Is this much-hyped supernatural game all it’s cracked up to be?
This is a game about choices. Is bloody vengeance all you seek, or do you wish to see balance restored to a crumbling empire? Will you meet your enemies face to face, or do you keep to the shadows, sneaking up on them unawares?
Dishonored places players behind the mask of Corvo Attano, Lord Protector to the Empress of Dunwall. The town of Dunwall is fascinating, resembling a 19th-century English city, albeit equipped with fanciful whale-oil-powered technology. In the game’s opening, the Empress is assassinated and her daughter kidnapped, and Corvo is framed for the murder. The plot’s true authors seize power, and Corvo is condemned to death.
He finds allies, however, in a small band of loyalists who help him escape, rebranding the bodyguard an assassin and making him their chief instrument in the fight to depose the new order.
What follows is a series of missions in which choice is key. You’re given a target to eliminate and dropped off in the city to find them. The city watch is vigilant, but the tools you have at your disposal will even the odds, as will the otherworldly powers gifted to you by the Outsider, an occult deity cast as the Devil by Dunwall’s religious order.
It’s also up to you whether you wish to kill the baddies or merely incapacitate them. Even once you reach your target, the game always offers several options, including a creative, non-lethal way of neutralising him or her. There’s plenty of loot to collect, with which you can upgrade your abilities, as well as side missions that round out the world of Dunwall. All of this variety makes for incredible gaming and will keep things fresh on subsequent playthroughs.
Dishonored is beautiful to look at. The graphics aren’t the most detailed we’ve seen, the designers instead opting for softer textures and an overall ‘painterly’ quality. The environments are rich and evocative, vast but filled with little details. Although character animations can be slightly stilted, the art design is spectacular, and characters are expressive in their exaggeration. They’re brought to life more fully by a top-notch voice cast that includes John Slattery (Mad Men), Brad Dourif (Deadwood) and Lena Headey (Game of Thrones). From Dhs145 on PS3, available at www.amazon.co.uk.
Three more new games for Christmas
007 Legends A first-person shooter celebrating 50 years of James Bond. Dhs269 for PS3. Virgin Megastore, Mercato Mall (04 344 6971).
Halo 4 A new instalment of the alien-killing shoot-em-up. Dhs219 for Xbox 360. Virgin Megastore, Mercato Mall (04 344 6971).
Lego Lord of the Rings Think Hobbits with Lego hair roaming around Middle Earth. Dhs219 for PS3. Virgin Megastore, The Dubai Mall (04 325 3330).