When I first played DISHONORED on PS3, I did so in order to relive the extreme fun of THIEF, a game that i had played on XBOX years earlier. Unfortunately, this didn’t have the same feeling, and I didn’t like the gameplay at all. DISHONORED had a lot of character abilities that negated the sense of tension. In THIEF (the old game), the character was distinctly human and had to rely on stealth. Everything could kick his ass easily. In DISHONORED, the character had supernatural abilities which made him seem almost invulnerable, at least compared to the beloved THIEF game. As much as I hated the differences, I grew to love DISHONORED as a game unto itself. If I stopped comparing it to THIEF, then it was fun as its own thing.
Surprisingly, THIEF came out for PS3 that year. I actually cancelled all other plans for the first week, but I did so seemingly for nothing. The new version of THIEF had exactly the same gameplay as DISHONORED. I almost threw the game into the wall. It’s as if the same game “engine’ was just transferred to a different story.
I performed a cursory search to find an explanation for this insult. Apparently THIEF was under new management, so-to-speak. The new company did not seem to realize what had made THIEF on Xbox so amazing.
I continued playing the new THIEF, hating the stupid changes, but eventually I learned to discard my love of the earlier version and to accept that such a game might never exist again. This helped me to enjoy the game and I finished it with a hunger for more.
This brings us to DISHONORED 2 (for PS4). I purchased this on the very first day of release, and have only now finished it, some weeks later. I enjoyed it thoroughly. I had no preconceived notions to dispel.
This time around i decided to use stealth only as a means to kill. In the very early THIEF, the character was not an assassin per se. The goals were largely non-lethal. The DISHONORED games make the character that yo play able to easily fight opponents, so I used stealth only as a sort of cheating method to exact revenge.
Let me explain. If the fiction shows that a kind ruler were usurped by a brutal one, why would his officers remain? Wouldn’t they flee, or pretend to go along with the new rules until they could do something positive?
Further, if the officers of the new regime were brutal as well, following orders instead of trying to rescue the the benevolent ruler who was imprisoned, should my character spare them? The story in the game disallowed those characters from reverting to their nicer ways. Why leave that kind of character alive, who would stop at nothing to prevent the rescue?
I became the vengeful hero, or anti-hero, depending on how you see things. on the gamer side of the decision. The game was not like THIEF (the earlier version) in an important difference. in THIEF I had to use stealth to survive,. In DISHONORED, DISHONORED 2, and the New THIEF, stealth just provides different rewards. It is not necessary for life. The tension is not caused by fear of death – it is fear of game status.
I must confess that it was fun to play this way. I may play again in a few months, trying to take the nonlethal approach. But even if I never play again, this experience was worth the $50.