Game review by
Chris Morris, Common Sense Media
Dishonored Game Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Violent choices impact ultimate outcome of mature game.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 29 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 35 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Dishonored wasn't created with educational intent, and we don't recommend it for learning.

Positive Messages

The game demonstrates that you always have choices when faced with a difficult situation. You just have to look hard to find them. It also shows, on some levels, the importance of keeping your word -- and fighting for what you believe in. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

The game creates characters to which you become emotionally attached, particularly the heir to the throne, a little girl named Emily, who the hero Corvo aims to protect. Players are always given a choice whether to kill a target or eliminate them through non-lethal means. While there is betrayal and ruthless killing by some characters, the heart of the story is about honor and its meaning to the individual. 

Ease of Play

The game encourages players to explore different types of play styles, each with its own challenges. Stealth results in fewer fights and less chance of death, but requires patience and a good sense of timing. Shooting your way through the game results in more enemies (and a darker finish). The game lets players choose the level of difficulty they wish to tackle, as well. Arrows point players to their destination. 


Players have the option to finish the game without killing any other character, though most are unlikely to achieve this, given its difficulty. When they do engage in combat, it's bloody, with severed limbs and bloody stains. Players use pistols, crossbows, swords, grenades, and other weapons to kill human enemies. Those kills are sometimes accompanied by slow-motion effects and gurgling sounds. Corpses are often devoured by packs of plague-infested rats. And there are corpses strewn around this plague-ridden town. 


The character will explore brothels where women are dressed suggestively and occasional moaning can be heard through walls. They are referred to in the game as "whores". 


Plenty of salty language, including "damn" and "hell". “F--k,” “s--t,” and “a--hole” are also used regularly. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Many scenes take place in a bar and several characters openly consume beer or other spirits. The player's character also drinks on occasion -- and players can choose to drink more as they explore the world. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Dishonored is an action/role-playing/stealth game set in a plague-infested town in the Renaissance time period. The game lets players choose between evading enemies and engaging them in combat and always offers an alternative to killing their main target. Still, there are violent moments, such as a torturer beating a victim and bodies being tossed off of a bridge. Foul language is also prevalent and there is some sexuality in a brothel level. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byJohnwhite'07 June 6, 2020

Enjoyable game with moral ambiguity.

Dishonored is set in a renaissance town riddled with plague. You play as Corvo, a bodyguard to the empress. When she is assassinated and her daughter kidnapped,... Continue reading
Parent Written byKent R. May 30, 2018

*Late* Excellent Exercise in Making Choices

This game isn't for anyone who has a hard time with the macabre or some of the darkest themes of life. However, as someone with Bipolar disorder, this game... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old June 30, 2014

I would say eleven for most kids but....

listen im a ten year old but that doesnt mean i dont have some good points. im going to start off and say that this game should be most definitely fine for 11 a... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byJester™ October 13, 2012

Gory, stealthy action game is not for youths.

The biggest issue with Dishonored is the violence. While it is up to the player as to whether or not they will kill anyone, there is still a very menacing atmos... Continue reading

What's it about?

Players assume the role of Corvo, a royal bodyguard who has been framed for treason for the assassination of the empress. Freed from jail, he becomes an assassin, using a combination of weapons and supernatural abilities (such as the ability to teleport to areas a short distance away and stop time) to overthrow the actual conspirators behind the killing and protect the empress's daughter. Players have the choice to fight their way through the game or move in a stealthy manor and the game reacts accordingly. (Fewer kills results in a different ending than that of someone who leaves a bloody trail through the game.)

Is it any good?

Real choice in video games is a rare thing. You're typically steered in a certain direction -- often forced to kill, even when you'd rather not. Dishonored is a rare game that truly leaves the decisions in your hand. You can be a lethal killing machine or a ghost who never harms a fly (or a combination of both). As you follow your path, the game adjusts, taking your actions into account. Seemingly small decisions on one level can turn into bigger ones further in the game. 

Just as impressively, the game creates characters you actually care about. The relationship between lead character Corvo and empress-in-waiting Emily is paternal and players actively work to protect her. The relationship humanizes your character -- and may make you reconsider your actions. Blend all of this with some unique supernatural powers and a good collection of real world weapons and it adds up to a smart, intense and engaging title. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about standing up for the weak (as Corvo does for the empress's daughter). Families can also talk about whether it's good to fight or avoid conflict -- and the ramifications of either action. 

  • Families can also talk about the impact of media violence. In this game you can try to avoid the violence. Did you? Why or why not?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fast-action games

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate