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Dishonored: Definitive Edition Review

by William Schwartz

Dishonored was one of the very best games to release last generation.  Arkane Studios stepped onto the scene in a major way, knocking out of the park their first offering with Dishonored.  Backed by Bethesda, Arkane delivered a game that told both a compelling story and offered a fresh take on stealth gameplay, a beautiful game with unique and original art design.  While just about every worthwhile title to arrive last gen has been remade or remastered at this point, Dishonored may be one of the most deserving and last remaining.

Dishonored’s Definitive Edition follows a very familiar path to other re-releases.  Graphics have been upgraded, marginally.  All of the content that had previously been released for the game is included as well, and that stuff was pretty good to begin with.  Dishonored: Definitive Edition is a game for those that might have missed it the first time around, or for the truly devout.  The good news is, Dishonored is a great game.  It was a great game on older hardware, and the enhanced visuals on the PlayStation 4 add to the experience.

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Dishonored is a first-person stealth action game that places the player in the shoes of a supernatural assassin named Corvo.  It features a combat system that allows you to creatively deal with any situation as you see fit.  Using gadgets, abilities, and weapons Corvo has a seemingly unlimited number of ways to complete his objectives in getting to the bottom of a political power play that has set him up to take the fall for the murder of the Empress of Dunwall.  While not an open world game, Dishonored’s world is a playground, whether you like to get out in the open or stay in the shadows.  Though this review isn’t to judge whether Dishonored is a good game or not, that’s already been decided.  If you want our take on what Dishonored was when it first launched back in 2012, check out our initial review of the game or it’s supplemental downloadable content.

At the time, there was a lot of talk about the death of single player games.  Many developers and publishers were shifting gears to online and connected experiences, Dishonored released in the face of this and was a prime example of why we can’t lose these types of single player games that tell great stories and have great mechanics to back it all up.  It still is.  Dishonored is still one of the best single player games to have arrived since then, and apparently it did well enough to warrant a sequel.

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Like just about any remaster or re-release you have to ask yourself if this game needed to be remade.  Dishonored didn’t feel like a game that was held back by old hardware.  The unique art style made up for any shortcomings in resolution.  That said, Dishonored on the PlayStation 4 looks a lot sharper than its predecessor.  And for anyone that doesn’t have a gaming PC, Dishonored: Definitive Edition is the best way to experience it.  Visuals are notably cleaner in this version of the game, but it doesn’t necessarily feel like it’s pressing the new hardware to its absolute limits. The significant changes in Dishonored: Definitive Edition really feel like they amount to a bump in resolution and that’s about it.  Like the graphics, the gameplay in Dishonored wasn’t lacking and the Definitive version isn’t either.  Frame rates look like they’re locked in at 30 fps for the console re-release, so there’s not a significant jump there either.  But there are a couple of little things about the game that has changed on the PS4 version.  Like the use of the Dualshock 4 to whisper sweet nothings out of the controller’s speaker when using an item in the game.

As a fan of Dishonored, I didn’t need much of a reason to jump back in.  Three years in the rear-view, Dishonored holds up quite well.  It’s still incredibly fun to play, the dynamic gameplay is timeless.  I can see someone who’s never played this game having an incredible amount of fun with it, and getting a decent value for all the game has to offer, not only in its core main story line but in the additional story and trials DLC that’s included in the package.

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That’s a pretty important differentiator in all the games we’ve been seeing re-released for new consoles.  Some have massive slates of extra content to explore, that you may or may not have experienced.  In the case of Dishonored, it’s not that there’s a wealth of content that comes with the Definitive Edition, but what’s there is pretty meaningful to the overall experience.  The Knife of Dunwall story expansion puts players into the shoes of Daud, the assassin who kills the Empress in the main game.  Where The Brigmore Witches story expansion continues this secondary storyline to really round out the universe for Dishonored as a whole.  With all of this content in one place, the Definitive Edition really puts itself forward as a nice package at about half the price it originally cost.  For fans who’ve already been on this adventure, and you’ve got the purchase history to prove it, the price is lowered yet again.

The Verdict

Dishonored: Definitive Edition is a game that should definitely be on your bucket list if you missed it on the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3, but it might as well be called a Collector’s Edition if you’ve already been on this journey before.

"loved"
loved

Dishonored: Definitive Edition

  • Available On: PS4, Xbox One
  • Published By: Bethesda Softworks
  • Developed By: Arkane Studios
  • Genre: Stealth, Action
  • US Release Date: October 9th, 2015
  • Reviewed On: PS4
  • Quote: "Dishonored: Definitive Edition is a game that should definitely be on your bucket list if you missed it on the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3, but it might as well be called a Collector's Edition if you've already been on this journey before."
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