If Dishonored has taught me anything, it’s just that: I’m impatient. I finished the game a couple days ago, and I can’t say enough good things about it. Truly, my romp through Dunwall was simply fantastic. Sure the game wasn’t perfect (not so thrilled with the aiming system I was), but it’s deserving of all its accolades. It also really showed me, unlike any game before, what I’ve always known. When it comes to games, I’m not a patient planner.
***Spoiler-y bits here and there ahead***
Many of you have probably already played or are playing the game, so I’ll be quick here with the premise of Dishonored. As an escaped “convict” named Corvo, you have to clear your name and set things right in the Empire. As such, you are given supernatural powers that allow you to traverse Dunwall sight unseen…if you so choose. You are given the choices to kill or not kill, to be stealthy or be an assassin. Your actions affect the environment and the NPCs in ways large and small. Despite my self-proclaimed loathing of first-person perspective games, I’ve found Dishonored to be one of the best and most captivating games I’ve played in awhile. And it made me have to face up to the fact that I’m a hasty and evil gamer.
Oh, but what about all the good heroes from Fable?! All my happy, noble Shepards from Mass Effect?? Well, those games were NOT Dishonored, which I ended with High Chaos and everyone hating me for all the killing. Now, I did not set out that way. In the beginning, I tried to take the stealthy path in missions. I kept the killing at a minimum, strangling watch men only when I had to and choosing non-lethal options whenever they presented themselves.
By the way, I’m glad were talking about a video game here, because re-reading that last paragraph…well, it could sound a little suspect to a non-gamer.
I stuck with the stealthy approach through three missions. And then I got to the fourth mission, “The Royal Physician.” Well good goddamn. I got so stuck…so frustrated with that mission. I gave the game a break, went onto another game — thought coming back to it with fresh eyes would reveal the stealthy path. But no. I returned to Dishonored and got so horribly angry at my ineptitude that I finally just said fuck it; and I moved on to the fifth mission with a high chaos rating and a tarnished reputation. And it was all downhill from there. The gates revealing my terrible, true nature had been opened and there was no turning back.
Now, for missions five through nine, I did occasionally try stealth; but by mission nine, I was killing everything. I mean, by then I was personally going after each and every guard just to clear an area. If I could be stealthy while killing, that was all well and good, but chaos only measured kills not good intentions. And the thing of it was, my actions didn’t really resonate with me until a character that I thought was a friend betrayed me, said he hated what I had become. Yeah, I know we’re talking about fake people here, but his comment hit me right in the gut. By then, though, it was too late. Maybe I could have reformed my ways that that point and gotten just one more low chaos level, but I felt it was too late. My Corvo had already turned to the dark side and there was no more “oops, sorry!” about it.
As I reflect back upon the game, and really, my gaming history, I realize that my actions in Dishonored aren’t unique. Did I stop Skyrim because I hated it? Well, not really “hated,” but I got impatient with the questing. I always sent Nathan Drake into any fight with guns blazing. I even made Batman deal his share of lethal blows. I barreled through many a Mario game just to get through difficult levels without thinking much extra finds. I don’t have much finesse when it comes to fighting games, as I am an admitted button-masher with things get desperate. And there were plenty of times in Mass Effect when I chose sheer force over forming any kind of plan. This is probably why I’ve always avoided any kind of RTS game — I just don’t have the patience for strategy. Ain’t nobody got time for that. In Dishonored, at a certain point I just got tired of trying to figure things out. And it’s testament to my overall lack of perceptiveness because often in Dishonored I noticed stealthy elements after the fact, after I had already killed everyone in sight.
I’ve been debating on whether or not to try the game again to attain Low Chaos. I don’t know. I’ve got a lot of other games that need attention and plenty of other regular life things that will surely eat up my upcoming free time. Not that I’m impatient or anything…