Game Rating: 5/5
Release date: November 11, 2016
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows, Xbox One
Genre: Action-adventure game, Stealth game
Developer: Arkane Studios
Designer: Dinga Bakaba
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
In to Dishonored 2
If you like being a stealthy rogue and assassinating enemies then I highly recommend picking up the Dishonored series. Obviously Dishonored 2 is a sequel and it ties in very nicely with the previous Dishonored and all 4 of it’s DLCs. The breviloquent summary is that you must vanquish the evil witch and take vengeance for her stealing the throne of Dunwall. As you play through the game (or have played through the original Dishonored DLCs) you discover that things aren’t quite that black and white. You may play as the classic protagonist from the previous Dishonored game: Corvo, or you can play as his daughter Emily. Both characters have the choice to get supernatural powers through the outsider’s mark that will help you stealth or massacre your way past guards, bloodflies, hounds, witches, and clockwork soldiers. I mentioned stealth or massacre, as this game has a unique dynamic that allows for lethal and non-lethal options for literally every scenario. If you have played Dishonored before then you know how every decision you make affects the story and ultimately determines the final conclusion of the game.
“I knew this world, fifteen years ago. Some part of me remains, but the world seems strange.”
Dishonored 2 is a great sequel because it adds in numerous new features and unique abilities, but keeps the core stealth mechanics in check from the original game (Even smoother this time). The synergy of all the abilities, weapon upgrades, and bonecharms creates an experience that will undoubtedly be different with every playthrough. Dishonored 2 never failed to keep me on my toes, challenge my abilities and even have me reloading after I made an accidental kill. Each level is so large and open that I guarantee you will miss a painting here and there, a ritual site high in a building, or a key inside of a fish tank. Secrets and treasure galore! Dishonored 2 exceeds expectations.
The game mechanics of Dishonored 2 are very smooth and developed (Arkane studios hammered out the glitches and chunkiness from the last game). If you are new to the series then keep reading for an overview of what it’s all about. The main mechanics revolve around stealth and fighting (obviously), but you can choose to assassinate or knock out opponents. You can crouch, run, jump, slash, shoot (bullets, or crossbow bolts), carry, throw, and use tools. If you choose to accept the outsiders mark (I would highly suggest doing so), then you also have an array of abilities that range from warping, possessing, linking enemies, summoning allies, slowing time, seeing through walls, disappearing, charming, and blasting (Fus Ro Dah!). Depending on what character you choose at the beginning you will have a different set of abilities and a different play experience.
The large array of weapons, gear, and special abilities is augmented by upgrades that can be bought with in-game money or special runes obtained throughout the game. Upgrades will unlock additional features and can change the way a skill or weapon is used. Because of this versatility, Dishonored 2 encourages experimentation and multiple ways to accomplish almost every task. The mechanics and style of this game are enough to make it fun, even without factoring in the story, collectibles, and graphics (this is proven in Dishonored: Dunwall City Trials). Everything works and it feels great!
I played Dishonored 2 on the PS4 but I can also offer speculation for PC gamers as I have discussed and seen the game played on a gaming pc with a Geforce Nvidia 980 graphics card. Overall the graphics are outstanding and have an artistic painting like feel. You won’t see many breathtaking views or stunningly realistic scenes but they work and are very smooth for the console. The PC version on ultra high settings is even better! (Not the best graphics out there but pretty high up there).
Playing through the game on the PS4 offered no framerate drops, lag, or any kind of funkiness regarding the graphics. PC users on the other hand, is subject to more volatile framerate issues. Several optimization patches have been introduced since the game was released but it seems some gamers are still experiencing issues. From what I can tell, by enabling VSync and making sure background applications are closed you can keep a consistent 60 FPS and experience no issues.
Dishonored 2 offers a darker and dreary feel for most areas as you explore cities lost to plague, dust storms, and devastation. The game has a sepia steampunk schema of hues that are appropriate to setting the mood. The graphic quality and style combine to make a stunning, visual appealing, story come to life.
If you have played the original Dishonored and the DLC expansions than you are certainly in for a treat with Dishonored 2. The plot occurs 15 years after the original Dishonored game and expand the lore in new and exciting ways. That being said we can see a huge improvement in graphics, level design, upgrades, enemies, and other gameplay elements. Here is a compiled list of improvements:
- Saying the art style is better in Dishonored 2 would be debatable. It’s not as grungy and distorted and I personally think it’s a huge improvement. Characters look more realistic, not to mention the huge boost to graphic resolution.
- The maps are bigger and more in-depth. You can explore an area for an hour and still miss things. There are secret passages and hidden areas spread across every level.
- New enemies and new challenges await around every corner. As you play through each level you will have to try new things and react to new enemies with different powers. Stay on your toes!
- The clockwork mansion and clockwork soldiers are arguably the best map improvements to the game. The clockwork mansion is a wonderful maze of moving rooms and complex puzzles, and throughout this complex maze you will find giant robotic soldiers that offer a challenge whether you are playing high or low chaos.
- You can play as Corvo or Emily. This option offers more replayability and grants a new set of abilities for people coming from Dishonored 1.
- More synergy with abilities. You can link a group of enemies together and then shoot a sleep dart to knock them all out at once. You can stop time mid combat and warp into the shadows to leave enemies baffled. There are so many combos and unique ways to use the outsider powers.
- New Game allows for you to keep your runes, learned bonecharm traits, and blueprints from the previous playthrough. It also lets you choose abilities from both Corvo and Emily, regardless of who you choose.
- You can upgrade the game difficulty!
- The game features better voice acting and the voices actually line up with the characters lips! Wow!
I found the story to build up and progress in a way heavier fashion. The original dishonored seems light and choppy with the storyline progression, but with Dishonored 2 it’s rich and full of more character development.
As I played dishonored 2 I found very few issues, and looking back I feel they were even more insignificant than I originally thought. There were a few times where I had trouble choking an enemy out who was sitting in a chair. Sometimes it was hard to tell when somebody notices me while using bend time. In the game stats there is no way to tell if an enemy found a body, which can be annoying if you are trying to go for total stealth. The boat between missions could be more lively with more tasks to accomplish on board. But these few downsides hardly takes away from the overall gameplay experience.
Overall I give Dishonored 2 a tentative 5/5 stars. It’s not completely perfect but the it is extremely fun and offers a ton of hours of gameplay and replayability. I love the multiple different ways to approach any situation, and the mechanics are rock solid with extraordinary graphics. A couple small glitches hardly affects how fun and satisfying this game is.