You play as the silent Corvo Attarno, loyal Royal Protector to the Empress, who witnesses and gets framed for her murder. 6 months later, just before he is to be sentenced to death, a group of loyalists set the wheels in motion to help Corvo escape his cell. The nefarious Lord Regent is now in power and the young Emily, daughter of the Empress and rightful heir to the throne, is missing. Time for you to aid to the Loyalists and set things right.
What unfolds is a compelling tale that succeeds in anchoring your protagonist into his surrounding world, although the story itself won’t win any awards. Much like Bioshock, it’s the world housing the story that proves to be more compelling than the yarn spun within it. The strikingly realised mechanical London is superbly brought to life, placing you in the middle of an industrial revolution powered by whale oil. A varied colour palette strikes a near perfect balance between moody tones and brightened areas of hope, while the NPC’s, from street gangs and posh toffs to plague ridden “weepers”, all help to establish a city torn to pieces. If you take the time, a rewarding back story can be learned by reading the various books, letters and scriptures found scattered throughout the world, rather than being spoonfed the info through cutscenes. As such, you ultimately take out of Dishonored what you put in, a facet that holds true both when it comes to understanding the world you’re traversing and improving Corvo’s core abilities.