I didn’t play Dark Souls at all this week. I find that a bit foreboding, like I might be in the same position next week, but that’s a problem for future-me, so let’s focus on what past-me got up to this week, which was an awful lot of killing in Dishonored.
Tales of an Impatient Gamer: The Dishonored Special Interlude Edition!
Dishonored falls into the ‘Tales of an Impatient Gamer’ category because it involves (or can involve, depending on your playstyle) a lot of stealth gameplay, which requires patience to effectively pull off. And for someone like me, that can be a bit of a challenge.
I love games like Dishonored that give you variety, where you have choices as to how to complete your mission. Without being specific, they can range anywhere from sneaking into the target’s hideout to charging guns akimbo through the front door. You can make a spectacle of your target’s death, or do it quick and clean, or even find a non-lethal way of dealing with them. Discovering those choices, and deciding which of them would be the most fun, is what has driven me to keep playing.
But as I played through the first proper mission after the tutorial, it began to bug me that I was unable to be stealthy, and that all comes down to patience again. Sure, I could wait for that guard to turn his back and walk away before I move into this building, or I could just Blink to him, cut his throat, and be done with it. The latter defined most of that mission.
The result? Seventy kills.
I was horrendous at being stealthy. My target even spotted me and rang an alarm bell for help, but only one guard came to his aid. The rest were already dead.
After that, I stopped myself and thought ‘wow, I’m terrible. It feels like I’m playing the game wrong’, even though there should be no wrong way to play a game involving choice like this. I still thought it was bad, so I resolved to be stealthier, forced myself to be more patient.
Dishonored is a much more successful Tale of an Impatient Gamer, because I’ve made significant progress over the course of three missions. Seventy kills in the first mission was more than a little shameful, so I made the effort to be stealthier in the next. But that had a few problems too – if I was discovered, at least five guards would be on me at once, and, rather than evade them, I chose to fight them and be done with it.
Approaching my targets in that mission, I left forty corpses in my wake, but most of them were in the early stage of the level, and the more I progressed, the more I learned. I figured out that, hey, those conveniently placed dumpsters can be used to hide bodies, so maybe I can stop killing people and just knock them unconscious instead. After that, I made more effective use of rooftops to close in on my targets.
In the third mission, I made it all the way through with only the blood of four people on my blade. It was a triumph, not a perfect run by any means, but such a significant enough leap in progress to keep me encouraged.
After failing for so long in Dark Souls, I can’t deny it’s nice to see this kind of progress, but the two are entirely different games. Dishonored is easier to learn, it requires a different kind of patience. Screwing up results in a different outcome, but doesn’t necessarily mean death. A mistake in Dark Souls, on the other hand, is fatal. With Dishonored, I can screw up and still progress through the game, only restarting because I choose to restart.
I’m curious to see if I can keep this up, though. What if the missions get harder, the enemies tougher and more numerous? What happens then? I’d like to think I can keep going with the stealthy approach, but I don’t trust me, I’m a real jerk, so anything could happen.
Still, it’s nice to feel a moment of success.