The majority of us here at Reticule Towers (disclaimer: we have no towers) have been playing Dishonored like there is no other game on the planet. Well, apart from Nick who has been exploring the universe of Star Trek: Online. As the odd one out, we start with Nick, then we have some Dishonored thoughts.
Following a bout of watching far too much Star Trek: The Next Generation, this week I felt inspired to finally dig out the keys to my mothballed Intrepid class star-ship and return, at least temporarily, for a jaunt around Star Trek: Online.
In truth, not a lot has changed since the last time I was here, so within minutes I remember why I left. Glowing lock-boxes litter the combat situations, begging me to purchase the keys to opening them. It’s a game adamant in pushing its purchasable wares, and when I have absolutely no intention of ever buying anything it can become irritating. I’ve learnt to just steer round the glowing crates at maximum impulse, treating them like just another rock in space.
After a brief ground-based couple of missions which served solely to remind me how agonizingly awful the ground combat was, I returned to my natural hunting grounds – space based co-op. Here is where ST:O really shines, albeit dimly. Under the cover of the larger ships, I guided my nimble Intrepid through the battle lines to where my sensors and experimental weaponry could do the most damage. Phaser weapons and torpedoes criss-crossed the stars, delivering a truly cinematic conflict.
I’ve always found it odd that Star Trek: Online and The Old Republic seem to have things the wrong way round. The Star Wars franchise has always been about exciting combat and space battles, but so much of their MMO concentrates on dialogue. ST:O on the other hand, a game based in the diplomacy-filled universe of the Federation, doesn’t even give you a method of hailing the enemy ships, instead thrusting you into exciting battles without so much of a ‘make it so.’
I doubt I’ll stay for long. There’s just so much wrong with ST:O, and its insistence on begging you for money borders on infuriating. The ground combat is just button-mashingly ridiculous, but the game does show a glimmer of imagination between the stars. For a time I’m remembering just why I enjoyed it so much to begin with, but I’m also remembering why I left.
What with sharing a release date and all, I expect this OWIG to be divided between XCOM and Dishonored. I got the latter, and until such a time that I cave in and buy everyone’s favourite alien-blasting remake I’ve been in the boots of Corvo, bodyguard turned assassin. They’re pretty cool boots, I just found an upgrade that makes the soles supple and quieter. And I’m assuming more comfortable.
It’s like playing a BioShock title with a Half-Life 2 aesthetic, and while I hear Dishonored is quite short (not that far into it yet) I’m already deciding what I’ll be doing in my second playthrough. Right now I’m a somewhat bloodless assassin, relying on non-lethal takedowns and tranq bolts for the crossbow. I stare wistfully at all the sword upgrades that are pretty much useless to me, but next time round? Well, I’m certainly going to be using all these powers with names like Bloodthirsty and Shadow Kill or whatever.
From time to time I’ve slaughtered everyone in an area and then reverted to an earlier save to continue “properly”; it’s rare that I encounter a game that has me reloading a section I’ve completed just to experience it slightly differently. Dishonoured may not be the genre-defining groundbreaker that some have made it out to be, but it’s a game that does things that, while not completely absent from other games, are seldom unwelcome and should be seen more often.
And it also does things like implementing a mechanic whereby a swarm of rats can strip a man of all his flesh in a maelstrom of disturbingly detailed gore. Which is why so far the only blot on my pacifistic approach is a penchant for hacking the little monsters into tiny bits. Hmm. Maybe there’s a reason to soup up my sword after all…
As Edcrab predicted I’ve been playing Dishonored as well, although I haven’t had much chance to get into it yet. So far all I’ve found out is that my level of wanting to do something and my actual skill at that thing seem to have a direct negative correlation, meaning that so far my attempts at stealth have ended in mass murder via frantic swordfights.
Since I’ve only played about 40 minutes of the game I want instead to talk about its distribution. Traditionally I’ve been a console gamer, raised playing the Sega Mega Drive and PlayStation consoles, and I feel more comfortable with a controller in hand than with mouse and keyboard. So when looking to buy Dishonored I first went to find it on PS3 at GAME where it was £45, deciding that was too much I went home and to the PlayStation store.
Now Sony have been starting to get a grips on their digital side recently, they seemed to be learning from their many past mistakes; the renewned PS+ service a notable example of this. Which made it all the more surprising to find Dishonored on the store priced at £50. An amount of money that literally made me laugh out loud. To charge £50 for a game is one thing, but when it’s a digital copy and the physical version is £5 cheaper, it’s just ridiculous.
It’s saddening because I genuinely thought Sony had been taking notes from Steam and starting to get the hang of digital distribution. In the end I found and bought the game for £30 — on Steam.
I don’t want to say too much about Dishonored, save for the fact that it has gripped me like no other game this year. Maybe that is because it is a strong story-driven FPS in which I can really sink my teeth into? It probably is, but also, to quote a friend of mine it is because Dishonored is “essentially the bastard child of Deus Ex, Half-Life 2 and Bioshock. And that’s not at all a bad thing.” I will be having my review on the site shortly, but I want it to be known that I will be playing this through very soon after completing it in order to see what things are like with a bit violence and less reloading as soon as I get spotted.