Dishonored 2 has taught me a lot in the past week. Firstly, I’m not that good at being stealthy, I’m also not very patient, but I also learnt that Dishonored 2 is a blooming awesome game that let me play in whichever style I felt like. For those of you that have already play the original game, you’ll be please to know that you are getting the same sort of game, but with many improvements that make it an even better game.
Things have changed in Dunwall, Emily, daughter of Jessica has grown up and is now the empress, her father, Corvo has spent his life protecting Emily and training her to make sure she can handle herself – you’ll take part in a 10 minute tutorial which will get you back up to speed quickly. Life in Dunwall has improved until one fateful day, it’s at this point you are given a choice to play to save Corvo as Emily, or vice-Versa. My playthrough was as Emily.
In Dishonored 2, you spend more time away from Dunwall than you do in it, your base of operations is the Dreadful Wale, a paddle steamer helmed by Meagan Foster. It’s here that you are briefed on your next mission before being taken closer to land on her Skiff.
Throughout the 9 levels there is so much to explore, your playstyle is likely to determine how much you do or don’t discover. Silently making your way around a level, knocking guards unconscious is the best way to go about your playthorugh, you’ll get a slightly improved ending and a lot less blood on your hands. The downside is that you’ll spending the majority of your time reloading you last save to rectify any mistakes. Putting your sword through anyone you see will create higher Chaos and will make things even more of a challenge.
It might have been a lack of patience for me, but I ended up on a High Chaos playthrough. Simply running around without any sort of stealth will result in you dying more often than not, you’ll be easily outnumbered and meeting a grisly death before you know it. If you played the original games you’ll know all about the powers Corvo could harness, in Dishonored 2 Emily can too.
Powers such as Domino & Doppleganger are great fun to take advantage of, the first allows you to link together between 2-4 enemies, and then depending on what you do next determines the fate of them. Using a sleeping dart from your crossbow puts them all to sleep, whereas sticking a bullet in the cranium will see them all die instantly. Doppleganger creates an illusion of yourself which sees groups of enemies become completely distracted, allowing you to pass through undetected.
Guards aren’t as oblivious like in most games, they don’t always see you when you’d expect them to, but they are much smarter. I moved a glass in preparation to distract some enemies and the AI noticed it was missing only moments later, they’ll also pick up on the fact that guards have disappeared. It’s certainly refreshing to come up against more competent AI. It’s not only humans you’ll go up against, there are witches, werewolves and even the Clockwork Soldiers, created by the eccentric inventor Kirin Jindosh, more on him later.
The standout feature for me is the level design. As I mentioned earlier, there is a huge amount to explore, aside from the bonecharms and the runes there is a huge amount to discover. If you have the time, it’s great to go through the notes, journals, audio logs and newspapers to really get a feel for the story. You’ll gather clues for the missions you are on, whether it’s for combinations for safes, or solutions to various puzzles dotted around the level. Don’t bother trying to get solutions from the walkthroughs, Arkane Studios have made sure the solutions are randomised for every player, great stuff.
Dishonored 2 has produced some of the best levels I’ve played in recent times. There are two that stand out most. The first is the Clockwork Mansion, home of Kirin Jindosh. Much like the man himself his home is an eccentric puzzle. Levers around his home would completely change the configuration of the room, while the whole time Jindosh would be mocking you as you struggled to find him, of course like any of the levels there are ways to just bypass huge sections of map using your powers. The other level, allowed you to travel back and forth through time, but I won’t reveal any more.
The ending left me feeling a little flat, if I’m on honest, but I really enjoyed the rest of the story and discovering more about the characters as I progressed. Dishonored 2 is certainly one of my favourite games this year. It’s a beautiful game, with some spectacular levels, gorgeous sound design with lots to keep you occupied.
The fact that there are multiple ways of playing through the game means I’ll be back to play again, I’m also looking forward to revisiting on a New Game + (which is apparently on the way). One day I’m going to finish the game without murdering anyone, one day…