A Look at Assassin’s Creed – Interim look at Dishonored

By Charlie Jubilee Posted Thursday Sep 14, 2023

Filed under: Epilogue, Charlie Writes 36 comments

While I prepare to take on the much larger and more detailed game that is AC2, I wanted some opinions from you guys. There are lots of games out there, but those similar in mechanics to AC are on a small list. The ones I thought of that are closest to my heart are the Dishonored series.

The first two games revolve around hostile takeovers in the city of Dunwall, and the third is about finding a cult god and taking revenge on him. Just like in Assassin’s Creed, there is a lot of parkour, a lot of sneak elements, and a list of people you hunt down. The major difference besides fantasy and history settings in these two game series are not insignificant though. In Dishonored, you have magic, given to you by a cult god called The Outsider. On top of that, there is a morality system. The more death you bring, the worse the world is and the harder it is to play. The world is undergoing a plague in the first game, and although the other two games technically don’t have that, they manage to keep the dark, grotesqueness of it in tact throughout the series.

I find the series to be much darker than AC, but that’s just my cup of tea. Even if you kill no one at any point, the world is a dark, foreboding place. The multiple endings are entirely in your control and only the ‘good’ endings leave this atmospheric game feeling a little less dim. If you’ve played Dishonored, let me know how you feel about it. If you have any games that remind you of an aspect of AC that you particularly like, let me know.

Also, as a treat, here’s a picture of my cat. His name is Taco. He is old.

He steals food. A lot.
He steals food. A lot.


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36 thoughts on “A Look at Assassin’s Creed – Interim look at Dishonored

  1. Olivier FAURE says:

    I have a friend who’s set to DM a roleplaying session in the Dishonored tie-in RPG system this weekend. The lore and universe of this series is incredibly developed, well beyond what’s shown in the games.

    You do feel the worldbuilding when you’re playing. Everything feels self-consistent and lived-in, like you’re seeing only a very small part of Dunwall and Carnacca when you go through the levels and there’s a much larger world beyond the bounds of the game.

    1. Dreadjaws says:

      Yeah, the worldbuilding in these games is fantastic. Seeing how much of a fan of that Shamus was I was always puzzled that he never connected with the game.

  2. Dreadjaws says:

    I’d figure that since Assassin’s Creed is generally known as a spiritual successor to Prince of Persia that you’d look there for similarities.

    I really enjoy Dishonored. I’ve played the first game a number of times. It has its flaws, for sure, but I’m really drawn into the world and the gameplay is stellar. I’ve only played the sequels once each. I did enjoy them, but I had a few more issues with them. I remember voicing my problems with the second game in a comment somewhere in this blog, but hell if know where.

    Also, in case you haven’t seen, they’ve apparently added magic powers to the new upcoming Assassin’s Creed. At the very least you can now blink like in Dishonored, so the gap between franchises is closing.

    1. Charlie Jubilee says:

      I would have, but Prince of Persia was the obvious choice. I wanted to look at a different game that I felt more in tune with, even though I love Prince of Persia.

  3. Gresman says:

    There is also EA’s attempt at cloning AC: The Saboteur.
    Back when it first came out I did enjoy the game and was somewhat saddened that it received such bad reviews.
    The mechanics were fine, the controls were good. But the best part was the art style which depended on whether you were in a liberated district or not.
    But I am a sucker for a greyscale with red art style.

  4. MrGuy says:

    It’s interesting. I think the world of Dishonored is darker than the world of Assassin’s Creed. But the gameplay of Assassin’s Creed is darker.

    There’s a wrongness in Dunwall, and it’s everywhere. There are very few “good” people. Everyone and everything is a twisted version of what it appears. There’s plagues and corruption.

    But you’re free to play either embracing the chaos or rejecting it. I don’t recall (I’ve only played 1 and 2) ever being REQUIRED to kill anyone. All the major quests have non-lethal options. And it matters – the game keeps track of how much of a psychopath you are, and rewards you for being non-murderous in a persistent way that shapes the world and your future interactions.

    The world of AC is much more recognizable. There’s a war going on, but most people are just living their lives. Most of the villains are flawed, misguided people trying to justify doing bad things for what they believe to be the greater good.

    On the other hand, Assassin’s Creed is is about assassinating people. There’s no non-lethal option to deal with the main quest missions. The game does keep you from going all Saints Row on the civilian population, but you’re free to kill all the guards and city watch you want. And the game doesn’t really “judge” you for lethal vs non-lethal play. Sure there’s notoriety, but that’s a temporary inconvenience, not a permanent stain on your record. Once you tear down enough posters, it’s like it never happened.

    I kill a lot more people playing AC than Dishonored.

    1. Olivier FAURE says:

      I think the chaos system in Dishonored is over-hyped a bit.

      As far as I’m aware, in D1 the only notable changes in a high-chaos playthrough are a darker version of the final level (literally; it’s stormier in the high-chaos version), alternate endings, and a few different lines of dialogues.

      There’s maybe a higher number of guards or rats, but if so I’ve never noticed it.

      The developers act like each level is procedurally changed by your chaos level, but really you’d never notice most changes before the final level.

      Taking lethal vs non-lethal options for targets has a more visible impact though.

      1. Sleeping Dragon says:

        It is soooo overhyped. I’m pretty sure the higher number of guards, rats and the earlier and more frequent appearance of tallboys is true, because that is easily verifiable, but this is by no means the subtle, reactive system that a lot of people claim it to be.

        I also reflexively roll my eyes whenever I hear “Dishonored’s chaos system” because the devs were insistent on claiming it is NOT a morality system and there are fanboys swearing up and down that it is somehow deeper than, say, ME paragade score, or Bioshock’s “don’t kill the little girls” thing. It is not, it’s literally a videogame “killing is baaaaad” morality gauge, and if you kill people the plague spreads, the world is dark, the common people don’t like you and the little girl queen to whom you are apparently karmically linked is a cold hearted monarch who fails to guide her country through the crisis.

        To be clear, the game is great, one of the rare titles that allow for both stealth and murderrampage and where both are mechanically good, just no need to pretend it has some unique depth that it doesn’t posses.

        1. Charlie Jubilee says:

          I’m not saying the morality system is original. I just liked it in this game.

          1. Sleeping Dragon says:

            Oh don’t mind me, I was talking more about my knee-jerk reaction to people who oversell the system and claim it is not a reward-punishment videogamegood-videogameevil kind of situation. Though I will say that removing it was to me one of the best things about Death of the Outsider as it gave me the freedom to choose if I wanted to kill someone without the game mechanics judging me for it (the lady capturing people and feeding them to the flies had to die).

            1. Charlie Jubilee says:

              Right. I wasn’t aware it wasn’t supposed to be a reward-punishment thing. And yeah, that lady had to go.

            2. Dork angel says:

              I found myself using the heart to judge people on my more murdery play-through.

      2. Dreadjaws says:

        The issue with the chaos system in Dishonored is that it’s only really noticeable in repeated playthroughs. If you go through the game normally you really have no way of knowing how your actions have affected the world unless you’ve played that level before and think “Wait a minute, there didn’t use to be a guard here.”

        I love this game, but this is something that has always disappointed me. There’s no evident way the world is reacting to your actions. Take something like Metal Gear Solid V, for instance. Use a lot of headshots and enemies will start wearing helmets. Try to trick them a lot by throwing objects and they’ll start ignoring them. If you always wait until the night to infiltrate they’ll start using more light sources and even carrying night vision goggles. There’s a very obvious, palpable way the world is adapting to your playstyle.

        In Dishonored the only thing that actually reacts to your actions is Emily. Since she’s a kid and admires you she will always take your example. Start killing a lot of people and she will praise you for it. She will start talking about growing up to rule by fear. This is good, but the game needed far more of it.

        1. Charlie Jubilee says:

          I think you’re right. The second game does it a little better because you hear the difference in the player character dialogue. Still, I’d love to see a Dishonored game with the sort of adaptive nature of Metal Gear Solid V.

      3. Charlie Jubilee says:

        I agree that it could have been more intense in the changes dependent on chaos level, but overall, I think it was well done. Ultimately, though, the payoff for me was the drastic changes in Corvo’s personality in the end scenes, depending on how murdery I was.

    2. Charlie Jubilee says:

      You can play all three of the dishonored games without killing a single person, actually.
      I think Assassin’s Creed is a little more realistic with how morally gray people can be, and how situations and opinions can shift what is ‘good’ or ‘correct’. Dishonored has a much more black and white view of people, with few exceptions. AC is darker, but from the outside looking in, Dishonored seems darker.

  5. Lars says:

    In terms of gameplay the Shadows of Mordor/War games are AC ripoffs par excellence. If you aren’t that annoyed of how the franchise is treated (like Shamus) than they are really fun games. Maybe the Rocksteady Arkham games could count as AC adjacent.
    Horizon: Zero has the UbiSoft formula like AC and is very stealth heavy in the beginning and more combat focused later. The Styx games have a lot of climbing and stealth but no open world. So the resemble more the Thief games or Dishonored.

    Speaking of:
    I didn’t like Dishonored 1. All those Clone Characters, the less than compelling story didn’t hook me. And that the death count could only be seen at the end screen of a mission was infuriating for a no-kill player like me. In the museum mission I was sneaking for about two hours carefully knocking out guards and witches and at the mission end screen I see “people killed: 1”. I have no idea when, how and where. And that wasn’t the first time this game pulled that prank on me.
    Dishonored 2 on the other hand was great. Probably because of the much-much better level design, more than 4 character models and you don’t have to play as Corvo.
    I own Death of the Outsider but have never played it. It’s one of the many, many “If I had the time”-titles in my pile of shame.

    1. Charlie Jubilee says:

      I love Horizon: Zero Dawn! As for Dishonored, you should play Death of the Outsider. It’s closer in feel to the second game, but with a few twists I found interesting.

  6. RoJ says:

    Dish on a red really felt AC-y when I first played it. The maps were a little more constrained, and the controls felt… less fluid but more precise? Like you had to parkour in too tight of a jacket. Or like 0451 and whatever-ACs-genre-is-called had a baby.

    They are definitely in the same category for me, along with Thief, Splinter Cell, Tenchu… I have a wide circle around ‘sneaking’ I guess. Dishonored is near the edge, but still in there.

    I’d love to read your take on the series. I’m here for the take, not for the particular game.

    1. PPX14 says:

      I was going to comment something about Thief also, but wasn’t sure what to say. I do find myself drawn to some of these games somehow, despite not feeling particularly that I like “stealth games” or gameplay. Perhaps it’s the worlds and their density that end up needing to be conveyed in such games. I have yet to play Styx 1&2 but they looked great. I’m halfway through Thief II, and need to get back to it. Dishonoured has always looked good yet also a bit power-fantasyish by comparison.

      1. Charlie Jubilee says:

        Thief has a really cool thing that I wish AC had; water arrows for lights.

    2. Charlie Jubilee says:

      I might cover Dishonored in the future, but I’m sticking to AC for now. I’ve replayed the Dishonored games so many times, I’m going to need time to get back into them.

  7. PPX14 says:

    Taco is so fluffy! And looks to be giving you a hard stare.

    1. Sleeping Dragon says:

      Taco has not authorised this photo session.

      1. Charlie Jubilee says:

        This is true. He only authorizes the photos where he is either beautiful or looks like a cryptid.

    2. Charlie Jubilee says:

      I woke him up to take a picture. He was displeased.

  8. Aaron B Wayman says:

    The wisdom and distain apparent in Taco’s eyes. This cat knows the answer (to EVERY question) but does not want to be bothered explaining it to us mere mortals. Pet Taco’s belly, hard. I dare you!

    1. Charlie Jubilee says:

      He is fooling you. He only has one brain cell, and it is busy thinking of food.

      1. Syal says:

        Little do you know, food IS the answer to every question.

        1. PPX14 says:

          Wise sage, I shall order Chinese takeaway tonight.

  9. beleester says:

    Dishonored has a lot of cool things, but there’s one feature it has that I think every stealth game should steal: A really really good chase breaker.

    A lot of games will say “you can either kill people or sneak past them”, but what they actually mean is “sneak as far as you can, then once you’ve been detected, every single guard you avoided will come running and the only way you’ll get back into stealth is by murdering all the witnesses.” So if you want to do a nonlethal playthrough, get ready to do a lot of saving and loading.

    Dishonored, on the other hand, gives you Blink, and Blink is insanely good for breaking line of sight. Blink around a corner, blink up to a roof, wait for the guards to give up, and you can be back to stealth mode in less than 30 seconds. It’s possibly the only stealth game I’ve played where trying to salvage a stealth failure was actually fun.

    Assassin’s Creed has a few built-in chase breakers – haybale dives, those ropes you can cut and zoom to the top of a building, etc. – and they’re really fun as well, but a lot of times you don’t have them available in missions and you find yourself murdering a bunch of guards on a rooftop instead.

  10. King Marth says:

    Stealing implies ownership. A cat cannot steal food, they merely claim it back from its temporary keeper.

  11. Zekiel says:

    I adore Dishonored (and its sequel). They’re not perfect, but they’re pretty close. A fun stealth system, a fun movement system, a fantastic art style, tons of lovely lore (which you can mostly ignore if you’re not into that sort of thing), loads of replayability…. Its marvellous.

    I wanted to love the old Thief games because they are so lauded, but sadly I don’t have the patience to play them. Dishonored, for better or worse, is a stealth game for impatient people like me.

    1. Charlie Jubilee says:

      Admittedly, I love the idea of the Thief games but lack the patience to play them as well. I have a few of them and have tried, but it never really clicked with me like Dishonored did.

  12. Paul says:

    Taco is adorable, I hope he stays old for a long time.

    1. Charlie Jubilee says:

      He’s 14 and in surprisingly good health!

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