GameFrame: Dishonored 2 HP OMEN X
GameFrames: Because the way you play a game is just as important as the game you're playing.
Our previous GameFrame experiment was the Doom Slayer GTX 1080, a powerful beast crafted to handle one of the most intense FPS games of the year. This time around we're back with another title published by Bethesda, the stealthy supernatural sneak-fest Dishonored 2.
We've rounded up some appropiate hardware and peripherals to enhance the Dishonored experience, so let's dive (or Blink, or Far Reach, or whatever) right in to the list.
What We're Playing: Dishonored 2
Though plagued with some PC performance issues at launch, Dishonored 2 has still earned strongly positive reviews, and several patches have gone a long way towards smoothing out the bumps since the game released a few weeks ago.
Everything you liked about the original Dishonored is taken to the next level in this sequel, with more detailed environments, more interesting challenges, and a whole second protagonist with totally different abilities to master. The game is packed with clever design elements and challenges, including a no-powers mode that feels like a modern Thief game, a puzzle which allows you to skip an entire level if you complete it the "hard" way, and the ability to create clones of yourself you can kill to break your fall from high places.
Read our full review for more on how Dishonored 2 improves on the original in every way.
The PC: HP Omen X Desktop
The Omen X desktop from HP comes in a wide variety of hardware configurations, but what links all the different models together is that they feature top-of-the-line PC hardware packed into a distinctive black cube design. This is one of the most eye-catching PCs we've ever had in our offices, but it's got more to it than just looks.
There's plenty of room inside the case itself for future hardware upgrades (though the GTX 1080 in our model was perfectly capable of handling Dishonored 2 on the highest settings), along with built-in liquid cooling and plenty of airflow to keep things frosty.
Aesthetically, a mysterious black cube with a symbol on it that could totally be mask (maybe?) is a great match for the world of Dishonored, which is soaked in supernatural mysteries. The lighting on the Omen X case is also fully adjustable via built-in software, so we were able to experiment with a few different looks before deciding on a purple/orange theme.
The Monitor: ASUS ROG Swift PG348Q
The curved gaming monitor market is growing increasingly crowded, but it's hard to beat the ROG Swift PG348Q from ASUS. It's a 34 inch monitor with an IPS panel capable of displaying 3440x1440 resolution, as well as sporting NVIDIA G-SYNC tech which makes it gamer-friendly in a way many earlier curved monitors weren't.
The PG348Q currently sells for around $1200, which certainly isn't cheap for a monitor, but customer reviews on Newegg and other outlets are almost universally positive, so it looks like those who do drop the cash are happy they did.
This monitor was a good fit for our Dishonored 2 GameFrame thanks to its high resolution, 100Hz refresh rate, and the subtle brass-toned accents on the base, which fit right in with the clanking steampunk machines that populate Dunwall and Karnaca. The red glowing ROG logo beneath the monitor can be switched off if you prefer, but we left it on because it's reminiscent of the visuals that accompany some of the game's magical abilities.
The Keyboard: AZIO MK RETRO
On the subject of retro-styled machinery, get a load of the AZIO MK Retro keyboard. We've given this typewriter-styled board a full review already, finding it an incredibly stylish piece that, as you can imagine, takes some getting used to when it comes to actual gaming.
The MK Retro sports 60g Kailh Blue mechanical switches that give it a feel sort of like that of an actual typewriter. The rounded keycaps are a real trip, and it's unlikely you've ever used a board like this unless you're old enough to have used a real typewriter.
The MK Retro isn't a board we'd choose for a high-stakes e-sports match where intuitive performance is absolutely key, but for our GameFrame it was a dream come true. Dishonored 2 is full of typewriter-like devices, though in the game they feature crazy rounded keyboards.
Maybe that's something to work on for the MK Retro version 2, AZIO?
The Mouse: Corsair Harpoon
Looking for an RGB gaming mouse from an established name in the peripheral market for under $30? That's very optimistic of you, and thanks to the Corsair Harpoon you can actually live your optimistic fantasies.
Aside from the simple rubber cord, there isn't much to mark the Harpoon as lower-priced gaming mouse option. It performs well and sports the same kind of RGB customization and on-the-fly DPI switching you'll get in mice that cost a lot more. Its simple design is unlikely to wow anyone, but it's also versatile enough that it'll work for just about any gamer and any game that doesn't require a full number pad of buttons on your mouse.
For our Dishonored 2 GameFrame, the fact that the mouse is called the "Harpoon" is almost too perfect, given how important whaling is to the game's setting.
The Headset: Bloody M660 Chronometer
It's hard to say which is the most thematically appropriate piece of this GameFrame, but the M660 Chronometer headset makes a strong case for itself with gear designs on each earcup that could come straight out of Jindosh's Clockwork Mansion and a name with echoes of Dishonored 2's time-hopping mansion exploration mission. Not to mention that the headset is from "Bloody Gaming," a nice fit for a game with gruesome assassinations (if you aren't going the non-lethal route).
The M660 Chronometer is available in both the gold design pictured and a black/red model. Both have the same generous ear cushions, an adjustable noise-cancelling microphone, and a two-piece tension headband that keeps things comfy even if you're trying to complete Dishonored 2's full 12 to 20 hour length all in one go.
Not that we really recommend that. You should probably take some breaks.
We've written about this gaming chair before, which stands out from the crowd with its real leather surface and a design which can accommodate bigger and taller gamers. That real leather comes with a cost, of course, but noblechairs also offers a full line of gaming chair options at lower price points if the premium surface isn't a must-have.
Aside from its classy black look and real leather, the subtle crown logo on this chair makes it a great compliment for a game which sees you stepping into the shoes of an Empress (or her Royal Protector father) taking back your throne.
The Gun: From Disney World's Pirates of the Caribbean (circa 1992)
This final piece of our GameFrame isn't available to buy, sadly, since I got it from Disney World's Pirates of the Caribbean shop sometime around 1992. It looks a lot like the pistol you use as Corvo or Emily in Dishonored 2, though, so we're including it regardless. If you want something similar, there are some Halloween prop options available.
For other ways to trick out your Dishonored 2 desktop, make sure to check out the impressive offerings from Funko.
The Total Package: $4980
Prices are subject to change, but as of publication this whole setup can be yours for just under $5000. Unsurprisingly the bulk of that cash will go to the Omen X and the ASUS ROG monitor, so if you already have a PC and monitor you like you can pick up the keyboard, monitor, and mouse for around $200.
What do you think? And what game would you like us to frame next? Let us know in the comments below!