A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
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.
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?
- Platforms: PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: hypothesis-testing, solving puzzles
Responsibility & Ethics: following codes of conduct, integrity, making wise decisions
- Price: $59.99 ($49.99 for PC)
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Bethesda Softworks
- Release date: October 9, 2012
- Genre: Role Playing
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy
- ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, Strong Language
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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.