This game was in my backlog virtually since it was released in 2012. I think the problem was that the art style was too similar to Fable III, and I still had PTSD About that in 2012. So I kind of shied away from playing this game.
So why now? To be honest I always intended to revisit the game, and also the second part which also sits in my backlog since its respective release date.
I just needed a reason to play it, which was presented to me when someone suggested that Dishonored is a better stealth game as Cyberpunk 2077. So now I had to see that for myself. Is it better though? Now what would be the fun in revealing that right away? You shall have to read on to find out.
So the first thing that stands out about the game to me is how dated it looks. I had to double check the release date, because I couldn't believe that this is a 2012 game. Same year as Mass Effect 3, Far Cry 3, Max Payne 3, a year of threes that was, but this game looks more like a game from the mid 2000s.
What I also found weird is the visual style. I'm not sure if this is intentional and the game is supposed to be set in an alien world, or the designers simply sucked at their jobs, but all the characters look like aliens. Exaggerated features, elongated limbs and bodies. They don't look human to me at all.
The game also gives off a strong Half-Life 2 vibe. The level design, and some of the enemy types are almost out of that game. Probably only different enough to avoid a lawsuit.
The story was pretty average, it's just good enough to keep you interested, but not winning any awards for originality or its clever twists. But this is already more than Cyberpunk2077 can say for itself, so this is not a diss, just an observation. Another thing familiar from Half Life is the mute hero. Which I'm not a fan of. It worked in the first Half Life, but I don't think it's an idea worth copying.
I won't bore anyone with a synopsis of the story, I'll just quickly move on to the gameplay. This is a stealth game by trade, and everything is designed around that in it. You can use guns and a sword to fight, but both feel clumsy. I'd rather just reload my game when I accidentally broke stealth, not because I could not defeat enemies, but because it's not fun to fight in the game in the open. And the number of people you kill contributes to whether you get the dark or the light ending. I managed to get the good ending despite going full berserk a few times when I lost my patience.
So how good is stealth? Is it better than CP2077, Yes and No. Yes it is better, because the levels are designed with stealth in mind, and nothing else. And that's much easier in a game that is not open world. But in terms of stealth mechanics it is not better, roughly the same, the AI even tips it in favor of CP2077, sounds weird right? But the AI of dishonored is quite terrible. You stand face to face with an enemy NPC and if you move into cover they'll say "Must've been rats". While sometimes they'll instantly notice you from a mile away and go full alert at once. Overall the stealth is pretty easy. The difficulty setting affects both stealth and combat, but I didn't want to touch it as I felt combat was just right on Normal, I wished Stealth was harder. It would've been good if it was separated from combat.
There are also purchasable weapon upgrades and equipment, but I didn't really feel the difference after buying them. You also can acquire magical powers with runes that you find hidden around maps. I'm not a fan of magic so I mostly ignored that only used the teleport because it makes traversing maps much easier. It even helps with stealth but that almost felt like cheating to use it on the hapless NPCs so I did so sparingly.
I liked the level design, every map is different enough that you don't get bored. Only the final mission was kind of a disappointment as it was the easiest mission of the game almost. After figuring out how to enter the stronghold it was a light breeze. Every other map that came before was more challenging, and there isn't even a bossfight at the end.
What is also commendable although I'm not interested in that sort of thing, is that the game allows for a completely pacifist playthrough. You are not forced to kill anyone, even for key targets there is always a way to spare them but still complete the mission successfully. But the pacifist way doesn't necessarily mean the most moral playthrough, as you must stand by as NPCs murder other NPCs. You can't intervene. It could be an interesting challenge as a second play, but not for me. The game is not that good to play it again, especially right away. But it was good enough to give Dishonored 2 a second chance too.
- Stealth Gameplay
- Level design
- Pacifist option
- Dated looking graphics
- Weird, uncanny looking people
- Clumsy melee and gun fighting
- Less than 9 hours to finish
- Last mission was the easiest
- Ending cinematic was very underwhelming
Overall impression: 7/10
Not the worst way to waste 9 hours.