Previously From the Makers of “Dishonored”: Dark Messiah Might and Magic

One of this year’s games that started to generate a little buzz and is now getting the underdog’s support is Dishonored from Arkane Studios. Interested in this style of game I decided to investigate the developer’s two previous works, and I’d already picked up the later of the two on a Steam sale.

I’d heard a bit about Dark Messiah Might and Magic and began to look at it as one of those underrated western RPG classics in contrast to today’s gaming landscape. After having finished it, it manages to be a refreshing throwback to styles of game design I miss, but is also surprisingly modest.

It’s not even really an action RPG. It’s a first-person fantasy action game with a lot of RPG elements – really similar to a lot of today’s games when you think about it. You get skill points and level up abilities, but the game is as linear as a shooter and mostly based on hard combat.

That’s kind of where Dark Messiah stands out though. What I like about the game is how thoroughly objective its combat system tries to be. At first glance it actually kind of reminds me of Demon’s Souls but in first person.

It’s based on very clear strikes and parries that are all influenced by a physics engine, so melee fighting feels truly strategic while still using “normal” first person controls which adds an intuitive feel. When the game first came out people apparently complained about all the gimmicks like traps, ledges, and hazards that are quite exploitable. It’s pretty funny when 15 orcs come at you and you can kick every single one of them into a single wall of spikes or off the same cliff one by one. It’s like they want you to do this too since enemies go into ragdoll as soon as your attack connects, not when they hit the hazard.

Despite those things though, the combat still becomes truly challenging, especially later in the game. I might be sneaking behind an orc guard until he comes near a shelf of barrels and I collapse it, knocking the barrels down on him. The barrels don’t kill him instantly though, just knock him on the floor long enough for me to run up and land a finishing blow. I even appreciate how Dark Messiah get’s around how most character classes in RPGs stick to one kind of weapon. I went for a stealth character in this game but still ended up in situations where all four major weapon types had their uses.

One thing I can say about Dark Messiah is that it makes me confident that Arkane knows what goes into a proper stealth game. All the planning and intelligent use of the environment that I typically have to employ in Splinter Cell or Metal Gear is here in full force for a game that feels challenging but also fair. Hopefully Dishonored continues that tradition because it’s about time I played another good stealth game.


  • You don’t really need to know about the story in this game. Pretty basic stuff with what sounded like late 90’s voice acting from a time when game developers realized they could be snarky and lace their dialogue with sexual innuendo.
  • The sequel to Mario and Luigi’s heated argument:
  • This iOS game called The Incident is actually pretty good and free as of this typing:
  • The real best way to us a retina MacBook:
  • I’ve been thinking about it for a while, but maybe I really should buy Cybernator. Didn’t realize it was on Virtual Console.
  • Finished off Luther on Netflix. Probably the first police procedural I’ve liked that wasn’t Law & Order.
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One thought on “Previously From the Makers of “Dishonored”: Dark Messiah Might and Magic

  1. […] my previous post about Dark Messiah I talked about how the game by its cover and reputation looked like a smart, relatively open-ended […]

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