Where Dishonored: Definitive Edition doesn’t deliver anything exceptionally new or innovative, mind-blowing, or awe-inspiring to those that have played the game in the past, it does neatly package the incredible world of Dunwall, tales of Corvo, Daud, and surrounding characters nicely, and lets us revisit the incredible world and lore of Dishonored just in time to despair that Dishonored 2 still doesn’t have a release date. Dishonored: Definitive Edition gives new players motivation to enter the world for the first time, and past players to return with wide eyes.
“My dear Corvo, what a sad hand fate has dealt you” – The Outsider
Dishonored burst on to the scene in 2012 as one of those coveted new IPs everyone clamors for; original story, world, and heroes paired with interesting game mechanics and an overall better-than-good experience.
Dishonored: Definitive Edition comes at a time where the post-E3 hype has started to subside a little in regards to the announcement of Dishonored 2, and Bethesda’s big focus for the remainder of the year will likely shift to Doom and Fallout 4. Those hoping to jump into a totally different world will be welcomed to the world of Dunwall, where our hero Corvo has been, you guessed it, dishonored.
Dishonored weaves a tale of deceit, revenge, and choice throughout the experience. Corvo, bodyguard to the Empress Jessamine and her daughter Emily is framed for the murder of the beloved empress right at the outset of the game, and his warm relationship with Emily is severed as she is taken by a shadowy assassin. Corvo is then detained and tasked with breaking out with the help from mysterious strangers at the beginning, later to be revealed as “The Loyalists”, a group of rebels fighting for the restoration of Dunwall’s storied empire to its former glory. These loyalists are a ragtag group of former chiefs in the authoritative forces, aristocratic nobility, and other members of society that would rather not see the current Lord Regent occupy that space any longer.
“Here you are at last, in a poisoned and drowning world”
The characters in themselves would be wholly interesting, but placed in the dire circumstances of the world of Dunwall, everything is amplified. Dunwall has a distinct steampunk vibe to it, with the world being set in a time where firearms are primitive and the blade is the preferred method of engagement. Whaling thrives and drives the economy of Dunwall, but a sickness has come upon the island, forcing some inhabitants to become “Weepers”, a sickening, decrepit host to swarms of stinging bees that can inhabit the world the more you murder the poor guards and civilians that cross your path.
Perhaps that’s just the nature of man
Dishonored is a game of layers. A mostly straightforward narrative tale told through the lens of our betrayed hero, but the choices and play style adopted by the player change, shape, and mold the experience. Players can attempt ghost runs, not being noticed at all, no-kill runs, 100% runs, or simply try to get through the game as quickly as possible. The game runs on a Chaos system under everything else, with higher chaos resulting from more kills than incapacitations. Chaos figures into the overall experience as a sort of running tally, all adding up to a total ending that could branch in three different total sums. The true beauty of a game like Dishonored and especially going back through on the new generation, is the fluidity and ability to “right the wrongs” if you’ve played before and never attained that perfect run. If you haven’t played the game at all, this is the time and place to get in.
Returning to the world and people of Dishonored is a joy, but the true pleasure comes from the incredible freedom, and accuracy of movement. The game was known for offering true freedom of choice from the get-go, allowing players to manipulate time, use the Blink power to dash across the world quickly and access higher ground or get the drop on the unsuspecting, and control hordes of rats to devour enemies in the most gruesome, yet satisfying sounds and visuals seen in a long time. Back is The Outsider, spouting his dark ambitions and drives for Corvo, offering his blessing to perform the moves and time manipulation while spouting exposition at times to convey more detail. These powers and abilities truly make Dishonored indeed trial and error – as you find yourself saving frequently if either your approach was poor, or depending on your aim for the game (no-kill, ghost, or total brutality) you’ll find the save menu a familiar sight quite often.
The tale of Corvo is told succinctly through the course of nine missions. Taking that for face value, it’d be easy to forgive a “that’s not enough game” viewpoint. But upon closer look, the true value of Dishonored and most certainly the Definitive Edition is the need to play through at the right pace, and style. If a player truly wants to power through the game, it can be done, and will be a notch on the belt. This is not the best, nor even a good way to experience Dishonored, or any game, and you should think about the kind of person you want to be. Dishonored deserves time, thought, calculation, and a thorough reflection.
Dishonored: Definitive Edition is the fine Brandy, a rich Bourbon, or well-aged Scotch; its true flavor begs to be discovered by appreciation
While Dishonored on its own is a great total experience, the inclusion of all DLC is welcome, as it expands upon the story, world, and characters of Dunwall. We get a glimpse of Jessamine’s assassin, and his intentions, a backstory worth telling, and a rare case of DLC that was truly a compliment to the experience. Both The Knife of Dunwall and The Brigmore Witches tell the story of Daud, revealed to be the assassin who ran through our dear empress in the first stages of the main campaign of Dishonored. Also included is the somewhat afterthought of Dunwall City Trials which is essentially a collection of mini-game trials just as they sound, but can also serve as a great way to hone those Blink skills for your own ridiculous power montage ripe for the YouTube masses.
In this respect, the Definitive Edition delivers all the required content for a full and incredible first run through the world of Dishonored. Experienced players won’t find much here in the way of expansion, or added value to their existing copy if they’ve still got one around. There isn’t what could be call a miraculous graphical overhaul, as the game already looked very good on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and of course PC. More so noticeable this time around is the deliberate watercolor-like palette used on bricks and textured that could be, and were, easily missed the first time around. The fantastic art style of the game remains intact and perhaps enhanced marginally, but doesn’t require the hardware of the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One to be realized. The real aim here seems to be to expose the tale to a new crowd in preparation for the build up to Dishonored 2, and at only $39.99 retail currently, it’s hard to argue that the value is poor.
The Bottom Line
Dishonored: Definitive Edition delivers just that, the definitive experience, as long as you’ve got a PlayStation 4, or Xbox One, and have not played the game previously with the available DLC. If you’re looking for something to get through those doldrums of draught that inevitably follow certain seasons, this is a game that deserves time from both old and new players looking to get into the world of Dunwall again. As remasters and remakes go, it doesn’t truly blow the doors off anything graphically, nor does it add a ton in the way of game changing play or experiences. What it does instead is gives the gamer a great story, game, and world, all at a reasonable price.