Dishonored 2 is of course the sequel to Dishonored and while the first game gave you many ways to play the same objective, this game expands on that idea with two characters you can play with, encouraging replay of the game from start to finish.
The game begins as you look through the eyes of Emily Kaldwin, the daughter of Corvo from the first game. If you remember, Corvo went on the rampage to avenge the assassination of the Empress of the Isles and at the same time clear his name. Emily has now taken her rightful place as Empress but just as things are going well, up pops her evil Aunt who claims she’s the long lost of sister Emily’s mother and actually the rightful heir. Corvo and Emily become wanted and that’s when you choose to play as either character as you take refuge onboard a ship which acts as your game hub, and then go on missions to take back your rightful place on the throne.
The game has that same stylised steampunk feel to it that we also saw in Bioshock Infinite, where even the characters around you have big hands and strange-shaped faces. It is, however, beautiful with great attention to detail and some wonderful vistas to look at. While the game isn’t open world, there is still plenty to explore in each section. Hold up the heart and you can not only reveal inner thoughts about characters, you’ll also see the location of nearby runes and bone charms which you can use to upgrade your magical abilities and give you extra perks. Incidentally if playing as Emily you can also choose whether you receive the ‘mark’ from The Outsider when you visit the ethereal Void, which grants you magical powers, or play the game using only weapons and gadgets at your disposal. I’d recommend using powers first time round because this game is hard. Combat is visceral and enemy AI is pretty good, they will investigate the slightest noise and all come running if you are spotted. You then have to fight them all or run away and hide until they give up.
Emily is supposed to be stealthy but until you require Dark Vision that lets you see through walls and vision cones and Shadow Walk which turns you into a crawling shadow where you can take people down in a super-stealthy manner, you will get seen and swamped by guards who will kill you over and over again. You get bonus points for not killing anyone but again, maybe try that for further playthroughs when you’re powered up!
There are many ways to complete each objective so if you’re frustrated with entering combat when you don’t want to, or can’t find your way past a light wall or locked gate, keep looking, the game seems to be designed that you can always muddle your way through a situation just when you think about giving up. Combat is also pretty gruesome when slicing and dicing through your enemies, but you can also use magic to disable them and a variety of other weapons including a pistol, a crossbow, mines and grenades. There really is a lot of choice about how you do everything in this game, and you can even put someone in a chokehold mid-fight if you don’t want to kill them in the hope of getting an ending that’s more optimistic.
Some people may find the nature of this game a bit linear in that it’s mission based, but this format sure beats a game that’s open-world for no real reason. There’s definite replayability here if you want to collect everything and do everything in the game. Dishonored 2 is another to add to the great games approaching holiday season so it can’t get any less than 9 out of 10.
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New: Buy Dishonored 2 from Amazon.com