Further to my last article, where I described how I’ve finally learnt to love games that are flawed, I’ve had yet another revelation though my preferred medium, this time all thanks to a little known game called Dishonored 2. Having been crafted in such an incredible manner by the team at Arkane Studios, and published by Bethesda, this oft requested sequel improves upon the original in every way imaginable; level design, story and, more importantly, choice. Choice in video games has, since the days of the first Mass Effect, been present more often than not, for better or worse, and when implemented well, it changes the game entirely.
In the case of Dishonored 2, the choice is usually in regards to how you wish to tackle an environment that is plagued with the enemy, looking for you and wishing you dead. Do you tackle the threat head on, destroying everything in your path in a chaotic, bloody fashion, or would you rather sneak around and be the assassin that the game allows you to be, silently taking out the enemy by stabbing them in the throat from behind? Better yet, why kill the enemy when you can knock them out, if that better suits your play style. Choice is forever at the forefront of Dishonored 2, and whilst I will always appreciate this, it infuriates me immensely.
I have restarted the game a measly 6 or 7 times, as I’m not entirely sure how I want to play. Do I choose Corvo, with the idea that the titular character from the original Dishonored is fed up of betrayal and strife, and wants to end any future altercations in a messy manner, or do I pick Emily, thinking that the young Queen would want to be seen as powerful, yet graceful, thus relying on knocking enemies out as opposed to the alternative? This decision occurs a measly 5 minutes into the game and, regardless of what path I take, I aim for perfection in my playing style. If I get spotted throughout my stealthy, no-kills playthrough with Emily, I will immediately restart from my last save, knowing that I’ve failed in making what I had originally started as my take of Dishonored, well… mine. I’ve done my thought of the story and characters within it a grave disservice, and I won’t allow myself to continue with my now-bloodied hands.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain also had this impact upon me. The series has always had a stealthy approach associated with it, and I therefore cannot allow anything but stealth to prevail throughout my play through. Once I have an image of how something should play or, taking it out the gaming-orientated context, look, feel, sound, etc, I find it difficult to disassociate and break that mental link. Again, this says a lot about my personality as a whole, as I always want to achieve the best I can, and anything less than that simply isn’t good enough. Again, as with the last article, I am soldiering through an aforementioned game to try and break this habit of mine, but I certainly don’t think I’m alone in my belief that some games require a certain play style, and wavering from that chosen method is inexcusable.
Is Nick alone in thinking this way? Let us know!