The diamond of Arkane Studios, Dishonored was a title that I put off for many months before finally giving in. Thrust into the gothic city of Dunwall, I was immediately enamored of the grim demeanor of the inhabitants. Everyone from the poor to the rich alike seemed to have seen stuff and something about that intrigued me given that I really hadn’t seen that in any other game.
But before I spoil it all up here, let’s get into the 10 things I loved about Dishonored.
1. The Setting
I’m a huge sucker for worldbuilding and the world of Dishonored is definitely built to perfection. Dunwall has its own unique economic footprint in the world and different classes each have their own specific tales that you can collect from various locations. The religious sects of the universe are also both robust and while the Outsider’s cult isn’t featured in this particular title, the Overseers are given far more time to shine. From the clothing to the mechanic enhancements that enemies wear, the setting of Dishonored is perfection.
While not the main villain of the game, Daud is instrumental in kicking off the plot of the game. The man directly responsible for the assassination of the Empress Jessamine, calling Daud a rough character is putting it lightly. Perfectly voiced by Michael Madsen (see Kill Bill for reference), the gruff and grisly voice suits the character that has been dragged through life and decided that the only way to come out winning was to band together a group of assassins.
Daud’s featured more prominently in the DLC but in the main game, he’s definitely not left as unfinished business. As Corvo Attano, the player is faced with the choice to spar an old enemy or take revenge for past misdeeds.
3. The DLC – The Unknown Adventures of Daud
Moving on to the DLC or better known as The Knife of Dunwall and the Brigmore Witches, both expansions follow Daud’s path through the same span of time as Corvo experienced in the main game. With the player now controlling Daud with his own unique set of skills and powers, you can see his journey from cold leader of assassins all the way to becoming the unknown savior of Emily Kaldwin. Both expansions bring the player to even more fully realized locations and shed light on the tumultuous history of Daud and the Outsider.
4. The Whalers
And I can’t talk about Daud or either expansion without highlighting the Whalers in their full glory. The Whalers are Daud’s assassins that are bonded to him through the Dark Mark and each one is a powerful asset that Daud can choose to use against other enemies. With the most well known Whalers being Billie Lurk (who also appears in my 10 Best Things in Dishonored II list) and Thomas, the group is usually woobified by fans of the game. However much the fans treat them as Daud’s extended family, linger around them in the actual game and hear how they have voicelines that indicate just how ready they are to slit Daud’s throat whenever they can first chance it.
5. The Outsider
A most ancient force in the world of Dishonored, the Outsider is a god of eld that resides in the darkness of the unknown. His visage is known and feared in the city of Dunwall but his roots go back so far that religions like what the Overseers enforce are of no consequence to him. He seems connected to the strange magicks that whales have and many a tale can be read of sailors who used to carve whalebones and find themselves closer and closer to the god.
He’s honestly just the coolest aspect of the world and the books outside of the game only serve to highlight just how chaotic he can be when he decides to randomly give his mark away.
6. The Combat
The combat in Dishonored is always a pleasure and controlling Corvo or Daud is smooth and exciting. Whether one plays with stealth in mind or a more violent approach, the game allows the smooth execution of both styles. The combat can also be as slow as you want or as quick as you can manage with the momentum of the levels quickly allowing you to traverse locations as quickly as you can push buttons.
7. The Chaotic World
Being violent never felt so awful yet painfully brilliant. The more chaos you bring into the game, the more the world around Corvo changes to reflect the darkness that he further brings. Emily becomes more moody, the Outsider dismissive, and enemies far more aplenty. When I first played through on Low Chaos, the world was pleasant to traverse but once I went for the High Chaos method, routes just were blocked by the sheer amount of enemies present.
8. Corvo’s Enhancements
Corvo and Daud’s enhancements feel so good in Dishonored, but a major complaint of mine was that while doing the stealth playthrough I really couldn’t use any of them on Corvo. The game gives you violent magical abilities and leaves pacifist options to enhancements that are physical capabilities of Corvo such as jumping higher. But when playing as High Chaos Corvo or Daud, the enhancements menu suddenly becomes a toy store of adventure.
9. The Voice Acting
Simply said, the voice acting in this game is brilliant. Lines are spoken with poise and realism not usually found in casual video games of that era. The cast is filled with big and small screen actors and actresses, making the casual player blink in surprise upon hearing Cersei Lannister as Emily’s tutor. Seriously, I cannot list just the bigger names since legit every character is voiced by someone who is pretty much a household name.
10. Delilah Copperspoon and the Brigmore Witches
Just as I highlighted Daud and his Whalers who are super professional and perfect examples of professional killers, Delilah Copperspoon and her witches are the perfect opposites of them. Delilah’s dominance on her coven is felt strongly throughout the expansions and her witches are abandoned women who just want to get back at the world. The coven is very much a woman’s world environment and due to their history, the camaraderie felt among them is so different and wonderful in comparison to the Whalers.
What did you love about Dishonored?