I really enjoyed the first Dishonored. It gave me a newfound respect for stealth games. Usually I would just run through the game killing everyone in sight to get to the ending. With Dishonored, I took my time, planed out every kill, and did my best to keep the chaos low in Dunwall.
It’s been 15 years since the assassin Corvo Attano was framed for the murder of Emily Kaldwin’s mother. Dunwall has been restored and is now thriving under Emily’s reign. Emily has been training under Corvo in the ways of the assassin in the off chance that she might need to defend herself. Meanwhile throughout Dunwall, a serial killer who calls themselves the “Crown Killer” is killing off Emily’s enemies. This is leading to unrest in Dunwall as rumors are flying that Corvo and Emily are the ones behind the murders. On the eve of Emily’s mother’s death, a newcomer named Delilah Copperspoon arrives claiming to be the half-sister of Emily’s late mother. Delilah and her men attack the royal guards, steals Corvo’s powers, and the game begins with your first of many choices.
While it may be 15 years in the world of Dishonored, the rest of us have only been waiting for four years to revisit Dunwall. As mentioned above, Dishonored 2 takes place 15 years after the events of the first game. Once the coup has been staged you make your first choice, to play as Emily, or Corvo. That right there is an indication that there will be some replayability behind this game. Much like the first game you decide how you play. Stealthy and in the shadows? Aggressive and in plain sight? Kill everyone in your path? Or subdue them and leave them alive. The gameplay in Dishonored 2 remains true to the original. You learn new abilities as the game progresses to help you on your quest.
The controls are responsive and feel great. If you miss a target, or slip and fall off a ledge while to trying to be sneaky, you have no one to blame but yourself. A perfect example is the use of Emily’s “Far Reach” power. If you don’t have your landing point lined up perfectly, you are as good as dead. Combat is fluid and fun while stealth is tricky. Just as any good stealth game should be. Timing your landing to stealth drop a guard can either be the start of an intense battle, or just another takedown. If you are going for a perfect, unseen run, be prepared to reload checkpoints time and time again. Also, SAVE. Save A LOT. There’s a fantastic option for quick saves. USE IT. The game will auto-save at some points but there’s nothing more heartbreaking than doing a perfect run, getting caught, reloading a checkpoint and seeing the last few hours of your game progress gone. I speak from experience.
Visually the game looks fantastic. The environments are fleshed out in great detail and the character design is top notch. I swear the first time I came upon a beached whale I it looked so real I could almost smell it through my TV. Even the non-playable characters have their own unique look to them. The architecture of the buildings is absolutely stunning and in later levels, the beauty and architecture come into play quite a bit.
The story is well done and keep you interested, but the where Dishonored 2 has a small problem is the character work. The main characters all look and speak with purpose, while secondary characters and NPCs sometimes seem to have dialogue that feels stiff and out of place. Don’t get me wrong, the story dialogue is great, just be prepared for some random bits of dialogue if you find yourself eavesdropping quite a bit. The rest of the story is great. I won’t spoil anything here, but the story is worth playing through a few times.
Speaking of playing through a few times, there are a ton of choices in this game. After the initial choice of Corvo or Emily, you have many more choices. One of the hardest choices I made was to (as Emily) decide whether or not to accept the gift from The Outsider. That’s right, you can do a playthrough using NO POWERS. I chose to use the powers, but I am very tempted to replay the game again and see if I can get through it without the use of powers. There are also a ton of other choices to be made in game, who to kill, who to leave alive, who to side with. There is definite value of replayability here and you won’t be disappointed. With the latest news of a New Game Plus, and custom difficulty coming, the replay value is now even higher.
Dishonored 2 takes everything that was great about Dishonored and builds on that. It is an absolute worthy successor to the original. Newcomers to the series and fans of the original are going to get their money’s worth. Just leave some chaos for the rest of us.