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October 21st, 2012, 14:19
Just finished this after about 18h (read every book, explore every nook etc). Compared to 95% of stuff this year, it's great. Compared to Deus Ex HR, I think it comes off as being weaker ultimately.
Firstly, forget RPG-ness. This thing has no XP, slightly more inventory than a shooter, no hub, no side quests. Essentially two endings - depending on how many mooks you kill along the way.
The art direction which I really liked - is offset by a weak story and lore. The devs bottled out of giving the narrative a message. Like DX:HR makes you think about transhumanism, climate change, journalism etc - Dishonored missed a chance to go into it's 'whale oil', 'outsider' or plague themes.
The 'multiple path' level design I personally think was mixed in execution - the guards are too quick to spot you, and so there is very little time to plan how you'll use your skills to tackle a level before you're frantically teleporting to non-existant safe spots trying to escape guard mobs of 5 or 6. There are almost no safe bolt-holes like in DX:HR. All the hype about stopping time and taking possession of a guard's body so he walks into his own bullet is too mana expensive to be a valid gameplay style and is just a gimmick.
Teleport takes a couple of seconds to position (even on a 24' screen) so in the heat of battle you often end up teleporting yourself next to a parapet (yes, high up into thin air) as opposed to onto it. When guards you knocked out are woken, they magically sense where you are and you can see them running like mad across three rooms, down some stairs straight to where you are (hidden from normal guards).
Fun game and I'd recommend it if Alpha Protocol and Deus Ex are your thing, but I doubt a second playthrough will reveal new secrets, open up new builds, or end differently.
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