Being quite the fan of the original Dishonoured I was an eager beaver to get my hands on the second instalment. Arkane Studios brings us another turmoil filled game to the PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
If you haven’t played the first game, there may be some slight spoilers. The first game gave us the bleak and gloomy steampunk style city of Dunwall infested with essentially the black plague in which Corvo, the hero, had to navigate and uncover the truth behind his framing of the murder of theEmpress.
Dishonoured 2 is set 15 years later with little Emily, that you rescued in the first game, now Empress. Ruling over an empire is never without its evil relatives. As to not spoil too much, the evil relative decides to claim the thrown and, obviously, it falls to you to both resolve the issue and discover the truth behind the debacle, after escaping Dunwall with your life.
At the start of the game you are given a choice to play as either Corvo or Emily. Playing as Emily provides a fresh perspective for those returning to the series while Corvo feels like he has aged and has so much more of life weighing down on him. I don’t feel one perspective is better as I honestly enjoyed playing both options.
If you played through the first entry you will be familiar with the mystical powers that are granted you by a creepy guy known as the Outsider who does seem to have motives all his own. You don’t however have to accept the mark offered and can play through the game without benefit of powers, but personally, where is the fun in that?
As with any sequel, the continuing hero is relieved of any power gained in the previous game, and so the same goes for Corvo, but thankfully you regain them quick enough. I was happy to see most of his original powers returned but also happy to see they have been juiced up and have a few more upgrade options to still provide for a slightly different experience from the first game.
Emily on the other hand has a few new powers at her disposal most of which I found quite fun to use and implement in game. Emily has a shadow power that allows her to creep, well, creepily along to then grab and choke some unsuspecting individual. I found this a quite useful power to bypass enemies with little to no cover around and just enjoyed being a shadow entity.
Another power that is quite useful, especially for a non-lethal approach, is Link which allows you to link two or more (with upgrades) enemies that will all suffer the same fate of one of them. If you make one dead or unconscious the others follows suit.There are some similar powers to that of Corvo,like Dark Vision and the ability to quickly move from one spot to the other but I did quite enjoy the new powers on offer.
Apart from powers you have a few other tools in your arsenal. There is a gun, which generally rules out stealth but certainly gets the job done, a cross bow which can be armed with several ammo variants and of course the trusty sword which does its stabbing thing quite well. These all allow for a diverse range of ways to take down the enemy. There are even grenades and a couple of mines to really mix it up. So, if it all goes a bit pear shaped you can always go out with a bang but before things escalate to that there is still plenty of stealthier options.
Dishonoured 2 builds on everything enjoyable about the first game and fixes all the broken things to collectively create a well-rounded game. In the previous entry, the AI are incredibly dumb. Now this made going through the game bit easier but took away from an immersion point of view. Well in Dishonoured 2 they have certainly had some major brain surgery.
Now, if a fellow guard just disappears they will react and behave appropriately in searching the area and being on higher alert. Likewise, if certain things are disabled such as the electric fences in the game known as walls of light, well once again they will get suspicious and possibly check it out. In one instance, they came to check on the power source, where I had stashed two other bodies and so had to take care of that guard as well, but it was pleasant to see more appropriately behaving enemies.
It’s nice to be thinking more as to your surroundings and what is at your disposal than simply playing on an enemy’s stupidity. That said, it can make the game that much harder, specifically if you are going for a non-lethal playthrough. Though with enough exploration there is usually an option to avoid them all together.
Choosing a non-lethal playthrough is one way to up the ante as things certainly become much more problematic.There are some powers, once unlocked, that can help the process but even then, you will likely find yourself playing many sections numerous times.You really learn to save often for as soon as the enemy becomes alerted there isn’t really a non-lethal option.
Taking the lethal option however makes everything so much easier. Regular crossbow bolts are more readily available and there are numerous mines, grenades and bullets around to use for an elaborate kill. Dumping bodies is less of an issue as you don’t have to find safe place to hide them, you could just through them off a cliff or in a river, or with Corvo’s power, have them turn to ash. Becoming a monster is a much easier, and I my opinion more fun, than keeping one’s morality. Though I still welcomed the challenge of the not-lethal path.
I must say the game did make me question my morality at the start.As I had already decided to go for a non-lethal game, I was certainly inclined to start killing people just because they seem like totallyevil scum bags that might be entirely deserving of being put down.Regardless, it was nice to have a game make me truly hate the enemy I’m fighting.
The first game truly had a bleak and dismal environment with plague victims and rats everywhere, there wasn’t a spot of colour or light to be seen. Dishonoured 2, while still having gloomy prospects here and there contains a more vibrant and lively tone. It still includes the irregular dead bodies and blood stained walls but it all seems just a tad bit brighter. The city of Karnaca and its surrounds certainly uphold the steampunk themes and ideas from the first but do so with a high level of detail and elaborate level layouts. I very much enjoyed the actual connectivity of one section to the next.
Dishonoured 2 is a well-crafted game that takes all the great aspects from the original and builds upon them enough to still provide a fresh experience for gamers. It provides an intriguing story, though some characters aren’t as engaging the villains and enemies certainly do their bit to make you hate them. It has quite elaborate levels and districts to explore that offer all kinds of opportunities in combat. You can become death incarnate or a dark angel of mercy and the path you take is entirely up to you.
Released: October 2016
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC (Windows 10)
Genre: Action, FPS
Developer: Arcane Studios