Arkane's Dishonored

Part of me thinks that the high chaos ending is one closest to the Outsider's intent. He grants powers on a whim for apparently no reason other than to make interesting things happen. Like Muttonchop said, he's a bored god waiting for someone to put on a good show, and Corvo, among so many other candidates, was there to provide just such a thing. The Outsider cares nothing for the world or its denizens. He's like a little boy observing a nest of ants, prodding it with a stick this way and that just to see what happens. In his detached interest, the Outsider becomes the embodiment of chaos as far as the world is concerned. The Abbey must have been formed long ago by those who wished to stop the Outsider's meddling. It preserves doctrines, tools, and practices refined over the ages, all clearly intended to counter what the Outsider represents. Unfortunately, time passed and the world gradually forgot its fear of the Outsider. While the Abbey is able to maintain its status, its function deteriorated to that of a generalist religious/paramilitary/propaganda organization. Its members lost sight of what they were meant to fight. Occasionally you hear people whisper their confusion and disgust towards the Abbey.

The Outsider also mentions that Dunwall is built on the site of an older city that existed a thousand years earlier, and that the runes are relics of that city. Given his current meddling in Dunwall, I wonder if he played a role in the previous city's downfall. The heart says some vaguely apocalyptic things if you use it in the Void, like "this place is the end of all things".

If he did, he might be trying to do something similar to Dunwall with the rat plague. We know that

Spoiler:
The spymaster was the one who introduced the plague rats to the slums, but then things rapidly got out of control.

Granny Rags clearly has a thing for rats, and gives you a quest to infect the elixir still with plague. There's another book that mentions a child who was granted powers by the Outsider, which he used to summon a swarm of rats to attack some bullies. The rats bit him, and infected him with the plague. The Outsider didn't start the plague, but it could be that he and his agents were helping it spread.

muttonchop wrote:
I wonder if he played a role in the previous city's downfall. The heart says some vaguely apocalyptic things if you use it in the Void, like "this place is the end of all things".

To be fair it says also "and start of all things" so it probably refers to Void as some kind of Primal Chaos from which everything forms, to eventually collapse into after a while and then spring into existance once again and again.

True, but that still fits. One city ends, another begins.

muttonchop wrote:
The Outsider also mentions that Dunwall is built on the site of an older city that existed a thousand years earlier, and that the runes are relics of that city. Given his current meddling in Dunwall, I wonder if he played a role in the previous city's downfall. The heart says some vaguely apocalyptic things if you use it in the Void, like "this place is the end of all things".

If he did, he might be trying to do something similar to Dunwall with the rat plague. We know that

Spoiler:
The spymaster was the one who introduced the plague rats to the slums, but then things rapidly got out of control.

Granny Rags clearly has a thing for rats, and gives you a quest to infect the elixir still with plague. There's another book that mentions a child who was granted powers by the Outsider, which he used to summon a swarm of rats to attack some bullies. The rats bit him, and infected him with the plague. The Outsider didn't start the plague, but it could be that he and his agents were helping it spread.

Actually

Spoiler:
That child with the rats was the first weeper after he was bit. So the outsider was basically responsible for the plague.

Reading the tropes pages for stuff shows all sorts of nice things you missed. Also there is no way I play a full high chaos if it makes the little girl go evil. She's just too sweet.

edit: No wait maybe I'm wrong about the spoiler. Interesting regardless.

I just beat the game. There are a few things I agree with Parallax Abstraction about, mostly that the game feels like it just decides to end. It feels like the game got bored telling its own story and walked away.

Spoiler:
When I first started playing I started wondering if certain things were a sort of Chekov's Gun. The Whale Oil seemed like the sort of thing that could be pissing supernatural powers off and thus BAM! rat plague. The fact that the Chaos system is tied to your actions also suggests that the rat plague is supernatural, more than just being conveniently located in the slums by the Regent. But when you get right down to it the Outsider himself just seemed like nonsense. Every time I grabbed a Rune that happened to be an Outsider Shrine and he started speaking I just sort of had an "Oh, you" moment.

It kind of feels like there was a lot of other stuff they thought about and wanted to do, but then made the actual story itself pretty straight forward. I never got the feeling that the Outsider had a good reason for choosing Corvo, why the plague existed, and why the Overseers hated him. It was just a bunch of stuff that would make for a cool setting thrown together without really being tied together. You can see the beginnings of it, but never the payoff.

I did a low-chaos run. I choked out Asshole McTraitorstein instead of killing him and then unlocked Emily. Considering this guy left plenty of documentation saying "We found the people responsible for killing them folks, and Corvo is the killer", why would Emily suddenly be crowned Empress? It seemed like a messy situation that wasn't properly resolved, and it didn't seem to matter whether I took a non-lethal route or not (which I did).

Guy actually killed Pendleton and Martin, too. That just seems sh*tty. I am curious if maybe there's a way to save them (I know they were traitors, but still), but I doubt it since, well, it was a low-chaos run.

All that said, this was a really fun game. I won't start a second run through immediately, but I do want to go through a second time killing the sh*t out of everyone and seeing what the changes are in the game's aesthetic and style.

ccesarano, did you kill the regent/spymaster, or take him out non-lethally?

Spoiler:
Because the non-lethal option explains why the plague exists. The spymaster imported plague rats from the Pandyssian continent and let them loose in the slums in a weird attempt to reduce poverty by killing off the poor. Things got out of hand, the plague spread, and he worried that the Empress would find out what he did so he had her assassinated and seized control. The rat plague was the catalyst that set the game's plot in motion.

muttonchop wrote:
ccesarano, did you kill the regent/spymaster, or take him out non-lethally?
Spoiler:
Because the non-lethal option explains why the plague exists. The spymaster imported plague rats from the Pandyssian continent and let them loose in the slums in a weird attempt to reduce poverty by killing off the poor. Things got out of hand, the plague spread, and he worried that the Empress would find out what he did so he had her assassinated and seized control. The rat plague was the catalyst that set the game's plot in motion.

Spoiler:
I did discover that, yes, but it still doesn't explain why there's a tie to Corvo's actions and "Chaos", which essentially increases the severity of the plague. Unless Chaos was just intended to be a mechanic and not really have an effect on the narrative, in which case I say bad developer, no twinkie.

I think when you're looking at that, there's more than one level of narrative. To make a Deus Ex comparison, how you deal with JoJo and the Rentons makes a difference in the world, but it doesn't really affect the main story. I kind of like that there's little things you can have an effect on, but not everything is big, pushing the balance of power, and hugely important, etc. For those that have played through both high/low chaos, I guess it would seem pretty out of the blue if they suddenly sprung the consequences of that style on you in the final 30 seconds.

@ccesarano

The tie between chaos and plague is that you are leaving bodies around to feed the rats which increases the rat population which in turn increases the spread of plague. I guess I though it ties together so obviously and fit so well with the narrative that I think that I must be misunderstanding you.

Eh, maybe. I guess that just makes the Outsider a strange inclusion, then. Some fellow there to give you powers and then...jabber jaw at you. I know there's a lot of documentation in there, but it's like Arkane wanted to make this game with all these awesome things and abilities, and then had to come up with an excuse for it to work. Which would also explain why the plot is pretty straight forward and doesn't really implement much of the setting material they came up with (the closest you have is the importance of the Overseer stuff, but otherwise you could have done this story in any setting with a Monarch).

ccesarano wrote:
muttonchop wrote:
ccesarano, did you kill the regent/spymaster, or take him out non-lethally?
Spoiler:
Because the non-lethal option explains why the plague exists. The spymaster imported plague rats from the Pandyssian continent and let them loose in the slums in a weird attempt to reduce poverty by killing off the poor. Things got out of hand, the plague spread, and he worried that the Empress would find out what he did so he had her assassinated and seized control. The rat plague was the catalyst that set the game's plot in motion.

Spoiler:
I did discover that, yes, but it still doesn't explain why there's a tie to Corvo's actions and "Chaos", which essentially increases the severity of the plague. Unless Chaos was just intended to be a mechanic and not really have an effect on the narrative, in which case I say bad developer, no twinkie.

I think the connection is...
Spoiler:
The spymaster says on his recording that the problem (as he sees it) is that people won't obey the quarantine. There are also notices you see around for things like "dead counters".

I think what is happening in a "high chaos" run is that the city guard is either being diverted to increase security or is simply being killed off. This means that fewer personnel are available for enforcing the quarantine, collecting dead bodies, killing rats and so on, giving the plague a better chance to spread.

Yeah, they did drop some balls. It needed at least one more mission, maybe two.

Spoiler:
Not essential, but I think the narrative flow might have been better if you'd needed to have Emily named queen, with yourself as Regent. Since your character has no voice, someone smart who's on your side (maybe Callista, who survived the purge, possibly visibly relying on her uncle for information/support) might give you several powerful figures that would need to be convinced to support you as regent -- with the game supporting, of course, a couple of methods to convince each one. Callista should have had a visible place in the epilogue, too, one of the most devoted of the NPCs to Emily's welfare.

And then there really, really needed to be a settling of accounts with the Outsider for creating the Heart.

I don't know, I think some games can try too hard to tie up everything and just get bogged down in details. That said, I think Dishonored was just about long enough, and could have been a bit longer, but it was already stretching out the story that was there.

I thought some of the levels were a bit drawn out with a fair bit of distance to cover between the drop off and objective (which admittedly makes sense), and not always a lot to do between A and B except chew through or avoid the guards and hunt down power ups and loot, although that appeals to the Thief player in me. I would have appreciated a bit more incremental build up as you progress through a mission, like the first mission rather than a big info dump at the start. It would have been neat to see other members of the conspiracy, or other allies infiltrating themselves into the areas.

Dishonored is a bit weird for me, as I'm not 100% sure what I'd change in it to change my opinion of it from good to great.

Well I liked the penny arcade assessment of the game as basically a jambalaya of a story. It makes it interesting but a bit incoherent in places. Also not having him speak was very dumb. It's the one thing I really disliked because it felt so incredible jarring most the time. It's especially weird seeing how the whole game is basically built around him.

Oh and the ending was a bit rushed but I figured:

Spoiler:
Between him being an unstoppable badass, the book of blackmail, and Emily's opinion of him, getting on the throne would be no problem. Not to mention the support of the side characters would help a lot as well.

I can't help wonder how well he'd be able to talk with that mask on. Might ruin the atmosphere a bit if he ended up sounding like the Pyro or something.

I think I'm going to finish the game tonight. I've put it off because I've enjoyed it so much that I don't want it to end. Of course, I thought I was in the last mission, err, last mission, so perhaps there will be yet another treat awaiting.

Random question for anyone playing the PC version: Do you get a crazy slow down when you hit the 'Press Any key' when the game boots up? The game has run quite smoothly for me, but it chugs for about 3-5 seconds while it jerks and kicks frame-by-frame before finishing the load of the Continue/Load Game/Options screen. Pretty minor, but I've not heard anyone else mention it, so I I'm curious if it's just my system.

Regarding sequels, they do have all those other islands and all those other cities mapped out already. It would be interesting to see the cultural differences they could come up with in a new city, and just reference the problems Dunwall is having as a backdrop.

Or there could be lots of other areas of Dunwall that they make up where things are happening concurrently or previous to Dishonored 1, although that would be harder.

Maybe a prequel that delves into the time when people were carving things out of whale bone and dealing with strange forces that science and industry are wanting to stamp out.

Puce Moose wrote:
Random question for anyone playing the PC version: Do you get a crazy slow down when you hit the 'Press Any key' when the game boots up? The game has run quite smoothly for me, but it chugs for about 3-5 seconds while it jerks and kicks frame-by-frame before finishing the load of the Continue/Load Game/Options screen. Pretty minor, but I've not heard anyone else mention it, so I I'm curious if it's just my system.

I get the same.

ebarstad wrote:
Puce Moose wrote:
Random question for anyone playing the PC version: Do you get a crazy slow down when you hit the 'Press Any key' when the game boots up? The game has run quite smoothly for me, but it chugs for about 3-5 seconds while it jerks and kicks frame-by-frame before finishing the load of the Continue/Load Game/Options screen. Pretty minor, but I've not heard anyone else mention it, so I I'm curious if it's just my system.

I get the same.

I haven't noticed anything like that but I will look for it next time I boot it up.

OMG YAY! There's at least one more mission. I was heartened to see that when a certain boatman was pulling away from the dock, if you watch him (instead of the structure that houses your objective), he pilots his little boat behind a rock and disappears, *but*, then reappears briefly as he travels behind another rock! I enjoy that kind of attention to detail. I think I'll sit on this dock and watch the hagfish for a while before deciding which way I want to proceed.

Puce Moose wrote:
OMG YAY! There's at least one more mission. I was heartened to see that when a certain boatman was pulling away from the dock, if you watch him (instead of the structure that houses your objective), he pilots his little boat behind a rock and disappears, *but*, then reappears briefly as he travels behind another rock! I enjoy that kind of attention to detail. I think I'll sit on this dock and watch the hagfish for a while before deciding which way I want to proceed.

Spoiler:
I shot him in the head with my crossbow so he never made it to the first rock :)

About Spoiler cast.

Spoiler:
Listening to the spoiler cast. I missed the duel.. man i wish I could have experienced it. They mentioned something I saw. Yeah!

About Granny

Spoiler:
I tossed her body into the boiling tub. heh.

ebarstad wrote:
Puce Moose wrote:
Random question for anyone playing the PC version: Do you get a crazy slow down when you hit the 'Press Any key' when the game boots up? The game has run quite smoothly for me, but it chugs for about 3-5 seconds while it jerks and kicks frame-by-frame before finishing the load of the Continue/Load Game/Options screen. Pretty minor, but I've not heard anyone else mention it, so I I'm curious if it's just my system.

I get the same.


Yeah, same here. Everything else runs perfectly smooth, but that transition from "Press Any Key" to the main menu turns into a slideshow every time.

Puce Moose wrote:
I was heartened to see that when a certain boatman was pulling away from the dock, if you watch him (instead of the structure that houses your objective), he pilots his little boat behind a rock and disappears, *but*, then reappears briefly as he travels behind another rock! I enjoy that kind of attention to detail. I think I'll sit on this dock and watch the hagfish for a while before deciding which way I want to proceed.

In the few missions where Samuel has to move the boat to a different pick-up location, you can usually see him travelling between the two locations. For example, in the bridge mission you can see him move up after you disable the spotlights. It's a nice little touch.

So I have put in ~20 hours over the last 5 days or so and saved my game on the way to Daud in the flooded district last night. Today, I am starting it up, take out a few guys and hit F5, since I've gotten into the habit. The message There was a problem saving the game. comes up. Retrying yields the same result. If I cancel that message box, the game freezes. Trying to manually save, same error, game freezes.

Has anybody else had that problem (and solved it)?

PS: Google says it's only an issue with the cracked version. Y'all can check my Steam account via the link in my signature, I have a legit version.

Just finished a high chaos play-through. Corvo turned into a monster but he had his vengeance on those who turned on the Empire and on him.

Spoiler:
As well as rescuing his daughter and getting back her throne.

Don't f*ck with Corvo. Just don't.

Spoiler:
I will admit, Samuel turning on me at the last mission kind of hurt, though.

(I hope the follow is not too spoiler-ridden - I've tried to just talk about general themes)

Actually, I thought the world hung together pretty well. The Outsider-as-Loki seems a little weak but seems necessary to the way the game is put together. There needs to be a force for chaos handing out magical candy in a world obsessed with science in order for this to work, I think. The voice acting could have been better to sell it more convincingly, though, it seems to me.

As for observations about Corvo's actions dictating chaos in the world: I think, from a story perspective, a valid case could be made that it is the chaos in the world that drives Corvo's actions. Of course, the game-play mechanic is the opposite. But viewed as a story, how can we say what the driving force truly is? High chaos in the world drives Corvo to become more brutal and "evil", but it also drives rats to produce more and people to act more brutal and evil. Kind of a chaos feed-back loop. I think there's an interesting thought about the game and the player's place therein to be had.

There was a bunch of half-thought-out ramblings here, but I want to think more before posting them. Basically, thought, I don't think the game actually cares which way you play, either stealthy and non-lethal or with a high body count. But I need to think about that more.

Certainly going to try for a low chaos run though. Pure non-lethal is probably beyond my abilities and time (and ghost: forget about it!). But I think I can keep the body count low enough to be considered low chaos.

I restarted from a save where I hadn't killed anyone yet. Or so I thought. I replayed the entirety of the Flooded District and beat the game for a second time. No achievement for going non-lethal. One of the few times I care about that kind of thing and I don't know what happened.

So yeah, a ghost run seems unlikely. As does a non-lethal run. I might do a high chaos run. The game still has me hooked an I'd love to do that while still playing competently.

And... finished! What a great experience. Definitely Game of the year for me. It's been quite a long time since I played a game where I didn't really want to change anything. I do think that more could have been done with the the final mission, but considering the fact that I thought the game was going to end a mission or two earlier, I don't have any real complaints.

Are there three levels of chaos endings, or just low and high? I tried to keep the body count as low as possible, though I did kill a few people based on the heart's ruminations. Rapists and murderers got a case of the ol' hot foot from the incendiary bolts, or sometimes a chance to dance the "spring razor shuffle".

Now *that* would have been an interesting twist;what if the heart was actual evil, and told us that the "good" people were evil and vice versa? Hmm.

I think I killed about ten-twelve people during the game, though none of the primary targets (well, except for one). I did send someone on a free, rather breezy vacation straight down at the end.

At the very end, I thought it was rather funny how:

Spoiler:
Havelock said "I'm not going to fight you Corvo (sic.). I decided to test his resolve by throwing a wine glass at him. He promptly pulled out his pistol and shot me dead. :)

I don't think I had a single crash. That's not something I can say for most games I've played. The worst I experienced was getting trapped and clipping through the level geometry a couple of times.

Puce Moose wrote:
Are there three levels of chaos endings, or just low and high?

Spoiler:
There's something you can do right at the end, or rather not do, that gives a different ending

I'm sure there's someone who's compiled all the things you can do to get all the different effects through the game and endings.