I consider myself fortunate to have been able to play Dishonored before release at Eurogamer 2012, and upon release, to review in October of the same year. So when Bethesda announced the release of the Definitive Edition on current gen I was interested to see what they would do to improve on the release.
For those of you who missed Dishonored in the last generation, you undertake the role of Corvo Attano, Lord Protector and chief bodyguard of the Empress of Dunwall, Jessamine Kaldwin. Returning unsuccessfully from a mission to the Free Isles, to seek political aid and insight into a mysterious plague that is ravaging the citizens of Dunwall, you are embroiled in the assassination of the Empress and the kidnap of her daughter, Emily Kaldwin.
Captured by the Empress’ spy-master, Hiram Burrows, you are quickly taken to the prison of Coldridge, where you are held and interrogated for six months. On the eve of your execution, Burrows, now the Lord Regent, and Campbell, the High Overseer, leader of the chief religious faction in Dunwall, reveal that your early return had interrupted their plans to overthrow the sovereign and situate her daughter on the throne as a puppet monarch.
Returning to your cell, you are slipped a note from a group known as the Loyalists, who believe that you are innocent and correctly presume the murder of the Empress is the work of the former spy-master. Escaping the prison you find yourself in a rundown pub owned by the leader of the Loyalists, Admiral Havelock, who requests your aid in removing the corrupt government and recovering the future Empress Emily from their grasp.
Following your exploits is The Outsider (a supernatural being whose worship is outlawed by the Overseers) who offers you his aid in seeking your vengeance against those who have wronged you. During this meeting you are given your first taste of the powers The Outsider can bestow, when he grants you the ability to “Blink” from one point to another. Each of your spectral abilities require Runes to unlock and upgrade and adrenaline to use.
Combining these abilities with the array of weapons and devices you have available makes for an interesting and unique approach to each of the areas and enemies in the game. The options are there, and cater to your playstyle, be it primarily stealth, aggressively combative or a mixture of the two.
The Chaos system Arkane have created is a simple but elegant mechanic. Your choices throughout the story have an impact on the city of Dunwall as it suffers from the mysterious plague. Killing enemies will adversely attract more rats and certain side quests, such as sabotaging an illegal plague tonic distillery for rewards, will leave the less wealthy citizens more open to the infection and may introduce to future levels more “weepers”, the citizens infected beyond the point of no return. Although it only has two settings, low chaos and high chaos, which level you are on affects how others treat you. You may find that some of the quest NPCs will no longer assist you if you are too wanton in your destructiveness, and may even go out of their way to alert your presence to the guards.
Dishonored is a hugely enjoyable and accomplished game and how you wish to make your way through the story is the biggest choice you will make. Will you live up to your role as Lord Protector and remove the corrupt government who is destroying the city from the inside, and try to remove the plague threat that is decimating Dunwall? Or will you spurn the people who have branded you a traitor and cut a swathe through Dunwall to exact your revenge, leaving them to rot in the plague infested streets you leave in your wake? it is entirely up to you.
It is worth noting, this is not an enhanced release in the standard definition. Although there is a distinct improvement in the lighting used within the game, and a greater fidelity to the textures overall with sharper visuals and more vibrant colours, the improvements are discernible but not overwhelming. At the end of the day this appears to be a timely port to coincide with their E3 show and the announcement of a sequel rather than a planned redesign of the title.
Neither of the previous niggles I found when reviewing the title back in 2012 have been addressed in this release. Enemy AI can still break the immersion when it fails, (on occasion), to respond to your actions or the assembled corpses littering the environment, and the somewhat fiddly aiming of Blink can still slow down the pacing of the game making you feel clumsy and imprecise, rather than the agile master assassin.
It is worth mentioning the cost as well. For those of us who already have a digital copy of the game, Bethesda confirmed that we would be entitled to pick up the definitive edition at half price, but even to pick it up now without this discount is as little as £25. With the inclusion of all the DLC packs along with the main game, it has to be said that, regardless if you have played the game before or not, this is an extremely good price point for this title.
If you did miss out on this title in the last gen, now is the time to pick up what I consider an influential and must play title from the last generation. If you were on the fence in the last gen, it is unlikely that you will find much to appeal to you here.
Thanks to Xbox and Arkane Studios for supporting TiX
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