One of the big gaming hits of recent months has been this interesting first person adventure, Dishonored. Set in a fictional time and place the game combines elements of Victorian style and weaponry with magic and mystery to create one of the most unique games, stylistically, in a long time. The gameplay is mostly based around stealth but can be played a number of different ways (high, medium or low chaos) and the way you chose does make differences to the outcome of the plot. You play as an assassin, Corvo, after his wife is murdered and daughter kidnapped he is framed for the killing and is forced to run away as a fugitive. As he attempts to retrieve his daughter he uncovers a conspiracy behind within the government that are out to get him.
The story, while, stylistically original, is ultimately pretty predictable and although the game is mostly story driven the cut scenes are brief. A feature I’m usually pleased to see as often games get bogged down with too many cutscenes but it seems that Dishonored doesn’t quite do its vividly designed environment justice. It is one of the most interesting settings for a game and a lot of work has clearly gone in to it but the story seems underdeveloped really. The fighting is fairly unique too, mainly based around swordplay, projectile weapons are available but you only really use them to get out of a sticky situation, I don’t think I’ve ever played a game with well designed sword fighting action but Dishonored is one of the better ones. It has great execution animations with a nice amount of gore but when you find yourself locked in combat between a number of enemies the control system doesn’t really allow you enough control over how things pan out, I eventually began just running away and hiding if I found myself having to fight off too many enemies. Another interesting feature is the magic abilities that you pick up along the way, when you first attain them is good fun getting to know how to utilise them but by the time you’ve got them all it feels like there are just too many to be able to get to grips with them all and the length of the campaign doesn’t give you enough time to fully get to grips with all the game has to offer.
Overall I think Dishonored becomes its own worst enemy, it is overall a fun game but, it lets itself down by trying to cram too much in in an underdeveloped and predictable storyline. There is a hell of a lot of potential here and it is one of the most unique games I’ve played in ages but it fails to fully utilise it’s great elements. Hopefully if they do a sequel it’ll all come together slightly better, there’s potential here for an incredible new franchise if Bethesda play it right.
Set in a post-apocalyptic world Metro: Last Light follows up 2010’s Metro 2033. Being a PS3 owner I’ve never played the original as for some reason it was never released for Playstation so I can not compare the two. What I do know though is that Last Light was a bigger budget affair with a completely original story line. You play as Artyom and your mission is to find The Dark One who is believed to be the key to the survival of the human race. To do so you must navigate your way through the metro tunnels and stations, as well as explore the deserted Earth above you. It’s a diverse game pitting you against monsters and enemy humans alternately as you work your way through a gripping story of the supernatural.
I’m not the biggest fan of FPS games, mainly because I’m not the into the whole online stuff, so I more often opt for a third person adventure game as they tend to have a better story line. Last Light however, is an FPS that is only concerned with story, there is no online mode or any other mode than the story for that matter. And you can see why as this is one of the richest campaigns I have ever played. The story keeps you gripped from beginning to end (though I must admit I was slightly lost at first having not played 2033) and makes the game a tense affair as you work your through the levels and the plot unravels.
The graphics are absolutely stunning, some of the best I’ve ever seen on PS3. There’s a permanent darkness over every shot but it still manages to look beautiful even when you’re creeping through some filthy tunnels. The monsters are well crafted if slightly generic beasts and the humans look great too making for a realistic gaming experience. The levels take a while to get into the swing, the first few are too heavily cut up with cut scenes and lessons, you’re told how to play the game for too long basically, but once you get past it you’re greeted with a wide variety of stages with varying levels of difficulty all of which require different techniques to get through. Some missions reminded of the Arkham games as you have to sneak around in the shadows picking off Rangers one by one, if you get caught you’re in trouble. Others are more about survival, particularly in the cave areas where you have to fight packs of beasts who come charging at you and you have to be fast with your guns to keep them from tearing you apart. Then there are the stages that are out in the open where the main challenge is keeping your gas mask filters fresh so as not to inhale the radiation and choke to death.
Overall the game is one of the best FPS’s I’ve ever played finding a great balance between action and horror, and managing to have a great storyline without smothering you with cut-scenes or QTE’s. My only qualm would be that it has no replay value and it would perhaps benefit from having something else perhaps a co-op campaign or a challenge mode like the Arkham games. Despite this in terms of story and gameplay this is definitely one worth playing and let’s hope it’s not the last we see from the Metro series.