Role play requires balancing health, mana (magic power) and munitions (from incendiary bullets to sticky grenades). It extends to collecting voluminous amounts of stuff to sell on the black market (including rare paintings), coins to purchase goods and morsels to eat (a tin of brined hagfish or rotten Tyrian pear anyone?) and books and notes to read, hidden all over locations.
Most intriguing is using a mechanical beating heart that acts as a bizarre tracker to uncover rare rune artifacts or bone charms that unlock and enhance Corvo’s selection of supernatural powers.
These abilities are a delight for fans of the macabre and include conjuring a grisly swarm of rats, possession of enemies (imagine the potential for mayhem there), short-distance teleportation, time stopping, dark vision (X-ray powers embellished with haunting voices) and a powerful windblast.
Top-notch voice acting combines with a character design reminiscent of sequential-art painter Dan Brereton’s work and London-inspired steampunk architecture and gadgetry to bring the action to life.
Dishonored delivers a welcomed variety of experimentation and depth tied to Corvo’s cinematic salvation and plight. In the finest traditions of Bioshock, Assassin’s Creed and Deus Ex, it allows a player to exist in an evolving fantasy universe that’s more addictive than the famed Hound Pits Pub’s pickled quail eggs.