Following the award-winning Dishonored, Arkane Studios return with a follow up to their stealthy title. 15 years after the events of its predecessor, Dishonored 2 returns gamers to Dunwall to attempt to restore the usurped Emily Kaldwin to the throne once again. With more abilities, choices and a brand new game engine, Dishonored 2 offers some minor updates to a brilliant franchise.
November 11, 2016
It’s safe to say that Bethesda Softworks has had a fair few hits over the past decade – The Elder Scrolls and Fallout series are usually the first to spring to mind when a fan hears the studio’s name. Yet one outstanding title that snuck in the back door and developed a cult following is releasing a sequel to its debut hit: Dishonored 2.
Though the limelight was stolen by the studio’s other titles, the first game was a fine example of original, pick-up-and-play gameplay, and a unique steampunk setting all wrapped up with heavy doses of assassination. Thankfully, the sequel will be improving (not changing) this format, which the original used to win over so many fans.
RETURN TO DUNWALL
Carrying on from its predecessor by starting out in the city of Dunwall, you are soon transported to Karnaca, a new, sprawling environment based on Southern Europe in the early 1800s. Lush landscapes and gritty cities dominate the environments, each carefully developed to look just as outstanding as the last.
While the story often takes a backseat to allow you to take in the incredible abilities that you will have access to in order to perform assassinations and take down your targets, you are given plenty of choice to influence the game with your decisions. First and foremost, you will have to decide which character you will control throughout – Corvo Attano, the infamous assassin from the debut title, or the usurped Empress Emily Kaldwin, as she battles to take back control of the throne that has been stolen from her. Thankfully, both characters have a whole host of powers and abilities to help their cause.
Dishonored 2 sees many abilities from the first game return, such as ‘Blink’ (now named ‘Far Reach’), which allows the player to travel distances almost instantly. Although, a whole host of new and additional skills have also been added to ensure that players can interact with their environment and enemies in remarkable ways.
Among the new skills is ‘Shadow Walk’, which transforms the player into a shadowy cloud, which can travel quickly and change forms. ‘Doppelganger’ is another, which enables you to clone yourself, confusing your enemies before dispatching them in all sorts of ways. In all honesty, it’s difficult not to feel sorry for the enemies going up against your character – they’re simply no match and more often than not don’t even see their deaths coming.
SMALL CHANGES, BIG IMPROVEMENTS
One thing that made the first Dishonored so great was its vast freedom and huge replay value, so fans of the franchise will be happy to know that nothing has changed. Missions can be replayed time and time again in completely different ways each time, with the choice to create bloodbaths or leave all of your enemies untouched (excluding your assassination targets, of course).
Dishonored 2 also improves upon its predecessor’s charming graphic style. Having been developed to run on Arkane Studio’s ‘Void’ engine, everything looks sharper, bringing Dishonored up to date with 2016’s expectations and capabilities. The game’s cities now feel more alive, combating a criticism often levied at previous Bethesda games. Insects now haunt the corners of rooms and guards have higher intelligence, removing the constant sense of safety that was present in the first title. Environments look great and enemies have a mind of their own, bringing alive the game’s 1800s fantasy setting.
One thing is for certain – in an age where many video games play like movies, with limited choices alongside numerous cut scenes, Dishonored 2 stays true to its gaming roots, giving you true freedom and awesome abilities to do as you please.