Zero Punctuation: Dishonored

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Sure, praise HL2 as the second coming of christ, but talk about how silent protagonists are bad.

You couldn't find anything bad to say, did you?

I'm enjoying Dishonored (I'll leave the 'u' out, because it's the title of a work, but I am not happy about it) so far, but I hear what Yahtzee's saying. I mean, personally, the only reason I reload when I get caught is because I'm trying for a pacifist-ghost run-through for trophy purposes. Not that I'm a trophy whore or anything, but because I actually wanted to see how difficult that made the game.

But there's nothing particularly engaging about the characters. The Loyalists in particular are about as characterized as a cardboard cutout. It's like they put so much effort into creating the world as a whole that they forgot to populate it until the last minute, and then had to rush through it.

Considering Arkane has only developed three games including this one, (and disregarding the art work they did on Bioshock 2), it's definitely not a bad attempt. I'd like to see it get a sequel, if only so that I can explore the world again with a more interesting population.

Also, I have no opinion one way or the other about silent protagonists, but I found it weird that they gave Corvo so much back story, and then didn't give him a voice. Probably a casualty of the moral choice thing.

What shall we do with a drunken Yahtzee?
What shall we do with a drunken Yahtzee?
What shall we do with a drunken Yahtzee?
Earl-aye in the morning?

Feed him to the hungry Jim for dinner,
Feed him to the hungry Jim for dinner,
Feed him to the hungry Jim for dinner,
Earl-aye in the morning

Yahtzee is too harsh but has a point, as always.

In Search of Username:
You were expecting personality in a game published by Bethesda? Come on, now. And yeah, silent protagonists are fucking stupid. Maybe I'm just terrible at projecting myself on the character, but I honestly always think of silent protagonists as having absolutely no personality at all.

Silent protagonists are a reflection of the person playing them. If your silent protagonists has no personality...

I was under the impression that Yahtzee would like this more than he said he did before I saw the review. I'm trying to work out a formula of things included in games that Yahtzee may like. I knew Dishonored had many similarities to Thief predicted that Yahtzee would bring it up in his review, but I was just under the impression that he would like the game as well.

Ah well. Guess I'll pick this up anyways sometime down the road.

Can't say I'm really surprised; it's not like Yahtzee hasn't spent most of his career working the shaft of Thief 2 or Silent Hill 2 every chance he gets, to the point where it's getting kind of embarrassing, like a grizzled old grandfather we have to visit every week who instead of continuing a conversation starts it up all over again regardless of what the topic was. Sort of like Romney! Ba-dum-tish.

That being said he does have a bit of a point this time. Summoning up armies of rats to kill things is fine but the length and depth of the story and the game itself is pretty poor. Like someone cut out the Thieves Guild quests from Skyrim and just made a game about that, only without all the recyclable side-quests and special loot hunting cut out.

That being said it is an above average game; with time, polish and a solid development team the impending sequel could be really good. Remember guys; Yahtzee only sort of liked Thief, but he REALLY likes Thief 2. He won't bloody shut up about it.

I wanted to get this, but considering that I haven't completed Thief/Thief II, I think I'll get those instead and save some money.

TheIronRuler:
Sure, praise HL2 as the second coming of christ, but talk about how silent protagonists are bad.

You couldn't find anything bad to say, did you?

He's never been THAT supportive of the Half-Life series. And he didn't say they were bad, just poorly implemented in this case.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for calling out the garbage "silent protagonist who actually does have a determined personality/existence" approach for what it is.. garbage. And extra marks for actually mentioning Freeman in the discussion of how silly that approach really is.

I believe the problem is not so much the killing vs. not-killing, but rather the reasoning behind it. In Thief, you don't kill because that is "unprofessional". The best thief is the one that doesn't stoop down to killing, and if you want to be the best (i.e., play on Expert), you don't kill anyone (and then you have the guys that ghost all the missions. That's pretty awesome. I've never had the patience or skill for that).

Whereas using the player's lethality as a reward/punishment mechanic is kinda meh...

I think that the case is the same as half life's , you decide your level of immersion .
The characters are quite interesting if you decide to talk to them ,listen to the whispers of the heart or examine their notes . Also they hint why Corvo is a bodyguard to the Empress .

OuendanCyrus:
I rather have a silent protagonist that someone who never shuts up, I always end up hating about 80% of voiced protagonists.

Ever considered that's because 80% of voiced protagonists suck or are samey?
There are protagonists who's presence and voices I've thoroughly enjoyed having with me. A silent protagonist is a character that lets you fill in the blanks and feel like you're in the story, a silent protagonist with conversation options stresses this more but a voice protagonist feels less like me in the shoes of this character taking the journey and more me taking the journey with this character. Like they're more companions than me. I like both to tell the truth.

The key to making a silent protagonist work is giving the player tons of options to choose from even if the majority of those options have little to no effect on the game. It allows the player to create the character they want. Corvo didn't have that. I will agree this silent protagonist sucks. I'd say the same about Half Life to best honest.

Earthfield:
Didn't expect him to be so disappointed with it.

Well, I better try it for myself before judging.

It's true, I thought he would have liked it. A lot. Unfortunately I haven't played it and I won't be able to for a while, but after watching Harvey Smith, Raphael Colantonio and all the others declare and express all the undiluted passion, thought, talent and effort to make Dishonored, seeing all that "unrewarded" by Yahtzee (that I respect very very much, he's also the one who introduced me to Thief) leaves me kind of... empty.

Disappointed.

Sad.

I agree that it's too short, and the main characters were a tad bland (I thought Emily was alright though. Also, I like how she changes depending on your actions), but I actually thought the guards were pretty well characterized, with solid dialogue throughout the game. They're pretty human, with different views on politics, differing amounts of empathy for plague victims, and even different opinions of Corvo depending on whether he's been massacring them or mostly letting them live. In any case, I don't think the blandness of the characters matters too much to the game. None of them were really important enough that their bland personalities harmed the game, which is quite excellent at its core mechanics.

I didn't mind the binary choice aspect, but the urge to reload the game when caught instead of outsmarting the guards did get pretty annoying. The devs ought to patch out the "getting caught increases chaos" thing, and also add more stuns (plenty of ways to murder guards, only a few to knock them out, which is strange considering the game seems to want the player to knock them out).

Bash me all you want but: 1 - The moral system here actually makes sence; when you kill a lot of people the plague rats get a larger population and more people get infected, thus bringing more chaos. 2 - Corvo (in my opinion) is caring mainly about Emily (the kid) and will do anything to save/help her [ she is his Daughter and the Empress was his lover ], so I see him motivated by mainly that. 3 - you have to work hard to be a good person and do rightfull justice. Remember the "pope" dude from mission 1? Well, you brand him as a heretic because he has sinned by the church's rules and with others it's kinda same. The killing is easyer and more fun but you do not want to become a monster, so you keep your anger inside to be rightious.
Alltogether I adore this game but Yahtzee is right about most points. It took me about 13 hours on my first pay through and I didn't really read all books/notes and explore the levels, but I did try to stealth and got absorbed. For me - 8.5/10, nearly perfect.

C117:

And unlike Yahtzee, I strived for the no-kill achievment from beginning to end, and almost thought I made it. I never killed anyone on the missions, I disposed of all my targets nonlethaly, and I even shot that duelist guy with a sleep dart in the noggin'. But when I finished, I didn't get the achievment.

And then it hit me. I had killed two individuals. In fact, it was the first two individuals I encountered in the whole game. It was in the tutorial, and the game basically said "waste their asses".

I felt pretty drained after that...

Those guys don't count. I got the clean hands achievement easily.

Edit: I disagree with Yathzee. Dishonored is the best stealth game of this gen. The moral system makes sense, because if you kill guards there is less guards to deal with the weepers, bandits and rats. I played Dishonored through twice. First killing everyone and spending hours to find all the different ways to kill someone. I spent 5 hours alone with the first assassinations, because I wanted to see how many different ways there were to kill the guy. Second I used stealth and it was fun experience as well. I tried to avoid guards as much as I could.

I've almost 40 hours spent with the game, so I think that was 40 euros well spent.

disgruntledgamer:

OuendanCyrus:
I rather have a silent protagonist that someone who never shuts up, I always end up hating about 80% of voiced protagonists.

A protagonists with a Bad voice actor and script is going to be worse than a silent protagonist, but a Good voice actor with a good script or even a mediocre script will out shine a silent protagonist 6 ways from Sunday.

The trick is getting that Good voice actor and script.

Good thing they went with a silent protagonist then, because the voice acting in this game was -terrible- with the worst performance easily going to the monotone Outsider

Walter Byers:

In Search of Username:
You were expecting personality in a game published by Bethesda? Come on, now. And yeah, silent protagonists are fucking stupid. Maybe I'm just terrible at projecting myself on the character, but I honestly always think of silent protagonists as having absolutely no personality at all.

Silent protagonists are a reflection of the person playing them. If your silent protagonists has no personality...

Yeah but they aren't are they? I can't think 'what would *I* do in this situation?' because there is no way I can empathise with someone who runs around stabbing people and using his magical powers in a steampunk world. That is not a situation I will ever be in. But maybe if the character had some kind of personality of their own I could at least understand their motivations.

Pope Magnificent the first or Slitpipes McGee...choices choices.

its quite funny, i Just finished Dishonored for the first time. There are actually 4 endings. All pretty much the same except you die at the end (sorrry spoilers) basically in all 4 endings (youtube) you die of old age WTF? Its a video game, why the f*** would I care if the character dies like 40 yrs later after the story ended, its not like the sims where the player controls the asshole for his entire lifespan. Anyway the core mechanics are fun for like 3 missions and then it all gets kind of monotonous. The level design is good but at times confusing. I got lost at several points. They wanted to make an open world feel but not a sandbox game so its all like play GTA with no harlets. Basically I agree with Yahtzee which I do always do with his reviews.

One last thing. (sorry perhaps some minor spoilers) At the end the one NPC (he was so generic he was not really a character) told me how disappointed in what I became (a serial killer) and that I should go f*** myself. He then shot a flare so everyone knew where I was. WTF? This is a STEALTH game that screws you if you are amoral. The killing animations are much more entertaining than the non-violent ones. Its really the only reason I killed almost everyone except a few targets (the non-violent option wa a worse fate for them tehee hee).

Finally thats my two rands worth.
Sorry for the long post. Just had been thinking about what made the game disappointing for me from all the hype I had read before - and had to get it off my chest before my examinations start.
It is a good game but I am really unhappy with how right at the end there is this shift. Myabe its because my game kept loading too quickly and I could not read the loading screen, but I felt the game was against me and not my friend trying to give me some entertainment and maybe some message on society or what ever. Instead it insulted me.

I love how the anthropomorphic game coughs up a cat head...
...
I'm still giggling. Idk why :)

One thing that raised an eyebrow for me was his complaint about the characters being bleep bloopy but with expressive faces. I kind of felt the opposite. I felt that their voices had character, but their faces just didn't change, especially Emily. She's supposed to adore you, but her face never changes from, well, neutral. I don't think they got more than one expression each. It was some serious uncanny valley material when the characters' voices were implying strong emotions but they faces stayed neutral.

Still, I strongly recommend the game. It was designed so you can pick from a variety of strategies and even choose between being a stealthy assassin, or an unstoppable dervish of death, depending on your upgrade choices.

The moral choices also seem to fit, since Corvo is a character who feels torn between his desire for revenge and his loyalty to the empire. The guards are loyal to whoever runs the empire, so every guard who tries to stop you is a potential future ally. On the other hand, he's pissed because they're all blaming him for a crime he didn't commit. My point is, playing as violent Corvo or pacifist Corvo felt in-character either way.

With my current playthrough of Thief Gold (and later 2 and 2X), I can confirm Yhatzee's sentiment about it, not about the giant boner that can slap everyone in a single room, but that it's easily one of the games with the most huge boner levels I've ever seen in any game.

Although Garret deffinitely isn't silent, although very quiet (being a thief and all that), he does speak and he has a great personality and that coming from a game from '98, where Quake 2, Half-Life and Unreal, heck, even System Shock 2 ('99, I know) were released and all had silent protagonists.

Personally, I'm still very interested in Dishonored only for being Thief meets Bioshock, I don't mind silent protagonists (even if Yahtzee says otherwise, I don't agree with 85% of what he says anyways) and I don't mind different endings.

I'm disappointed. I wanted to see a review of x-com since he mentioned the FPS in that E-3 and at least at harder difficulties it's kinda like a tactical survival horror.

Its not the fact that there are multiple endings but that there are not enough endings and the ones there are, are generic, boring and linear in everyway. For such a hyped up game, it does not meet expectations.

Walter Byers:
The key to making a silent protagonist work is giving the player tons of options to choose from even if the majority of those options have little to no effect on the game. It allows the player to create the character they want. Corvo didn't have that. I will agree this silent protagonist sucks. I'd say the same about Half Life to best honest.

I characterise him as a father-person. Have you played the game? If yes, note how he's with Emily.

TRex22:

One last thing. (sorry perhaps some minor spoilers) At the end the one NPC (he was so generic he was not really a character) told me how disappointed in what I became (a serial killer) and that I should go f*** myself. He then shot a flare so everyone knew where I was. WTF? This is a STEALTH game that screws you if you are amoral. The killing animations are much more entertaining than the non-violent ones. Its really the only reason I killed almost everyone except a few targets (the non-violent option wa a worse fate for them tehee hee).

I think you missed the point: (stealth) you work hard and resist temptation to doom the city, so you do good. (killing) You slaughter everyone like a psyco and you feel fun and joy in various ways to kill a person, but at the same time you doom the city, so you do bad by, well, being bad. It's like that point Yahtzee brought in Spec Ops: when the killing is fun but you should feel ashamed.

In Search of Username::
Yeah but they aren't are they? I can't think 'what would *I* do in this situation?' because there is no way I can empathise with someone who runs around stabbing people and using his magical powers in a steampunk world. That is not a situation I will ever be in. But maybe if the character had some kind of personality of their own I could at least understand their motivations.

Sorry quoting for me is messed up at work. Hopefully you see this...

I'll agree with you for this particular silent protagonist. Silent protagonists in general is a different story.

Slender review for a Halloween special?

[/quote]
I think you missed the point: (stealth) you work hard and resist temptation to doom the city, so you do good. (killing) You slaughter everyone like a psyco and you feel fun and joy in various ways to kill a person, but at the same time you doom the city, so you do bad by, well, being bad. It's like that point Yahtzee brought in Spec Ops: when the killing is fun but you should feel ashamed.[/quote]
In spec-ops I did feel bad. This game annoyed me. The characters were generic and evil. If you read some of the stuff ingame, you see how awful the overseers are. The whole game felt like everyone was evil or sick and crazy. I know your actions affect the world but honestly the game did not make me care. I used stealth to kill everyone, not that I am socipathic or psychopathic, it was my revenge to the game. Also the game's logo was "Revenge solves everything" not the same message which the game tried and failed to portray to the player

In Search of Username:
You were expecting personality in a game published by Bethesda? Come on, now.

I do have to say that I agree and am being quite verbose in doing so to avoid another terrifying run-in with the mods. Albeit, Fallout 3 and NV at least had one or two characters I could kind of remember...if I concentrate very hard...okay, I give up, the only one I can think of is Moira Brown, and that's one out of how many characters populating two separate wastelands?
Bethesda and Bioware/Obsidian/both of the aforementioned should team up sometime...

Gonna have to agree with Yahtzee here. This game is good, but it left me disappointed. It really is missing something.

Also that Ben Kenobi analogy is the best one in a while.

i have to agree with Yahtzee, silent protagonists do get a bit boring, Mario tends to get a bit uninteresting in games like super paper Mario where everyone can talk and is funny. and wario talks quite a bit and he is pretty interesting, and on my "never have played a bad game from this series " list.
you wanna know what game would be funny and interesting with a social moral choice system, pokemon. i like how persona 4 did it, though that just ended you up dating everything with a vagina and almost yosuke within a 10 mile radius.

but it would be interesting

do you want to help the kid get his Pokemon back from team (insert name here)
*team is hurt due to long ass journey to next town*
ehh...

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