Dishonored Ex
Posted by Tobold's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 7 January 2013, 7:55 am
Playing Dishonored directly after Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the similarities between the two games are striking. Of course the setting is very different, but for gameplay it doesn't really make a difference whether you gain your powers by cybernetic augmentations or from runes. So how is Dishonored compared to Deux Ex?

From a technical point of view, I would say that Deus Ex has some advantages over Dishonored. The graphics appear to have a higher polygon count in Deus Ex. The way the camera is controlled while you crouch behind an obstacle is superior in Deus Ex. And Dishonored has some minor annoyances that Deus Ex doesn't have: For example in Deus Ex you can quickly click through the screens when you start up the game, while in Dishonored there is no way to accelerate start-up, and you are forced to watch the same 8 (!!!) screens in series every time. You can't even tab out, because then the sequence stops. Dishonored also annoyed me by not having in-game maps, instead there is an official map-app on iOS and Android, which you need to pay $2.99 for.

On gameplay aspects there are several things I prefer in Dishonored. One major point is that there are no experience points in Dishonored, which is a huge improvement. In Deus Ex every action gives points, and you end up doing stupid stuff just for the xp: If you know the access code to a door, in Deus Ex you don't just enter that code to open that door; instead you hack the lock, because that gives xp, and then you don't go through the door but through the ventilation shaft to enter the room, because that gives some more xp. In Dishonored it only matters that you get your task done, none of the various ways is rewarded more than another. You don't sneak because that is the way that gives the most xp, you sneak because you like that approach. There is a difference in outcome whether you play "low chaos" (non-lethal), or "high chaos", but that difference in outcome is the logical reaction of a game world to your actions, not an artificial reward system.

Another gameplay advantage of Dishonored is that there are slightly more different ways to reach the target than in Deus Ex. And they are a bit more exotic, e.g. blinking instead of climbing, or possession of a rat to go through a ventilation shaft. Both games share the issue that not all powers are equally useful for all styles of gameplay: If in Dishonored you want to go non-lethal, summoning a swarm of rats to kill opponents, or being able to turn their corpses into ash are obviously less useful.

On the story side, I think opinions will be divided. On the one side Deus Ex: Human Revolution clearly has the more elaborate and more interesting story. On the other side the simpler story of Dishonored takes up a lot less time for dialogues and cut scenes, and thus is less annoying if you play the game a second or third time. In the end it comes down to what you play the game for: For the interactive fiction, or for the gameplay?

Dishonored appears to be a somewhat easier game. Part of that is a consequence of the large number of options you get to deal with any situation: The more options you have, the more likely you are to find a relatively easy one. The blink power makes many things easier than you have it in Deus Ex with just climbing and jumping, and you get a bigger number of different paths by blinking. On the other hand in Dishonored the behavior of the guards appeared to me somewhat less predictable than in Deus Ex, so that going for the ghost achievement is actually a bit harder. I haven't tried yet to play Dishonored as a pure shooter, but I would think that you'd run into problems with finding enough ammo if you did.

Overall I like Dishonored a lot, at least as much as I did like Deus Ex: Human Revolution. I actually prefer the less convoluted story, and the steampunk setting of Dishonored. And I can live with the technical drawbacks. Your mileage may vary.
Tobold's Blog

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