Dishonored 2-Years Later ReviewGuest_Jim_* -
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Even though Dishonored actually does have you trying to save an empress (or rather the daughter of the slain one) its story is more than just a 'save the princess' story. As you play you do learn about what is happening in the city and how you are impacting it. You learn the motivations of some people, and understand what your own are. Explore the world and you will find numerous books and notes, sharing the world's history, along with audiographs that get you into the minds of different people. When an empress is murdered, there is a story to tell.
After the assassination, you are arrested and sentenced to be executed. Before that happens though, some of the conspiracy is revealed to you and you receive aid in escaping by people you come to find are loyal to the kidnapped Emily, daughter of the empress. Working with them, you hunt down those responsible for the murder and kidnapping, and along the way you are given the opportunity to choose their fates. Naturally a stab through the throat will remove them as a problem, but each adversary can be removed in other ways. For example, a heretics brand on the face will force one to be exiled.
The game does react to your choices, but not immediately. I noticed that immediately after completing a mission, the person you talk to will refer to your targets as having been killed, even if you did not kill them. Perhaps this could be explained away as them simply not knowing the truth. After all, you only just returned from your mission to kill them, so it may take some time for them to learn what actually happened.
Eventually your choices will come to determine the ending of the game, and if it is a positive or negative outcome. Emily looks up to you, so if your actions are cruel, she will become a cruel empress, but if your actions are merciful, she will be merciful, too. She is not the only character affected by your choices, but she is the easiest to speak of.
While the focus of Corvo is rescuing Emily, there are plenty of opportunities to complete other missions. Some of these can actually be somewhat elaborate as you have to travel to and from different maps, but the rewards can be worth it. These missions also serve to further flesh out the world with the small details they add, and some of the actors in those missions do come to something in the main campaign.
All of that being said though, there are two things I have to ding the story on. One is that it is predictable. From the moment I knew the assassination was the product of a conspiracy and that a group of loyalists are now conspiring to undo the coup, I knew what would ultimately happen. The only question was when.
Continuing with that point, the ending felt somewhat short to me. I mean I may have known what was coming, but it still would have been nice if we could have explored what happened a bit more than one mission.
The other ding is that I do not understand the presence of The Outsider. This at least omniscient and possibly omnipotent being just comes to you, grants you some of his power, and sets you on your way to do what you will. Why? What is the purpose of The Outsider, beyond explaining why you have magical powers and most others do not? Also why is it that he gives you these powers and that the assassins who murdered the empress and kidnapped Emily had similar powers? There would appear to be a conflict of interest here, and it was never explained away, at least to my knowledge.
Overall, the story was actually quite good. Sure it was somewhat predictable, but a lot of stories are. That does not make it unenjoyable, as enjoyment comes from the many details to the plot, the subplots, and how they all interact.