Outstanding maps and collectibles guide, with a confusing walkthrough.
Dishonored (review here) is a very good new IP from Arkane Studios that wears its influences on its sleeve. The game contains bits of everything from Skyrim to Metal Gear Solid to Deus Ex: Human Revolution. That last one is by far the most prevalent, in both the gameplay and choices available to the player. Do you choose to stealthily sneak your way through an enemy compound, or do you murder everyone and run like hell? Luckily, the Dishonored Strategy Guide from BradyGames fully covers both methods of steampunk retribution.
Each mission walkthrough is preceded by a very well-organized list of major goals, optional goals, collectible items, obstacles, maps with legends, and more. Before picking up the controller, I was able to plan out my path through a level, decide just how much chaos I wanted to create (chaos affects the ending you receive), and see where every rune, bone charm, and Outsider Shrine was located ahead of time, so I wouldn’t need to backtrack later. It details every enemy you’ll face, which helped put me at ease because I’m dreadful at first person stealth games. Even with the guide’s help, I still found myself slaughtering many of Dunwall’s inhabitants to get out of a bind. Without the guide, I can only imagine how many more bodies would be left for the plague rats to feast on.
The page layout is fantastic for the most part, and I was always aware of available side quests, special actions, or Trophies/ Achievements. For the most part the guide makes it easy to follow the “Path of Shadow” or “Path of Blood”, and not miss anything along the way that would necessitate a level replay down the road. However, I found some of the text a bit confusing and much too vague at parts. Some of the instructions could have been clearer and more concise. Also, it’s a bit of an odd choice to have all the collectibles are relegated to an appendix at the end of the book, and I found myself constantly flipping back from the walkthrough to the appendix to get a visual of where I need to be looking. The appendix is a great idea, with plenty of screens that make the locations of the collectibles quite clear, but couldn’t they have included the shots in the main guide as well? It seems as though it would be perfect for doing a second run-through of the levels dedicated solely to this purpose, but most players want to get as much done as possible on their main run.
The fact that I found myself using the stellar maps and the appendix more than the walkthrough text itself really speaks to the main problem with the Dishonored guide- it’s just not very well written. It gets the job done, but I found myself confused, backtracking, or running from a swarm of guards more often than I should have with a guide in hand. Luckily the appendices and maps more than make up for this, and they pulled me out of the rough patches the text got me into.