Aesthetically, Dishonored is by far the most beautiful, ugly game you will ever play. There is nothing that stands out as eye poppingly photo-realistic so those of you who rely on beauty to enjoy your games may be shit out of luck.
Even the characters are gawd awful to look at but their unsightliness only helps to re-enforce the whole underlying theme of the game which is in itself rather ugly.
In fact, the games look and feel is one of it’s biggest charms as it immerses you in a time where the ugliness of corruption is mirrored all around you in dirt, grime, decay and death.
A lot has been said about Dishonored’s “steampunk” design which I can’t fairly comment on. Personally, Dishonored makes me feel as if I’m in a water-colored world blended in Half Life 2 and Borderlands 2.
Whatever the overall aesthetic they were going for, there are many positive elements that start grabbing your attention early on.
One thing I noticed pretty much off the bat was that most everything in the game was readable. Of course there are some low resolution textures many of which are easily spotted however, there presence pales overall to the presence of higher resolution posters, paintings, bill boards, etc. I actually found myself stopping to admire all the wall art in one particular level because it really was that well done.
The other thing that pops right out of you is if you can reach it, you can probably get into it. So far I’ve yet to encounter a door that is simply painted on the side of a building; all are enterable either immediately or after finding a key or combination. Another really nice touch is when crouching, the game will make your player crouch lower to get under a table, into a storm drain or a small window for example.
On there own these small elements may not seem like much but when added together they only help to boost what is already a very immersive experience that very few games can touch. In writing this review the only other games that come to mind on this scale of immersion are Metro 2033 and the original Max Payne.