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What Android games you should be playing in 2015

I have setup a list of the best Android games to help you get through the Play Store’s many titles. So read on as I explore the different game genres in an attempt to find all the best titles to install on your phone or tablet this year.

Action Games

 

 

Brothers in Arms 3

 

Brothers In Arms 3

Brothers In Arms 3

Gameloft makes a lot of games for Android and they know how to do it well.  Gameloft is a video game developer and publisher headquartered in Paris, France. The company also has subsidiaries in 28 countries around the world. They have created a number of games for mobile phone handsets, tablets, games consoles and other platforms.

 

Founded in 1999 by Michael Guillemot, one of the co-founders and owners of video game publisher and developer Ubisoft, Gameloft has expanded to employ a staff of 5,000 at the end of 2011. Gameloft began to be profitable in 2003. Gameloft’s consolidated revenues were €10.2m (2003), €23.2m (2004) and €46.8m (2005). Gameloft has posted consolidated revenues of €68m in 2006, €96m in 2007, €110m in 2008 and €122m in 2009. In 2010, Gameloft consolidated sales reached €141m and went up to €164m in 2011. In 2012 the revenues continued to grow and crossed the €200m-mark, reaching €208.3m in 2012 and €233.3m in 2013. According to the preliminary data, the revenue for the end of year of 2014 were €227m. Through agreements with major telephone carriers, handset manufacturers, specialized distributors and its online shop, Gameloft states it has a distribution network in over 100 countries. As of 2013, Gameloft had development centers in 20 countries. (Wikipedia.org)

Gameloft, having made games like Asphalt 8, Modern Combat 5 and N.O.V.A. 3 you can pretty much be sure you are playing a game with high-production value and a free-to-play price structure. Brother in Arms 3 is a great game. People are saying it may be Gameloft’s best action game so far. I don’t know about that but the game is cool. The game is a 3rd person shooter game where you guide your character through a World War 2 area as you do the normal weapon and ability upgrades as you play. The graphics are great and the game is not for every Android phone that you run into. If you have any flagship phone or tablet you should be okay to play it. Fun to play and you get into it until boom a purchase is needed but that is how it goes now with most games right?

 

The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead

 

The Walking Dead is actually a cool game. The play style reminds me of the old school Dungeons and Dragons decision-based style game. Does anyone remember the movie BIG with Tom Hanks? The game Josh was playing. Just click on the next two links to see.

Link 1 Link 2

 

I even found a site where someone recreated the game. Click Here to see How cool is that? Anyways, The Walking Dead: Season One and The Walking Dead: Season Two is an interesting game to play that keeps you into the game through a strong storyline. As you move through the story you do get a bit of a thrill and maybe a scare as your decision can mean death to a character or your character. Oh yeah there are zombies. Telltale Games has several games so when you are done with The Walking Dead you can try the other games they have. If you happen to be a fan of Game of Thrones they have a game based on that too. Definitely try Telltale Games out.

 

The World Ends With You-android

The World Ends With You Game for Android

 

The World Ends With You is a game that I do remember actually from the world of Nintendo, well, the Nintendo DS actually. I had to look up how long ago this was and the game is dated around 2007. So now about 8 years later here it is. If you are a gamer then you know about Square Enix, the maker of this game. You most likely know Square Enix for Final Fantasy.

The World Ends With You is a side scrolling action game that has several game elements to it from RPG to card style gaming. The Manga style graphics now on Android is still a good game that can hold its own even after 8 years, but the game has a price that is a bit steep. One of the higher price ($17.99) Android games I have seen actually which will turn most people off.

 

Next……..

 

Fighting Games

 

 

Keep checking as I look into the coolest fighting game.

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Marvel Contest of Champions

While searching for games I ran across a game that caught my attention. I was skeptical at first due to the numerous games that lead on to being cool but just turned out to be the average card/summoner games.  I noticed the game was free which always looks good and so I went and found a youtube video of it so I can get an idea. Well the game has my attention.  The first thing that comes to mind when viewing the game is the Marvel vs. Capcom type of game. I also notice the graphics of the game are rather pleasing…especially for an Android game. I began to think,”Oh can my phone handle this game.” ………………………………..I pulled my Samsung Galaxy Note 3 out (What can this phone actually not handle…lol) and installed this game.

Contest of Champions Comic book

Contest of Champions Comic book

First thing I noticed is how long it took  the phone to open the game. I though that was weird but then again lately the internet has not been up to its normal quality so I ignored this. As I started to play I started to remember something. See the storyline of the game is something I have seen before in the comics and cartoons.

[ntcyoutube id=”Oddu2Zsjxe4″]

The heroes are controlled somehow and force to fight in a contest tournament. I forget the details but nothing you can’t just google to find out more about. As for the game… The game is fun to play while not having complex controls. Some would say that takes away from the game especially since Marvel vs. Capcom is available for mobile phones. There is also Injustice too which I will get into playing also. Differences between Injustice and Contest of Champions is mainly that more work was put into Injustice. Now this is just something I read which just makes me wanna play it. Trust me I will play it and once I do I will post a video but for now here is a lil look at the game.

[ntcyoutube id=”OnOSJA9Ubxc”]

So try out Contest of Champions and feel free to post a comment on what you think. Get it on Google Play.

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The Apple iPhone 6 has arrived……(A bit late though.)

Finally Apple has come out with a phone to compete with the market and I must say it is a nice looking phone but that is nothing new when it comes to Apple products. Apple is now doing things different (for them anyways) and has made a larger iphone. In fact, they made 2 larger iphones. Now if you want some specs on the phones just check out a previous post, APPLE’S SPENDING HAS INCREASED… IPHONE 6 LAUNCH COMING?, on Ninja Tech forums where I talk about the rumors of the phone that were out before launch.I’m just going to get straight to the point here. I have seen the phones and I do like them. While holding the phone it feels metal and sturdy, yet a bit slippery. The phones are thinner and do feel better in your hands. I looked closely at each one and they look to be well designed and they have the curved ends that iphone fans should not find as a new thing. The design actually reminds me of the original iphones starting from the 1st generation to the iphone 3GS but only thinner. Let’s not forget that these also had the rounded curves. It wasn’t until the iphone 4 that the blocky design was used.

I like the metal Apple logo on the back yet it is a definite fingerprint magnet. As I picked up the phone on the display I saw the previous customer’s fingerprint and looking at it I thought, “Man his hands must be dirty.” Mind you I saw the person and he looked clean, I guess, but whatever residue he had on his hands were easily seen on the logo. The iphone 6 was really light and felt good I must say but I myself not being so easily impressed looked closer at the phone and I saw the screen curving at the edges. I tested this by swiping my finger across the edge and yep.  My first reaction was good but then I started to think then asked myself, “What would happen if I dropped the phone one day?” and from what I know the result did not seem good to me.  Now I have dropped my Note 3 and the metal bezel caught a ding while the glass and everything is fine but the same kind of fall my Note 3 took, if it were to occur on the iphone… The impact would affect the screen more given the curved design of the phone.  As I looked away at the phone I began to hear T-mobile reps pushing customers to get the insurance. Even stating that the wait for the phone will be shorter for those that get the insurance. I wonder why that it. So I look around the web for drop tests and find that the iphone in most of those tests have not held up.  Here are a few you can check out:



This test by Android Authority is thought of as very skeptical by most viewers since most of the test done by other users have different results but if you want durability who are you gonna believe? the minority or the majority?


I have decided to also include the bent tests for the Note 3 and the iphone 6 plus.

As you can see the screen cracked on a flat out on the screen fall. I have don’t this on my Note 3 and the noise it made did not sound good at all but the phone is still fine and kicking. Shoot some may never even be able to tell that I dropped it. The iPhone 6 drops tests concern me and anyone going out to purchase one make sure you buy the insurance. Now get this, I heard a story of a person who dropped his iPhone 6 (already?) Watch the video and remember this is on  the first day. This guy I think may be the first customer to have it.



Dude?… can you imagine just buying the phone after camping out to get it and you drop it? I hope Apple sees the video and helps him out just because I can feel that just watching  the video and it  does not feel good. (My empathy at play here.) Well, moving along I learn what is on the inside of  the phone and I personally am not impressed. The specs are fine for most but they remind me of the commercials of the Note 4 that I have seen and the question that comes to mind is “Didn’t an earlier Google Nexus phone have similar specs as this?” Seriously, a dual-core processor? Okay it is a 64-bit processor with a coprocessor (M8) to handle the phone’s motion capabilities while rocking 1GB of DDR3 RAM. Oh and the graphics chip is quad-core, a detail which saves the phone in my book.  This graphics chip should serve the phone well for gamers. I’m going to move on to some pros and cons to help you decide.





Apple iPhone 6

Pros

  • New Sleek design
  • Confortable to hold
  • Fast performance
  • Great display
  • Good camera (generally)

Cons

  • Lacks Optical Image Stabilization
  • Battery Life is okay
  • NFC can only be used for mobile payments

The iPhone 6 with the larger screen is still confortable to hold. My initial testing shows it to be fast and the display was okay to me. Although Samsung’s AMOLED screens are still better from what I can see. The iPhone screens just didn’t seem as bright to me. (A little screen brightness adjusting may fix that though.) This iphone does not have the same battery which translates to shorter battery life as the iPhone 6 Plus. This detail has been mentioned in other reviews throughout the web also just in case you want more proof. The Optical Image Stabilization is also not present but the phone is a good choice for most people.


Apple iPhone 6 Plus

Pros

  • Long Battery Life
  • Great camera with Optical Image Stabilization
  • Fast performance
  • Large great display

Cons

  • One-handed use is  not for everyone and can be uncomfortable
  • NFC can only be used for mobile payments

The iPhone 6 Plus some would say is difficult to use one-handed but that really depends on what you are used to and how big your hands are. Although I have heard it mentioned that the phone is more uncomfortable than similar phones of its size. Now I like my Note 3 and its shape at times has help me catch it before it fell due to the more square look and the metalic bezel. I literally had the phone at my finger tips at times but you cannot beat having enough screen real estate for the playing of games, movies, and web surfing. So with the larger size you do get an iPad-like experience on a small device. The phone is said also in all areas that it does have better battery life then the smaller iPhone 6. The camera is also better which can the a deciding factor for some.

Overall both phones are great phones and at different sizes, Apple will be able to cut into the ‘phablet’ market that Samsung has started with the Note series. The iphone 6 looks great but inside the hood is just mid to mid-high components. Again Apple has cut a few corners by doing what it does best, take lower end hardware and create a cult of fans by captivating the senses with great looks. Smartphones in general are said to be more and have more features than what a lot people will ever use. There is also website all over the web talk about Apple fans being people who think different and are more artistic. If that is the case then why are they settling for the mere great looks of an iPhone and not buying a Samsung Note device? The answer for most is simply to be cool. Oooooh I have an iPhone and I will defend it to the end with false Pros and true Cons, despite of the fact which prove otherwise. Then again having a lot of features just isn’t a concern and just want a cool smartphone with simplicity.  In that I do agree but with any device there are quirks. The iPhone just isn’t for me due to having been spoiled by the Galaxy Note’s S-Pen but to anyone who hasn’t been spoiled like me I would recommend the iPhone most definitely as a 2 year phone. What I mean is, sure get the phone, but when upgrade time comes get a different phone so you can actuallly feel like you upgraded because the iphone experience has not really changed that much over the years. The idea of improving the integration and interactivity of iphones with other Apples would be the only change you will find. So if I was an iPhone 5 user that actually put my phone to use by using as many features as I can find a use for then upgrade to the iPhone 6 Plus. If most of what you do is talk then there is no large reason (a cracked screen would be  good reason) to upgrade from any iPhone 4 or 5 other than to simply have the newest (and greatest……supposedly) phone.  So you cannot go wrong with the iPhone really just make sure you get nsurance on it and protect the phone with a case and screen cover.

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Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z

When I first got wind of the game I was just looking for ninja images on google and pictures of this game came up. Now I didn’t know at first. I thought they were just images such as you would see on Deviantart.com but then I realize that these images were of a game. I was curious and so I looked further into the game and found a trailer of sorts. This trailer was actually the prologue of the game.

 

[ntcyoutube id=”6DqqMQ3HYpY”]

Seeing this prologue had my attention even more so I went and got it. After playing the game further Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z’s hero, seemed more of an Antihero…lol. The game is a hack-and-slash game with an unlikable star (Well depening on you of course. I’m sure some people will like him.) that has, well, its own sense of humor. There are numerous reviews of the game that talk it down stating for the most part that it is crass, stupid and not really funny. The characters in the game, their speech is rather naive. The game id full of profanity and sexual humor which can be appealing (actually these type of games do sell more), and games like South Park: The Stick of Truth and MadWorld delight in their lewdness with great success. Ninja Gaiden Z’s profanity and licentious imagery wants you to laugh. I was playing the game and caught a little laugh at this part here:

[ntcyoutube id=”gmJMx_17XNo”]


Yaiba Kamikaze

Yaiba who is very rough around the edges is pursuing his revenge against Ninja Gaiden star Ryu Hayabusa. Miss Monday, whose primary character traits are her monumental breasts which the game makes sure you see, is Yaiba’s guide in the game. Alarico “Rico” del Gonzo is the eccentric leader of Forge Industries, the company that revived and rebuilt Yaiba. My memory fails me at time and there was something mentioned regarding Gonzo that I copied “After six years of holding our dicks in our hands, finally that Spanish knobhead Del Gonzo authorized some action,” and get this later makes mention of his “blood-boner.” I like the comic-book art style and the initial gore are enough to inspire a momentary blood-boner, but sadly, the lacking dialogue is not the game’s biggest problem.

The action itself at times is a problem and leads me to believe that maybe Comcept and Spark Unlimited released it too soon. You know, it’s seem unfinished such as a beta release of a game would be. As cyberninja Yaiba Kamikaze, you fight through cartoon zombies using your sword, your metal fist, your flail, and once in awhile weapons that killed enemies drop, like a rocket launcher or electrified nunchuks. The action is satisfying. It is a button mashing type of game where just about every button press you get blood splattering all over your screen. Pretty cool actually. I liked watching the executions.

[ntcyoutube id=”Ir8Trogk_Jk”]

 

Mechannibal

The flail gives the combat a God of War feel, is useful for getting through large numbers of zombies at once. The flail doesn’t do a lot of damage but its appeal is its ability to allow you to make surrounding foes simultaneously vulnerable setting you up to make those gory executions that I like. You can make the executions one after another the push of a button when one execution pauses to move on to another. Watching the zombie heads fly into the air is and undead bodies being split in half at the torso are very cool and enjoyable. They make the game fun actually. As in any game they get sort of boring to watch but you can improve Yaiba as you go along in the game. Performing executions are also neccessary because doing them rewards you with red cubes that replenish your health.

The camera is a frequent problem, you are forced at times to move around and fight off unseen enemies without a good view of your surroundings. Jumping around across different thresholds while in combat gets annoying at times. It was really annoying fighting a mechanical boss that acts like a dog. The thing is huge and ends up blocking view of Yaiba, especially when you dash around behind it hidding you from view. I found myself dashing under it through its legs only to get slammed on cause I kept getting stuck under it. Unsure why at times, either the legs are in the way or something else that I just could not see. Dashing in the correct direction took some figuring especially when the thing turns around on you looking for you so you have to dash out in the right direction. That freaking thing shows up more often in the game which was annoying. This also moves me into my next point.

electric infected zombie

The level of difficulty, there are numerous foes some fling fire, some that sizzle with electricity, and some that puke bile in your direction but Ninja Gaiden Z takes the old school approach to adding difficulty to a game by throwing increasing numbers of these enemies into the arena and introducing old foes into the mix. The enemies too while fighting come off of with random cheap shots all the time that seem impossible to avoid I saying, blocking and countering certain attacks is possible, but it does not always work due to how quickly and randomly this mess plays out onscreen.

yngz_Holy_Roaster

Ninja Gaiden Z’s has a chemistry thing going to it which can cause more frustration. The flames of a holy roaster and biological spew of a blister sister cause interactions. The chemistry is okay at times like when you use it to solve the game’s mild puzzles, but there is a part in the game where you use static electricity to help eliminate some foes (I guess….they seemed to die quicker once I figured that out.) from the lightning storms that ignite when fire and lightning meet are more hazardous than the threats they alleviate. I walked into one and found that out. My first though due to the game’s notification was to walk into them but then I thought oh he is a cyborg that may not be the best idea. Some website said “Death is a frustration and not a teaching tool” but it just matters on the player really. I will say this though, the game’s main method of healing (execution health drops) is unreliable. The prompts to execute enemies might appear do appear but are a bit hard to catch. Yaiba though moves so fast and this makes them hard to catch. I found myself spamming the execution button while fighting through the zombies so I can catch the opportunities to execute. While some reviews found this as part of the game’s flaws while I just see it as one of those things you see on all fast-pace games.

Ninja Gaiden Z almost impairs itself in a way. The executions are satisfying but each chained execution is visually distinct leaving no connection to the others. They are basically like watching a video clip than showing off those ninja skills of the player. Ninja Gaiden Z’s parkour sequences are diminished I would say compared to the actual Ninja Gaiden game. I remember playing Ninja Gaiden and jumping was also a skill you had to learn but instead in Ninja Gaiden Z they jumping requires timing and the hitting the right button. Some parts though remind me of Ninja Gaiden. The jumps requiring at times what to look for so you know the right button to hit while the camera angle messes you up at times causing more deaths.

yngz_ryu_hayabusa

Keeping that “blood-boner” up maybe hard (lol) to do with the game’s annoyances but overall it is still fun to play. I wish the game had been out of the beta stage before they released it but, hey, what can you do? Do a review. I got a kick out of Yaiba and his vulgar attitude and the game’s sutle jokes. I read several reviews on the game and I concur somewhat with all of them but I also think having Ninja Gaiden in the name places a standard on it that it was not meant to accomplish. It’s like a phone having Windows name attached to it. Due to the old Windows Mobile and how it performed it had a bad taste to it so the now new Windows Phones that come out have to overcome that stigma even though Windows Phone now is a good phone O.S.. I do wish though Ninja Gaiden Z’s style had been applied to a better foundation or at least just put more work into it then bring it out. The original price tag of $60 I think was a bit high but then again probably necessary having the Ninja Gaiden name to it, not to mention Ryu makes an appearance in game. (Extra bills to pay to the original makers of Ninja Gaiden series)

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Hearthstone

World of Warcraft fan? Maybe?… Maybe not?… Or do you like card games? Blizzard Entertainment has released a free to play card game based on World of Warcraft. Having been a World of Warcraft player I was able to acquire a free mount for playing the game.




Well, yeah I had to do something in the game first. I had to do all the work of installing the game and then I had to play it.  As I played I started to have fun which kind of snuck up on me since I only wanted the mount. As I played and hours actually passed I saw how easy to understand the core rules were.  See it does not really rely on some complex and complicated rules. You can be a good player by simply playing the right cards at the right time. Now I did see a some exceptions related to what was related to a Crazed Alchemist.  For the most part the cards and their effects were simple with few words used to communicate what it is they do.  Actually some of the ones I like are Fireball which deals 6 damage, Chillwind Yeti is a minion with 4 attack and 5 health. The objective, of course, is to kill your opponent or rather get their health to zero.  As for the cards, some are very accessible, some not so much.

The game does take a lil brain power and playing mindlessly may just cost you a few losses.  There will be times when attacking may not be the best idea cause your opponent played a card that gets stronger depending on what you do. You may wanna knock that card out first. It is also good to have some protection instead by playing a card that Taunts attackers to attack it giving you some breathing room while you hope for a good card to show up so you can setup a good combo to knock your opponent’s health down. So you play at first to improve your deck. Also important to mention is what class you want to play cause each class has its own special powers.

  • Druid: Poison Seeds (spell) – Destroy all minions and summon 2/2 Treants to INSERT them.
  • Hunter: Webspinner (minion) – Deathrattle: Draw a random Beast card.
  • Mage: Duplicate (secret) – Secret: When a friendly minion dies, put 2 copies of it in your hand.
  • Paladin: Avenge (secret) – Secret: When one of your minions dies, give a friendly minion +3/+2.
  • Priest: Dark Cultist (minion) – Deathrattle: Give a friendly minion +3 Health.
  • Rogue: Anub’ar Ambusher (minion) – Deathrattle: Return a friendly minion to your hand.
  • Shaman: Reincarnation (spell) – Destroy a minion, then return it to life with full Health.
  • Warlock: Voidcaller (minion) – Deathrattle: Put a Demon from your hand into the battlefield.
  • Warrior: Death’s Bite (weapon) – Deathrattle: Deal 1 damage to all minions.

iPad version

As for this version, I honestly am not sure but the news is that it plays identically as on Mac and PC.  This sounds good to me and I would rather be able to play it on a tablet anyways but it is only available for iPad. Nothing Android at the moment but Blizzard states they will be working on one projected near the end of 2014. So myself being an Android person am not happy about that.  I played the game but not as often as I would like. Maybe if it was on Android I would play it more. (Actually I would.)

New Expansion Curse of Naxxramas

Curse_of_Naxxramas

Recently Blizzard has released a new expansion for Hearthstone adding new challenges giving players a chance at improving their card decks. If you play the game this is a must. As other players get these cards you may need some of your own to survive.  The first wing, The Arachnid Quarter will be available for free for at least a month but after that it will cost $6.99 or 700 gold to download. I hear Blizzard will let players buy multiple wings at once at a discount.

Here’s the full list of prices: 

US

  • All five wings: $24.99
  • Already own first wing: $19.99
  • Already own first two wings: $14.99
  • Already own first three wings: $9.99
  • Individual wings: $6.99, or 700 gold, each

Europe

  • All five wings: 21.99 euros or 17.49 pounds
  • Already own first wing: 17.99 euros or 13.99 pounds
  • Already own first two wings: 13.99 euros or 11.49 pounds
  • Already own first three wings: 8.99 euros or 6.99 pounds
  • Individual wings: 5.99 euros, 4.99 pounds or 700 gold each


So check out Hearthstone. It is a fun game, especially if you like card games. With the World of Warcraft feel to it, it is a treat for any WoW fans. Blizzard just need to get those other versions out there. Mainly iphone and Android. Once they do that the game will really flourish.
Hearthstone on Facebook

Update:

Looking back I see Hearthstone is available for Android now. At first the android release was for only tablets. During this time I was able to get the game going on my phone by finding the game from a 3rd source and at the time it ran really slow and was a bit weird to play. I had issues tapping in areas on the board so I could basically play cards but firing magic was an issue.  Blizzard has now released its hold on the game and now some phones can play it.  It ran fine on my phone. I have/had a Note 3.

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A BREATH OF FRESH AIR. (A review from IGN.COM)

dishonored
Reviewed on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360

→ OCTOBER 7, 2012 

Are you getting sick of playing games that don’t actually let you play? You know the ones I mean: they funnel you down a narrow path, don’t give you much freedom in what you can do, and rely on cinematic set pieces to drive the spectacle. I am, and that’s why Dishonored is such a refreshing experience. It picks up where games like Deus Ex and BioShock left off, and puts choice back in the hands of the player.

As Corvo Attano, protector to an Empress, players find themselves in Dunwall, a grimy port city whose population is being decimated by a rat-born plague. It’s an industrial setting; a fishing town grown rich off the back of the whale oil that powers the city’s circuits. It’s also a hive of corruption, political machinations and power grabbing, and this all comes to the fore when the Empress is assassinated, and Corvo sets out to avenge her death.

That vengeance can take many forms. Unlike so many video game protagonists, Corvo is not pre-ordained to be a mass murderer. The entire game can be completed without killing a single person, so guards can be avoided or knocked unconscious, and non-lethal options can be found for assassination targets.

Of course, if you want to cut a bloody swathe across Dunwall, that’s catered for too. Just be warned: killing your way to the end of the game has a number of ramifications. More dead bodies means more rats and more guards, and a darker overall conclusion.

If you’re anything like me though, you’ll probably take an approach that’s somewhere in the middle – at least for your first play-through. Whatever you do, the mechanics are highly versatile and each setting has been designed to give players multiple options for achieving any one goal.

By way of example, in one mission Corvo has two targets to take out inside a brothel, but there is, of course, an alternative to killing them. If you can find another guest in the complex and get him to give up the code for his safe, you can then give this code to a character in the Distillery District and he’ll make both your targets disappear. In my first playthrough, I got the code, but went and eliminated both the targets anyway, then took the contents of the safe for myself.

These kind of options make missions much more engaging than if players were simply tasked with the usual ‘go here, kill this’ objectives. That said, it’s actually the moment to moment gameplay choices that make Dishonored so compelling.

What happens, for instance, if you need to get past a ‘wall of light’? These electrified gateways are set up throughout the city and will fry anything that’s not authorised to pass through them. You might be able to circumvent it by climbing up onto the rooftops and traversing around, or use the possession power to scurry through a drainage pipe as a rat and get to the other side. On the other hand you could deal with the gate itself by removing the whale oil tank that’s powering it, or hack into the system and reverse it. This last option is perhaps the most entertaining, as it means you’re now able to step through, but any guards who give chase will be instantly incinerated.


The approach you take will at least partly be determined by how you’ve customised Corvo, and these options are incredibly robust. Each of the game’s ten powers can be unlocked in any order (after Blink), and each can be upgraded. Runes hidden throughout the world are the currency for unlocking and upgrading powers, and that hunt is brilliant fun in and of itself. For my first play through, I focused on using and levelling up three core powers: Blink, Dark Vision and Agility.

Blink is a short range teleport that’s useful for moving from cover to cover, getting the jump on enemies and scaling buildings. Dark Vision lets players see enemy movements through walls, and also highlights other important objects in the world. Agility, on the other hand, is a passive power which increases jump height and movement speed, and reduces fall damage. As you can see, I opted for agility and stealth above all else.

To further enhance my cat burglar-like skills, I also spent cash upgrading my boots for quieter movement, and activated perks – via the game’s hidden bone charms – to drastically reduce the time it takes to choke an enemy, as well as to increase my movement speed in stealth mode and while carrying corpses.

You may well choose completely different abilities and perks. If you’re combat-focused, whirlwind sends enemies flying and is really effective, as is slow time, which actually freezes time when fully levelled up. While some powers are more useful than others, it’s a good selection and great fun to experiment with. They’re backed up by more traditional weapons: crossbow, pistol, grenades, spring razor, and so on, and these can all be upgraded too.

Dishonored’s nine missions are all very distinct. You’ll attend a society gala in disguise, scale a bridge, escape from prison, wander through flooded slums and stalk across rooftops. You’ll take part in a duel, carry an unconscious man through a gauntlet of enemies and decide whether or not to become a torturer. Each mission is designed as a sandbox, allowing players to utilise whatever approach they want, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll take your time, getting the lay of the land, discovering alternate routes, listening in on conversations, taking on optional objectives, looking for secrets and treasure, and generally just playing.

Players who really take the time to enjoy the experience are rewarded too. The more runes, bone charms and money you find, the more you can augment and upgrade your character, and the more bad-ass you’ll become. In fact, by the last couple of missions I was almost too powerful; able to stalk, choke and kill with ease. Good thing there are hard and extra hard difficulty settings to move on to, which ramp up the perceptiveness of enemies and increase the general challenge.

It’s also worth noting that taking out the actual targets in each mission can often be a bit of a letdown. In almost all cases you’ve got a serious advantage over them – no matter how heavily guarded they are. That’s not much of a deal breaker, however, because Dishonored really is about exploration and experimentation as much as the end goal. This is one of those games in which you’ll save often, reloading again and again to try different approaches, until you get each gameplay vignette just right.

Even though the odds are very much in your favour (on normal difficulty at least), the gameplay evolves nicely alongside the story. New factions and enemy types are introduced, which help shift up the vibe and introduce new challenges. One mission in particular pits Corvo against foes that aren’t so easily outmanoeuvred, and it’s a great touch, even though I’d have loved to see that sub-story pushed a little further.

Some of the more bad-ass enemies in Dishonored.

Some of the more bad-ass enemies in Dishonored.

In fact, that goes for a lot of the game. It’s a fascinating world with a memorable cast, not to mention an interesting overarching tension between mystical pagan magic and industrialisation, but all these elements never really feel like they come to fruition. The experience is still engrossing from start to finish, however.

You may also have some small issues with the controls. Climbing ledges – particularly when getting out of water – sometimes isn’t as smooth as it could be. The mechanic for sneaking up on guards and grabbing them from behind can be a little temperamental too – nothing worse than coming up behind a guard and blocking instead of grabbing. It’s also a little disappointing that the well-implemented first person perspective doesn’t extend to carrying objects, which just hover in space, in stark contrast to wielding weapons, powers and knocking guards out. Oh, and you’ll come across a few invisible walls in the play spaces, too, which is a bit of a shame, but probably unavoidable. None of these concerns are deal breakers, as Dishonored is very much a joy to play.

It’s also one of the prettiest games of recent years. The art direction is nothing short of incredible, and it’s matched with a visual aesthetic that makes the world look like an oil painting in motion. Dishonored isn’t competing on detail; it’s driven by soft textures, intelligent use of colours and contrast, and beautiful lighting. From terraced urban streets to industrial warehouses, menacing fortresses to regal palaces, it’s Victorian England meets City 17 meets whalepunk. The character modelling is superb too, even if the facial animations could be better… and the oddly oversized hands could be smaller.

As is becoming standard, PC owners are in for the biggest visual treat. Dishonored does look excellent on console – I finished it on Xbox 360, then started again on PS3, and thoroughly enjoyed playing on both. You may notice minor frame rate issues and a little tearing, but nothing that will really take away from the gameplay. That said, it’s significantly better-looking on a modern PC, so that should be the platform of choice for players who have the option.

THE VERDICT

It’s a shame that Dishonored’s story isn’t greater than the sum of its decidedly memorable parts, but its gameplay absolutely is. Each mission is built as an elaborate network of choices for players to explore, and the same can be said for Corvo himself. Each player’s selection of powers, perks and other upgrades will inform how they see and interact with this world, and no two play-throughs will be exactly the same. Dishonored is a game you’ll talk with your friends about, and that you’ll want to play multiple times. In this game there are always other paths to be taken and other challenges to conquer, and that’s a refreshing thing indeed.