2012's year of gaming is coming to a close and that means Neoseeker is deep in deliberation over its "Game of the Year" award. In the months of December and early January each of Neoseeker's 10 nominees for Game of the Year will be profiled. Join in the discussion, speculate on the nominees, and subtly persuade us which game deserves such an honorable award.
Coming in at number six on our "Game of the Year" lineup is Dishonored. An entirely brand new IP that debuted just months ago, Dishonored had no problems impressing the hell out of a lot of people. Players step into the shoes of one Corvo Atano, a skilled soldier framed for the murder of his beloved queen, the woman he was sworn to protect. As you can guess, the game mostly revolves Corvo's quest for vengeance, though how he goes about exacting that revenge is entirely left up to you.
Sure, that doesn't sound like much, but Dishonored succeeds in so well in this respect. The game offers us a real sense of freedom in an open playground, without the usual pressures a true sandbox environment sometimes has. It's a fulfilling meal that's appropriately portioned, ensuring our dining experience is a satisfying one, leaving us neither hungry nor too full by the end of the course. Okay, analogies aside, I'm saying this is a great game.
Why Dishonored is great:
- True freedom - Few games offer as much freedom as Dishonored does, going so far as to affect how you play the game. It isn't a simple case of picking "good" or "evil" choices, though that decision-making element is a part of the experience. Rather, the only restriction Dishonored really imposes on you is Corvo's objective. "Hey, Corvo," his ally would tell him, "go get rid of so and so." Sure, not in those exact words, but that's about the only thing you need to keep in mind when the game unleashes you into its world. How Corvo kills -- if he kills -- is left entirely up to you, the player. As Arkane themselves have stated, this is an assassination game where you can choose to never assassinate a single person. All these things tally up to one of many outcomes, as the ending is determined by your behavior throughout the entire story.
- Rats and more rats - Affording players absolute freedom isn't without its challenges, because the game has to actually be fun in order to drive you forward. Self-motivation and all that. Dishonored succeeds here too, by giving Corvo a variety of weapons and abilities to make him as deadly or passive as you like. For pacifist players, sleep darts, teleportation or possession abilities offer cleaner ways of overcoming enemies and obstacles. For the bloodthirsty, you've got Corvo's trusty sword and any number of deadly spells to throw at the opposition. Arkane got plenty creative with these abilities too. How about summoning a swarm of rats to eat your enemies alive? If you'd rather not watch, go ahead and possess one of these rats and make your escape. Or whatever else you can think of; in Dishonored, the world is your oyster. Now flex that murderous creativity of yours.
- Granny Rags - The game has its share of interesting characters, though you may not know this without making use of the magic mind-reading heart. Well, one such character is Granny Rags, and you don't have to prod through her memories to find her absolutely fascinating... or plain creepy. Her true nature isn't revealed until the game's final moments, and even then, we're not exactly sure what her deal is, except to say batsh*t crazy and entirely too good at getting under your skin. Yet Granny's not exactly unhelpful, providing our masked hero with the tools he needs to become better and stronger. She seems to fancy Corvo for the most part, and maybe that just adds to this indescribable dynamic the player shares with her.
Dishonored isn't without its shortcomings, of course. The story, despite all its potential, felt flat in terms of delivery. Yet everything that it does right -- all the features and freedoms and crazy-as-heck abilities -- made the entire experience an absolute joy. Most surprising of all is how polished the entire game felt, which tends to be a rarity when you're talking the first game of a hypothetical franchise (which may no longer be a hypothetical in this case). For its strengths, I give Dishonored a spot on our list of GOTY nominees.
Neoseeker Game of the Year nominees:
- The Walking Dead
- Hotline Miami
- Darksiders II
- Assassin's Creed III
- Far Cry 3
- Halo 4
- Guild Wars 2
- Dota 2
Also, check out and vote in our community Game of the Year poll where the current leader is Borderlands 2.