Welcome Dishonored, the "thief-like" assassination simulator that gives the power back to the player. Dark, mysterious, and razor-sharp deadly - this one is something special.

Minutes into the opening "creep-around" segments of Dishonored, the superlative stealth “shooter” 'Thief: The Dark Project' came to mind. As much as you have probably been hearing the word Bioshock in association, Eidos' Thief also deserves a nod as well. Dishonored is pretty much that, a mixture between the both stealth shooters. Now don't get the wrong idea, this is not a bad thing, it's actually GREAT! For its time, Thief was, and still is a one-of-a-kind type of experience. All three titles (Dishonored included) feature a retro "steampunk-ish" vibe while promoting the use of your brain before brawn. Dishonored, like both the above mention titles is a "thinking-man" style of “shooter"; and for that we couldn't be happier. Even in comparison, Dishonored instinctual decisions, brainy level design and crafty magical powers put it on a completely different level. Sure, you might have played games like this before, but really nothing stacks up quite the same.

The premise behind Dishonored is simple - revenge. You play Corvo Attano, the once-trusted bodyguard of the royal Empress, now turned assassin. Framed for her death, revenge and ultimately redemption is what you seek. Dawning a mask (that creepy metal face on the cover of the box) you slowly start to build your case. The world in Dishonored is much like its prose; dark, secretive, interesting and viciously brutal. This is also mirrored by the enivorment that is filled with oppression, plague, political backstabbing with a mystical mystery running underneath it all. Gamers who have played through Bioshock will quickly note the similarities in the merged art style, gameplay and story. Like Bioshock, Dishonored has the same respect for it's setting and tale as it does its hands-down solid gameplay. While the formula is simple, the path you will take is anything but.


Another element that sticks out is Dishonored's sandbox design for each mission. Even though you will be doing your murderous deeds in one city, the missions are broken into small sections that allow/and incourage the player freedom to innovative to reach their goal (which is usually an assassination). How you get there is your choice. This plays to each gamers "play-style" and also encourages replays. Take to the air and sneak around the rooftops, scurry along the ground by possessing a rat, get up right in everyone's grill and shoot them down; the choice is always yours. Although freedom is given, stealth is the pushed on the player, not only in the game design, but by the achievements/trophies you can earn. While I found the stealth approach to be the most rewarding, it is fun to let loose and cause some mayhem from time-to-time.

Furthermore, your actions always have meaning. While it's not "in-your-face" noticeable, the world slightly changes by your decisions through the tale. Be a ghost or show no mercy, the death you leave behind can cause the city (and its rats) to become more volatile. This also goes for corruption and side-quests; each step will effect your outcome (yes, multiple endings are supported). Thankfully, Dishonored plays it simple and your choices never become too heavy. This keeps the spirit somewhat light, which is nice amongst all the political drama unfolding in the prose.


Although your nimble limbs help, powers play a ample role in helping you achieve your goals. The first power you will garner is called 'Blink', which honors the player with the ability to teleport across small distances. Blink is the most useful power in Dishonored, as it helps you reach places you can't by hand or foot. Beyond the help of teleporting, all the others could be bypassed (and there is even an achievement for this), however, what fun is that. Other powers let you summon a swarm of bone-eating rats, posses any living creature, turn you assassinated foes into dust, among others. No doubt the magical elements add another dimension to the gameplay, although like Bioshock, they never define it.

Additionally, powers upgrades and player perks can be unlocked by locating hidden runes and bone fragments dispersed throughout the world. Perks give small bonuses like boosting your movement speed when carrying a body, or simpler traits like improving your agility or sword swinging speed. Power upgrades, well they are self-explanatory. Viktor Antonov's vision of Dunwall is ambitiously designed making discovering each nook-and-cranny a reward of its own. Dunwall might be a lacking overall diversity, but for what it does right, it's truly winning.


Besides sorcery; crossbows, pistols and swords complete your arsenal, complete with the ability to upgrade. This is when the loot that you pocketed comes into play. Turned into cash you can purchase ammo, upgrades and new enhancements to make Corvo even more dangerous. Although, I found the magical aspect to be the real winning asset, some upgrades like quieter boots and sleep darts help make your travels that much easier.

The controls in Dishonored are fluid, this includes everything from navigation to the combat. Dual-wielding battles can be an interesting chess match when you don't overpower your assailants with wizardry. Blocking, parrying and shooting in a cluster of chaos is ridiculously fun, and at times (usually when fighting multiple enemies) you can actually be humbled into submission. Although Corvo gets a minor "god-complex", Dishonored gets it right and is a joy to play.

Beyond the single-player campaign, Dishonored doesn't offer any multiplayer choices (which is fine if you recollect Bioshock 2). The reward is in replaying comes in the way of the multiple endings, achievements, and the simple joy of approaching situations differently. It's all up to the player, but for those wanting to go at it again, there is enough here to warrant another run.


Dishonored is an interesting creature that rewards the player around every turn. This first-person stealth-based tale freshly gives the player freedom to complete each objective without feeling too restricted. Dishonored is a thinking-mans game, a modern take on Thief with the artistic and depth of Bioshock. Yes, praiseworthy indeed, and better yet, it delivers. If you are a fan of any type of stealth-action game s or want something fresh to play over the holiday season, Dishonored is highly recommended – a must have.

  • Freedom in how you complete each mission
  • Interesting setting and plot filled with complex layering
  • Satisfying combat (if you actually get into a fight)
  • Constant feeling of progression and reward
  • Great stealth game, for those who like lurking in shadows
  • Lots of replay value for a single player game
  • The plot might not grab everyone
  • Gameplay might be too easy or slow, if you're looking for a straight up shooter
  • Leaves you wanting more... oh wait, is that a good thing?
Quote: "Dishonored is a thinking-mans game, a modern take on Thief with the artistic and depth of Bioshock. Yes, praiseworthy indeed, and better yet, it delivers."
Reviewed by Downtown Jimmy | 10.12.12 | Platform Reviewed: Xbox 360

Similar Games: Singularity (7.7) | Dishonored: Knife of Dunwall (8.0) | Arx Fatalis (8.0) | Bioshock 2 (9.2)




Arkane Studios

Stealth Shooter

US Release
October '12


X360, PS3

Players 1
5.1 Surround
HD 720-1080p
D/L Content