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Dishonored 2-Years Later Review



Immediately recognizable in its screenshots, Dishonored has an art style that at least reminds me of watercolors in many places. In others it looks appropriately real, but without losing the overall styling, making the entire game feel like another world.

Unfortunately that style does not help hide the low quality of the textures. Many (too many) of the textures look like they have been scaled up, blurring detail beyond what I consider acceptable. The relatively low quality object meshes I understand, as it appears the game was designed for consoles, but the textures are among the worse I have seen, including those of games years older than this. It is a good thing I do not consider graphics to be a game breaker.

Lighting is somewhat inconsistent. Light rays look excellent, but shadows often look soft, but not a natural softness. This softness looks more like a way to hide the fact that some ambient occlusion systems render shadows at a lower resolution than the full frame; blur the edges to hide the jagged pixels. There is nothing particularly wrong with that, but it is still the case that the shadows do not look particularly good. On faces though, the shadows combined with the water-color style and apparent detail to the mesh can make some people hideous.


Water is a somewhat common element in the game, with you taking a boat to many of your missions. To look at just its surface, you will see some nice reflections with a lot of distortion caused by ripples. Interaction with the water is limited at best. Swimming through it generates no affects, such as a wake, except for some distortion when you are underwater. Boats, however, do churn up the water at their backs, and it appears to just be textures of foam being thrown up at angles.

I cannot really think of more to say about the appearance of the graphics, so time to move on to performance and my system specs:

  • Processor: AMD A10-5800K @ 4.40 GHz (44.0x100)
  • Cooling: Corsair H110
  • Motherboard: ASUS F2A85-M PRO
  • GPU: EVGA GTX 770 2 GB
  • PhysX: EVGA GTX 570 1280 MB
  • Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws 4x8 GB (32 GB total) at 1866 MHz 10-10-10-27
  • PSU: OCZ Fata1ty 750 W
  • OS: Windows 7- Professional 64-bit

I was able to run Dishonored at its maximum settings on my computer and the performance seemed to remain solid throughout. There were periods when the frames did noticeably drop, and I cannot tell you why. It never seemed like the game was doing anything particularly demanding then, but my computer should not have been doing anything odd in the background, either. For the greater part of the game it ran very smoothly, which is what you should take away from that.


One thing I would like to mention now is that you only get three anti-aliasing options, which are Off, MLAA (morphological anti-aliasing), and FXAA (fast-approximate anti-aliasing). I chose to run with FXAA and while I do not doubt that it did improve the visuals some, there was still a noticeable amount of aliasing.

I did encounter one issue that I would classify as a bug, and though it is more a gameplay issue, I tend to talk about bugs here, so here is where I will put it. Like many games, Dishonored allows you to collect a number of weapons and abilities, and also like many games you are able to scroll through the list with your mouse's scroll wheel. For what I have described so far, it works exactly as intended and expected. The issue is when you load a save the game will remember the equipped weapon or ability, but not the placement in the list. I ran around mostly with the Blink ability equipped, which was seventh in the list. If I loaded a save, I would have Blink equipped, but if I scrolled up I would equip the second entry in the list, instead of the eighth, and scrolling down would equip the last, instead of the sixth.

Having not played the game closer to release, I cannot say how old this bug is, but it is disheartening to find that it slipped by and into a released game. So just remember when you load a save to either use a number key to re-select what you have equipped, or take a moment to scroll through the list, so it is set at the correct place.


Overall, I think this section can be summed up into two points. The performance is smooth and solid, but the graphics often look quite worse than you would expect of a game released in 2012.

  1. Dishonored Review - Introduction
  2. Dishonored Review - Graphics
  3. Dishonored Review - Story
  4. Dishonored Review - Gameplay
  5. Dishonored Review - Additional Media
  6. Dishonored Review - Conclusion
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