Dishonored 2 is the highly anticipated sequel to one of 2012’s best games from Arkane Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks. It, as was its predecessor, is a first-person adventure game with RPG elements that can be played stealthily or full on chaotic and kill everybody. We sat down for more playtime after our first impression session. How does it fare now? Have our impressions changed?
Nope, it is still pretty good.
As we mentioned in our first impressions, in Dishonored 2, Emily Kaldwin has become Empress 15 years after the event of the first game. During the remembrance ceremony for her mother, Emily is paid an unexpected visit by the Duke of Serkonos, who likewise brings an unexpected guest: a woman who claims to be Empress Jessamine’s long lost sister, Delilah Kaldwin. For those who have played the first game’s DLC, you will remember this guest as Delilah Copperspoon, leader of the Brigmore Witches. Together, the Duke and Delilah along with Mortimer Ramsey of Dunwall’s City Watch, plan to overthrow Emily and frame her and Corvo (Emily’s father and the first game’s protagonist) for a string of killing the media has dubbed “The Crown Killer”, due to the fact that the killings just happen to be the Empress’ political adversaries. Depending on if you choose to play as Emily or Corvo, you will flee Dunwall and travel to Serkonos and beyond to find the truth behind the Crown Killer murders and Delilah, save Corvo (or Emily) and restore peace to Dunwall.
During my first impressions run, I thought the story started out strong and the rest of the game followed suit. The only negative part of the story, looking back, would be the opening segment. When the Duke brings Delilah to Dunwall and proclaims her as the true heir, all the city watch guards just seem to blindly follow Ramsey and accept it. Later on, you do overhear that there are some still loyal to Emily, but the city watch guards don’t seem to have any loyalty to their Empress, or are just a bunch of sheeple.
The game is played as a first-person shooter. Your right trigger controls your right hand, which is your sword, and your left trigger controls your left hand, which is your magic, guns, and other items. You can either go through the game as stealthy as possible (which is a requirement for getting the “good” ending) or you can just run through and kill everyone. The overall look of the world and your character’s dialogue slightly change depending on how you play. Like with the first game, if you choose to obtain the mark of the Outsider, you will be granted the ability to use magic. Finding various runes throughout each level will grant you points in order to upgrade or obtain new abilities. Finding and equipping bonecharms gives you additional attributes, such as quicker health or mana regeneration or less damage from high falls. There are also corrupted bonecharms, which also tack on a negative attribute as well. Your magic can be used for both offense and defense. For example, Emily’s Far Reach ability allows her to quickly traverse a good distance, both horizontally and vertically, which is good for evading guards while her Shadow Walk ability can be used to quickly assassinate or knock out targets without being seen. The only problem I had with the gameplay is I could never tell how I was doing at hiding. Many times I thought I was doing great at hiding, only to be discovered by an enemy, most of which I never even noticed.
Graphically, this game is a looker… Kind of. The character models are good, not great, but good. The environments, however, do look fantastic and is where the game’s art direction stands out. It’s like Fallout 4 or The Elder Scrolls, which I assume run on the same game and graphics engines due to the fact that Bethesda and Arkane are both owned by ZeniMax Media. Fantastic environments but so-so character models.
Audio wise, the game has its ups and downs. The music, from what I can recall, was great. Either there really isn’t a large amount of music playing or it is so subtle I don’t recall. The only real problem I have with the audio is the voice acting. Some of the performances are great (such as Rosario Dawson’s or Vincent D’Onofrio’s) but most of the voices that you hear constantly (the guards, random citizens, Emily) are really lackluster. It wouldn’t be so bad if every single citizen wouldn’t be shouting at the same time, “Somebody call the guards, this man isn’t feeling well” or “Oh, god. A body.” I guess it make sense that the citizens don’t have the same caliber of acting as some of the main characters, but Emily, I felt, was kind of bland most of the time. Granted, that “most of the time” was her talking (or maybe thinking) to herself, but since she talks (or thinks) to herself a lot, her performances just come off as lackluster. During dialogue scenes, however, her acting is good which leads me to believe it has to do more with voice direction than the actress.
Overall, I did enjoy my time with Dishonored 2. I’d like to compare it to the first game, but it has been some time since I’ve played it. Sure, it has its ups and downs, but what game doesn’t. Aside from me realizing I’m terrible at these types of games now, the game’s story was still able to hold my interest enough that I never felt bored or so dissatisfied that I wanted to quit. If you enjoyed the first game, you’d probably enjoy this one as well. If you’ve never played the original, at least give this a rental.