Dishonored sneaks out of the shadows on PS4 as the Definitive Edition. Is it worth returning to Dunwall?
I love Dishonored. It’s spectacular. The quality of the pours out of every orifice when you’re making your way through this wholly exciting experience. It’s the mixture of a developer having a great idea and taking the time to absolutely dedicate themselves to the craft of just building a really great game that damn near defined an era upon its original release on last gen. Allowing you, the player to make their way through the levels in whatever way they choose gave you the freedom to experience the game your own way. Dishonored is a game I’ll play for years, so I’m more than happy to see it on my PS4 with all the bundled DLC I didn’t get to play this time around. I’m happy I can play it again, even if I’m not entirely sure why it’s been released.
Dishonored is one great big stealth playground and Dunwall is where we play. The city is a wonderfully monstrous place, the streets emptied after a plague ravaged through the city. The grim darkness runs throughout and is a wonderful place to run around in as bodyguard Corvo Atano, bodyguard to the Empress of Dunwall. After you’re blamed for her and her daughter Emily’s murder – whilst you’re in neighbouring cities looking for aid – you’er framed and sentenced to death by a collective of conspirators who plan to take over the city and remove young Emily off her royal birthright. Once the story is set up you’re a Liam Neeson-esque one man army with supernatural powers and incredible dead-making skills. You’re the ultimate weapon against the corrupt goverment and it’s up to you how you take them down.
After you escape your fate at Coldrige Prison, set in motion by a group called the Loyalists, your new home becomes a pub with a bed on a higher floor and you’re made to do their bidding which normally involves taking someone out or kidnapping folk who have wronged them. This is your only safe place and you’ll visit it in between missions to learn where you need to go next and get yourself suited up for what lies ahead. It’s here that’s worth exploring as much as you can for the secrets and the loot – every tidbit of info you can find it worth paying attention to.
It’s here you can wreak all sorts of heck with your arsenal of weaponry and supernatural skills such as slowing down time, looking through walls and more, including summoning rats to eat enemies and more. The beauty of Dishonored is that it doesn’t really keep you long before showering you with weapons and skills Your blade, crossbow and pistol are on you as standard, allowing you to choose with way you get through levels almost immediately. When you unlock your powers though, that’s when you realise Dishonored is much more than a simple FPS. With the ability to teleport short distances, the game becomes something completely different. Whether it be teleporting from one side of a street to the other to avoid enemies or teleporting very quickly behind one to put him to sleep, the ‘Blink’ feature is the power you’ll be using most regularly and can be upgraded to go further, something you’re going to want to get on quickly by finding Runes hidden across all levels. Obviously, the more powerful you become early on, the easier it’s going to be for you in the long run. You can play the entire game with killing a single person, but certainly makes the game somewhat more challenging. If you do though, you’ll notice marginally less guards patrolling the streets, on the lookout for you.
So what else is packed into this ‘Definitive’ edition? Well you’ve got all three DLC packs, including the Dunwall City Trials, which is the absolute highlight. Here you’re given a collection of maps in which all of Corvo’s tricks and gadgets are available and you’re challenged to get through it as best you can. It’s a little less serious than the main story and can be a fun distraction. The story DLC included (The Knife of Dunwall and The Brigmore Witches) are both solid pieces of gameplay and a good addition to the overall lore but don’t necessarily do anything new, unless you want to hear Michael Madsen piss over his dialogue like he’s just woken up in The Knife of Dunwall. Both of fun but don’t match the wonder of the campaign by any stretch of the imagination.
Visually, the 1080p upgrade has done odd things to the presentation. The ‘oil-painting’ aesthetic that Dishonored does so well looks terrific on last-gen, and it still looks good here, but it seems they’ve tried to go for more realism over their original formula, which makes the overall look seems a bit off. If you look at the whole thing like a moving painting (in a similar vein to TellTale’s Game of Thrones series) then you should be able to marvel at the stunning vistas and sunsets Arkane have created. The facial animation is also fantastic and characters have been stretched and pulled to look more abnormal to fit into this world. It’s a shame the frame-rate stays at 30fps, which makes any new edition of a game somewhat redundant, but at least in the push to Full HD you can see the game looks just as good as it ever has done.
So once again we are in the re-release conundrum of whether or not you should pick this up. If you owned it on your PS3 last-gen, you can get the full upgrade for £15, which honestly is amazing value for money (if you didn’t it still works out less than £20) and damn near makes this an esssential purchase. Tearing it around Dunwall is really, really fun but if you’ve seen it all before, you’ve seen it all before. There’s absolutely nothing new on offer here, save a few extra bonuses at the beginning and a 1080p push. If you’ve completed the game you’ve seen everything it has to offer you, but even then you should obviously remember how great of a game Dishonored is and want to play through it all over again on your more powerful console. I know I did.
It was one of the very best games of the last generation, and it really has to be played.
Dishonored Definitive Edition
Developer: Arkane Studios
Dishonored Definitive Edition is available now on PS4 (reviewed)
Disclaimer: In order to complete this review, we purchased a copy of the game.
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