In exploring the city of Dunwall (the city in Dishonored), it’s difficult to not draw immediate comparisons to Bioshock’s Rapture. There’s an established city that gives the feeling that it would have been awesome to have seen it 5 or 10 years ago. There’s a strange and alien philosophy that the bad guys in the game all follow. There are a number of strange characters that drop little hints about the past (and your past).
Oh, and the city is dying. You can feel it.
Now, in my opinion, Bioshock was freaking amazing and, so far, Dishonored is merely very good. Much of that has to do with the various mysteries and how they’re presented. When you start Bioshock, for example, they tell you little about yourself other than having you, the protagonist, say “They told me, ‘Son, you’re special. You were born to do great things.’ You know what? They were right.”
And, next thing you know, there’s a plane crash and you find yourself getting ready to enter into Rapture. Part of the mystery of the game of discovering what Rapture is involves discovering who you are. (Indeed, there are little bits and clues about who you are that culminate in a *BIG REVEAL* that makes you suddenly question everything you’ve done up to that point.)
Dishonored, however, opens with you returning from a journey to give your report to the Empress. The guys driving the boat engage in light banter with you, you have a handful of short conversations as you go to give your report and it’s pretty much established that you are an established guy with established relationships and an established backstory. Now, I haven’t beaten the game quite yet (planning on doing that, though) but if there is a big reveal involving the protagonist’s backstory and how that backstory relates to and integrates with the dying city, they’re being really, really subtle about the buildup.
So while, on the surface, Bioshock is the first game to come to mind while playing Dishonored, it’s mostly in service to the thought “man, Bioshock did this somewhat better.”
But, as I said, I haven’t beaten the game yet.
So… what are you playing?
(Picture is “Untitled” by our very own Will Truman. Used with permission.)