Quite the (Dis)honor

***I’ve been busy absorbing free radicals and raising my blood pressure at work, thereby fueling The Lazy nestled within me. Get through this review and I promise to post something self-aggrandizing or offensive soon.***

Have you ever wanted to sneak through a city populated by fascist whale killers and set right the wrongs that began when your beloved Empress was killed and you were framed for her murder? Too specific? Okay then, have you ever just wanted to play an exciting 1st person video game where you have many options for how to go about overthrowing the people that gave you the Imperial Shaft? Come along and share the guilty pleasure of being Dishonored with me.

When I asked for this game a while back, my only reason for having it on my list was that I saw a few seconds of a brief game play video in passing at a big chain store as I was shopping for other over priced items. I was smitten with what little I retained from that brief blip on my geekdar, but little did I know I was in for an eighty-hour sneakin’, sleeper-holdin’, rat-possessin’ ordeal.

This game, unlike most of its 1st-person shooter siblings, let’s you decide how much carnage you want to create, and wraps that into the end story when you finally force steaming piles of justice down the throats of the “bad” guys. Every action you take can either increase the chaos of the overall situation, or decrease it, creating the end result that the new leadership will inherit. The paths are many.

You can opt to hang your man-bag outside your trousers and flat-out end anyone who gets in your way (including noisy maids who can’t simply see that they’d be better off shutting their yappers and sleeping it off in a closet someplace); you can develop your mystic powers of blink and time-slowage and sneak through all of your objectives leaving nobody but the ultimate targets of your endeavors the wiser (quite possibly the toughest way to play); you can sneak-n-grab your way through the game, choking out unsuspecting guards, lodging industrial strength knock-out juice syringes in anyone you can’t put in a combat sleeper-hold, then hide their bodies in trash cans where they won’t be found by either their compatriots or the exceedingly voracious rat population. Heck, you can play any twisted combination of these styles in each mission.

Before I actually knew how I wanted to play, or what the heck I was actually doing, I would set off alarms and take extended dips in flesh-eating fish spawning areas to evade capture (only to suck seaweed after being nibbled to death). There were many alarmed guards who would force me to take the most honorable route and restart from before I set off their spider-sense, and not a few encounters with rocket towers I neglected to power down. Once I started to get a real feel for how I wanted to play, I began sneaking everywhere and leaving piles of snoring bodies in the dumpsters and closets everywhere I went. I’m guessing the remaining “alert” guards had a snoring filter on their hearing. There were  a few times I had no other choice (or slipped on the controller buttons during a ninja move) and sent a target to the electronic afterlife, but I always felt guilty enough to go back to a previous save and see if I could simply get them busted for dereliction of duty.

There’s a twist about midway through the game, but one you can see coming if you have the eyesight and common sense that enables you to hold a console controller in the playing out of this story. I won’t spoil it, except to ask what you would do with a badass like you if you hired yourself to bring down the illegitimate bad-guy ruling class so you could take over. You’d likely cut yourself some slack because it’s you in all the roles in my example. In the game, it isn’t as confusing as I’ve tried my best to make it here: you’re you (the electronic magic man you) and everyone else is not you. Clear? Moving on.

With all of the special powers you can develop, like blinking from point A to point B without detection, slowing time, special vision modes that not only let you see through walls, but let you see the cone of your enemies’ vision, summoning rat swarms to overwhelm your opponents, the ability to possess a rat, person or fish to perform only the most basic tasks, windy bitch-slaps and so on, you’d think this game would be a piece of cake-pie. Not even close. For some reason, some of the guards happen to notice when you drop their buddy with a well-placed night-night dart right in front of them. Oh, and they take offense at that. Weird, huh? Plus there are many potential consequences for each action you take. Possess a rat to get through a crowded checkpoint, and the guards will decide that you are one vermin too many in their plague-infested world, passing this decision on to you in the form of a boot across your spine. Just like in real life: die while possessing a rat, die for real.

While I managed to finish the final missions by stacking more napping bodies behind a boiler than should be reasonably possible, and darting everyone else, I did occasionally play into the amazing physics of this game and accidentally kill a few guards when I choked them out over a rail and watched them slide like a sock puppet over the edge to their demise. Regardless, I managed to finish the game with a low chaos rating and watched as the final cutscene played out what a darn decent human being I was for leaving such a wonderful world for the new Empress to inherit. While I may go back and play it at maximum chaos just to see how that ending differs, I’m not a fan of knifing unsuspecting guards just because I can. But, you know, violent games make violent people and all.

I honestly tried to find something bad to say about this game, but about all I could come up with was the graphics are not PC-grandiose. Do I really need to highlight how spoiled that makes me sound?

If you’re looking for a game that lets you tailor the play to your acceptable level of mayhem, while giving you abilities you forgot to list on your if I could have superpowers list, give Dishonored a try. My guess is, you’ll avoid some area of responsibility in the act of completing this thoroughly enjoyable game.

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2 Comments on “Quite the (Dis)honor”

  1. Meg Says:

    Oh you are such a teddy bear!! Im kind of for the all-out chaos and let god sort ’em later!! 🙂

  2. Harry P Says:

    Well I think I figured out why you NEVER answer your phone after 5pm.

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