“Dishonoring Dishonored” or “The Illusion of Choice”
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!