Like many games there are multiple ways of getting your hands on this new game. It is available on Steam, in the more traditional PC format (installer disk) and also for Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. Inside the package you get what you would expect, a small booklet and the game DVD; not much really which is why most people will be grabbing this from Steam.
The installer is quick and easy. Including download time the game was installed in about 30 minutes. The download is roughly 7GB but after installation it will occupy about 9GB of space on your HDD and that is not including saved games so you might want to plan on about 12GB of space to make sure you have plenty of room for this. Once the game is installed you can launch it and get things configured to your taste. Although based on the Unreal 3 Engine you do not have to have a massive system to run it well. As long as you have a 3GB of RAM and at least a GTX460 or Radeon 5850 (with 512MB RAM) you will be ok. For CPU speed you need a dual core running at 3.0GHz. If you want to run with all the eye candy on and still have a playable game there is not much more you need. A 2.5GHz quad core CPU, a GTX460 or 5850 (with 768MB RAM) and 4GB of memory.
Configuring the game is done in the normal way. You open the game and setup the options that you want. There are some auto options like automatically drinking a potion to restore your mana (the source of your “magical” power) when you are too low to use one of your powers. There are also toggles for the hints that popup during the game to help you on your way.
For graphics the options are fairly straight forward with nothing that is out of the ordinary. The same can be said for the audio options there really is not much that you can do to these two controls so we were not surprised that they were typical.
However you are not buying Dishonored for the flexibility of their controls. Our guess is that you are picking up this game to play. So you will probably spend a few minutes in the options to max things out as best you can and then you will dive right into the game. So that is what we are going to do as well.
Game Play -
Dishonored appears to be something of a tribute to the game Thief. Even the world that you operate in is very reminiscent of the world that Garret the Thief existed in. You have a blending of magic and technology much like some of the Steampunk worlds that have been dreamed up. The technology is a mix of highly advanced items and older technology. There are force fields that can kill you instantly, electrified posts that sense your presence and shoot bolts of lightning at you, and even metal machines that allow guards to walk around above the crowds and shoot fiery missiles at you.
You are dropped into this world after you are accused of killing the Empress and assisting in the kidnapping of her daughter. On the day you are to be executed someone breaks you out of prison and puts you one a very dark road to revenge. The masterminds behind your break out are a group of Loyalists who want to remove the current Lord Regent and put the Daughter of the Empress on the throne. After your break from prison you are gifted with magical powers by a being called “The Outsider” he seems to mock your situation and reappears throughout the game at certain places.
As the new "Assassin" for the Loyalists you are outfitted with a selection of deadly weapons. Your primary weapon is a folding sword which you can use with deadly skill. This is backed up by a hand crossbow and a pistol. You can get different types of ammunition for both of these from some of the characters you meet throughout the game and also you will find some as you search through each location. For magical powers you can chose from a varied selection depending on how you plan to play the game. That is right your style of game play will factor into the outcome of the game (just like Thief, SystemShock and even Bioshock).
If you are bloodthirsty there are powers to allow you to deal more damage to your foes. There are also powers to help you sneak your way through the game including the ability to slow and stop time. These powers can be bought with runes that you find during your travels in the game. They are often well hidden so The Outsider gives you a mechanical heat to help identify and track them. You can also use this heart to find Bone Charms these are worn and either grant you certain powers or enhance your abilities. You can see some of these powers in action in our video below.
For enemies you have quite a few as well. Part of the back drop of the story is a mysterious plague that is turning people into what appear to be zombies. These are called weepers and will attack you on sight. To these nasty little adversaries you can add the town guard, overseers (a religious organization), and the odd thug trying to take advantage of the situation. Clearly you have your work cut out for you.
Believe it or not, Dishonored is not terribly hard on a system. As long as you have a fairly new GPU in your system you should be able to play the game with the settings at or very near their max. We ran it on our gaming system with vSync on and were still seeing frame rates in the 60s. With vSync off we jumped up to well over 120FPS; granted this is with an nVidia GTX 570 in the box, but for the most part you should not have too much trouble getting good performance from Dishonored.
Final Thoughts -
Dishonored is a very cool game with an interesting twist to it. Although it is certainly not the first game to allow your choices to affect the end of the game the way it presents your choices is interesting. During our time with the game we ran through using both an aggressive style (killing people in our path) and a non-violent style to see what happens. We were surprised at how the game turns based on those choices and we are nowhere near the end of the game. We will keep playing Dishonored as it has dragged us in to the greater story and the need to find out how it all ends. Bethesda and Arkane Studios have done a great job on weaving a story that is futuristic with a dose of mysticism and a nice Zombie apocalypse. In the middle of all of this is you, the dishonored former high-protector who is only working to see the rightful heir back on the throne… Sounds compelling doesn’t it? In addition to a plot and game world that drags you in, Arkane has built in the option to replay the game using different methods and choosing different skills and powers. Simply put it is a great game.
Was it worth it?
Of course in the end you will want to know if it is worth the price ($59.99) that you will have to pay to play this game. To be honest we think that $59.99 is far too high for any game, but as this is the standard price these days we do feel that Dishonored is more than equal to the price tag. Playing the game becomes an individual task where your own personality dictates how you move through the game. Will you stalk your prey killing only if absolutely needed or will you vent your anger and revenge on everyone in your path? That will be up to you, but it is well worth the money and the time to find out.
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