Dishonored looks a bit like Halflife 2 - if the Difference Engine, cyberpunk, steam-punk and Brink had had a wonderful get together in a lovely spa and some opposing countries commando's had stormed it and the scarlet pimpernel turned out to be a ninja... OK, it is quite hard to describe, but the setting is very nice done. A sort of Steam-punk world where whale oil is the energy, gunpowder and mechanical geniuses have made lots of nice little toys to play around with and some sort of "magic/psionic" abilities can be had since there is a religious turmoil as well.
The game has light walls, sealed of city cores, walkers etc. Making it a bit like Halflife 2's dystopia future, only here it is driven by whale oil and instead of being a nerdy guy with a crow bar - you are an assassin, armed with his trusted blade, a hand-crossbow and your gun - some bone amulettes and grenades, razor-wire traps and a mask to zoom and scare your enemies with.
All that is not so important however. It is not important either, that the game plays like DeusEx HR should have played - because Dishonored has two things that are simply really great:
- I started to play and I couldn't really quit. It was hard to give up being Corvo trying to find the child of the empress he had seen slain before his eyes and been framed for the very murder. Now he discovers more as he joins loyalists that tries to rescue the empress child and restore her to the throne and get some bloody revenge on the same time.
How you deal with it is up to you. Going for all out killing the opposition - go ahead, but people will be more afraid of you and chaos will make more sleepers (the version of zombies) appear around the maps. You can sneak around and even let others do the dirty work, or you can not kill enemies and come up with different solutions if you're crafty.
You will have to fight sooner or later so being a pacifist may be a risky and futile career option for an assassin - but the assassin can keep the killing to a really low minimum.
To help you with all this you have several powers to aid you. You get these buy finding talismans and transferring them to powers. You find a bit like in Batman Arkham Asylum/City - with the help of a mechanised human heart that give you clues by whispering to you and point them out for you.
There is no overhead map and the help surely gives it entirely up to you to be ingenious or downright sodden efficient how you travel the distance between your let off on some beach by your boat friend Samuel - to how you chose to dispose of your targets...
To me, Dishonoured is the game of the year already and I already fear for the sadness that will strike once the game is done.
Good that you can go back and replay all the missions and maps to try and get perfect scores and enough things you learn along the way to have some challenges to occupy you with some more play troughs. The achievement list is rather short - but makes more sense and the achievements actually inspires to more play troughs as well.