Hello! I'm Alex, CVG's Games Editor (no, I don't know what that means either). I wrote our monstrous 95%-rated Dishonored review and I've played through the game twice (getting a High Chaos rating both times, but - hey! - nobody's perfect), so I know a little bit about the game.
Yesterday we asked you for your Dishonored questions. Here are your answers...
"I think the one that has been doing the rounds is length (that's what she said!), how long would the campaign take in a decent playthrough and trying to obtain most objectives, playing it stealthy!
Also, what is the combat like? Meaty and fulfilling or light weight and floaty?"
As I said in the comments section of the review yesterday, it's difficult to quantify how long it took me to complete the game, as when you're reviewing something you play through it a little differently than you might recreationally - juggling quicksave slots and trying out different things so you're sure you haven't missed out important details. I would say it took me around 15-18 hours to complete the game, and even then I felt I was rushing through the game faster than I would have liked.
To be honest, I doubt if it's even possible to complete the game in four hours.
The combat falls somewhere between 'meaty' and 'floaty'. 'Moaty', I guess. It's deliberately set up to be difficult to encourage you to think before engaging the enemy. The standard Overseeers can be hacked down with ease, but the Redcoats are highly skilled and will dodge and weave around your attacks, so you need to learn how to parry properly. If you encounter more than one or two at the same time (and they tend to hunt in packs), it's going to be difficult to stay alive without whipping out your gun.
"Does the no regenerating health and mana leave you in awkward situations that sometimes call for loading a way back save up a lot? And should I buy XCOM and a bag of Skittles to go with it on Friday?"
Dishonored uses a quicksave system, so the onus is on you to decide when is best to save. Due to general hamfistery, I found myself in some tight spots several times during the game but I was always able to think my way out of trouble even when I didn't have the proverbial pot to wazz in.
I'd say yes to XCOM but I'm loathe to give you dietary advice without access to your medical history.
"My question revolves around how difficult and unforgiving is the game, i like difficult games so is there like a normal/hard option, is the game challenging enough and if its all augmenting is there any scaling to enemy power/health??"
You'll be well catered for, I think. Getting through the game with a Low Chaos rating on the hardest difficulty setting is a massive challenge. If you're an achievement/trophy hunter there's much to sink your teeth into - awards for getting through the game without killing anyone, or using magic, or even being detected.
There's no scaling as you level up through the game - the challenge comes from the situations the game puts you in. Enemies increase in number, rather than in bicep size.
"What is the narrative like? Is it a game which lets the world and design do the storytelling with not much in the way of cutscenes (like Bioshock) going from mission to mission, or does it actually have character interactions and/or cutscenes that get you immersed in the game's universe?"
BioShock is a good comparison, actually. There are a few cutscenes but by and large Dishonored likes to do its storytelling on the fly, with the deeper lore imparted through books and audio tapings.
There are a ton of NPCs to interact with, particularly at the Hound Pits pub, which acts as the central hub. If anything there are a few too many and it dilutes the story somewhat as it's impossible to care about them all.
If I'm honest the core narrative is a bit weak and struggles for focus but the strength and believability of the world it takes place in more than makes up for it.