Customer Review

13 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What did I miss?, October 16, 2012
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Dishonored - PC (Video Game)
I keep seeing names like Deus Ex and Thief bandied about to describe this game. There is SOME truth to that; the games are similar (and the creators were involved in those games to some extent), but comparing those games to Dishonored is like comparing Star Wars to "Battle Beyond the Stars". Maybe it's because when Deus Ex and Thief came out, they were the only thing of their kind. Maybe their novelty impressed me where Dishonored failed. While I had some fun playing Dishonored, I felt more cheated than anything else. All I want to do now is reinstall Deus Ex: Human Revolution to see how it's supposed to be done. And not even Human Revolution came close to the original Deus Ex, but was at least worthy of being mentioned in the same sentence. Dishonored tries to be Deus Ex and Thief, uses an art style like Half Life 2 to depict an evil draconian empire (lotsa mismatched gray plating and floodlights), and wraps it up in a cartoony, Bioshock-like package, and I feel it fails to live up to any of those games. It feels a lot like a watered-down distillation of the four. A laudable attempt, but not in my opinion worth the ranting and raving I keep seeing in reviews. As Randy Jackson would say, "It's just aaaaight for me, dawg".

But more to the point. We're talking Dishonored. The powers are cool, but only maybe half of them I found useful (only a couple are indispensable). Yes, you can play the whole game without killing anyone, but I found it more boring and tedious than suspenseful or exciting. Tearing my way through each level was much more enjoyable (and I rarely play "The Bad Guy" in games). It took half the time, I got twice the loot and hidden items, and got treated like a monster by the only character with any sort of personality in the game (and I didn't care). The whole game seems very shallow. The characters are very two dimensional. You don't get to know anyone for two reasons: You're given no option to have a dialogue with them, and frankly even if the options existed, they're just not interesting enough to try. Instead of figuring out non-lethal means of dispatching your target, those options are practically spoon-fed to you with very little exploration or effort on your part. There's even a little arrow that tells you where to go and what to do, which, granted, is common in games of this type. Aside from the interesting teleportation power, there is nothing here you haven't done before.

There are a few side quests involved, but nothing like the amount of extracurricular stuff you'd find in other games. There's just not a whole lot to do other than your mission. Sure, you can explore a couple choice areas to get loot, but there's not much dimension there. Nothing about this game screams "wow" to me. When I consider the phrase "Bethesda has done it again", I define it as "Bethesda has re-hashed something others have done before, just not as well in any way". The graphics are cartoony, and the role-playing aspect is completely absent aside for the affection the protagonist feels for his young charge; the touching affection shared by the two is the only emotional investment I found in Dishonored. Everyone else was a target, a quest-giver or merchant (of which there are two). And the hardest thing to swallow is that each of the assassination targets are so ridiculously easy to kill once you find them. That's the difference. Deus Ex, Thief, Half Life, and even Bioshock each freaked me out a little. I was invested. I got pumped, excited and sometimes scared. I don't think my heart rate broke 100 BPM the entire time I played Dishonored. Shrug.

Yes, you can stop time, shoot bullets at five different targets, and un-pause time to watch them all drop to the floor. That's nifty once. It's easier to just head-shot them all in real time. There's no point to doing it fancy. There's no reason to not murder everything that moves except for a lackluster "good guy" ending. As for the game's length, I finished the entire game (in "kill everything mode") in less than a day. I found that one day more entertaining than the two days I spent playing the game stealthily and pacifistically (is that even a word?). All told, I spent three days playing this game to explore every nuance it had to offer. That's saying a lot. Consider the original Deus Ex, which I could install right now and enjoy JUST AS MUCH as I did when it was released, but it would take at least a week to finish and that week would be non-stop entertainment. The game is 14 years old and still has replay value. Dishonored is getting uninstalled tonight, because there's just nothing left to do. In short, interesting though it is on the surface, it's not a world that's deep enough to warrant a return visit.

I did have fun, though, which I guess is kind of the point. Three stars worth of fun for a RIDICULOUSLY short amount of time. So if you're keen to blow 60 bucks for maybe a week of so-so entertainment which hearkens back to a time when gaming used to REALLY be innovative and cool (but this doesn't really come close), this may be the game for you. If your interest is piqued by the Bethesda name, this likely isn't the game you will expect. I played Skyrim for five minutes after Dishonored and practically WEPT at the difference (and the games both cost the same). Skyrim was like coming home again after a horrible trip to camp. Dishonored is not remotely in the same league, and not (again, my opinion) worth the avalanche of applause the game has received. If you want to just lose yourself in an admittedly interesting world where there's not much at stake, and have a little fun, Dishonored could be enjoyable for you. I just get the feeling I'm missing the point. I kept saying to myself "this can't be IT". It was disappointing. Didn't live up to the pedigree. If you keep your expectations lower than other reviews might suggest, you may just enjoy it.
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Comments

Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 18, 2012 9:46:14 PM PDT
A. Popescu says:
You don't need all of your powers because most of them are there to add flavor to the gameplay. That's not a weakness, it's a bonus. It was intended to be that way all along. If you didn't have all those powers, you would have only a very limited number of ways to approach each mission. The powers give you more freedom in how you play. So if you decide to play again, you can choose to develop other powers and completely change your play-style.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 19, 2012 1:21:32 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 19, 2012 1:28:05 AM PDT
R. Matheson says:
I understand that. My point is that, in a 12 year-old game (Deus Ex), I have access to twice or three times as many powers and many more options to approach a mission (none of which are absolutely necessary to complete the mission), and at LEAST 5 times the duration of play. More missions, more NPCs, more locations, many more different consequences of choices, and more of everything. Thief: The Dark Project (14 years old) offers substantially more options with regard to stealth and looting. Really innovative stuff that has yet to be duplicated. Dishonored just falls short of its pedigree, and I expected much better given all the hype. What we have here is a Duplo-Blocks rehash of what was, and remains, really great material.

Posted on Nov 11, 2012 11:51:14 AM PST
[Deleted by the author on Nov 11, 2012 12:01:35 PM PST]

Posted on Nov 27, 2012 6:49:41 PM PST
- says:
So why are magazines calling this a candidate for game of the year?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 27, 2012 7:46:08 PM PST
[Deleted by the author on Nov 27, 2012 7:53:07 PM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 27, 2012 8:03:32 PM PST
R. Matheson says:
Because this year frankly hasn't had many awe-inspiring games. Roseanne Barr was a "candidate" for the presidency; that's not saying much. Look, it was a 3 star review. I didn't pan the game with 1 star to be whiny. But I was more entertained by X-Com and Assassin's Creed 3, both of which IMPROVED upon what came before, rather than stepping backward. And took me more than three days to finish twice. If Dishonored deserves to be given the same award as Skyrim, well, maybe the Mayan Apocalypse is a welcome thing.
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