After going through the level, being sure no one is killed, Corvo is presented with the option to poison the man or remove the poison from play. He removes it, which also saves an innocent man that he’s being told about previously. Saving innocents will always take precedence for my version of Corvo. What happens next is the stuff that you talk for hours about with your buddies because it’s so much fun, and so damn cool.

Corvo follows his target, who travels with a companion, for a long while. Then when the moment comes he teleports directly behind the companion, shoots over that man’s shoulder with a sleep dart nailing the target, and before the companion can turn around chokes him out. Corvo then grabs his target’s unconscious body and renders the man powerless, a process I’ll let you learn about for yourself.

Dishonored has a few flaws. It’s not a polished looking game, and for a new IP that could be an issue. But Bethesda has something so solid in the formula that I hope we see the franchise evolve into the next generation. The gameplay choices are varied in the best of ways. You travel through Dunwall avoiding the rat plague, tracking targets, and tangling with guards. Or you teleport across rooftops and ledges, throw bottles to distract guards in your way and rewire traps as you become a shadow terror. The choice is yours, and often there are a myriad of paths to take. You’re not regulated to the Dark/Light options of recent games. This time around when the game tells you it’s your choice how you want to play, they mean it.

In fact you could theoretically finish the game without a single kill. I chose to kill when necessary. And early on I decided that if a guard detected me I would fight my way, with deadly force, to safety. That happened after resetting a few times and finding that I’d been pushed back about 15 minutes in the storyline.

The only gameplay issue is that sometimes the hit detection seems a bit off. You’ll spend a lot time trying to get out of water and going back under because the game doesn’t quite line you up right. And forget about climbing ropes and chains, they’re frustrating moments that you tolerate. Worst of all is coming up behind a guard and blocking with your sword three times before choking him out. But these are only minor problems in a refreshingly open and wonderful game that can be played however you want. So load up on your Agility, Blink, and Dark Vision powers to sneak about Dunwall or use the whirlwind ability to become a killing machine. The point is that the choice is truly yours, and it’s fun as hell.

Players: 1
Platforms: PS3, PC, Xbox 360 (reviewed)
Developer: Arkane Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
ESRB: Mature

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