Revenge is sweet… And so is part 3 of our Dishonored Game Club. Tasty. **For everyone who is or isn't participating, let me know where this should be posted. TAY? tayclassic? Or TAY and tayclassic like I've been doing? Thanks!**
First off, I apologize for how late this is posting…
A. I’m in the Pacific Time Zone, so all my stuff is probably posted late compared to you Easterners.
B. I have a lot of thoughts that don’t make it into my initial write-up and I tried to squeeze a few more in.
C. Kotaku and TAY have been blocked on my work internet (they’ve found me out!), and that makes it even more difficult to post and keep up with everyone. Apparently I’m no network Corvo… my web stealth skills fail.
Now, per usual, would you kindly not spoil anything past our checkpoint for this part of the Game Club. This means no talking about things that happen after the conclusion of the “Lady Boyle’s Last Party” mission. Thank you, much obliged, gracias, merci.
Onward Ho! Here are my reflections on our two assigned missions for this week, “The Royal Pysician” and “Lady Boyle’s Last Party”:
I don’t want to start it off like this, but I’m going to because I can’t get it out of my head…
Whoa! Talk about a 180. The first two missions of the game were, frankly, atrocious to me because of bland story elements and ho hum “choose how you want to play” mechanics. I understood that you could “approach objectives multiple ways” and “decide your target’s fates”, but (I’m sorry if this upsets anyone) that isn't a feature. This day and age every game out there has some sort of “choice” and “choose your own adventure” aspect and it’s not something that sells a game to me. I've done that… like, a thousand times now. Letting me choose is not groundbreaking or even that exciting anymore. It’s expected, in some ways, and par for the course.
Wow, rant. Anyway… then the third mission was a little more exciting (“House of Pleasure”). I felt like I was truly a stealth operative. I had gotten into the flow of the game mechanics, everything was starting to look like a big puzzle, and I finally felt capable but not overpowered. I’m not sure if it was design, or if things just clicked for me, but from the third mission on I’ve been really enjoying the game; especially the next two missions.
“The Royal Physician” is a great mission in design and execution. I mean, sure, I still have to hear guard number 9000 complain about the plague, rats, elixir, and that it’s all a bunch of bullshit (I feel ya buddy), but the level itself is perfectly challenging and fun at the same time. It was like Corvo was finally given his wings and I was flying for the first time. (I reference Corvo and then say “I” because I feel like I actually exist somewhere in between there, but more on that later). I was actually having to do some trial and error finally, and I found certain parts that really captured that “how do I approach this one” mentality. Honest to the Outsider, I hadn’t felt that until this mission. I was having fun messing with new ways to do things! I even tried to jump from the top of that drawbridge thing and then blink at the last second to see if my momentum would dissipate (it didn’t). I was interested in the main objectives again and just wanted to keep things moving forward.
“Lady Boyle’s Last Party” upped the ante even more, and is my favorite part of the game so far. It’s actually brilliant for a game like this, and something that absolutely requires first person I think. A party where everyone is in a mask! Excellent! It was nice walking around and no one assuming you to be Corvo, the super-powered assassin. I also delivered the letter for Pendleton and got to be in my first musket pistol duel ever, which was pretty exciting. I did some unnecessary things at the Boyle’s because I was just enjoying myself too much. I cleared out the entire top floor of guards and put them all in the same closet (that’ll be awkward when they wake up), and pretty much stole everything the Boyle’s had in terms of riches. After asking around I figured out who the right lady was and talked to her.
Uh oh… apparently I chose the wrong answers because now she won’t talk to me anymore and let me take her to the weird man in the basement that wants to save her life. This dilemma made me experience my favorite part of the whole game. How am I supposed to get her down there without anyone knowing now? I took out the guard patrolling by the basement entrance (this fool kicked me once or twice earlier because he didn’t like where I was standing so I was happy to do it). Then, I grabbed some bubbly and stood in the corner by the basement entrance, playing it cool. Ah, here she comes… she walks near… she turns away… and FREEZE! I slow down time, put her to sleep and run out of the room like a mad man. I hustle to the boat where the weirdo is waiting and dump her body so he can… take care of her or whatever, and I’ve disappeared into the sewers before they even knew what that streak of brownish-gray was. A truly dashing escape from an exquisite party; can’t wait for them to read the guest list…
Gripes: I talked about this some with people last week, but I have an issue with character development and who the player is. It largely stems from the short intro and the developer’s idea that you are supposed to be Corvo. I don’t feel like I am Corvo, I just feel like I’m experiencing his journey through his eyes, but I’ve said enough about all of that, I’m beating a dead horse.
I have finally pin-pointed the real issue I’m having with the characters and story overall: I’m getting revenge on these people, but I’m not mad at them. Revenge comes out of anger and the desire to even the score, to seek out justice, but because I feel like I was thrown into the situation without any previous knowledge of anyone or anything… I just feel used. I get it, Corvo loved the empress and they had Emily together, but I had all but 30 seconds to experience anything with her, so if I’m supposed to be Corvo I should be feeling things. I should feel love, loss, and anger. At least a little! I should feel like I want to take these people down, but instead I just feel like I’m running errands for people less capable. This is a major fault to the game’s story. It has the opportunity to be gut wrenching and a powerful driving force, playing with my emotions, making me want to take these horrible people down… but it doesn’t. I want to keep playing because it is a total blast now. I want to get more powerful and try to keep my chaos low. I want to keep finding shrines because I love the little cutscenes with the Outsider. But I don’t feel a want to kill these people, or send them off to their other fates (some sound worse than death). Maybe it’s just me, but revenge could taste a lot sweeter here. Instead it’s more salty… satisfying, a little crunchy, but definitely not a just dessert.
Lastly, the guards are, how do I put this nicely, maybe the worst aspect of this game. Here’s why: They repeat the same things over and over again. In an attempt to make them seem more alive it actually makes them seem more robotic and aged. I feel like I’m playing the original Spider-Man (from the movie) on the Playstation 2… no joke. “Come on out, I know you’re here somewhere” —- “Huh, must be the wind. Cigars and whiskey tonight?” We touched on this last week, but it is really grating… Also, there detection is just bizarre and all over the place sometimes. I could be literally standing next to a guard and he won’t see me (where your peripherals at man?), but I could be in the dark on top of a pipe and he’ll see me across the (large) room. The guards are bad, and they really make the game seem older than it is. Hagfish.
Again, a little long-winded, but I have so many thoughts! Some things I’d like to know about everyone is how you are playing through and allocating your powers.
—> I am going stealth, attempting a low chaos score, but will stab a mofo if he makes me mad or is just too much of a hassle or loud or something. I switched the poisons for Campbell (love irony), Helped Slackjaw so he’d take care of the Pendleton brothers, bribed Sokolov, and as described above – saved Lady Boyle’s life.
—> Power-wise I’ve maxed Blink, Vitality, and the one that makes you faster and jump higher. I have the vision one and the time stop, but I’ve only used each maybe twice in total. I honestly have no idea what to spend my runes on now because everything else seems kind of meh. Maybe I’ll do the mind control next.
And if anyone was wondering, the art style does not bother me at all anymore; total 180 there too. I got some great arguments last week as to why it looks the way it does and I kept my eyes and mind open. Now I love it. Thanks guys.
So what are your thoughts? What do you love, what do you hate, what should we talk about? Heck, anyone have ideas on how to make this better? Talk to me and let’s get this goin’.
Next Week's Assignment:
We'll keep with the 2 missions a week scheme, as it felt a little more manageable. I hope you all feel the same. For next Thursday 9/19 complete the next two missions for part 4 - "Return to the Tower" and "The Flooded District".
And, as always, thanks for reading and playing along!
**If I take a while to answer it’s because I’m at work and can no longer access the pages I need, but please write and I’ll respond as soon as I can!**