Dishonored - Spatial and Social Realism and Dissecting Dishonored's Heart
There are a couple of pieces on Dishonored on the web beyond the usual reviews. Gamasutra argues that despite the fantasy setting, Dishonored uses cues that make it feel like "moving to a new town and meeting the neighbors", creating a sense of realism:
Just as is the case in the real world, things rarely exist for no reason. An open window signifies that you can climb into a building. A bundle of wires will inevitably lead to something interesting, even if it’s not crucial to the task at hand. The nice thing about video games is that they allow you to indulge yourself in these environments. Try following a bundle of cables around an office building or rummaging through a restaurant’s closet and you’ll likely have to explain yourself to the police. Dishonored gives you the satisfaction of being able to pursue your latent curiosity.
Over at Rock, Paper, Shotgun, Paul Walker writes about the role of the Heart:
Dishonored’s Heart is an object which lives up to its name in many ways. It breathes life into the game’s characters, imbues the city of Dunwall with soul, and helps the player to feel the melancholy tone which permeates all facets of its world. Characterised by the intersection of the mystical and the technological, it distills the very essence of the pseudo-Victorian steampunk landscape in which Dishonored’s tale unfolds. It is presented to the player as a navigation tool — a guide to lead players to the occult items littered throughout the fictional city of Dunwall. But, as co-creative directors Harvey Smith and Raphael Colantonio told me, “It also plays a part related to informing their decisions about when to apply violence or not, making it a really interesting, more subtle part of the power fantasy.” Here we start to get to grips with what it is the makes the Heart so compelling.
Platform: PC, Xbox 360, PS3