There is a least one game every year that jumps out at me when having no previous knowledge of it's existence. Dishonored had the honor of being that game when I first learned of it at E3. Little by little my anticipation grew for this open and free game as it drew closer and closer to it's release date. Unfortunately, in the end, I became disappointed with the game when it wasn't exactly what I was looking for.
The game delivered when it boasted about it's amount of freedom given to the gamer and choosing your "path" to revenge. There are plenty entry points to any given mission that involves teleporting to ledges, possessing a nearby rat or fish, or if you're feeling like Stone Cold....bust through the front door and raise some hell. The beauty of the game comes from freedom the gamer is given, which reminded me of Deus Ex: Human Revolution. One thing Deus Ex had going for it was that I never took the same route twice, but in Dishonored, I some how gravitate to the way I had originally went. I don't know why, I try not to, but if I don't make a consious effort to explore other areas I tend to find myself taking the same route. I find it to be the safest, fastest, most efficient way.
I was under the impression that your choices in the world would effect the out come of the game. This is partially true but not to the extent I was hoping for. My first playthough I thought I had a big impact on the world that was given to me but only to find out in my 2nd playthrough, that's not the case. The only thing that affects the game is how many people you kill (or don't kill) along the way which will greatly breed new rats (or diminish the number of the flesh eating rodents). Also, taking mercy on your enemies will give you a better ending. It would have been nice to have choices you made during the side missions have a larger impact on the world.
Now if you're looking for a game with a deep, engrossing story, you won't find it in Dishonored. The story revolves around the concept of revenge....then turns into another go at revenge after a very predictable sequence of events. The story isn't the main attraction though, it's all about the gameplay. The plot is just a set piece to keep things moving along and give purpose to how the game plays. Even though I'm aware that this is the whole purpose of the game and everything else is second fiddle, I still can't help look past it's lack of creative story telling.
When I first beat the game, I was underwhelmed by what I had played. To me it was short, had a very simplistic story, and the gameplay wasn't exactly what I had hoped for, even the sound wasn't that good. Outside of the main characters in the game, a lot of chatter between NPC's was recycled dialog and recycled voices. I swear, if I have to hear them whistle "Early in the Morning" one more time I'll scream!
Graphically, the game looked ok, I liked the vibrant colors, even though it was a gritty setting, they seemed to clash well and the overall design of the many environments. However textures were flat and lacked detail and a lot of the Character Models looked the same with different outer wear.
Since I wasn't satisfied with my experience in the first run through, I decided to give the game a 2nd chance. I did some things differently; Took different routes which led to different discoveries, made different choices, and choked out the ol' psychopath Granny Rags whenever I saw her. This time around I have grown a greater appreciation at what this game was trying to do, but, I still remained a bit disappointed. I think it's a good game, a fun game, but game I would rent rather than buy. I know I'm in the minority here since almost everyone has had nothing but positive things to say about Dishonored. Try out the game yourself if you have any interest and form your own opinion because I have a feeling it will differ from mine.