I’m closing in on 15 hours into Dishonored and thought I’d do a quick write up on my first impressions. I could have rushed through the game to try to get a review out by tomorrow’s release but have a tendency to explore and really enjoy the stealth element in the game, which can definitely take longer. Be sure to check back for a full review in the next few days once I have completed the game.
At this point my overall impression is that Dishonored is easily one of the better games of the year. The gameplay style is somewhat comparable to the Assassin’s Creed series, but of course in first-person, with a major emphasis on stealth and assassination style tactics. You are also able to climb on and up all kinds of buildings and objects and assassinate enemies from great heights. Powers are a nice inclusion that compliment this style nicely. Dishonored plays well and seems smooth and polished. Load times have been very fast and it’s set in a beautiful world that’s somewhat reminiscent of the Half-Life series, as Viktor Antonov explained in interviews, but still has its own unique style and look.
The game’s art style isn’t necessarily realistic — some aspects are and some are not — but turning around a new corner or entering a new area can be stunning. The maps are large with tall buildings, structures and landforms and large bodies of water. Characters take on more of a cel shaded look but seem fitting for the environments. I’d describe the graphics as more of a painting style than anything else. In combination with the advanced enemy technology and defense structures the overall look seems great and is certainly unique.
The only real issue I have with the game at this point is the lack of storyline, but it isn’t really a deal breaker in this case. Even though I haven’t finished the game it seems clear at this point that the storyline isn’t really the focus of the game. There is quite a bit of dialog with other characters, and similar to other Bethesda published games it featured a star-studded voice acting cast, but the story seems very simple so far. Similar to the Elder Scrolls series, there are plenty of books and notes to find and read but after a while, this can seem like a bit of a chore in my opinion.
With that being said, Dishonored is a really fun game that will win several awards. I don’t know yet if it will win game of the year awards but I strongly suspect that my upcoming review will include a purchase recommendation and a high overall score. The game contains similarities to several game but comes off unique and something different, which is nice after so many sequels and clones these days. It’s becoming clear that the ZeniMax Media group, which is now the parent of Arkane, will likely become another titan of high quality games in the industry that will extend far beyond The Elder Scrolls and Fallout.