Jump this game to the top of your 'To Play' list
Just tell me should I play It? If you have any interest in the stealth genre, or enjoy exploring a detailed, engaging world, comparable to Rapture from Bioshock or Arkham from Arkham Asylum, Yes.
So what happens? You are Corvo, Protector to the Empress of Dunwall, a city currently suffering from a plague. Within the opening minutes the Empress dies. You are of course framed and blamed for her murder and sent to prison.
From there you begin your journey to avenge the slain Empress and to find and protect her daughter, the new Empress Emily. You and your allies work your way up the chain of command, eventually learning not only who held the blade that killed the Empress, but who ordered it.
Each mission gives you a primary target to dispose of, either directly, or through indirect, less than lethal means. I played the less than lethal way, however even if you decide not to kill them, you can be sure that they will rue their involvement in the conspiracy. You are also given sub tasks for each mission, which can lead to alternate methods, or may even pay off in later levels.
Overall I thought the missions provided an interesting challenge each time. Whether you possess rats and fish, travel across rooftops or charge through the front door, guns, crossbow and powers blazing, each mission will reward you for the time you spend in it.
Ok, What’s so good about it? It successfully brings together all aspects one expects from a game (gameplay, art direction, engaging and enhancing audio and story) and still manages to be greater than the sum of its parts.
The world has it’s own unique look, with rats scurrying through out the city, Whales hoisted above whaling ships passing up and down the river and each person looking like an oil painting come to life. You wouldn’t confuse it for a second with any other game world, although the designers heritage of Half Life 2 is apparent, as both worlds share the feeling of being under an oppressive regime.\
The game play itself is immaculate. The weapons and powers you are given all have a different weight to them and help to distinguish the path you will take. Using your powers to blink (short range teleport) around a map, avoiding all guards has a significant anxiety to it, that is not there when you are gunning down or stabbing your way past anyone foolish enough to cross you.
The audio is used well, helping to draw you into a world that is at its lowest point. The rats squeak below you, the guards fret about their rewards and the common folk simply want to survive. The city feels alive around you, with guards whistling as they patrol, and an almost ever present announcer informing you of the latest news, usually a public warning of your latest deed).
Ok, what could be improved? Not a whole lot to be honest. If I had to pick a fault I would say that the allies you have are never really fleshed out. You pick up bits of their back story though overhearing conversation, however you have no real connection to them. Perhaps having them meet you mid mission and require your help, or help you out would have endeared them to you a little more.
Thanks, anything else? All up took me about 18 hours, playing through stealthily so maybe a little less if you go through with a shoot first ask questions later mentality. I’d definitely jump back in if they made a sequel or some story based DLC (Both of which would be hard, as unlike a lot of media now days, this very much has an end).