Dishonored may be an original game coming from 2012, but it had the feel of classics such as Thief and Deus Ex, with a bit of Arx Fatalis thrown in. Whether I wanted to stealth my way through, or leave bodies in my wake, Dishonored took me on an emotional roller-coaster ride.
While the tug on the heart strings was a nice touch, Dishonored set itself apart from other games with intelligent AI, a minimal interface, and a skill system that allowed me to easily craft my character to my chosen style of gameplay. When playing through in stealth, it became a challenge to try to find the right combination of blinks to get me over rooftops and past alert guards to my target. Of course, there were times I didn't care and just wanted to kill things, and having a lethal crossbow and rat plague at the ready to do the dirty work was just as satisfying. And the best part? Both means to the end were just as entertaining and engrossing.
The various levels of Dishonored were immense. I could have spent hours in them. Each character encounter offered different outcomes, making it eminently replayable, even if it was just to see the different endings that high chaos and low chaos had to offer. And the tally system at the end of a mission appealed to anal completionists like myself who kept playing it over to trying to find areas, gold or items that I had missed.
Arkane proved that it could launch a successful new IP in an era when numbered sequels are all too easy, and it was well-rewarded with a franchise designation from publisher Bethesda. Dishonored re-emphasized that building an engrossing story and enticing world provide an excellent complement to solid gameplay.
The Shacknews Best of 2012 Awards were determined by ballot voting across the entire Shacknews staff. Garnett, Jeff, Ozzie, Tyler voted for Dishonored, with John and Ryan picking it their personal Game of the Year, earning it 350 points and the 3rd place position on our list. Tomorrow, we reveal our Game of the Year.