Saturday, 20 April 2013

21st Century Gaming: Dishonored (part 5)

In my previous post, I stated that I desired revenge against those that poisoned me. The final parts of the game did not disappoint. I had begun this undertaking to find those responsible for killing the Empress and kidnapping her daughter. I had completed this task, and had been struck down by those that had assisted me. Perhaps they desired power and wanted me out of the way, or perhaps they were scared for the monster I had become.

Spying on the assassins
 Either way, they were beyond my sword at this point, and I had to get through the assassins territory. Daud the assassin was the tool by which my enemies had killed the Empress, and it seemed fitting that I dealt with him while I was in the neighbourhood. Either way, I had to go through his headquarters to find my way back to the Hound Pits and discover where my former colleagues were hiding.

Daud's home amongst ruins
 Finding the headquarters was easy enough, although the rooftops between me and my goal were perched-upon by assassins. Sharp eyes and sharper crossbow bolts helped me stay one step ahead of them. When I reached Daud himself, I watched him for a while. He seemed almost repentant, and his diaries suggested that he regretted killing the Empress. I could have let him go, but I could not allow an association of such powerful and dangerous adversaries to survive. I came out of the shadows and faced him in open combat, he called for several of his henchmen, but in the end they all perished. I walked away, but with yet more bodies in my wake.

Daud, so close to my blade
 Past weepers and mass graves (including a train dumping many bodies into the Flooded District), I took to the sewers once more, and chanced upon one of the Bottle Street Gang thugs. He was past help, but told me of a strange person who commanded an army of rats. The door ahead was locked, so my only option was to find this person who apparently held the master key to this sewer.

The whale cavern, and Granny Rags

Imagine my surprise when it was none other than old Granny Rags. I assisted Granny Rags against the Bottle Street Gang, which in retrospect seems to have been quite the mistake. Is she the cause of the rat plague? The signs certainly point in her direction. The cavern I found her in sat below a rotting whale carcass, with a foul stench coming from whatever she was brewing in the bathtub in the centre.

Strange symbols, to summon rats?

I decided to correct my mistake, and searched for her weakness. It seemed her cameo (engraved jewellery) was of great importance, and so I placed it in the exceedingly convenient furnace and incinerated it. This made her quite angry, but now that her powers were reduced I could kill her quite easily. I took all I could from her den, including the master key, and made my way through to the Hound Pits.

It seems I was not the only one betrayed at the pub, which now swarmed with city guards. Cecilia informed me that almost all of my fellow conspirators were dead, but that Sokolov and Piero were holed up in the workshop. I dispatched the guardsmen and Tall Boys, and found my way into the workshop. They provided useful information and equipment, and revealed how to summon Sam the boatman.
Scientists at work

Sam had been waiting for me, and took me to Kingsparrow Island, my final destination. He let me know in no uncertain terms that he considers me a terrible person for all that I've done. It hits quite hard, especially since Samuel is one of the best characters in the game. He's correct too, I have killed so many to get here. Not long until it is all completed.

"...the things you've done, you could be the worst of us."

The island and the lighthouse are in a state of war. The three remaining conspirators now fight amongst themselves for the power they crave. High Overseer Martin shoots himself rather than be killed by me. Lord Pendleton dies from a bullet wound from an unknown soldier. Admiral Havelock resides at the top of the lighthouse, and I slowly make my way towards him.

High Overseer Martin

The top of the lighthouse is luxurious, but the war room tells of it's purpose. Emily's room is empty, a trail of blood leads further upwards. On the way I find a dying servant, but I cannot help her. The stairs up lead to the sounds of angry shouting, Havelock has Emily at the very top.

The Lighthouse's decadent interior

I decide to sneak up behind him, so very carefully so that he doesn't realise I'm there. I listen to him for a short while, his plan involves him ruling the Empire. Two thrusts of my sword and he falls just like the rest. Emily jumps into my arms, thankful for her rescue. Her voice makes me wonder if I could have done better, and if all this violence has solved anything at all.

Emily saved, but what of Dunwall?
Revenge was my driving motivation throughout Dishonored, and it certainly allows you full scope for that. By the end, I had killed or disgraced anyone that stood in my way and put Emily on the throne. It was the high chaos ending, and while the darkness was mentioned it all concludes a little too swiftly for my liking.

What will history tell us? That the daughter of a murdered Empress ascended the throne up a mountain of corpses, carried by an assassin named Corvo?

You barely get to appreciate the consequences of your actions, so I have already embarked upon a second playthrough in order to see what a low-chaos, non-lethal playthrough is like (although I accidentally had to kill a guard on my escape from prison, since I'm actually not very good at being stealthy and I hadn't saved the game!).

I do love the style and the setting of the game though. It's rich environment is filled with little stories and characters which are often only too briefly seen in the main plot. I really hope that DLC or expansions can expand upon the world without losing the charm of the main game. I would have loved some more time with the Outsider, and perhaps more time with either the gangs, the nobles or both. (The first proper DLC, "Knife of Dunwall" tells more of Daud and the assassins).

Dishonored is a game that owes a lot to it's ancestors, the likes of Half Life 2, Thief and so on, but still stands well on it's own merits. I often am so very pessimistic about the state of modern gaming, but it's games like Dishonored which make me glad I persist with it. It has my highest honour, which is that I will happily replay it!

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