Sneaking its way into your heart
The first Dishonored was a surprise smash hit among many gamers. No one expected the stealth stab-em-up to be the smash hit it was. But it won over audiences with its brilliant storytelling and ability to allow the player to play however they wanted. Four years on and we finally get a sequel in the form of Dishonored 2, but does it share the same magic that made the first game so special? Yes. Yes it does.
Dishonored 2 takes place fifteen years on from the original game’s good ending, which sees Emily now sitting comfortably as queen of Dunwall. With the plague gone and poverty at an all-time low, things seem to be going swimmingly for Emily and her father Corvo. Sadly, the good times are slightly interrupted when Emily’s aunt, Delilah Copperspoon, comes waltzing in saying she is the heir to the throne. To make things worse, depending on who you decide to play as, she turns the other to stone! Talk about an awkward family reunion!
Now it’s up to either Emily or Corvo to escape to the southern land of Karnaca to clear their name and prepare to take back their land.
The McGuffin that instigates the plot works well enough, giving enough motive for the characters to want to fight against the new government, while also making you question if it’s right to kill those who are just doing their job. But the real meat of the story, much like the first game, comes from the stories told through side missions and the world itself.
Each level has its own fair share of side missions that shed a light on the true goings on in the world. Be it from cult sacrifices aiming to bring out the overseer, to illegal gangs just trying to protect what little property they have left, it’s all wonderfully told through character interactions and environmental details.
If you enjoyed the first game for its little golden moments, Dishonored 2 is absolutely brimming with them.
But it’s not only the little moments that make the game. The level design in Dishonored 2 is also one of its strongest points. Well, some of the levels. The game doesn’t have any bad levels at all, but some of them are such spectacles that it leaves the others feeling less so.
The clockwork mansion level will forever be remembered as either one of the best levels in gaming, or one of the worst, depending on how you choose to go through it. The way it changes and manipulates to enter certain areas in restricted ways is by far one of the most creative levels of the game. Love it or hate it, you have to admit it’s wonderfully constructed.
It’s just a shame that not all levels are up to this standard. The first level after the tutorial is particularly lacklustre, and does a pretty bad job at selling what the game has to offer. But push past it and suddenly the game opens up to a world of amazing opportunities.
And the game fully wants you to experience all it has to offer. Giving you not just one, but two playable characters! Each of them has their own unique powers and traits. While Corvo stays mostly the same from the first game, his powers have lightly different skill trees, but he overall encourages a careful stealth playstyle.
Emily on the other hand, is a walking death machine. With powers such as Domino, she can link enemies together, and depending on what happens to one of them, all of them will suffer the consequences. Once you get to grips with her abilities, she can wipe out hordes of enemies with ease.
And fight you must. For while in the first game enemies were all relatively human, Dishonored 2 introduces clockwork robots, and they might be the biggest pain in the backside in the entire game. Worse than the long load times. These robotic rapscallions feature heavily in the clockwork mansion level, along with others, and are seemingly only there to give you a bad time. They have vision cones from both the front and back of their head, and when combined with their giant sword hands, it makes for a pretty bad time.
But apart from the clockwork enemies, Dishonored 2 is a fair and enjoyable experience with little imbalance.
Dishonored 2 is everything the original was, and much more. Keeping it’s grim yet stylish look, as well as it’s addictive choice riddled gameplay, Dishonored 2 excels at being one of the best stealth games AND action games of the year. For those looking for a meaty game with a great story to sink their teeth into, Dishonored 2 is a must play.
Thanks to Bethesda for supplying a review code