Dishonored: Real Life Review

15 Jun

dishnoured emblemDishonored:

Released: 2012

Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Age certificate (UK): 18+

 Real Life Review GirlfriendGirlfriend test

(This tests how much freedom the game gives you to turn it off and to go and do the laundry. The test considers how much the game allows you to play for an indeterminable amount of time while your girlfriend does her make-up. It also rates how important sound is – will your girlfriend’s hairdryer or music be the matter of life and death for your character?)

Dishonored did not steal much of my time off my girlfriend.  This was partly due to the fact the campaign is rather short if like most people you end up blitzing through the whole thing spamming blink. The auto-save feature and the general save features are made with a real life person in mind. Each level is thoughtfully planned into many subsections that are created with the thought of your inevitable failure and your requirement to reload. Your play through will usually feature you negotiating your way past a group of guards, then there will be a safe corridor where it auto-saves, then another group of guards, then a corridor with an auto-save, then some rats or poison spitting things, then a book about a whale, then a book about rats. I didn’t read the books.

Dishonored gives you ample amounts of opportunity to switch off your game without much regret. Once you manage to get past a section it is usually easy to use the same technique to get past it again. Unfortunately for me, once or twice I had to turn off and attend to the real world and when I came back I found I had got through a section on dumb luck alone and I struggled the second time. If you are one of those which is aiming for the elusive  ‘no detection’ or ‘no kills’ related achievements /trophies, then the girlfriend test is a whole different ball game as doing it this way can mean a section takes ten minutes to negotiate before a checkpoint occurs.

Unlike many action/stealth games you can easily play for a quick stint while your girlfriend arranges her shoe collection. Even if you don’t make it to a checkpoint in your indeterminate amount of play time, you can still scout ahead, which is just as important.

Sound is an issue in Dishonored. You often hear enemies before you see them, whether it is the soft scurrying of rats, the warble of zombies (let’s face it – they’re zombies) or the woosh of an assassin blinking (that’s teleporting), you often need to hear them so you don’t run straight into them and get mauled to death. I was able to play with sound turned down and subtitles on for most of the game, but I suffered for it. I would often take on the entire group of guards I had dived into the middle of rather than play stealthily. I was often on a drip feed of health potions and I couldn’t help feel a top class assassin would have listened for footsteps instead of overhearing his girlfriend talk to her mother,

Score: 6/10

Girlfriend: “Can we get a pet rat?”

Me: “Nooooo!”

Although Dishonored is exceptionally good in its ability for you to pause, save and turn off, it is very hard to play with someone in the room. Your girlfriend will also not appreciate constant rat sound effects.

Real Life Review GirlfriendMate test

(You are playing the game and your housemate walks in. Apart from Fifa they are pretty much uneducated in gaming. This test is a mix of the coolness rating, pick-up-and-play-ability and most importantly: same console multiplayer. Anything that could be called ‘gayyyyy’ loses points in this test.)

If you think Dishonored is going to do well in the mate test then I should stop you right now, as you should know it does not do well at all. There is no multiplayer of any kind, which I am very glad of as that would have been an absolute mess. The game is all about the story. The problem is that it is very much a game for playing in isolation. If your mate walks in the room and wants to watch they will quickly become impatient and they will urge you to stop being a little pussy and to attack everyone in sight. You will of course try to explain how you are aiming to complete the game in low chaos mode and you need to not be noticed by that guard who has been staring at the box you have been hiding behind for ten minutes. Your mate will laugh at what a loser you are. You will relent and attempt a rampage and last for three seconds as you did not notice one of those light walls and you find your super assassin has turned to dust.

Contrary to the opinion of many gamers, steampunk is not universally cool. It is still a niche market so please treat it as such a thing when introducing it to mates. Please do not sit there reading an in game fictitious book about whale oil if your mate is sat watching you play as you will look like a Mega-Nerd. It is perfectly OK to do this when no one is looking, but it does not look cool. I wouldn’t go as far to say the game would be called ‘gayyy’ but it will not boost your coolness reputation as much as Call of Duty does.

Score: 2/10

Mate: “Stop reading that book on rats and let me have a go.”

Me: “OK but you can’t kill anyone as you might ruin my no kill streak.”

Mate: “I thought this game was about an assassin.”

This game is great for playing by yourself but not with your mates. It is full of suspense when you play but it is boring as hell to watch.


Real life review Parent TestParent test

(Imagine you have parents that are easily offended – especially by sexual themes and swearing; and at random intervals they invade your room.)

To be honest, you could play most of this in front of your grandparents if you did not go around killing everyone in sight. There is a bit of swearing and it does get a bit stomach churning when rats start munching up a corpse, but overall I found the game to be pretty inoffensive.

If a parent came in the room at a random interval they are likely to see you warping around on rooftops or darting between random urban features. At worst they will see you playing a scene where you are torturing a guy with sexual implements but to be honest it was not as bad as it sounds. At a glance the game’s most offensive features are drugs, witchcraft and prostitutes, but all the features are treated with a very Victorian attitude. Prostitutes are covered head to toe in most cases and you would not really fancy trying the drugs. I do not like witchcraft so I chose to beat the crap out of a certain old lady to make myself feel better. Of course there is the matter of violence, but there is very little gore, as the aftermath of sword fights and gunshots is a corpse with a patch of red. Boring people even have an option to not kill anyone apart from bosses.

Score: 7/10

Parent: “Tell me why you should play this instead of doing homework.”

Me: “It teaches me that stealing and fighting the government is better than murdering everyone.”

The game did not remotely offend me but some of the issues may offend one or two. Despite the game being so dark and dingy you are persuaded to play nicely. How sweet.

Real life review inner rageInner Rage test

(You have had a bad day and you want to feel a sense of achievement. This section talks about how frustrating them game is.)

Dishonored is designed to be challenge, so therefore the fact that it is intended to be hard makes the game less frustrating. You know that you are supposed to repeatedly get clobbered to death and you have to learn how you are meant to get through a section. The game was very clean in terms of bugs and glitches; I encountered none despite the fact I often took very unconventional routes. It goes without saying that I would be annoyed when I failed a section for the third time and sometimes I would give up for the day, but I felt the need to complete the game. There were many points where I gave up on trying not to be seen by anyone, so I just went berserk and killed everyone, but I managed to limit myself enough to complete the game in low chaos, which was enough for me. Having said all this, the game is hard, it often makes you feel stupid, and you have to wait too much, so if you play games for a sense of achievement you should try something easier.

Score: 6/10

Despite the fact I know the game is supposed to be hard and there were very few moments that were particularly annoying (other than boss fights), it still gets annoyingly difficult.

real life review overallOverall:

After playing Dishonored I have come to the conclusion that I would not have bought it if I knew what it was like. I feel like Dishonored was more of an ordeal than a fun game, failure was frequently punished and I hate being made to wait or having any sort of time limit in a game. If a guard took more than twenty seconds to patrol a circuit I would give up and go and knock him out rather than wait. The box art sold me one of the coolest looking characters I have ever seen, and guess what – you see the mask for mere moments. It felt like the game was made to give you a guided tour of someone’s art project, and unfortunately I am not a fan of steam punk.

After saying all that, there were moments in the game that were brilliant. The masque manor party was one of the best moments in a game ever and blinking behind a guard and knocking him out is a tonne of fun (remember blinking means teleporting – you do not have superhuman eyelids). The storyline had enough to keep me going, even though it was painfully predictable.


That is my personal score. I can see why others would like it, but was just not my cup of tea.


One Response to “Dishonored: Real Life Review”

  1. Gamer January 11, 2014 at 6:35 pm #

    Good reviews!

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