Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Strong Silent Type

I'm glad I'm not the only one that has been picking up on the silent protagonist connection between Dishonored, Half-Life, and BioShock. But the games really do share more in common than just a protagonist that says absolutely nothing in reaction to things happening around him. Even bone-breaking falls illicit little in the way of reaction.

Strong silent type and creepy walkers.
Another  connection with Half-Life.
What really connects these games is the way the story is spun out. There's a mythos to each game that the developers do their best to not spoon feed the player with information about what is happening. The player is left to fill in the blanks from what's laid out in each level, and the bits of evidence and "filler" that textures the whole experience.

In Dishonored, the first time I came across a rat trap I was a little taken aback. Not content with snap traps or poison, Dishonored showcases rat traps as big dumpsters. What they're baited with or how they work isn't provided -- at least not so far, from what I can tell -- but my mind fills in those blanks quite easily.

There's the usual voice recordings, books, and letters scattered about to fill in more blanks and provide clues for some of the puzzles, but Dishonored goes a little further by giving the protagonist Corvo a bio-mechanical heart that can be wielded to provide additional information about what's happening. Sometimes what the ethereal voice of the heart recounts is haunting without being specific. One really has to read between the lines. And after a while I started to wonder if it wasn't feeding me a bunch of lies and mystic mumbo-jumbo to purposely confuse me.

The game does prompt the player early on about the various pathways through the environment that might be usable, being non-specific as possible. It doesn't draw lines on a map with big arrows. Instead, it just reminds the player there other are opportunities than just running a sword through every enemy.

A developer giving the player credit for some intelligence? It doesn't happen very often any more, which is likely why I've been impressed with the game thus far.

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