Game Mechanics

The player character, Corvo, has a diverse kit of abilities which can be upgraded. Early on in the game the player unlocks the ability to use magic with the most interesting ability being Blink, which allows the player to teleport distances such as between rooftops. This works very well in the stealth genre tied in with the excellent level designs which give the player many options in how to tackle missions. Missions have the player find and deal with a target, in a manner in which the player must choose. Each mission has an alternate way to end it where you can tamper with things or create potions to deal with targets instead of going in head first.

Corvo has access to multiple weapons which can be purchased and upgraded at a hub where the player's allies stay and prepare the player for missions. Corvo's main weapons are his foldable sword and mini-crossbow which can fire craftable darts. Darts are a very important part of Dishonored and the player must craft the correct darts depending on which ending they want, for example they can craft explosive or deadly darts for an evil ending or sleep darts to stun enemies for a good one. This works very well but can be frustrating in earlier missions when darts are far more scarce, as if the game gets easier the longer it is played due to the upgrade system.

Morality is a major factor for player's to consider, their actions change the game world in future missions. The more a player kills the more a plague will spread causing more infected civilians and rats to appear with the city falling more and more into despair but if the player manages to stealth well without killing a single person then the plague spread less and the city begins to look cleaner. This leads well for multiple playthroughs of the game where the player can try to find new routes and attempt to experience every ending. There is an achievement system which highlights different playthroughs to steer players in the right direction and at the end of every missions the players statistics (kills/have they been seen etc.) are displayed which gives them information on if they want to replay or continue and what actions to do next.

The world of Dishonored is very interesting and leads to interesting enemies and mechanics, it has a specific focus on Whale Oil which is very explosive but also used to generate power, or to remove it, leading to new routes in levels. The world itself is a mechanic in Dishonored through it changing due to morality and the technology which enemies use. The Victorianesque landscape mixed with whale oil tech leads to very interesting experiences and threats which would not be found in any other game, specifically the walkers which are tall enemies powered by whale oil. They are very difficult to avoid and add true challenge to a full stealth playthrough while being trivial to a kill playthrough.

Dishonored is an excellent stealth game filled with action, aesthetic and depth of choice, however, there are a few small failing points.

Balance of Upgrades: The game has an expansive upgrade and ability system which leads to very interesting choices, however, some abilities are more powerful than others. One lets the player see enemies through walls and can be activated at all times taking away from the visuals of environments and trivialising many sections. Having it so it only worked for a short amount of time would fix this issue.

Another issue is that darts, especially sleep darts, can be hard to come by. This is a deliberate decisions where the developers want the bad endings (where the player kills everything) to be the easy option and stealth being the hard option. but the immense rarity of sleep darts can become frustrating.

Dishonored is a game filled with depth and suitable for multiple playthroughs with a different experience each time. The minor flaws don't take much away from this action packed and expansive world and even with the release of the sequel there is still much to be seen from, and improved in, Dishonored.

What I Would Change

Dishonored

Developed by Arkane Studios and released in 2012, Dishonored is a Stealth Action-Adventure Game The game received critical acclaim; 8.75/10 from Game Informer and 5/5 stars. This is likely due to its incredible game world, fascinating story and innovative game mechanics.

Players control Corvo, a disgraced guard who now lives as an assassin to avenge his name and save the city... or descend it into chaos. Dishonored is unique in that the player must make moral decisions which will change the entire game world. Playthroughs can be all out killings with nobody spared or the entire game can be completed without hurting anybody. 

What makes Dishonored work and where does it falter?

Brief Description