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Gaming Dishonored review

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by brumgrunt, 8 Oct 2012.

  1. fdbh96

    fdbh96 New Member

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    Basically what he's saying is that from the moment he installed the game, it was basically perfect, and gives it a recommendation. What else does the game need? Is a slightly imperfect sound score going to stop you buying a game?
     
  2. CardJoe

    CardJoe Freelance Journalist

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    Yeah, this is all constructive criticism and politely put - so thanks for that.

    To clarify, part of why games aren't all tested - and why you won't find a benchmark for Dishonored - is because of how the reviews take place. It's different for every game, with some games being sent early, some late, some in a finished state, some only 'content complete' (i.e. not fully patched or optimised, but ready for a gameplay review).

    In the case of Dishonored, I played it about a month ago and - while I believe it was final code - the review was done outside of the office and without the option to benchmark it. Nobody had that option and, because the game didn't seem very taxing, I didn't push for it.

    As far as your other points go, I'll make sure Harry and Simon have a look at these comments and see if there isn't some way we can adjust coverage to better suit the audience. I can't promise change - and I'm firmly of the opinion that hardware testing should be separated from the gameplay review if only the back-end - but I'll raise the issues.
     
  3. CardJoe

    CardJoe Freelance Journalist

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    I see your point to a degree - and I'm not saying that across the board a "If I didn't mention it, it wasn't a problem" is the flat, fit-all answer. But when it comes to details of eye animation? No. I'm not going to talk about that.

    Your point about soundscape is fairly valid - and the music in Dishonored is good - but with limited space a choice has to be to either discuss the really important parts of the game or to just issue a checklist of meaningless words. It's all very well to say "The soundscape is great" is all that needs to be said, but...what does that actually mean? To express a point like that meaningfully needs more space and time; space and time which could/should be used to express the critical parts of the game.

    Don't get me wrong; if I have the time and the space or if the soundscape is particularly essential, I'll discuss it. But with Dishonored the soundscape isn't the most important thing; it's the creativity which underpins the game and which informed the design. It's more important to express that this is a game about creative expression in simulated environments and why Dishonored itself is an important game than it is to talk about how the soundscape is just OK.

    What this basically comes down to is a philosophical divide on how games should be seen, I think. Technical issues are a separate matter obviously, but if you require conversation about every element of the music and the graphics and eye animation then you're valuing the components over the whole. That's not how I believe games should be judged, nor how I want to approach them - I see them as a gestalt; more than the sum of their parts.

    As for approaching technical troubles - I see this as a supporting element of my approach. I can't possibly experience every error or situation and I can only talk authoritatively about the ones I understand. If I play a game and find it has serious stability issues, I'll talk about that. If it doesn't have any errors though, should I say that I had no errors while knowing that others will (because that's a fact of life) and that there's no way I could have tested every situation.

    As regards stability, I think a practical approach is to support the expectation that you want your products to work. You expect a game not to crash, just as you expect a DVD not to have scratches on. I do too. If a game crashes a lot for me, you know I'll mention it and investigate - just as I would with a DVD. But if it performs as expected? Well, movie reviews don't all say that the DVDs they bought don't have scratches on and I don't think it's meaningful for me to say "The game didn't crash once...but it might for you and there are people on forums saying it did for them, so watch out for that because it might happen even though it didn't for me..."
     
  4. Guinevere

    Guinevere Mega Mom

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    Having read the comments on all sides I find the most worrying aspect that remains is that a 99% score has been given for a game that has never been installed on a known rig.

    For all anyone knows, it'll be a nightmare to get working, unstable on half of all systems and at best require a monster SLI rig to play as smoothly as the review system.

    I doubt this is the case and I'm not about to start throwing analogies at it, It was a good review and I trust it enough to buy the game!

    Note: Isn't it cool that so many of us are loving the review but want BT articles to be even better if possible? How much nicer it is like this than the typical troll hate you get on a lot of other sites.
     
  5. Palmski

    Palmski Member

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    I would add a +1 to the request for technical overviews of games. Being both a gamer and a builder of rigs to play those games on both are of great interest to me. Plus the in-depth comparisons gave some idea of how the game might run on my hardware which for me is a vital component of whether or not I'll buy a game.
     
  6. CardJoe

    CardJoe Freelance Journalist

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    Well, having talked it through with Harry, it now looks like we'll be working on a separate article to cover the technical side of things in the future. Harry and Matt will be looking at the game in detail, so thanks for your input on that.

    As for the 'knowness' of the system - I did know what it was and I was told at the time the rough specs, but frankly I was playing the game at the start of September and I just can't remember the model numbers now.

    I do know it was a single Nvidia GPU and that it was Windows 7, running on an SSD. Load times were a few seconds. Beyond that, Harry will let you all know and we'll try and use the comments here to inform further changes between us.
     
  7. Waynio

    Waynio Relaxing

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    Looks like a surprise giant hit game of the year, love those, same happened with GTA3 for me. :)

    Soooo glad I didn't follow any news about it but was aware of it catching your keen interest early on.

    Awesome review Joe, sounds excellent fun, game sold, I'll report back after I play some once I get hold of it to say if you made it sound too awesome or if I flat out agree, hope I do. :D

    Only performance news I think we need to know of is if it's a system punisher like crysis or metro 2033 or disgustingly optimised like postal 3 was but if it's regular standard you should be fine with lowering eye candy if on low tech & it still look a lot better & sharper than console blurry-vision. :D
     
  8. Sloth

    Sloth #yolo #swag

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    Glad to have picked this up on a faith pre-order, seems like it'll have been worth it. Excited to get home and play!

    Bringing up this quote from early on in the thread because it still seems to be relevant. With consoles being near the end of their lifespans we've seen plenty of multi-platform releases offering similar graphics with similar hardware demands, at least on low console-equivalent settings. Since there was no mention of this differing from the norm it seems fair to assume it'll be like any other multi-platform games. I certainly can't say the screenshots make it look like some revolutionary graphical stunner. Maybe I'm just spoiled.
     
  9. Deders

    Deders Well-Known Member

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    I was a little disappointed with the graphics but only because I was expecting the minimum spec to be a 460 or equivalent. I'd say it would run perfectly well on a 88/9800GT. So far it hasn't used much more than 1 cpu core or more then 45% of my GPU. Most of the time it's around 25%.

    Overall the watercolour cartoony style is pleasing, reminds me of Discworld.
     
  10. jimmyjj

    jimmyjj Member

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    Awesome.
     
  11. Deders

    Deders Well-Known Member

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    :D
     
  12. Hovis

    Hovis New Member

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    I'm waiting for it to grab me. Have put a couple of hours in and I'm not feeling it yet.

    The setting is so unoriginal that if the name of the game had been Fable 4 then I would not have been surprised. It's literally the cities of Fable 3 again. Even down to the funny posters. Honestly surprised that nobody is getting sued. I mean I get that the setting is unusual, but it's so close to that of Fable 3 I can't help but wish they'd found some way to distance themselves from it, even a little.

    Also it's not steampunk either, so I feel a bit like I bought an orange and got a cow. Steampunk requires steam, there's no coal, no fires, no pistons and pumps. This is more magic and electricity stuff. Nor is it even punk, as you're apparently playing as some sort of noblemen on a quest to restore a hereditary monarch. You can't get less punk than that really.

    Also the continual references to the negative consequences of killing put a real downer on everything. I like a stealth game and I don't mind the challenge of trying to do it without killing anybody, but if you're going to give me awesome knives and a secret army of carnivorous rats, then don't tell me I'm doing it wrong if I want to actually use them. When a fight breaks out, or a guard has to be slotted, there's a feeling of failure attached. It shouldn't be there, because it puts an unpleasant after-taste on so much of the game. Why put in a combat system and cool weapons when they are not meant to be used?

    Also it's the same old engine again, so that means the same old locked down world of painted on doors and immobile objects.

    I'm going to stick it out to the end because I've heard it's fairly short so it shouldn't take much sticking, but I'm struggling to feel the love. Yet.
     
  13. CardJoe

    CardJoe Freelance Journalist

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    Unoriginal? Yes, because we see techno-fantasy games in re-imagined versions of plague-filled London all the time.

    Arkane were very careful - to the point of explicitly stating - that this was not a steampunk game. Art director Viktor Antonov repeatedly said in interviews just what you did: That this is not steampunk because there is no steam, no valves, no bolts. He deliberately removed them in order to create an art direction which was unusual and informed by his industrial design background.

    So, I'm curious why you were expecting steampunk?

    I'm also curious what negative consequences you're talking about. I don't remember seeing any of those.
     
  14. The boy 4rm oz

    The boy 4rm oz Project: Elegant-Li

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    Hmm to buy this or BF3 premium??? I think my mind is already made up. I'm already sick or Borderlands 2 and I need something to tire me over until FarCry 3.
     
  15. Hovis

    Hovis New Member

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    Any industrial London setting is going to feel plague-ridden it sort of goes with the territory of grinding poverty and the architecture.

    While they may talk about not being Steampunk, everybody else is, the game is hyped as a steampunk game, says so in the reviews, says so in the Steam blurb. If they were trying to avoid that they failed, the expectations are of a steampunk game.

    The negative consequences of mass slaughter are implied in the mechanics, you have the chaos level, you have the higher difficulty of doing the whole thing non-lethal, things like that. You're also told you get a darker ending if you kill everybody. Now maybe it's just a personal thing, but I tend to think in a stealth game the emphasis should not be on sneaking around for the sake of the people you're sneaking past. Stealth in Dishonored feels like something you do to avoid killing anybody, rather than something you do to avoid getting killed yourself. This is something I felt Deus Ex did this better, because you were a lot more squishy in a fight. Corvo is a total badass, so you're in this perverse situation of hoping people don't find you for their sake.

    Past this I couldn't engage with the story. You can't just chuck a couple of royal family members at me in the first five seconds, kill them off and expect me to give a crap. Especially with the city coming down with the plague. I couldn't care about any of the characters, even the hero, because he just seems like a drone. While there is autonomy in the quests themselves I felt there was very little incentive to actually do them, why was I helping this bunch of jerks? Why was I not legging it?

    When you've got a mute hero like Gordon Freeman the character only works if he starts out small. With Freeman you acknowledge you're an underling early and that makes the fetch and carry stuff make sense. In Dishonored you're apparently a powerful man of means, a man of rank and status. Now sure that is robbed from you, but why should Corvo be meekly taking orders from whichever bunch of yahoos happen to have taken over the pub?

    I don't think it's a bad game per se, I just think it's got a few too many internal conflicts for my taste.

    By the way, am I the only one who plays it and is reminded of No One Lives Forever 2? I think it's the gadget based first person stealth vibe. It reminds me of NOLF2 more than, for example, Thief.
     
  16. Guinevere

    Guinevere Mega Mom

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    You can create a world that 'feels' steampunk without using boilers etc.

    Steampunk is a 'retelling' of history where Victorian era technology was taken beyond the limits we know to be true and often mashed up together with 'fringe' science to create fantastical contraptions, concepts and scenarios.

    It can be 'steampunk' if it appears to be close to past-era technology but with a twist to create devices that go beyond what was capable of the time and often beyond what we are capable of now.

    I think dishonoured fits this description of steampunk without resorting to bolting a steam boiler and smoke stack onto anything that moves.

    So maybe it's not 'pure' steampunk, but it's near enough as dam-it.
     
  17. Sloth

    Sloth #yolo #swag

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    Whale-oil-punk. Does it really need to be steam? As Joe said, isn't it more original to not follow a rigid setting and instead innnovate while still maintaining the same spirit? I quite like the setting and visual theme.

    The story, though, I also can't help but feel is a joke. I've never been one for singleplayer stories, but this one is certainly a case of "blah blah let me get back to the awesome gameplay". A lot of things felt like forced drama, particularly the killing of the Empress (Oh, he must have done it, let's not even consider that someone else could have done it. No one would think this was as a setup!) and one moment I came across last night which was part funny and part immersion killing. Havelock told me to go talk to Lord Pendleton, but after talking to the kind Lord I was informed that Havelock was looking for me. Wait, what? I just saw him and he sent me here. Artificial story advancement at its best.

    The gameplay really is great, though. I set it to hardest difficulty right away and it certainly hasn't disappointed. Sneaking is certainly a challenge, but also quite rewarding because you'll die in three hits if you get into combat. I've already gotten a couple missions done with no kills, now to get "ghost" by never being spotted!
     
  18. Gunsmith

    Gunsmith Maximum Win

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    Having not followed any of Dishonored's development I had no idea what to expect, so when I got chance to try it earlier on I was pleased that I did, If I'd have paid good money for it I'd have been royally pissed. throughout the first hour I felt like I was being pushed along by the same god awful ADHD console pacing issues that were evident in bioshock, the gameplay didn't fare much better as it was painfully obvious where stealth mechanics were to be used.

    movement felt cumbersome and clunky and with a maximum fov of 85 (whut) I was nauseous and bored out of my face by the time I'd reached the bar and was reaching for the uninstall.

    all in all it felt like Bioshock meets Far Cry 2 and 2 wrongs dont make a right.
     
  19. dolphie

    dolphie New Member

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    It is hyped as being Steampunk in lots of places actually, check out the PC Gamer review as just one example. The tag line says, "Arkane's steampunk stealth-game slinks to victory."

    The setting to me just feels like everything I've played before. It's a little bit Fallout, a little bit Arkham Asylum, a little bit Deus Ex, and reminds me a lot of all the RPG's over the years, especially Arx Fatalis. It might be original on paper but it doesn't really feel anything special to me. I wouldn't say it's bad though. I actually think it looks pretty nice and it's moody and has a good feel, so I am happy with it. But nothing I would write home about.

    It's the gameplay I'm most interested with and like he^ said, it's not really for everyone. With Fallout3, a lot of people said meh it's just Oblivion with guns. I suppose this is kind of like Skyrim with guns. It has some good bits, I like that there's some variety to the weapons, incendiary rounds and whatnot.

    My main issue is just how dumbed down it is, exactly like Gunsmith describes. I knew it would be like this too so I'm not even surprised, but I am disappointed. Besides the fact that there's no freedom with what you do, and the whole thing is a linear on-rails journey, the bits where you do actually get to interact with the game are not that interesting either. It seems like everyone makes out like stealth is a big deal these days, but it's not. All you do is press C to crouch, move up to your target and press mouse button 2 and it performs a big flashy and blood squirty takedown maneuver. It's like auto pilot. And even if they end up attacking you, you just wait for them to swing at you, press block, and then press mouse button2 to perform the instant-kill-parrying-move-of-death.

    Sneaking is predictably lame too. A guard patrols the right side of a wall, the left side of a wall has a bunch of crates oh so conveniently piled up like steps. Next bit a guard patrols one bit, and to the left is large vent to climb inside etc.

    It's not terrible and I think the average gamer will love it, but then they love everything anyway. For anyone who was playing Thief games like 20 years ago and expected things to be far more advanced these days, you'll probably be pretty disappointed.
     
  20. Hovis

    Hovis New Member

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    The big howler with the story, the thing that I just could get past (and it's barely a spoiler as it happens very early) is that after breaking out of prison your character meets the loyalists and is given the run down of their plot. After this happens he goes to bed. In his sleep he is visited by some sort of weird god type guy who bestows upon our hero the power to teleport, and the means to access bunch of other spiffy moves. Corvo wakes up the next morning, complete with new super powers, as you do, and what's his response?

    Does he go up to the others and say, "Hey guys! Guess who's the Chosen One?" Does he put the plans of the Rebel Pub Posse on hold while he deals with the fact he's now a super magic man, and may want to consider his own agenda? No. Just another day at the office for Corvo 'Muggins' McGenericSurname.

    What makes a game with genuine choice better than one with, well, no choice, is that there can be a degree of player agency in the reaction to game-changing news like this. For example in Skyrim when you slay the first dragon and the guys start calling you Dragonborn, you can just whoop with joy and run off into the foothills to spend the rest of your life in the game blasting goats off slopes if that is what tickles your onions. In Dishonored it's more a case of discovering you're the chosen one, and waking up to find you're still having to work for a couple of guys from Team Fortress 2 that you just met and apparently don't have any prior relationship with despite all three of you being aristocrats in the same city.

    Also much as I dislike to see video games through a political lens I can't help but be depressed at the thought of yet another game where the objective is to prop up some autocratic government for the greater glory of somebody who happens to be somebody important's kid. For a culture so obsessed with freedom and liberty we seem to spend a lot of time making video games about how awesome it is to be ruled by a hereditary monarch. A subject The Witcher 2 did approach in a very mature way, but nobody else seems to be touching with a ten foot stick.
     
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