Home > Deus Ex 3: Human Revolution, Dishonored > “Dishonoring Dishonored” or “The Illusion of Choice”

“Dishonoring Dishonored” or “The Illusion of Choice”

“Stop Corvo! You cannot fight us! You have been putting points into stealth abilities, remember?!”

Something about games that tout choice as a major selling point, like Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Akrane’s Dishonored bothers me. This is not to say they are bad games. If anything they are both phenomenal titles, crafted with meticulous attention to detail, amazing art, stellar voice-acting and set in a poignant, believable world. Yet there is something very wrong with them. And it was not until last night, while playing Dishonored, that I realized what it was.

These games tell you of the variety of ways that you can go about accomplishing an objective. For example, in Dishonored, you can use your abilities, for stealthy stalking or engage in gratuitous violence. It claims that you can choose either path at will, but the fact of the matter is that there is always a dearth of currency (runes in the case of Dishonored), that forces you to take only one path. Once you invest some points into stealth, you will invest almost every subsequent point into stealth in an attempt to continue bolstering your abilities in that play-style. Eventually, the only way you can experience another type of build is by replaying the entire game. This is part of the reason games like Fallout 3, Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Dishonored have so many replays. Once you start going down an ability path, there is very little wiggle room.

Again, this may not be a bad thing for people who think it gives the game “replay value”. I personally think it gives it an inflated replay value, but true replay value remains the domain of dynamic multiplayer games like StarCraft 2 and League of Legends.

Now that I have said it out loud: let the flames rise!

  1. October 14, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    I can understand exactly where you’re coming from. I played through DXHR three times – stealthy combat, loud combat and pacifist because trying to be the jack of all trades was proving to be more difficult than just focusing on one. For me it’s was easier early on to just focus on one path. I get the feeling it’s a balance issue maybe.

    • October 14, 2012 at 11:41 pm

      I totally get that some want the pacifist route and some want violence. But the manner in which currency is doled out, you can be exceptionally good (and hence enjoy doing it) at one path only. So a 10% into the game, your choice is already gone, because you are committed to a tree.

      Now if they let you respec runes or abilities (much like in Borderlands), this would be a different conversation.

  1. November 1, 2012 at 9:15 pm

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