It's the late 1800s or early 1900s. A time that isn't visited too often in video games. It isn't worn out like other timeframes seem to be at this point. It's just a nice change of pace from the dusty warzones that have becomes all too common in today's videogames. The game takes place mostly in the city of Dunwall. A city highly dependant on whaling and fishing. Whale oil is used to power pretty much everything. Dunwall is also effected by the plague which is brought on by rats that scurry about the city in droves. The lower class in the city are looked down upon from the higher class as infected garbage. This creates some shocking events you witness while playing the game. Such as the different instances of guards dumping bodies upon bodies and even turning on each other if someone is suspected of carrying the disease. The city streets are on constant patrol by guardsmen and there are security devices in place to ensure no one freely walks the streets.
The story opens up with Corvo. He is the Empress' bodyguard and is speaking with her when suddenly assassin's show up in an attempt to kill the Empress. Corvo fights many off but ultimately fails when the Empress is killed in front of him. The rest of the guards show up and he is accused of murdering the Empress and is thrown in prison. The men kidnap the daughter of the Empress and rightful heir to the throne. While in prison the men responsible for this assume control of the throne. A resistance assists Corvo with his prison escape and introduce him to their plan to take out important people in the regime one by one ultimately toppling it and putting the rightful heir on the throne.
This is where the game truly shines for me. You start off with basically nothing but a knife and must sneak about assassinating guards left and right. You could also completely avoid everyone and not kill a single person. The levels are designed in a way that there are multiple paths to get from point A to point B encouraging exploration. The game rewards you for going off the beaten path and fully exploring the environments. Such rewards could be items you can sell to buy upgrades or even full on events that can happen presenting you with the choice to save someone or not. Also early on in the game you get a magical hearth that while equipped will show you where bone charms and runes are. Bone charms are items that will grant you with a passive bonus such as quicker regenerating health or reduced damage from certain enemy types. Runes on the other hand are used to upgarde your powers or to purchase new powers in the game. You can also choose passive upgardes such as higher jumping or higher max health through using the runes.
The powers is where the game can really open up for you. You start off with a blink which is basically a short teleport you use by pointing in an area and hitting a button. This is very useful for reaching those hard to reach places and for getting out of a combat situation if need be. You also get an ability that lets you see enemies through walls as well as their cones of vision. This helps tremendously with sneaking about the environment undetected. There are more powers as well but i'll leave them out in case someone may find that to be a spoiler or whatever. The satisfaction you get from handling a group of enemies mixing your powers together and taking them out with ease is really something special that very few games pull off in such fashion.
Dishonored is by no means a graphical powerhouse and you may find some muddy looking textures here and there but the game really doesnt hurt for it. The art style is really nice in this game and the environments are still pretty great to look at. The assassinations have a great animation to them and it makes you feel like a badass while in combat. Also the game does something that I personally love in games and that is good decaptitation. Your grenades will straight up blow a dudes leg clean off and I havent seen decapitation done this good since the old brothers in arms games. The frame rate is pretty solid for the most part and I only had a few slow downs throughout my time with the game. Also the game has a few options that few games give the player. You can play the game with the hud comepletely disabled to give it a more cinematic or immersive experience. I personally played with the hud enabled just so I could see my health and whatnot but it seems like a great option for the hardcore stealth players out there.
In closing I will say that I personally have not had this much fun with a game all year. The sheer options from scenario to the next is enough to give this game some serious replayability. I just finished my first run through killing pretty much everything and am now going to start a full stealth non-lethal playthrough of the game. It is nice to see Arkane offically put themselves on the map with this release and I look forward to seeing what they do next. Play Dishonored because it really is that good. Thank for reading guys.