Welcome back to Fun or Shun, the feature where two GamerSushi editors take a look at an upcoming game and give their thoughts on whether or not they want to buy it. We did this last year with the excellent Deus Ex: Human Revolution and now Anthony and I are putting Dishonored, the Bethesda-published steampunk game, under the microscope.
Will Dishonored stand up to the intense scrutiny? Will it triumph based on its pre-release material, or are we feeling a bit cold towards it? Onward, adventurer!
I’ve kind of had a tough time making up my mind about Dishonored. It’s got all the trappings of a good game: it lets you choose how you want to tackle missions, it has a solid design aesthetic, and it’s a new IP. All of that and I can’t shake the feeling that I might be underwhelmed by Dishonored.
At least part of my apprehension has to do with the fact that it’s being published by Bethesda, and they’re not exactly known for stable games. I know it’s unfair to lump the Dishonored development team into that, but given the state of Prey 2, I don’t feel entierly unjustified. Bethesda let Prey 2 launguish for a bit, it seems, and the game suffered for it. I’m just guessing here, but there was probably some whip-cracking going on after Bethesda delayed Prey 2 so they could hit the release date for Dishonored.
And then there’s the whole choice thing in how you want to tackle missions. Very few games pull off the “non-lethal” approach well; even Deus Ex: Human Revolution couldn’t pull that off completely, but that might have been because the boss fights in that game were outsourced (a choice that still baffles me). What I’m getting at is, while you certainly may be able to be a stealthmans in Dishonored, it might just be easier and more fun to go in guns blazing. The powers you get seem more focused on direct confrontation, but that could just be a case of marketing showing the action-heavy side of things to appeal to a broader audience.
Dishonored seems to almost be cracking under the weight of its premise and while I’m sure the game will be fine, there are many other experiences this Fall that are known quantities. Yes, I am part of the problem, but with a limited budget I have to be choosy.
Dishonored is a game that wasn’t even on my radar until Eddy made me watch the trailer so we could do Trailer Trash. I was intrigued by the steampunk aesthetic and excited when I saw some of the cool things your character can do in the game, the most compelling being the Nightcrawler-esque teleportation ability. I could see myself having quite a bit of fun with that.
But what I remember most from that episode of Trailer Trash is how much it reminded me of so many other games that it feels like the second (Or third, technically) coming of Darksiders, another game that was well-liked, but also dismissed by many for blatantly cribbing from other franchises, such as Zelda, God of War and even Portal. Dishonored’s influences seem to range from Half-Life 2 to Mirror’s Edge to Assassin’s Creed to Deus Ex to Bioshock. While I can’t fault any company for taking inspiration from any of those games, it is slightly worrisome that it was glaringly obvious at first glance.
Couple that with Bethesda’s penchant for making buggy, unstable games and my worries start to grow. Here’s a legitimate question: will this game run on my PS3? After Skyrim, I am very wary of Bethesda and am ready to pounce on anyone who dares honor them with a publisher of the year award or anything like that. That fury over Skyrim extends to Dishonored now. They’ve made a big show of stating how the game will react to your choices in a dynamic fashion, which is fancy speak for “Day 1 Patch”.
They’ve also mentioned how they had to cut some features they originally intended, such as being able to hide in shadows. Such revelations only make me question whether Dishonored will be able to live up to the promises made during the marketing campaign. Time will tell, but one thing is for certain: I won’t be finding out myself without some stellar reviews. After last fall’s feast, I am being more picky in games this year and Dishonored is a wait and see.
DOUBLE-SHUN! We threw it down hard on Dishonored there, but what do you guys think? Are we completely off our rockers? Why will Dishonored be the best game of 2012? Or do you agree?