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Dishonored: The Dunwall Archives (Book) Review

Dark Horse explores the darker side of Dunwall in their newest art book.

Dishonored was released October 9, 2012, and is an adventure/stealth game that was developed by Arkane studios, and published by Bethesda, and even boasts a score of 91/100 on meteoritic (and a 9.0 here on BG). Dishonored is one of those games that I knew I wanted to play when I first saw it on the Steam homepage. Unfortunately, I was still a student at the time and couldn’t really afford the full retail price.

However, as soon as it went on sale, I jumped on the opportunity and finally got to try this awesome game. Now, I’ve been given the privilege of looking at a promotional copy of the new Dishonored: The Dunwall Archives art book. The book itself contains 217 colour pages – granted, the copy I have is digital, so I am unsure of what the hardcover’s paper stock will be like. This could be an important feature for many who are looking at it in stores or considering the purchase of it from a website.

I love the artwork throughout the book.  The spirit and look of Dishonored is captured marvelously in this book. There is lots of eye candy including multiple full page paintings of in-game locations, characters, cityscapes, and districts. As you progress through the book, it moves into character lore and backstories, as well as additional artwork on characters and in-game locations. It contains artwork that has and hasn’t been seen by the public, most of which was created during the development of the game. Almost all of these paintings would make amazing posters, and I’m actually going to keep my eyes peeled for them!

However, this book is not all show with no substance; The Dunwall Archives is more than just an art and concept book!  It has information from the game world including maps, timelines, and newspaper clippings with stories. The archives contain some of the more obscure information about the world of Dishonored, like how to process whale oils, butchers saws, poems, songs, memoirs, you name it!

The Archives even go into the details of explaining bone charms, and whether the populace should be able to keep such cultural items. There is such a mass of information in these 217 pages, that any fan of the game, or even just a person who loves reading fantasy lore, will be occupied for hours; reading and re-reading this book from cover to cover.

Delving into the characters, locations, and history of Dunwall, this volume is essential reading for both Dishonored fans and anyone curious to learn more about this unique game.

I love the style in which it is written. Information is not categorized into chapters, which gives a nice flow for reading/skimming through the book, or even just for “looking at all the pretty pictures”. This also means that, if there’s something that doesn’t interest you, you’re not flipping through pages and pages of information to get to the next topic.

Final Thoughts

Although the promotional copy I received for review was digital, I think I would buy a physical hardcover copy as well. There always seems to be something more special about owning the actual book. The Dunwall Archives comes out on the market November 25th, 2014 (according to the Amazon.ca page). It also states that it has 184 full colour pages, while the copy I’m looking at has 217 – so I do not know if that is a typo, or if the hard cover copy will be a slightly compressed version. Maybe they’re trying to save the trees? Either way, with the holiday season fast approaching (or if you’re family is like mine, with a plethora of birthdays coming up), I would recommend Dishonored: The Dunwall Archives as a unique gift for those “hard-to-buy-for” gamers on your list.

Just like the game, the Dunwall Archives is practically perfect, and the only thing I would add to it, or like to see added, would be more pretty pictures, and maybe even some foldout/removable posters for my walls!

About Squatch

I am an avid gamer residing in Ontario, Canada. I play games from almost all genres, but my favourites are Strategy games and RPG's. Hobbys I have other than gaming are playing bass, reading, and building/upgrading computers.

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