Tobold's Blog
Monday, January 07, 2013
Dishonored Ex

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.

You can disable the intro movies, if you don't mind editing the .ini file.

1) Using Notepad open: C:\Users\%USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Games\Dishonored\DishonoredGame\Config\DishonoredEngine.ini

2) Find the line bForceNoStartupMovies

3) Change bForceNoStartupMovies=false to true.

4) Save the document.
Thanks for the advice! And the fact that somebody figured this out proves that I wasn't the only one who found them annoying. ;)
I honestly found the lack of maps in dishonored to be a half-feature. I even took the advice of some other bloggers and disabled the quest objective trackers.

This encouraged me to get deep into the world and notice more details. Overheard guard conversations and random notes became my clues to the objective instead of the immersion breaking ever-present objective tracker.
Reminds me of a youtube video I saw about "if Doom was done today".

Big arrows pointing you in the direction you need to travel at all times as in COD.

I suck at this type of game so I'd keep the hand holding though. Interesting post by Tobold as I had been looking at Dishonored in the steam sale but was not a big fan of Deus Ex.

Not that I dislike stealthy games as I am currently addicted to Far Cry 3 which so far at least has offered a good balance between stealth or going in all guns blazing.
Didn't this type of 3D game give you headaches at one stage Tobold?
just came across this Tobold I think you would find the articles here interesting.

Didn't this type of 3D game give you headaches at one stage Tobold?

The ones that have head-bobbing still do. But for most games the technology has improved to a point where I don't get a headache any more.
Good to hear because I look forward to hearing your thoughts on further single player games.

I wonder if you could be tempted to try Dark Souls. It is a love it or hate it game (and possibly both at the same time). There is a good chance you will hate it (imagine a single player game where you can still be ganked) but I think it is a very important game and it can be completely gripping if it sucks you in.
Sorry, not touching Dark Souls with a ten-foot pole. Bad console port of a ultra-hardcore game with harsh death penalties and PvP? No, thanks!
Fair enough, you know your own tastes and it probably isn't your sort of game.

Just in case any other possible converts are reading I would like to address your objections if I may:

Bad Console Port: Guilty but mostly fixable with an excellent user created mod.

Ultra Hardcore game: Debatable. It is very engrossing certainly and it is often difficult but there is a current trend for hardcore games (FTL, Hotline Miami, XCom etc) and it is no more difficult than those. It is not hardcore on a level with EVE's spreadsheets or WoW raiding however.

Harsh Death Penalties: Actually not true. There is no permadeath and there is no item loss when you die. You do drop your cash but you can usually retrieve that with a corpse run. Even if you fail your corpse run cash can be earned quickly. This is important to know because you die a lot.

PVP: Yes this game has pvp and ganking. PVP is consensual however because there is a pvp flag (called humanity) you can turn off. Turning off humanity makes the game harder though because you cannot then call on allies for help so many choose to enable it at certain times (boss fights for example)risking the inevitable gank while doing so.

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