Dishonored is one of those franchises that effortlessly implores players to play each of its games multiple times. Through a combination of deep world lore, large explorable environments and great traversal mechanics, you are certain to never have the same experience twice. Not until you’ve played them to the extent I have anyway.
Having played through all of Dishonored 2 and Death of the Outsider over the Easter bank holiday weekend I came to a sudden realisation about the series. If you take one component from each entry and combine them into one experience, the result is an indisputably perfect Dishonored game. This week I’ll run through the reasons for why I think this, and then you can be the judge in the comments.
Let’s get into it!
Dishonored – Detestable Antagonists
With fully fleshed out backstories for those who go looking for them, the main antagonists of the first Dishonored game appear at first to have nothing but the nation’s best interests at heart. It isn’t until the events towards the midpoint of the game when the curtain is drawn back that they can be seen for the sinister, plotting traitors they truly are.
The highlight of the game for me is the mission which sees Corvo assailing Dunwall Tower to topple the regime of the self-appointed Lord Regent, Hiram Burrows. Even though I favour seeking out the blood-thirstiest route through these games, I love the non-lethal option for removing the Lord Regent, which is testament to the high quality of the games writing that I am willing to go without stabbing him to death during every playthrough.
The endgame nemeses are some of the best examples of antagonists you love to hate, and as I mentioned before with my tendency towards violence in Dishonored, the final mission of the game delivers all I could want and then some when wiping the sneers off of their previously smug self-satisfied faces.
The Knife of Dunwall / The Brigmore Witches – A Menacing Protagonist
I’m piling these in together as they serve as two parts of the same story expansion for the first game. My favourite character to play as across all the Dishonored games is easily Daud, mainly for the fact he manages to remain consistently intimidating even though I am the one playing as him! His voice actor, Michael Madsen, delivers his gruff tone so effectively that it’s hard not to find him at least a little scary at times, and the fact he’s already an established assassin with access to Void powers multiplies the terror factor several times.
Dishonored 2 – New Game Plus
Whilst the inclusion of new game plus would likely have broken the first game, I could not have been happier to see it introduced in the sequel. Having played through the entire game to the extent I have, every time I start a new run I set out into Serkonos with more and more runes, granting Corvo with incredible abilities which would usually take a few hours to unlock. My Easter playthrough saw me starting with 96 runes from the word go, allowing me to fully upgrade Blink, Rat Swarm and Windblast before setting foot on dry land. Considering how all the powers and abilities offered in Dishonored 2 are designed to tempt players in different ways, and that runes are genuinely the most precious form of currency in the game, beginning the game with a quantity that size is a phenomenal feeling.
96 may not sound like a huge amount but that’s purely because I only started the Dishonored franchise on my PS4 during the summer of last year, and my original dozen runs had been completed on Xbox One. Yes, I’ll play the same game on two consoles. No, I don’t know why.
Reaching the Overseer outpost in the first Karnaca based mission, as well as assailing the Howler hideout in the Dust District while you are armed to the teeth and have more powers than you know what to do with, awards players with such an overwhelming feeling of strength that even after killing everyone I will usually reload my save and do it again a different way.
As a side note for the Dishonored 2 entry, the new addition of quick save and quick load is also an absolute godsend which I didn’t know I’d use as much as I do until I had it.
Death of the Outsider – Fully Regenerating Mana
I’ve wanted a Dishonored game to have fully regenerating mana ever since the initial gut-punch realisation that there was no new game plus option in the first Dishonored. I will caution that I was a little let down that there are no offensive Void powers in Death of the Outsider, but the abilities the game does have are interesting and fun enough to use that it doesn’t matter too much.
Finally! We have the ability to use Blink multiple times without having to think about conserving mana or hunting for elixirs to restore it!
What do you think? Let me know in the comments if you agree with my choices, and which part of each Dishonored game you feel would make the best experience. I’m off to replay the Knife of Dunwall and will be back next week with another Dishonored article featuring the above points, so we will pick this back up then! Thanks for reading and I’ll speak to you again soon.