Game Corner: Dishonored 2

Photo courtesy of Arkane Studios.

“Dishonored 2” is a first-person, action-adventure game with a focus on stealth. The player must reclaim the royal throne after it was lost in a coup. Players are given a wide range of methods to tackle objectives, which means subsequent playthroughs can provide different experiences, assuming they opt for a new playstyle.

The game feels and works similar to its 2012 predecessor, but that isn’t necessarily a drawback. “Dishonored 2’s” gameplay and level design are incredibly polished, aside from a few minor annoyances, and it is definitely a worthwhile experience throughout.

Upon starting the game, players are given the choice to play as either royal empress Emily Kaldwin or her father, Corvo Attano, who is the protagonist of the first game. The story takes place 15 years after the first “Dishonored” and revolves around reclaiming Emily’s throne after it was lost in a rebellion lead by her aunt, Delilah Kaldwin. The plot plays out in a similar fashion to the first game, which makes it seem a bit predictable at times.

“Dishonored 2’s” visual style is highly unique and gorgeous to look at, even though the game isn’t photorealistic. Instead, the designers opted for an almost painting-like look, which helps the game’s 19th century setting pop. Unfortunately, the visuals aren’t strong enough to warrant how the game technically performs on PC, as there are noticeable frame rate drops when transitioning from indoor to outdoor environments, even on a high-end rig.

Emily and Corvo have a large variety of tools to either dispatch or avoid enemies, and the player is encouraged to experiment and see what works best for them. The game offers weapons such as swords, pistols crossbows and deployable mines, which have lethal and non-lethal variants.

Both characters are given magical powers with more depth than the physical weaponry. There are some powers shared between both characters, but most of Emily’s are brand-new while Corvo’s are largely what he had in the first “Dishonored” game. By employing them, players can leap across large distances, see through walls, possess enemies or summon a copy of themselves. Having so many weapons and powers at the player’s disposal helps keep the gameplay fresh and enjoyable, as they can change up their playstyle or gear of choice if the experience starts to become dull.

With that being said, it felt at some points the game couldn’t decide whether it wanted its players to stick to a stealthy, non-lethal playstyle or leave it to them to decide. It gives players an equivalent number of options for both play styles, however the game’s Chaos system seems to strongly steer players toward the pacifist route. If the player kills more enemies, then the game will in turn throw more opposition at them as it moves forward, essentially making it harder.

Players who opted for a lethal run will also receive a worse ending. Also, Emily and Corvo will occasionally say lines during gameplay that suggest that enemies should be avoided rather than engaged.

“Dishonored 2’s” levels are spectacular, and felt much more memorable than the previous game’s. Most of the game takes place in a new location called Karnaca, which contains large and open levels that are engaging to explore. Players will also visit memorable areas such as an abandoned hospital and a mechanical mansion with robotic enemies, all of which feel unique and play differently.

“Dishonored 2” is an excellent game, and holds its own with its well-received predecessor. I felt that the levels and the introduction of a second playable character were the biggest improvements, which overpowered the technical annoyances and lack of love for more combat-oriented players.

However, the game itself plays almost identically to its predecessor, and the story is also similar. With that being said, players who didn’t enjoy the first “Dishonored” game probably won’t see a reason to enjoy “Dishonored 2,” but those who did will have just as memorable of an experience here.

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