

    I love everything else about the game apart from these moments where it decides that I’m enjoying myself too much and it won’t stand for it. And yes, I suppose I could lower the difficulty, but that would be admitting defeat.

    • Ernesto25 says:

      There is a quick save as well ^^

      • SuperNashwanPower says:

        Yup. I have a natural tick now that sees me reaching for the F5 (F6? Can’t remember which) key almost all the time in games like this

        • Premium User Badge Bluerps says:

          I know what you mean – I got that too. In fact, it’s gotten so bad that sometimes I wait for a game to load and when it’s done loading I think “Waiting for that was really boring. Better quicksafe, so that I don’t have to wait aga… oh. :(“

  13. zbmott says:

    Whalepunk? Is that a thing now?

  14. Chris D says:

    I’m a little surprised that going non-lethal still appears to be seen as the nicer thing to do. I chose to go non-lethal because by the start of the game Corvo had seen the woman he loved killed, been stitched up for that and then tortured for 6 months. No way those bastards were going to get away with just a quick knife in the dark, that would have been way too easyl.

    (I am not a psychopath in real life, I promise.)

    Oh. I’m also curious to know how many people chose to help Granny Rags infect the elixirs. I was about to but then read the list of customers and couldn’t go through with it.

    • Premium User Badge Bluerps says:

      Did the same. Helping a weird old lady against some thugs who harass her is one thing, helping her infect a bunch of innocent people with a deadly disease is something else entirely. Even infecting only the gangmembers would have been a bit much, I think.

    • Premium User Badge Lorewin says:

      I went completely non-lethal at the start (and replayed the sewers once due to what I think was an inadvertent guard drowning).

      SPOILERS below

      After finishing the next area and getting the report I’d made a kill, I abandoned the non-lethal approach and played it as a story. Initially I was a little frustrated that you get no immediate feedback on whether you’ve missed out on the “no kills” until end of the level, but ultimately I believe it made the game more enjoyable for me – I made conscious choices according to a moral compass rather than chasing a checkbox..
      I avoided killing any civilians (including poisoning the supply for Granny Rags). I took the non-lethal route on all the major plotlines – not always to spare the targets, but because my Corvo was a bodyguard, not an assassin – no matter how much the resistance wanted to cast him as such.
      I went out of my way to kill the torturer (after reading the note from Granny I was still happy about that). I spared Daud – partly because of what the Heart said about him, and partly because of his own point that to kill him would be to become him.

    • KenTWOu says:

      I’m a little surprised that going non-lethal still appears to be seen as the nicer thing to do.

      It’s understandable If the game supports non-lethal. For example, Chaos Theory gives you tons of dialogues during interrogations. You miss them completely, if you try to kill enemies with your knife or even choose ghosting. The problem with Dishonored that its non-lethal approach very bland and repetitive. The most important feature of the game is emergent gameplay. And it’s all about killing everything that moves. Sometimes even narrative design is much better if you choose lethal approach.

  15. Eddy9000 says:

    I had exactly the same experience of completing the game once as a blink-stealth-non lethal run, getting excited about playing it again with a pistol and sword, wind-blasting people off balconies and having them eaten by rats, and then not being at all bothered to actually play it a second time.

    Can anyone suggest why such a potentially re-playable game might cause so much apathy for an actual replay?

    My theory is that in the amount of freedom offered to the player there are no stand out bits that I was desperate to re-do. In Deus Ex I wanted to replay just to hear the texan NLF man’s discussion of Jojo’s earring, or to fall out the hole in the top of the hall onto the big hand and gun everyone down instead of sneaking to the ground floor through ducts and darting them. In Dishonoured it was so rich that no one thing stands out for me as something I want to see again (Oh alright, maybe the bridge level).

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      I think basically its that the game works much better as a stealth-o-tron. The volume of enemies is often low to allow for easier sneaking, so in combat its just block-stab-ohanotherdude-BANG. I think if you are in the mood for being creative with the kills e.g. possessing a dude as his friend fires and using bend time to make him walk in front of the bullet, you can have some good sandbox fun, but once you’ve stealthed through it doesnt feel quite so exciting. That and you know you are heading for the “YOUZ A BAD MAN” storyline.

    • Zenicetus says:

      The level design is part of it, I think. The game offered enough areas with alternate paths that it seemed somewhat “open” at times. But there were also many plot-critical areas where the game offers basically only one directed pathway, like the Bridge, the water elevator bit at the start of Return to the Tower, or the path to Daud once you enter the Assassin base building.

      I can imagine exactly how those sequences have to go on a play-through, which means I haven’t re-played it after the first time through. I’ll probably do that later next year during a dry spell.

      Another thing, is that I think I hit a good personal balance of stealth vs. killing during the first play-through (about 70% stealth, 30% kills). I don’t have the patience to do a 100% Ghost replay, and the full-on combat with swordplay, grenades, and guns just wasn’t interesting enough to tempt me to go more in that direction. So that’s another reason I’ll wait a while before replaying, because I’ll probably do it the same way the next time through. It will feel a little more fresh a year from now.

      Replay value aside, it was still one of the best two or three games I bought and played this year. These days, if I actually complete a game it must have been pretty good!

  16. Premium User Badge jezcentral says:

    It occurs to me that the better the game is, the more complaining there is about it’s flaws. If the game is merely competent, the critics seem to be less excited about it and criticise it in less precise and less ferocious ways. (E.g. DXHR bosses and the ME3 ending, vs, say, a Total War game.)

    Relative to other, lesser games this year, they have comparatively ripped Dishonored a new one in this review, while simultaneously saying it just missed out GOTY.

    Bah! I’ve forgotten the point I was trying to make, or if, indeed, I was trying to make one.

    • jhng says:

      I think that’s partly because the better a game is overall, the more glaring and obvious its shortcomings are. With Dishonoured the lack of thematic and narrative heft is made more apparently because other aspects of the game are so strong.

    • Premium User Badge AndrewC says:

      A child’s first drawing will be met with great praise for keeping within the lines, or looking vaguely like the thing it represents.

      An adult’s will be met with criticism of its composition and colour balance.

      The higher the achievement, the more brutally exacting the criticism. Judge a game not by how much criticism it gets, but by the nature of its criticism.

  17. jhng says:

    The thing that really stuck with me from Dishonored was the joy of having absolutely no HUD in a first person game. I’ve been so used to constant screen furniture of one sort or amother that making it all vanish was quite a revelation.

    Otherwise, I agree with Alec’s comment re Lady Boyle — that was the only time in the game that I felt really accountable. For the most part it was really about the game of it first and foremost. As fr as Lady Boyle goes, in the end I actually reloaded and went for the alternative, which felt somehow more honest and respectful to the character.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      SPOILERS

      Me too. When he delivered the line about “she’ll learn to love me too, given enough time” I was desperately mashing the mouse button to shoot the tosser. Alas the game had taken away control at that point, which felt a bit … off.

  18. webwielder says:

    Dishonored was really fun to play. But then I think about how pervasive the incredibly boring propaganda voice was, how its drab tone and meaningless words followed me everywhere, and the overall hollowness of the world and the complete lack of wit, humanity, warmth, or humor (except for the maid, and her teasing flirtations. But they killed her abruptly while keeping several dead-eyed allies alive). And so I have no desire to enter that world again.

  19. Premium User Badge Bluerps says:

    I’m still in the process of playing thorugh this game (I’ve just climbed the bridge), but so far I’m loving it. The levels are beautiful, and I don’t remember ever feeling so free in a stealth game. It’s not really a very hard game, but I’m not bothered by that. I’m trying to get through it without beeing seen by anyone, and that is challenging enough for me.

  20. Shazbut says:

    I think the backstory and details were kind of irrelevant because the narrative was so weak. I feel the shit story hurt it really. It would have been better if there was no story. Once it became apparent that the story wasn’t going anywhere, I stopped using the heart and eventually stopped reading the books ingame. What’s the point of knowing the “backstory” to something that has no relevance?

    DE:HR was very different. I recently replayed it and read the emails even more thoroughly. Everything from Belltower’s activities to Tai Yong Medical’s power structure was related to the main plot. There was actually something to figure out and to understand. It feels so fully fleshed out with it’s various corporations. Dishonored goes on about whale oil. It has no bearing on the story, we never see any alternative source of fuel, or how the whale oil is made, or even a whale! (I seem to remember) So who cares?

    • Premium User Badge AndrewC says:

      It was, at least, deliberate. They are genuinely incidental detail, they have no mystery to solve, nor prize to gain at the end. They are simply the sorts of books the people of the city might read. Freeing these details from any gaming mechanism or win-condition allows them to be purely about mood and atmosphere. And, being incidental, you do not need to read them.

      You can decide how succesful they were in this but it was, at least, deliberate.

      • Terragot says:

        What seemed needless for me wasn’t the boos but infact the audio logs. Not only didn’t they fit into the lore all that smartly, they didn’t make any logical sense, sometimes characters would monologe over them when you had started them, they were bound to the environment so you had to stand and hang around to listen to them and were made even more pointless when the player is given that heart, which does the jobs of the audio logs much more convincingly.

    • Runs With Foxes says:

      I swear if Thief or System Shock were released today, people would complain that the themes weren’t embraced fully enough, and the character backgrounds and world-building weren’t crammed down players’ throats. Fortunately Arkane seems to care more about design than forced storywank.

      • Runs With Foxes says:

        ‘Course the thing is, Dishonored does have a heap of character info and world-building.

        “Roughly 90,000 words in AI-driven one-liners (or ‘barks’) and spoken dialogue, and another 40,000 written words in the form of notes, books, graffiti, etc.” Were that put into a book, it’d be over 500 pages. The cast of characters in Dishnored is also voluminous: “[A]round 50 named characters, major or minor, and another 50 alluded to in works of fiction.”

        It’s just not rammed down your throat in cutscenes. So it must suck right.

      • KenTWOu says:

        I swear if Thief or System Shock were released today…

        Dishonored problems concerning character/story development would be more obvious.

    • Shooop says:

      When did anything in any of the emails mean anything in that game?

      They consisted mostly of personal notes about people you’d never run into. I read almost every email in the game and I don’t think I ever learned anything more interesting than conspiracy theory spam still exists in the future.

      • Shazbut says:

        Mild DE:HR Spoilers follow…

        They constantly drip fed you details about things you didn’t yet understand and later would, like what Darrow was up to, what Van Bruggen did, etc. and they also had emails that added a lot to major characters like the one referring to Sarif being courted by the head of the Illuminati. It’s not a whole lot different in style than what Dishonored did and they did have the benefit of having an already established world to elaborate on, but fundamentally the emails expanded upon a plot which you were already curious about. It probably helps that it is a story about conspiracies and you’re trying to understand what’s going on but the spine of the story is strong. It’s basically a good story, unlike Dishonored’s. And even when the emails did refer to people you never met, it was still illuminating some aspect of the central narrative.

  21. Hulk Handsome says:

    SPOILERS

    I felt the same about handling Lady Boyle’s fate. I presumed I was doing the right thing because catface told me they were in love. So I met Lady Boyle in the basement and waited for her to talk, standing there growing rather confused. She only grew impatient and eventually left in a huff.

    I ended up thumping her on the head instead. I found this a bit odd but thought, okay, whatever. I dropped her into the boat, and THEN the guy reveals that Boyle may not have actually been okay with what’s going on and I had a sudden “wait, what have I done” moment.

    Unfortunately, it was cheapened for me a fair bit because of what I described in the first paragraph.

    END SPOILERS

    As for the lack of motivation to replay, I think it’s because of a few reasons. For one, you can’t really specialise in anything. The player is a master of all weapons and all the skills are unlocked and leveled up very easily. Half of them aren’t even really skills, just more exciting ways to kill people.

    So while in Deus Ex I can have a character who’s really good at one thing but really bad at another, which makes for interesting situations where I have to adapt or can make alternate paths more viable, in Dishonored you’re pretty much good at everything so there is no need to go back and play with different skill sets and every path is pretty much accessible to anyone.

    In other words, in Deus Ex I can have a guy who’s either good at sneaking or good at fucking shit up. In Dishonored, I’m a guy who’s fantastic at both. It’s just a matter of if I feel like killing people or not. And is that really enough motivation to play again, especially when it’s not a very interesting action game (even if the violence can be rather satisfying)?

    I had a few other reasons but this post is already too long and I’m tired!

  22. Premium User Badge MarkN says:

    I enjoyed Dishonored, but didn’t think it was brilliant. I also managed a partial second playthrough, despite very rarely doing that, but mainly because I found the first stealthy playthrough a tad underwhelming. It felt like I was picking up tons of cool toys that I couldn’t use. I enjoyed the secoond lethal playthrough a lot more, despite not finishing it.

    I didn’t finish the second play because – well – very little of it is memorable. You spend so much time in generic rubbled buildings full of corpses – like in so many games – that it’s actually all a bit drab. The masked ball is a stand-out, but much of the rest is pretty anonymous – even things like Caldwin’s bridge are underwhelming and forgettable.

    But the real disappointment for me was the under-used whaling. Having read Moby Dick fairly recently I really wanted the whaling aspect to be in-my-face. Having it as a big part of Dunwall really appealed to me. But it really isn’t. There are a few blink-and-you’ll miss them whaling ships, but most of the whaling stuff is in the books, and on ever-present posters for whale oil tax. The oil is used, but the grisly reality of the stuff is tucked away. There needed to be a mission set in a dock with a whaling ship and a whale oil factory. They must have considered that as a level setting,surely? Not having it felt like a pulled punch to me. This is what makes the place tick – make me deal with it.

    • Runs With Foxes says:

      There is a whale oil refinery in the flooded district. Going there is a pretty major (though optional) objective.

      • Premium User Badge MarkN says:

        I probably went there – I was being very thorough on my first play. The fact that I can’t remember it is probably due to the locations being very samey and forgettable. If it was just another industrial-looking building with “Whale Oil Refinery” written on the outside I’d have forgotten all about it. I didn’t overlook a ruddy-great steaming whale carcass by any chance, did I?

        • Hidden_7 says:

          Yep, though it’s a little out of the way. Also the refinery inside is absolutely coated with the bioluminescent oil, so it’s a fairly memorable scene.

          I find it a little crazy that you thought the environments were drab and samey, since that’s the thing I most loved about the game. I spent a lot of it just taking screenshots and most are of environment. Then again, I live in a West Coast North American city that’s a little over a hundred years old. Dunwall, as it was influenced by British cities is completely unlike anywhere I’ve ever been. Coupled with the world building elements that ticked just the right boxes for me (I absolutely love the Lovecraftian, nihilistic cosmology of the game), and Dunwall was an exciting and fresh environment that easily rocketed to one of my favorite game settings of all time.

  23. chesh says:

    I’d love a game about The Mission. With Eldritch as a multi-formed final boss, natch.

  24. Runs With Foxes says:

    “But that’s a terrible way of going about storytelling.” — John Walker

    “Story is not the purpose of a videogame.” — Harvey Smith

    Dishonored’s ‘storytelling’ is its moment-to-moment player-driven narrative, the kind that’s created all those YouTube videos of people doing insane shit with the game’s powers and weapons. Its plot is deliberately simple and easy to grasp: woman killed, child kidnapped, take revenge. You don’t need anything more than that unless you’ve been schooled by Bioware, in which case you’re probably a lost cause.

    • Unrein says:

      Guess Grim Fandango and The Walking Dead are shit then.

      • Dominic White says:

        As games? They are. The Walking Dead is slightly more interactive than a Choose Your Own Adventure book, and Grim Fandango’s ‘gameplay’ is just an excuse to sneak in more sight gags and snark.

        They’re great at what they do – I loved The Walking Dead, I really did – but they’re definitely on the low end of what can even be considered gameplay.

      • PopeRatzo says:

        As games, Grim Fandango and Walking Dead are pretty much shit.

  25. Soon says:

    I still haven’t finished it despite owning since release. I have the same apathy towards it that many people seem to, despite it seeming like a game I should really love.

    I don’t think I like the way levels are designed. It feels like too much filler around a relatively small objective, as opposed to Thief’s large objective with smaller surroundings. So, although levels still feel big, they feel somewhat narrow (and then retrospectively small because I mostly remember the objective location as the mission proper in my head).

    Most memorable moment was knocking out Lady Boyle upstairs, then having to work out a way to get her body to the basement unseen (I accidentally messed the conversation up) without killing or KO’ing anybody else (also wasn’t using powers except blink/agility).

  26. PeteC says:

    Edit. Reply fail.

  27. Premium User Badge Vandelay says:

    Still in midst of playing this (up to Flooded District and currently in Daud’s office, so I’m guessing I’m near the end,) and I’m really enjoying it. Personally, I think it is the best game of the year, but I’ve not played Far Cry 3 yet.

    On shortness, I think it could probably have done with another level or two before the “shocking” twist. Returning to Dunwell tower seemed to happen very abruptly, particular considering there had only been four proper missions before it, taking place in only three areas. Fortunately, there was plenty of things to do in those missions, so I don’t feel particular short changed. It certainly says more about a game that you want more, than if everyone said it outstayed its welcome.

    As for story, it is complete fluff, but I don’t care. What is important is the individual moments that make up each level, the ones created by the player’s actions. Dishonoured has plenty of those.

    • popej says:

      Aye, it was too short for me. It really needed another 4-5 introductory missions before the main storyline kicked off. It was also too straight forward (albeit fun) with all the powers you get. The ‘knockout and carry off mechanics’ were just too forgiving (yes, on ‘very hard’ with ALL the aids off :P )

      I’ve been spoiled by Thief, that’s the (My) problem.

      It was still a great game and hopefully a lesson for other developers. For me personally though, it doesn’t come close to Dark Souls for this years best game (PC version of course).

      Also, assuming RPS consider Dark Souls this years release it could well be a contender for their number 1.

      edit: Having said I may have missed Dark Souls in the advent calendar already?

      • eclipse mattaru says:

        Having said I may have missed Dark Souls in the advent calendar already?

        Yeah, you missed it. As it happens, the goddamned game of the decade was like the third game from the bottom here, and only *one* of the hiveminders bothered to talk about it. I’ve been pissed off at this stupid calendar ever since >:(

    • PopeRatzo says:

      currently in Daud’s office, so I’m guessing I’m near the end

      The beginning was near the end.

  28. captain nemo says:

    I love Dishonored, but the Outsider makes me laugh every time -> He looks like a frat boy

    • PopeRatzo says:

      That’s one of the things I liked best.

      If there were an Outsider, the chances are very good that he would indeed look like a frat boy.

  29. eclipse mattaru says:

    it managed that magical and all-too-rare feat of letting you feel like you were becoming genuinely more powerful within the world, while still matching the challenge to your powers

    What? Was my copy missing a level or something?

    I played in the uber-crazy-impossible-whatever difficulty, all aids off, and halfway into the game I was sitting on a pile of money and magic bones and runes, and neglecting to use them (as well as half my arsenal, inventory and indeed half the environmental opportunities) just so I could get something resembling a challenge.

    The enemies are such massive retards they will merrily conga-line into any trap, and even when they outnumbered me 5 to 1 I managed to take them all down with just that switchblade thing –let alone if I started messing with the powers. The tallboys? Like 4 in the entire game, and a joke to fight. The ninjas? Very promising at first, short-sighted and dumb like rocks in the end.

    Seriously, this game is a gorgeous looking little thing and it has a bunch of great ideas in it and what all not; but if there is one word it doesn’t deserve to have anywhere near, that would be “challenge”.

  30. Jahkaivah says:

    I acknowledge that the reasoning behind the decisions I made during Dishonoured wasn’t exactly sound, but I felt that Lady Boyle was the one assassination target with a non-violent alternative that at least had a chance of them being alright in the end. I suppose Campbell might have been okay as well, but it turns out he becomes a weeper later on.

  31. wodin says:

    It was a very good game..but fell short of classic status. One thing that struck me was how empty the world felt..It’s something that bugs me in open world games anyway..ala Skyrim where your in a City but it has a population of 20 or so.. Dishonored was even worse..

  32. captain nemo says:

    And another thing … Blink is just like Delphi’s ‘Turbo’ from ‘Giants Citizen Kabuto’. How I loved that game

  33. d00d3n says:

    This is disappointing. I can live with Far Cry 3 for GOTY, but XCOM would be a really boring choice (and Miami Hotline or the Walking Dead would be pure provocation).
    The blink mechanic combined with the fantastic climbing system was the most brilliant gameplay loop of the past year. It was a delight to explore all the dark corners of Dunwall (the best setting in several years) and stack bodies in them. In a year, XCOM will be a footnote for strategy nerds and Dishonored will still be original and significant.

  34. bigjig says:

    Eh, I wasn’t really as enamored with Dishonoured as everyone seems to be. It was a good game sure, but I get the sneaking suspicion that in a year more jam packed with great games, Dishonoured wouldn’t have gotten the gushing reaction it got. I can’t really explain it in an eloquent manner – I had a fairly good time going through the game once but I have no real desire to ever load it up again. At the start I would fully explore the levels, but never really found anything to be worth exploring. Towards the end the game just got a bit too samey and I just put objective markers on to get it over and done with. Maybe I am being nostalgic for Thief, but the stealth sections never really had any tension for me. There are flourishes – I did like some of the final confrontations with Daud and Granny Rags and listening to the heart for more backstory, but overall it just wasn’t the game for me.

  35. PopeRatzo says:

    ” Corvo is the player, and the player is Corvo. In this way Dishonored looks even more like an elegy to the art required to create it.”

    What a load of crapola. And as a retired professor of critical theory and postmodern literature, I have professional expertise in crapola.

    Dishonored was fun, but unsatisfying. The notion that it’s designers would want to create an “elegy” to design is about the same as saying they realize that they did a half-assed job. Like a painter creating an elegy to paint. Well, if an elegy is necessary, it’s because you suck at your job, boyo.

    Perhaps the author really didn’t mean the word “elegy” but used it because it sounds good.

    • bab says:

      The notion that it’s designers would want to create an “elegy” to design is about the same as saying they realize that they did a half-assed job.

      I’m… unsure if we have the same definition of an elegy – can you explain how you’ve reached this conclusion? I don’t understand how the designers wanting to produce a game in this sort of response to other art makes it half assed – but do see exactly how it is necessary.

      - A current honours student studying critical theory and postmodern literature.

  36. popej says:

    I’ve read a lot of opinion about this game and one thing above all puzzles me. There’s a lot of superlatives used about how many nooks and crannies there are to explore, and how each new mission is enourmous and full of little events and distractions etc etc.

    So, the thing that I’m wondering then, is have I somehow missed this stuff? I’ve spent a good 17 hours on it and I’ve finished it with all the aids off on very hard. I was forced to take my time, which I always do anyway. (I’m the sort who starts games over and over again and rarely plays through to completion).

    Where is all this stuff!? Like someone said above, there’s only about 4 tall boys in the entire game (that I could find), and they’re not particularly challenging to negotiate, so why do they get such a big mention everywhere?

    Also startlingly obvious (to me at least) is that fact that there’s only 9 missions and they’re really not that big!

    In summary, am I blind to half of the games content, or is it because I’m setting the bar for longevity and immersion too high (Thief)?

    edit: I already know the answer to this of course, just fostering discussion.

  37. thecat17 says:

    “They exist without permission. They are hated, hunted, and persecuted. They live in quiet desperation amongst the filth. And yet they are capable of bringing entire civilisations to their knees.

    If you are dirty, insignificant and unloved then rats are the ultimate role model.”

    - banksy

  38. Chumbaba says:

    I have been a huge fan of Warren Spector’s 3D/stealth games (Underworld, System Shock, Thief, Deus Ex) and I find Dishonored both boring and stupid. As pointed out in the text, Dishonored has no real story. Nor has it any interesting characters – the only one dies 5 minutes in the game (empress). The game concept is silly – it is supposed to be a stealth game, but it takes place mostly in broad daylight. It is supposed to be Thief-like, bud 70% of all the shop items and gadgets are designed to kill people. It takes place in “sort of London” without enough fluff to support the feeling of a world. The story makes no sense – Corvo is being sent to murder strange people by other strange people I did not care about. Who is Corvo? Chief bodyguard? Sent away for months? Some bodyguard… Lord protector? Shouldn’t that have been the usurper’s title (see Cromwell)? Corvo really does not know all the lords and admirals, having served at the court for years? What is Outsider? Should he make us feel “From Hell”-like? But he just sits around making boring comments… Granny Weatherwax and her unrelated and boring side-line consisting of two quests? Is that supposed to be a comedy with all those “oh so British” faces? Or a serious adult game where stabbing people in the neck is an option?

    In the end, Dishonored is a mess. Badly written, confused, dumb. The gameplay is mostly recycled from Deus Ex, Batman games etc. I really liked Arx Fatalis from the same team. The hype surrounding Dishonored clearly shows, how desperate gaming journalists are in the era of Assassin’s Creed and other “AAA+” would-be-stealth games.