We’ve been playing Arkane Studios’ Dishonored 2, and today we offer our thoughts on the game in our Not So MMO review of the sequel. Does it continue the tradition of open exploration and stealth with a healthy dose of RPG progression and choice?
In short, yes – exuberantly and emphatically yes.
The game takes place 15 years after the original, and while it behooves you to have played the first game to know all the details of the story, even new players are going to have a good time here and know what’s going on. The intro does a good job hitting all the previous game’s plot points and this story itself is self-contained enough that you won’t feel lost playing through.
The world of Dunwall, this time the southern port city of Karnaca, is beautifully rendered. The art design of Dishonored as a series has always been one of its strongest points, and the characters, overall vibe, and steampunk-esque setting make for a truly distinctive look. There’s nothing generic about Emily, Corvo, or the world of Dishonored 2.
Gameplay wise, much is the same in Dishonored 2 as it was in the first game, just altered or improved in meaningful ways. The most notable difference is the sheer scope and breadth of the levels themselves. Dishonored 1 gave you loads of options for how to complete your mission, as does Dishonored 2 – only in the sequel the world itself is much broader and wide open for exploration.
It’s nice to be able to choose at the outset between playing through with Corvo or playing as his daughter and heir to the throne, Emily. The differences aren’t major – the POV and narration is different but the story doesn’t change much. It’s the travel mechanics that change. Corvo can blink teleport while Emily has a dark magic tether she uses to pull herself across terrain, and pull in objects as well. There are other differences as well, best catalogued over at PCGamer, truly.
Like the original, one of the coolest features of Dishonored 2 is how the world changes based on your actions. If you’re stealthy and non-lethal, the game world remains mostly clean and reflects your benevolence. If you’re a whirlwind of murder, the waters run red with blood, rats follow you everywhere, and the world becomes a gruesome and dark place.
Naturally, this combined with the two character choices means Dishonored 2 is a highly replayable game. It’s not overly long (around 10-20 hours depending on how well you play and how much you explore), so playing through a second time would seem natural as the other character. What’s a bummer is that a New Game Plus is not yet offered, though hopefully it’ll come via DLC or free update later.
Dishonored 2’s beautifully bleak world, incredibly level design, and top notch AI make for an altogether grand experience that will have fans of the classic Thief series truly enthralled. Its story is not the best narrative you’ve ever seen, and the voice acting (even of Vincent D’Onofrio and Rosario Dawson) is rough. Not Peter Dinklebot of Destiny Infamy bad, but it’s not great. That said, there’s little in Dishonored 2 that would keep me from recommending it for all fans of stealth action games. Simply put, it succeeds and surpasses where the sequel laid the groundwork.
OVERALL SCORE – 9/10 – Highly Recommended