Dishonored 2 has been out for a little while now and I have (finally) had ample time with it to begin drafting up my first thoughts review on the first 6 hours.
This review will be updated as I move forwards across the next 6 hours, so stick with Respawning to find out if Dishonored 2 is worth ”taking back what’s yours”, or is simply a wild stab in the dark.
Before we get started into this review fully, I want to put a full disclaimer in; at first I really struggled to get into Dishonored 2 and did not have the patience required to stealth my way through the game on a low chaos playthrough, especially as the early hours of the game are really, really hard. I forced myself through it, however, and I am finally beginning to get into the game, and recall why I am such a big fan of Dishonored 1. This is why it has taken me so long to finally be able to push this review out….
I will also never be rejecting the outsider… I mean who, HONESTLY is that skilled?
And with that… lets get into the meat of it:
I plan to play through Dishonored 2 a grand total of 4 times, with 2 of these playthroughs dedicated just to hearing the two different story tropes, which I estimate will not be all that different to one another, but we shall see regardless.
For my first playthrough though, I have gone with Corvo as a throwback to the original, plus I went into this completely blind to Emily’s & Corvo’s new powers and wanted to make sure that my initial playthrough of this game had SOME sense of familiarity to it. With this in mind I will be talking about the Corvo side of the story at this stage, with my Emily section to follow.
The story picks up 15 years after the events of the first game; Emily Kaldwin is now empress and Corvo has regained his place at her side as the Lord Protector before being usurped by her sister in the first moments of the game, with Corvo losing his “Strangers Mark” and subsequently all his powers (and excuse to start the skilltree again!). You are then greeted with a character choice, as the character you chose not to play as is frozen and taken prisoner.
Whilst this all stands as fairly easy to follow in the story, I found myself slightly losing track of the plot upon boarding the Dreadful Wale (This games Hound Pits pub and central hub area). I was then tasked with finding Sokolov, which I am still doing now, and I am not 100% sure why this is such a big undertaking in the game but I imagine will become apparent in the later stages of the game.
Aside from this, I am a sucker for a good rescue and usurper mission, so I am enjoying the save Emily and kill the false Empress mission that I have embarked on alongside Corvo.
The gameplay as Corvo is more of the same from the first Dishonored game, in that you are set with certain missions and you have a sandbox area to execute, spare or help your target with unique sub objectives available throughout the mission as you go forwards. There are certain improvements in the base gameplay from the first game that help it run a little smoother, for example I have not once experienced a framerate crash when blinking around the map like crazy, so this was a nice touch. Dishonored 2 really shines in the expansion of the choose your own way gameplay with much bigger maps and ways to take down targets.
One notable disappointment I have with the game is that on Corvo’s story, there are no new notable skills that you can unlock, whilst you will still use the dark vision and blink the most, it would of been a nice touch to have a few more stealth and non lethal skills to play with. Though I can appreciate that this is probably asking for a bit much when we have been given a whole new character to play with instead.
As I have undertaken a low chaos and stealthy approach to my first playthrough of Dishonored 2, the stealth mechanics have played key in my personal experience of the game, and with this I have 0 complaints. The noise & stealth mechanics work perfectly and are incredibly difficult to master in the early stages of the game, with me reloading and quicksaving numerous times, but I never felt this was unfair with being detected usually due to my own impatience or mistakes.
One final notable addition in Dishonored 2 is the ability of craft the Bonecharms, so that you can shift up to 4 bonecharms into one allocated space and become increasingly powerful as you play. Whilst I can appreciate that the more bonecharms you add the higher the chance of corruption (the addition of detrimental abilities), there was nothing really stopping me from “cheating the system” and saving just before a craft and reloading if they corrupted…Which was nice.
I won’t bore you with the details of everything else, the skill tree as mentioned above is the same whilst anything you remember from Dishonored 1 which I have missed off here, is all par for the course with the Dishonored franchise, and you know what? That’s just perfect by me.
Don’t fix what ain’t broke and all that jazz.
Appearance, Setting & Music
As much has the city of Dunwall has (already) becoming iconic in recent years, with the hound pits pub and tight knit areas where the slightest failing can cost you your life, I much prefer the city of Karnaca that serves as the main setting (so far) for Dishonored 2. I may not be correct with this but, the maps feel bigger, but at the same time more claustrophobic at times; the guards and civilians feel and look more alive and unique. The setting just does the game justice, I mean, even the artwork surrounding the game is just perfect and there is no denying that, whilst not pretty in the general sense of the word, Dishonored 2 is a beautiful game:
I always find that Steampunk is one of the most underused settings in video games, which is part of the reason that I was so excited to visit the Dishonored franchise once again. As with the first game I have found myself once again obsessed with Steampunk, delving into Steampunk in books and anime all thanks to this game. A true testament to the feel of Dishonored 2 is that the setting has begun inhabiting my thoughts outside of the remits of gaming.
I have enjoyed the music of Dishonored 2 quite a bit when I have actively listened to it, but I won’t lie to you guys… I haven’t really paid all that much attention to the music as I am all too often trying to listen to the footsteps of the many guards and clockwork soldiers than inhabit the city of Karnaca and the corridoors of its many buildings and mansions.
Steampunk is always good for me, as one of the most underused and my personal favourite settings.
Whilst it has taken me a little while, I am fully engrossed in Dishonored 2 and slowly becoming obsessed with keeping my chaos low and learning the clever tricks presented to me in order to beat the guards and targets I have been presented with.
Time will only tell whether this score will stay, but I envision it will. 9/10
Read more reviews by Luke