Level Up! We Review Dishonored (Mania.com)

By:Tim Janson
Date: Thursday, October 25, 2012
Source: Mania.com

This week on Mania’s Level Up!
Medal of Honor; Warfighter Launch trailer
Written by actual U.S. Tier 1 Operators while deployed overseas, Medal of Honor Warfighter features a dotted line to real world events and provides players a view into globally recognized threats and situations letting them experience the action as it might have unfolded. From rescuing hostages in Abu Sayyaf’s stronghold in Basilan, Philippines to assaulting Al-Shabaab’s “Pirate Town” on the Somali Coast, the single player campaign allows players to step behind the iron sights of Tier 1 Operators as they hunt down a terrorist mastermind and the global threat of the distribution of a deadly explosive chemical called PETN.


Assassin's Creed III Interactive Trailer
The interactive trailer blends a gameplay trailer with a ‘choose your own adventure’ experience.  You will be able to select your path, weapons and assassination styles as you guide Connor through an assassination mission set in the midst of the Battle of Bunker Hill.


Enemy Unknown Announces Two Add-On Content Packs

2K Games announced that the first of two add-on content packs for XCOM: Enemy Unknown will be available soon. The Slingshot Content Pack, the first DLC pack, is a new set of linked Council missions offering new maps tied to the Council missions, a new playable squad character with a unique story and voice, and new character customization options.  Additionally, the Elite Soldier Pack pre-order bonus is now available for purchase.

Dark Souls: Artorias of the Abyss DLC content is available

NAMCO BANDAI Games America Inc. today announced Dark Souls: Artorias of the Abyss  DLC content is available for purchase via digital download on both the PlayStation Network and Xbox LIVE  in North America. Dark Souls: Artorias of the Abyss was created by acclaimed developers FromSoftware and takes console gamers into the depths of hell through torturous dungeons, unrelenting boss battles, and the most challenging of gameplay experiences in video games today. The Artorias of the Abyss DLC content bolsters the Dark Souls console experience with the long awaited addition of an enhanced online PVP (player vs. player) mode allowing players to assemble battles against one another for all-out fights to the death. The innovative online component also allows gamers to draw from the collective experience of the Dark Souls community as they either assist or maliciously sabotage each other on their journey through the world of Lordran to save the land from darkness.
Dark Souls: Artorias of the Abyss features sprawling new maps and environments, new boss characters, enemies, non-player characters (NPCs), an arsenal of new weapons and armor as well as additional challenging content for unrelenting heroes to face as they return to the deadly world of Lordran. Darkness born in the forests of Oolacile is expanding and engulfing the kingdom and all of its people. Only the strongest and most persistent players will be able to stop the encroaching darkness. Dark Souls: Artorias of the Abyss’ online match-making feature allows console gamers to showcase their skills against other Dark Souls players around the world. 


Assassin’s Creed III (Ubisoft) Rated M  Xbox 360, PS3, PC, WiiU 
Assassin's Creed III is a third-person Action-Adventure game in which players take on the role of an assassin hunting remnants of the ancient Templar order, hiding in plain site against the backdrop of the American Revolutionary War. The game is the fifth overall release in the Assassin's Creed franchise and the first to include significant use of firearms. Features include: an all new assassin character, a link to the modern Desmond Miles character from earlier games, gameplay spread over decades, naval combat, Native American weapons, new physics, animation and weather systems, and intense multiplayer featuring new characters. 
You are Connor, warrior son of a Native American mother and British father. As the colonies draw closer to revolution, you will dedicate your life to the freedom of your clan, becoming the spark that ignites the revolution into a full blaze. Your crusade will lead you through blood-soaked battlefields and crowded city streets, to the perilous wilderness and stormy seas. You will not only witness history... you will make it. Experience the hidden truth behind one of history's most influential wars: the American Revolution. Unleash lethal new skills and weapons, and experience a stunningly realistic world created by Ubisoft-AnvilNext, a new engine that redefines gaming. Welcome to an entirely new chapter in the Assassin's unforgettable saga. 
WWE 13 (THQ) Rated T  PS3, Xbox 360, Wii 
Bring the atmosphere, spectacle, and fervor of a raucous WWE Live event into your living room with awe-inspiring Spectacular Moments and a new audio system that delivers the most authentic and dynamic commentary, sound effects and crowd participation ever in a WWE game. 
It was a time when Stone Cold Steve Austin battled for supremacy against his maniacal boss, Mr. McMahon. An era where The Rock told opponents to “know your role, and shut your mouth”, where the Undertaker threw Mankind off the top of the Hell in a Cell, and D-Generation X broke all the rules. Now, for the first time, relive this groundbreaking era in an all-new single player campaign mode that will make you experience the Monday Night Wars like never before. 
The fan-favorite WWE Universe mode returns, giving you more control over WWE than ever before. Your choices determine your destiny as you dynamically shape your schedules, television shows, and rosters, and form alliances and make enemies on your way to the top. 
With new animations, transitions, and modified controls built on the Predator Technology™ game engine, WWE ’13 will deliver strategic, fluid, and fun WWE action that plays more smoothly than any prior WWE game. 
Zone of the Enders HD Collection (Konami) Rated M  Xbox 360, PS3 
Zone of the Enders HD Collection is an Action video game collection featuring two games from Hideo Kojima's, Zone of the Enders series. Originally developed for PlayStation 2 in 2001 and 2003 respectively, the included games - Zone of the Enders and Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner - are remastered in high-definition, and feature an engrossing story based in humanity's expansion into space and the conflicts that result. Features include: the full classic games, dramatic and action-oriented flying/floating mecha (robot anime) combat, new opening animations, Playstation trophy support, and a demo for the upcoming 2013 Konami release, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. 
The population has exploded, pollution has grown steadily worse, and natural resources are drying up. Unable to continue life on such a small planet as Earth, mankind pushes out into space. The Moon and Mars are incapable of supporting the entire population, so man eventually extends its reach to Jupiter. A torus space colony called Antilia is built at the L5 Lagrangian point of Jupiter and Europa to support mining operations. Man's farthest outpost in its sphere of existence, Antilia houses approximately 100,000 residents involved in mining and transport. It also serves as a development outpost for BAHRAM, the military organization of the Martian anti-Earth state, Vascilia County. 
Antilia is mankind's farthest outpost, and allies itself neither with nor against Earth. Since Nereidum Universal Technology (NUT) and BAHRAM lost their development outpost during the Deimos Incident, they see Antilia as a perfect opportunity to establish an R&D facility for Orbital Frames, humanoid weapons surpassing LEV mecha. Their two most advanced Orbital Frames, Jehuty and Anubis, conceal incredible offensive capabilities plus a certain something of even greater importance. 
Need for Speed: Most Wanted (Electronic Arts) PS3, Xbox 360, PS Vita, PC 
Need for Speed: Most Wanted is an open world Racing game. The game is the 19th release in the long-running Need for Speed franchise, and the first for the PlayStation Vita. It hearkens back to the earliest games in the series as players compete in races with police unified against them. Races have a set beginning and end point, with the open world game design allowing players to complete each using whatever path they can find. Additional features of performance include a unique blend of Simulation and Arcade gameplay, social play options through the Autolog 2 feature, exciting multiplayer support, and a large selection of vehicles. 
To be "Most Wanted," players need to outrun the cops, out drive your friends, and outsmart your rivals. With a relentless police force gunning to take you down, you'll need to make split second decisions. Use the open world to your advantage to find hiding spots, hit jumps and earn new vehicles to keep you one step ahead. In true Criterion Games fashion, your friends are at the heart of your experience. In an open world with no menus or lobbies, you'll be able to instantly challenge your friends and prove your driving skill in a variety of seamless multiplayer events. Your rivals will do everything they can to stop you from getting to the top. In this world, only one thing is certain - there can only be one "Most Wanted." 
Mighty Avengers: Battle for Earth (Ubisoft) Rated T Box 360, WiiU 
When it comes to fighting crime, maintaining public order or rescuing damsels in distress, the Avengers have got it in the bag. They're called superheroes for a reason their abilities, techniques, skills and power far surpass that of any ordinary man or woman. But if you turn the tables and face them off against each other, you've suddenly got exceptional abilities against exceptional abilities and extraordinary skills against extraordinary skills. Prepare yourself for epic battles, battles where the mighty power of a superhero rests in your very hands, and where taking down your opponent will test that power to its limit. 
Unleash your inner superhero with the ultimate superhero brawler that finally gives you an opportunity to prove that your favorite superhero could take down the rest. You can actually feel what it's like to have the power to fight the fiercest, strongest, smartest and fastest heroes on Earth with explosive super attacks and devastating special moves unique to each character with motion gameplay. Play with friends and settle the age-old argument of which superhero is the best, or duke it out against the AI in a wide variety of game modes. Get ready for a surging rush of adrenaline. You're battling the mighty heroes and villains of the Marvel universe. 
LEGO Lord of the Rings (Warner Bros) PS3, Xbox 360, DS, Wii, PC, 3DS, PSVita 
LEGO The Lord of the Rings is based on The Lord of the Rings motion picture trilogy and follows the original storylines of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Now the entire family can team up in pairs as adorable LEGO The Lord the Rings minifigures to experience countless dangers, solve riddles and battle formidable foes on their journey to Mount Doom. 
LEGO The Lord of the Rings takes players along on the adventures of Frodo Baggins and his unlikely fellowship as they set out on a perilous journey to destroy The One Ring and save Middle-earth. Kids, tweens, teens and parents can traverse the Misty Mountains, explore the Mines of Moria, knock on the Black Gate of Mordor, and partake in epic battles with Orcs, Uruk-hai, the Balrog and other fearsome foes while harnessing the humor and imagination of LEGO gameplay to solve puzzles and explore Middle-earth. Players will take on the form of their favorite members of the fellowship – Frodo the Hobbit, Aragorn the Ranger, Gandalf the Wizard, Legolas the Elf, Gimli the Dwarf, Boromir a Man of Gondor, and Frodo's Hobbit friends Sam, Merry and Pippin – as they relive the most momentous events from the films. 
Transformers Prime: The Game (Activision) 3DS, DS, Wii, Wii U 
Based on the hit animated television show produced by Hasbro Studios and currently airing on The Hub television network in the U.S., the game lets fans play as their favorite AUTOBOT characters and embark on an action-packed adventure to save the earth from the evil MEGATRON and his new secret weapon. Players step into the roles of OPTIMUS PRIME, BUMBLEBEE, ARCEE, AUTOBOT RATCHET, BULKHEAD and more as they explore unique vistas all around the world with brawler-style combat and diverse driving sequences. Along the way, gamers cultivate friendships with Jack, Miko and Raf - the human characters from the show - as Team Prime sets out to protect mankind and eliminate the DECEPTICONS once and for all.


Dishonored (Bethesada Soft) Rated M  PS3, Xbox 360 
There have been other games like Dishonored, but there has never been anything EXACTLY like this immersive new first person adventure from Bethesda.  Steampunk fiction set within an alternate version of Victorian London have been enormously popular for several years and now this world has been beautifully created by the creative geniuses at Arkane Studios.  
The City of Dunwall ia a grimy, gritty port town filled with political and military intrigue.  The city itself is powered by the use whale oil which is used to power lights, weapons, and virtually everything else.  The Port twon practically reeks of fetid fish and has been stricken by a rat-carried plague which is killing off Dunwall’s citizens, particularly the poor who live at street level.  You play the game as Corvo Attano, the bodyguard to the Empress.  After returning from a mission to seek aid from other lands for Dunwall’s plague, Corvo watches in horror as the Empress is killed by assassins and her daughter kidnapped.  Corvo is accused of the crime and locked away in prison.  Fortunately there are loyalists who would see the The Lord Regent and his allies overthrown.  They aid in freeing Corvo from prison in return for his skills as an assassin to take down the villains.  
After a secret meeting with the loyalists, Corvo has a dream where he meets a figure known as The Outsider, a supernatural being who imparts mystical powers onto Corvo to help in in his quest to eliminate the Lord Regent Hiram Burrows and his followers.  Dishonored is a game that allows you to go your own route, cutting a swath of death on your enemies, or by using stealth to evade or overpower them.  While it might be the natural inclination to go swords slashing and guns blazing, it’s actually much more fun and rewarding to employ stealth tactics.  And trust me…I’ve never been big on stealth games.  But with Corvo’s supernatural abilities to see through walls, use short distance teleportation, freeze time, summon plagues of rats to attack your enemies, and even possess the bodies of other characters…it beats the heck out of the standard hack and slash adventure.  
The game reacts to the chaos caused in both scripted ways, such as dialog, and dynamic ways, such as increasing rats, plagued citizens and adding new scenes, and can affect the current mission and future ones.  And how you play the game whether killing everything in your path or taking the road of lesser, stealthy resistance, will result in the game and its conclusion changing to meet your style of play as well as which characters survive.  To be sure, these passive elements might seem counter-intuitive to standard videogame play but trust me, there’s a certain satisfaction you get from conniving someone else to take out your target without you ever firing a shot. 
Coming from Bethesda, the fine folks who brought us 2011’s Game of the Year The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, you know you’re getting a game that is filled with incredible detail.  While not necessary to complete the game, an abundance of richness is added by uncovering documents, audio tapes, or eavesdropping on conversations to reveal plot elements.  It’s these little touches that will leave engrossed for many hours in the world of Dishonored.  
Corvo’s ability to “blink” is akin to that of Nightcrawlers of the X-Men.  It’s a wonderful way to get around obstacles and travel across rooftops as you close in on your target.  Throughout the game you can uncover new runes and bone charms to upgrade or add new magical powers so there’s quite a bit of RPG elements included in Dishonored as well.  As an example, you first gain the ability to slow time but can later upgrade it to stop time completely.  Bone charms are equippable items give Corvo boosts to things such as his sword speed, moving silently, or increasing your mana for using your magical abilities.  
Dunwall is a large, teeming city with lots to see and you should definitely explore it all.  It not only gives you the opportunity to upgrade Corvo abilities to their peak, but also adds tremendous color and intrigue.  Graphically Dunwall is equally fascinating.  Its landscapes and set pieces are completely original.  The character models are generally fantastic looking although some can look a bit distorted up close.    The voice acting is also superb.  In a time when originality in games is so low, Dishonored shines bright. Grade A