Game (Non)Review: Dishonored


If you have been following my blog for a while (thanks to those that have) then you probably know that I didn’t begin playing video games again until September of 2011.  As a kid I had the Intelivision system… and if you can remember that piece of crap then you can imagine why I didn’t really get into gaming much.  In my early twenties I picked up the Sega Genesis system and wasted far too many hours playing Mortal Kombat with my roommates at time, or Earthworm Jim solo… much to the chagrin of Mrs. Blahg.  It wasn’t until the release of Dead Island that I purchased a Playstation 3… since then, I’ve been on a mad bender of playing every greatest hit of the last decade at breakneck speed.

As 2012 came to a close, I had just finished playing four of the five Assassin’s Creed games… very disappointed with the final installment, and was playing Mass Effect once it became available for the PS3.  I was beginning to feel a bit burnt out… Mass Effect is a great series, but the first installment is much more of a traditional RPG, and I was hearing story that I already knew thanks to having played both ME2 and ME3 twice before… the thrill was gone.

At Christmas, my daughter received Dishonored.  I had been hemming and hawing as to whether or not I wanted to play this critically acclaimed game… I don’t know why, but something about it rubbed me the wrong way.  I wish I would have listened to my instincts…

I played for about two days (not all of those days mind you… but quite a few hours)… it has a very distinct feel and presentation and is certainly unlike any of the games I had played before.  The mechanics of it are fantastic, visually stunning, and it is an interesting story that you will feel invested in quite early… for sure once the opening sequence ends with a startling coda.  But something didn’t feel right to me…

Then I got a pair of kidney stones on December 27th and found myself in agony for eight days… followed by a devastatingly emotional month to follow.  The stones and personal issues have nothing to do with the game… but oddly enough, helped to clarify my problems with Dishonored.

Dishonored is dark… there is no levity… not a single joke.  Visually, the animation is strange, everyone has oversized hands and are weirdly cartoonish, and the landscape is polluted and dank, but the main difficulties I have with it boil down to how bleak everything in this game is… and I mean EVERYTHING.  The story is riddled with sadness and desperation, the graphics are of filth and depression, and there was not one ounce of joy in any aspect of playing this game.  The most fun I had was either watching someone get eaten by a horde of rats or being able to possess a rat to get to otherwise impossible locations.  Frankly… not fun at all.

Until Tuesday, I had only touched the system once… and that was a month ago for about thirty minutes before feeling disgusted and horribly depressed.   Don’t get me wrong… I’m not blaming Dishonored itself for any of my woes… but it is an unfortunate casualty of many different elements of my life converging.

Tuesday I picked up the new Tomb Raider… it’s fun… I’m enjoying it.  I didn’t enjoy Dishonored… therefore, I won’t finish it… and am settling for this (non)review.  I’m not saying it’s a bad game… it’s not… but it is not a game for me.  Turns out I enjoy having fun and playing something that can instill a wee bit of joy into my life.  Dishonored did no such thing.

I feel much better now,
Cornelius J. Blahg 

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