Revenge is sweet in magical stealth game Dishonored
Macabre blend of magic, vengeance and free will brings a breath of fresh air for gamers
What you need to know
New stealth action video game Dishonored, developed by the French Arkane Studios, is released in the UK this week by publisher Bethesda Softworks.
Set in the fictional industrial city of Dunwall, based on 17th century London, Dishonored follows Corvo Attano, a royal bodyguard framed for murder, who becomes an assassin to seek revenge on his enemies. Attano is aided by a mystical character called Outsider who bestows magical powers.
The game is played from a first person perspective and involves stealth, combat and quests to eliminate Attano's foes. A number of well-known actors voice characters, including Susan Sarandon, Carrie Fisher and Chloë Grace Moretz (Kick-ass).
What the critics like
One of the most hotly anticipated games of the year, Dishonored is a heady cocktail of magic, vengeance and warped steampunk Victoriana, says Tom Meltzer in The Guardian. It can be gruesome, but it's also "exquisite down to the smallest detail", bursting with ideas and artisanal game design. "Both delicious and deliciously macabre."
Dishonored is a breath of fresh air, says Cam Shea on IGN. It's "a fascinating world with a memorable cast, and an interesting overarching tension between mystical pagan magic and industrialisation". And the art direction is "nothing short of incredible".
Choice is the core of Dishonored, says Edge. Players can choose to get revenge on their targets without killing them and are even rewarded for not doing so. "It's a brave and interesting statement to make about responsibility and the nature of choice."
What they don't like
Initially the degree of free will you're afforded can be disorienting, says Dan Silver in the Daily Mirror. "You know where to go and what to do, but how you get there and how you do it is completely up to you." But the game is "a masterpiece" and once you find its rhythm and you'll be hooked.