All of this ties back into the experience. At every turn, I found myself trying to elude discovery. At times I wasn't successful, forcing myself to kill the city guard. I actually felt remorse in the beginning, because my goal was non-lethal. But as the story evolved, and the key pieces of the depth of Dunwall's corruption became clearer, I could feel my anger rise. The non-lethal approach wasn't as important anymore, and I was creating chaos wherever I went. I wanted my enemies to be afraid of me, and Dishonored plans for that. The more chaos I created, the more guards there were, and the more obstacles I had to overcome. About half-way through the story, I was leaving bodies everywhere, and I knew I was making things more difficult for myself, but I didn't care. The story that Arkane has crafted – with various twists that constantly had me on my guard – had me so invested in saving the Empress's daughter that I cared about nothing else, or anyone that stood in my way, friend or foe.
There were even instances where I did not kill intended targets if leaving them alive would humiliate them more. Near the end of the game, I had a character tell me that he didn't like what I had become and he planned to warn people of my approach. I killed my one-time friend before he could. I had become that ruthless. I'm sure that, if I had stuck to my original plan of non-lethality, the scene would have played differently, but again, I didn’t care.
This is not a way I usually play this type of game, mind you. I am almost always the lawful do-gooder that tries to do the right thing by everybody, including the bad guys. But there was something about the way the story was presented that changed all that. A game that can make you alter your traditional style of play is the essence of role-playing, forcing you to come to grips with the morality of your actions and admitting it didn't matter because the stakes were too high.
A beautiful setting, with an ugly underside that needed cleansing.
Granted, the game is not without its flaws. There are a couple of back-to-back missions mid-game that offer little guidance on what you should do or where you should go, and it is easy to get lost. It was the one time in the game where I dropped out of character and became frustrated. There are no maps that help you locate where you are. As good as the story is, and as prevalent as information is for back story and local flavor via books and journals littered throughout missions, there are a few plot points that could have used a bit more explanation.
But minor flaws aside, by the time the end credits rolled, I was emotionally exhausted and simultaneously stunned that a game could change the way I have
I didn't have to kill the Pendleton brothers, but I wanted to.