Dishonored 2 Review – Don’t Blink
With no Assassin’s Creed due out this year, Dishonored 2 comes in to fill the stealth hole that Ubisoft’s series left behind. Is Dishonored 2 a sequel worth playing, or should it have stayed a one hit wonder? Check out our Dishonored 2 review to help you make your choice!
Dishonored 2 Review
Dishonored 2 leads off where the Dishonored ended. Emily is on the Throne, and Corvo is the Royal Protectorate. Everything goes wrong almost immediately, as a new relative comes into the picture and steals the throne from Emily. This is where your game starts, where players can either pick Emily or Corvo to play as. Whoever you don’t pick is locked in stone, just like like Han Solo. Your first mission? Escape the Dunwall Tower and get out of the city. This is where choice comes into play. Do you want to kill everyone? Or would you like to just knock them out and escape without any blood on your hands? That choice will be with you the entire game: kill or spare. Once you get out of the city, you start going after the new Empress’ allies down south. You work your way up the ranks until you finally make it back to Dunwall. Depending how you play the game, Dishonored can easily last you more than 15 hours. My total playtime clocked in at 18 hours, and I did not play in a stealthy way.
If you played the original Dishonored, then the combat in Dishonored 2 will come naturally to you. You can break it down two ways: stealth and direct combat. Direct combat is pretty basic, where you counter and kill your enemies into submission. Stealth, however, will give you a few more options. You can choke people out, slit their throats, or just avoid them all together. How you choose to play will ultimately affect basic combat. On top of your sword, you have other tools and even some spells. You can choose not to have spells, but you are putting yourself at a serious disadvantage if you do. You get a pistol, crossbow, and heart that will help you find collectibles. The crossbow and pistol can get different types of ammo, such as sleep bolts and explosive bullets. Spells vary from character to character, with Corvo packing more of a killing set and Emily using more of a a stealthy one. Both can do either, but from the spells you can learn, Emily can distract and sneak by easier. You will have to pick and choose what spells you get, as you cannot learn all of them in one playthrough. Despite these changes, both of them have a Blink, which you cannot get on a no magic run.
The Chaos system makes a return in Dishonored 2. This system was designed for the good and bad ending. Killing a lot of people would raise your chaos and sparing people would keep it at low chaos. In the late game this would create more rats that would spread the plague. In this game you will have more bloodflies, which are these grotesque flies that take over apartments and dead bodies. Bloodfly nests will be more prevalent if you are more chaotic. There are still rats, but they don’t spawn nearly as much in this game. Regardless of how you play, you will be dealing with bloodflies from time to time. I’m not a super big fan of the Chaos system. I’d prefer to play my way with key choices making the difference in the end.
If you a lore fiend or an achievement hunter, prepare to be here for the long haul. There are tons of things to find in each level. You have paintings, blueprints, runes, outsider shrines, books, newspapers, notes, and audio logs you can find in each level. On top of that, there will be safes you sometimes have to crack in order to get them. One thing I hate in games are collectibles with no value in-game. In Dishonored 2, most of them are worth gold or vital info detailing hidden locations. The gold can be used at black market stalls in each level for ammo and upgrades for your equipment. One of the coolest things added is the ability to break into each black market stall. it won’t be easy, but getting back there is always worth it. Then the next one you visit will have the shopkeeper make a remark about the other stores being robbed. It’s a cool little addition that adds a good amount of challenge for those interested.
Let’s talk about a couple of levels and how they are designed. There are two levels that incorporate unique mechanics not seen in many other games. The first is the Clockwork Mansion. This mansion is littered with levers that literally change the layout of the room you are in. You have to get yourself through this to rescue your ally and get to your target. When you finally complete it, it is extremely satisfying. It is also rewarding for anyone who takes the time to explore the mansion fully, with hidden vaults and treasure all over the place. The other is another manor, but this time you can travel back in time. By limiting time travel to one level, it helps to make things fresh. While it is fun to travel through time, it starts to wear on you towards the end of the level. Secondly, if you do a certain objective in the past, it completely changes the mansion in the preset. Bravo to the designers for these two levels in particular.
Lastly I want to hit on a couple issues I ran into. There were a few frame drops when a lot of units were on screen or during certain magic spells. I also ran into a few crashes. There is one particular level that both I, and another editor, crashed a couple times. It seemed to really be an issue in that level, but outside of that, it didn’t happen. I’ve read on PC that it isn’t running well, but we played on the PlayStation 4.
Arkane Studios strikes at the heart with Dishonored 2 and it lands a killing blow. If you are a fan of stealth or assassination games, Dishonored 2 is the game for you.