I have never fealt more like a character within a world than in Dishonored. True emersion, really. The game rewards exploration, and actually reading its many books, unbelievably well.
Well said that man. Dunwall is beautiful, dark and tempting. I think one of its major merits is the choice of somewhat runny-looking textures on its many walls and floors. These fit in well, complimenting both the atmosphere and lore. The whole idea of whale oil is just cracking as well, and a fine example of one of the ideas that make the game world's books so interesting to read.
They do touch on a crucial point when they say we don't get much more than a vertical slice. For all of the in-level freedom we're given, each area has very contained limits that really don't help with maintaining that immersion. I appreciated the art style, but I ultimately felt that my available paths were so obvious and clearly presented to me that I was always brought back to the artifice of it all.
I'd consider Dunwall as more of a laudable attempt than a success that needs to be crowned. To me, the best cities in gaming will always be those featured in the Assassin's Creed games. They're densely packed, people at least convincingly etch the process of living out their lives, and Acre, Damascus or Venice don't quite feel like singular slices of a larger whole. Despite the loading times, they feel like they're part of their respective contexts.
In Dishonored, we're given glimpses of a larger world; of a place outside the city. The problem is that the city itself is so fragmented that no amount of detail can really save it from coming across as it really is - a simulation. A very artful one, of course, but still very much an artifice.
I hope the developers realize they have a big world of potential here -- Corvo and Emily's story is at an end but there is so much of Dunwall, Gristol and the other Isles to explore -- you can make sequels with different stories and characters in the same world - I really hope they don't try to contrive a way for the same sequence of events to befall Corvo rather than making a new story.
I wonder just how much money they would've needed to pad this game out. It had also been Yahtzee's complaint that a lot of the dialogue is very functional and doesn't always give the characters much room to breathe. The game's overall biggest complaint was its length, too.
So between that and the dedicated artstyle which focus on aesthetics rather than graphics let it away with lower res textures, I have to wonder just how big a role money restrictions played for this game. One of the biggest complaints of Thief 3 was that all the graphical improvements had cast a shadow on level length and depth, with loading times everywhere. And now we get 4h campaigns with lackluster short-lived multiplayer.
I wonder if graphics are the one big money drain or if it's a linear upscale in complexity for almost all aspects.
Such a shame, on paper Dishonored is such a great blend, but it just doesn't click for me.
Dont forget that this is the first game of a new IP,
When studios launch a new IP they always have to balance out their production value.
If there's going to be a Dishonored2 it will probably ramp up the scope a whole lot.
Still currently i am verymuch amazed by how alive and interesting dunwall is.
It feels believable, the architecture, the details, even the paintings on the wall, they all have a story to tell.
Though @IamLeam1983 i'd have to disagree about assasins creed's cities.
Even though they are well crafted and nice, they are for the most copy/pasted assets that are repeated throughout a city. This trick is how assasinscreed can afford to create metropolis like cities that take a long time to traverse. However a whole lot i think is generated procedurally according to a scaled down and redesigned layout of a ancient city. After the procedural generation the streets and facades are being dressed with objects from a big library. Except for the signature buildings of a city ofcourse.
Dunwall seems to me to be a lot more uniquely created content that is made specifically for a certain scene/street/location.
I agree with you about the AC cities, they're masterpieces. One thing I think Dunwall has going for it is its building interiors, and I also think the city feels a little more genuine sometimes - I always find it a little ridiculous that the buildings in AC just happen to be so well suited to free-running. There are lots of sticky-out bits and poles everywhere that break the immersion a little for me. This still occurs in Dunwall, but I notice it less. Perhaps the freedom the Blink power gives the player in Dishonoured means the devs didn't have to make it so obvious. Maybe an example of game mechanics and design meshing together really well. Still, you're right - AC's cities have so much more scope and feel more alive and far less restricted. I think they're both great in different ways.
I'd be interested to hear how many playthroughs you've done, as I'm surprised you feel your paths were obvious. I'm on my fourth, and I'm still discovering new nooks and crannies that lead me to unexpected places and new ways to complete (despite my first playthrough being a 'go everywhere, explore everything' run!).
I'm at my third playthrough and am now pretty resolutely in the "fuck it all/kill everyone" mindset, after two stretches spent being careful and exploring every nook and cranny of the city. From the first time I really got a good look at Dunwall's streets, though, I haven't been able to shake off the impression that the level design very obviously prescribes a few paths to you. I remember having to find a way into the Overseer's office, with some sort of large metal wagon offering a suspiciously convenient location into which to Blink. To me, the game seemed to very clearly suggest that I could keep Blinking behind the guards that came close and put them in a sleeper hold.
Then again, maybe I'm expecting a bit too much out of the level design. Human Revolution had a pretty prescriptive level design too, with everything being rather obvious as long as you put two minutes into getting your bearings (at least in the later hubs like Hengsha). For some reason, though, the prevalence of man-sized air ducts didn't bother me.
I'll give that to Dishonoured, in that the air duct problem is elegantly solved. They don't need to fit a guy the size of Corvo, not when you can just possess a rat and then Blink your physical body to its location, after scurrying down a far more realistic ventilation shaft.