Just as in life sometimes the best type of action is to simply do nothing. Or at least take the less intrusive choice. Dishonoured is all about making the right choices at the right time and understanding that often navigating around the issue is more beneficial that hitting it straight on.
Those of you that enjoy video games and have a wide collection will immediately draw similarities between Dishonored and other well know titles. There are definitely many influences that Dishonoured uses to define its own identity but at no stage do you feel that you've played it all before. In fact one of Dishonored's strengths is it freshness.
The game centres around Corvo, a royal bodyguard framed for the murder of the Empress he was charged with protecting. The daughter of the empress is now missing and the city of Dunwall is without an heir.
A pretty simple premise and the game is fairly focused in what it wants to do. There is no unnecessary padding just for the sake of it. The game is lean and pushes you straight into the action from the word go.
This is a huge strength for a game like this. The nine levels available, although advance the story as you progress, are really nine separate mini adventures. Each having multiple intertwined and interlinked areas each of which provide you with a huge amount of choice and methods of progressing. There is a lot of scope for playing the game your way and this provides a ton of replay value.
One of the main choices you are faced within the game is the decision whether to use stealth to progress or to tackle the game full on. Although the levels are treated in a semi-sandbox mode, your actions do have consequences for future situations. Leave a trail of bodies in your wake encourages the growth of rats and this aids the spread of disease around the city that may make your future progress more difficult.
There are lots of seemingly small things within the game that actually have a larger influence on future outcomes. Taking your time to explore and investigate is a skill that you will need to master. As will the skill of stealth and surprise.
Being invisible to those around you is essential for parts of the game and having to creep what seems like inches at a time can be very difficult but ultimately rewarding. Of course Dishonored provides you with some gadgets to help along the way.
You have the ability to teleport over short distances. This is brilliant for surprising guards or getting to hard to reach places. You can acquire the art of evesdropping that allows you to pick up conversations from a distance - Assassin's Creed like.
You also have the ability to take possession of animals. This is a very useful skill as it allows you to evade capture but also allows you the ability to access areas that you couldn't in your own form.
The game world is very interesting. It's a mash up of old style world with a semi-modern influence. Each level has many sub-missions that bring you all around the city to obscure and exciting places. The missions are varied enough to give that sense of discovery without being too disjointed as to feel unconnected.
Dishonored is very much a game that needs to be played to get a feeling of what it really has to offer. Others will compare it to Thief, Splinter Cell or Assassin's Creed and it does take influence from them. But it is very much its own game. There is a definite learning curve that is essential to understand the nature of the game and it is this that makes it enjoyable - the essence of simply enjoying the game by playing.
It doesn't come with an arsenal of weapons and for the most part the weapons are secondary to the mechanics of the game. They are there if you want to go down that route but you'll get a much better gaming experience if stop and think of alternative strategies.
Dishonored may not be original in its make-up but it does create a new gaming experience by combining aspects of games that have come before. The secret is creating such a game that feels so new.