Tag Archives: Dishonored

Dishonored 2 thoughts: Two for the price of one

Here are some impressions of Dishonored 2. I’ve sunk about 10 hours in so far but thought I’d give some thoughts before it’s too late and the game has slipped from the end of year radar. If you’re wanting a review that delves into minute features of how the movement is or how the controls feel, go elsewhere: You’re not going to find too much of that here.  Thanks for reading.

I really wish I had the far reach power that Emily Kaldwin in Dishonored 2 has.

Far reach gives Emily the ability to reach high obstacles or cover distance in a short space of time. Once it’s upgraded, you can also grab objects and generally cause havoc around the cities of Dunwall and Karnaca.

Dishonored 2_20161124204212I’ve already thought long and hard how I’d used far reach. SHAZAM! I’d far reach to the kitchen from the longue to turn on the coffee machine; KAPOW! I’d transport up to the roof to clear out the gutter beside the garage that I should have done months ago;WAP! I’d transport myself to the front of queue at the coffee van outside work. Sure, far reach is great for stealthing into buildings through high open windows or out-of-reach doors but, man, imagine the possibilities during the normal work day.

Actually, now that I think about it Domino (a power that lets Emily link up to three people together, delivering the same fate) would also make an amazingly good power to have when I’m stuck in a conversation  at a social gathering I can’t get out .

throne-610

Emily Kaldwin and Corvo Attano, the two main characters in Dishonored 2. You can play as both, this time (not at the same time, obviously).

OK, domestic use of Dishonored 2’s powers aside, the game is set 15 years after the events of the original and long story short centres around the player having to reclaim the throne of Dunwall after a usurper – Delilah – suddenly appears and seizes control. Expect a tale of supernatural powers to soon follow as you play either as Emily Kaldwin, the deposed monarch of Dunwall, or Corvo Attano, the assassin from the first game and Emily’s father and protector.

Veterans of the first game will know that there two play styles you can take with Dishonored 2:  Low chaos, where you try to be as stealthy as possible, generally strangling people unconscious and hiding the bodies; and High chaos, where it’s hell be damned and woe betide anyone that gets in front of your blade/pistol/grenade/spiritual form as you leave a bloody mess in your wake.

Like the first Dishonored, I intended to play low chaos and after the first mission all was going well: I’d killed no-one and made sure I’d hidden unconscious bodies. Sadly, as it did with the first game, everything turned to custard at the Addermine Institute and my low chaos plan went out the window. From there, it was a mixture of both play styles.

Dishonored 2_20161124204915

The heart of Emily’s dead mother, Queen Jessamine, helps locate runes and bonecharms that can be used to upgrade abilities.

Part of what I like about the Dishonored games are the supernatural powers that are fuelled by magical runes and bonecharms dotted about the game world.  Corvo’s powers include Blink, which teleports him to a chosen point; Devouring swarm, which conjures up rats that dispose of dead bodies; and Bend time, which lets him slow down time, while Emily’s powers include Far reach, which propels her to another point; Shadow walk, which turns her into a shadow, and (personal favourite), Domino, which lets Emily link up to three enemies together so they share the same fate. Sure they can make Corvo or Emily overpowered at times, but hell, they’re fun.

I decided to play through as Emily as while I like Corvo, I felt that Emily was the chance to play as a new character that I hadn’t played as before. When I have a spare 20 hours or so, I’ll play through again as Corvo.

Far reach and domino were without a doubt the best powers for me while playing as Emily, and played with a mix of the two and dark vision, a sonar-like power that shows the location of nearby enemies, I was able to generally make my way through the game world without too much trouble. I really like that using a combination of the powers means you can find routes to objectives that aren’t immediately obvious. I like that about the Dishonored series: I you think about things you can usually find a couple of ways to reach a destination.

I played the PlayStation 4 version (I was keen to play the PC version but, frankly, my GPU wouldn’t be able to play the game well anyway. Plus, the issues with the PC version are well documented) and visually,  Dishonored 2 looks nice, with the rustic artistic style of the original that looks realistic in places (faces, water) but stylised in others (buildings, the general world). Karnaca also feels more a city than Dunwall did in the original game, with far more citizens going about their business

The clockwork soldiers freaked me out. Seriously.

The clockwork soldiers freaked me out. Seriously.

Enemy AI is much smarter this time around, almost to the point sometimes of being overly alert to your presence if one of them spots you, as my son found out on his way to the Clockwork Mansion during his play through and had to restart multiple times after being spotted by an overzealous guard (which alerted every other guard nearby). The clockwork soldiers in the mansion, too, are a pain in the arse if you get cornered by one.

On the technical side, load times on PS4 are noticeably long, and are long when the game has to reload after you die. I wonder whether a faster drive would help load times but I’ve no idea. I also noticed frame rate drops during periods of intense melee combat where sometimes you’ll have to fend off three or four attackers. That’s not ideal when you want to block and fend off foes.

karnacadishonored2There is the odd graphical glitch every now and the odd weird thing every now and then: In one mission, an enemy that I was about to stealth knockout suddenly disappeared from view (she was also floating in mid-air instead of the railing she was supposed to be sitting on) & in the same mission, I was suddenly informed that a key character had been eliminated while I was heading towards her office – to eliminate her.  Thanks a lot, game!

I haven’t had a lot of time to play this week (plus my son is hogging the PS4) but I’ve got about three missions left until the game’s finale. I’ve enjoyed what I’ve played so far but is it as good as the original, which I played on PC? I’m really not sure yet. I’m enjoying it but I don’t think the narrative is as strong as the original game’s was.

Only three “missions” to go till I’ve really made up my mind, eh?

If you’ve got any questions about the game, ask away in the comments section and I’ll do my best to answer them.

Dishonored 2 creative kills trailer

I loved Dishonored  (or Dishonoured as it should be spelt where I live).

While it was a game where you could go full noise or creep around, I played it stealthily as much as I could: Creeping along roof tops and ledges, climbing through windows, silently taking out foes, to reach my objective. My teenage son is playing it at the moment and he’s  going all chaos, it seems,  triggering alarms and taking on Dunwall’s military in hand-to-hand combat.

Each to their own, I suppose.

Anyway, Dishonored 2 is out in November and this time you get to play master assassin Corvo Attano, who took the central role in the first game, as well as Emily Kaldwin, who was a little girl in the original game but is now all grown up and Empress of Dunwall.

Things have turned to custard, though, and the throne has been seized by a mad witch named Delilah, and it’s up to Emily and Corvo to travel to the coastal city of Karnaca and get rid of those responsible and reclaim the throne.

The game is out on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on November 11 but maybe I should brush up on my assassinating skills before I tackle the streets of Dunwall again, eh?

 

Pre-E3 day one: Bethesda brings the Doom, Dishonored & Fallout 4

Bethesda

Bethesda opened up its pre-E3 press event today, revealing the new Doom and, if I’m being honest, I was shocked by the gore on show.

I’ve played the Doom games (I played the original Doom on my father’s 486-power PC when I was a teenager) so know about the Over The Top violence, but the graphic nature of the new Doom, thanks to the realism a new generation of hardware can provide, took me somewhat by surprise. Maybe I’ve reached Over The Top Violence critical mass?

Maybe I’m getting old, but part of me wondered whether the gore was entirely necessary. Look, I’m not shocked by violence in movies or games if it’s central to the narrative but part of me saw the gruesome nature of Doom’s violence as perhaps fuel for anti-video game advocates to further have a go at our pastime. Clearly, the new Doom will be R-rated..

Doom is out in November for Xbox One, PC and PlayStation 4.

Bethesda also announced Dishonored 2, the follow-up to Arkane Studio’s great FPS game where you played an assassin in a steam-punk inspired London. This time, players will be able to play as either master assassin Corvo Attano or Emily Kaldwin, the daughter of the murdered Empress from the first Dishonored.

No release date was given for the game, which leads me to believe that it won’t be out till next year some time.

The biggest announcement, not surprisingly, was saved till last (although, it wasn’t a surprise: Fallout 4 was teased last week in a short trailer), with Bethesda’s Todd Howard taking the stage to reveal more details about the game. Here are some of them:

  • The character customisation is freshly unique in that players can change facial features on the fly , while looking at themselves in a bathroom mirror  – and you can play as a woman, which is a big step up from the normally male-dominated lead game roles. Hopefully more developers will follow Bethesda’s lead and give players the option to play as their preferred gender.
  • You’ll have a canine companion that you can issue commands to. Bethesda’s trailer show the video game dog staple, the German Shepard dog as your companion but tongue in cheek here, why can’t they have a dog like a Samoyed (like I have) for a chance? Although, I’m sure a Samoyed would lick an enemy first then flop on them, smothering them to death. That’s what my fluffy Samoyed would do.
  • There will be a Pip Boy Collector’s Edition which features a replica Pip Boy that you slot a smart phone into. There’s also a working Pip Boy app (iOS & Android) that is a working Pip Boy interface.
  • Fallout 4 is highly customisable where players can scavenge parts from the game world and use them to make new settlements, weapons and new structures. There’s also an iOS game Fallout Shelter that’s out now. It looks quite cute. I’ve already downloaded it and might play it tonight. No word on whether it’s coming for Android.

Fallout 4 is due out on November 10. Looks like November will be a busy month.

Quote of the show: “As far as stupid gimmicks go, this is the best fucking one I have seen.” Todd Howard, from Bethesda,  after revealing the Fallout 4 Pip Boy Collector’s Edition.

Xbox has it’s pre-show press event tomorrow morning (4.30am NZ time). If I get up, I’ll watch it. If I don’t, I’ll watch it later in the day.

Dishonored: a game of subtlety and nuance

Dishonored is kind of like an onion: the deeper you delve, the more layers you reveal.

Not layers of yucky onion-ness, which tastes disgusting and makes your mouth taste funny, but layers of gaming goodness that reveals itself the more you peel back.

Dishonored is a game where the more you sit and wait, the more you explore and investigate, the more you learn about the world around you and the story behind it.

It’s a game where you can stealth your way through missions, skulking from cover to cover, roof top to roof top, carefully memorising the patrol patterns of guards before teleporting to the next safe hiding spot, ever closer to your target. Or you can take the ‘‘Come one, come all’’ approach and confront every guard you came across – either lethally (hello Mr foldable blade) or non-lethally(hello neck choke). The makers of Dishonored have left it up to you how you want to approach things. Isn’t that nice of them?

I have to admit that I tried to remain stealthy as much as I could – using rooftops and pipes to travel above the gaze of patrolling guards  – but sometimes I failed miserably, mis-timing a jump and landing noisily between two guards, forcing me to pull out my pistol and blade and take them on. Soon, the bodies were piling up.

You take the role of Corvo Attano, former protector of the Empress of Dunwall who was brutally murdered by a society of magical assassins. Her daughter, Emily, is kidnapped. Attano is framed for her murder and imprisoned but escapes, vowing to avenge the Empress’ death and clear his name. Dishonored is set in a steam punk-inspired world that plays a bit like the classic game Thief – skulking through the shadows and all that – and has nods to Bioshock about it (it may not surprise you that developer Arkane Studios helped in the art direction of Bioshock 2).

Visually, Dishonored looks like a sumptuous water colour painting, with big daubs of colour everywhere, and Dunwall is a society with whales to thank: whale oil powers security systems and machinery, but since the Empress’ death it has succumbed to crippling plague and a tyrannical ruler.

While weapons come into play, Attano’s real power lies in his left hand through magical powers given to him by the mysterious Outsider, who we never really learn much about but whose legend is scribbled on walls around Dunwall. The powers come through collectible runes carved from whale bone, which imbue Attano with a variety of powers like teleportation, possession (both animal and human), slowing down time, summoning up a plague of rats and wind, which knocks enemies over. Teleportation – or blink – was perhaps my most favoured power, meaning I could zip from point to point largely unnoticed and I suspect completing the game with just that one power would be entirely possible.

Dishonored’s makers, developer Arkane, claim you can play the game how you want – stealthy or aggressive – but it seems the more confrontational you are, the darker the ending. It seems the higher your chaos rating – end-of-mission stats tell you how many people you killed, how many alarms you raised and whether you slipped through unnoticed – the darker the game’s tone becomes, with NPCs telling you they’re not pleased with how you’ve become, and rats and weepers – zombie-like citizens infected by the plague – more prevalent.

Dishonored surprised at times: I was chuffed that I was able to complete two assassinations without actually killing the target (although the outcome of one was perhaps not the best) and eavesdropping on conversations and reading letters and books often pays dividends  – and it is pleasing to see there isn’t a boss battle in sight: no final confrontation where you have to attack a foe’s glowing weak spot three times in quick succession before finishing him off with a well-timed button press.

Eventually, though, I realised that all-out aggression isn’t perhaps the best way to play Dishonored: stealth, cunning and a low body count seems to garner the ‘happiest” ending (although there are achievements which relish in how many people you kill within a specific time limit) – but by the time I realised that, it was too late: I already had too much blood on my sword.

Dishonored isn’t perfect: a quick save for the console versions would be nice, but it’s not game-breaking, and using the left bumper to select powers and ranged weapons was a little cumbersome at times (every now and then I fired my pistol thinking I had a power activated). Also, acid-spitting molluscs just seem to be there for no purpose other than to annoy the hell out of you.

When the game is finished, though, it’s not the bodies you left behind or the creeping about that you’ll remember most, but the subtle nuances revealed through the game’s world and environment, and the numerous layers that will be uncovered in multiple playthroughs. Dishonored is a game that is perfect for a return visit.