Dishonored 2 (2016)

For me, Dishonored 2 was highly anticipated title as I loved the original Dishonored that came out back in 2012. I personally feel that Dishonored 2 does a fantastic job at continuing what made that original so great. Dishonored was all about having different ways of tackling every mission and scenario, and Dishonored 2 runs with that idea. It expands the player’s tool set and options to the point where every single person that plays this game is going to have a different experience. There were a few issues with the game, but a lot of the problems are pretty minor when compared to what makes the game so fun.

In Dishonored 2, you have the option to choose between two different characters to play as. Each character as a unique set of supernatural abilities that you can play with and upgrade by collecting Runes. The player also has access to a very wide variety of tools and weapons at their disposal such as sleep darts, stun mines, a pistol, explosives, and so on. These tools are also upgrade-able through black market shops hidden across the world. On top of all of that, you have the option of being stealthy or chaotic in your methods. You can go into any scenario guns blazing as long as you are prepared for a fight, but you can also sneak past any unsuspecting foes and complete the mission in a more stealthy manner. Also, you have the option of using non-lethal methods to dispose of enemies, or you can kill enemies if you so choose. The combination of all these different aspects makes the game feel like a sandbox. Every scenario you walk into, there are dozens of different ways to tackle it. I personally played using non-lethal tactics and all the while never once being even detected by an enemy. I viewed every room as almost like a puzzle of how to use my limited resources to never be seen and to never kill anybody. Of course, this variety in options is only possible if the level design matches in the amount of paths you can take. There would be no use for all these fun new toys without a playground to use them in, luckily Dishonored 2 delivers just that.

Every level in Dishonored 2 is giant. There are numerous routes and paths that is available to the player to get to any desired point. In every room there are cleverly placed objects to hide behind. There are numerous walkways and surfaces to get on top of or even under to perhaps tackle a challenge from a different angle. Catwalks and back-alleys are scattered through every mission if the player wants to take a more stealthy and less direct approach. Due to these level design choices and the amount of tools and options at the players disposal, Dishonored 2 has a ton of variety and replay-ability. On top of just cleverly designed levels, every mission was extremely unique in both concept and execution. From run down research institutes, to lively palaces, to witches hideouts, Dishonored 2 has it all. My two personal favorite levels were both brilliant in design and execution. The Clockwork Mansion is a mansion filled with gears and mechanisms that at the flip of the switch can turn any room into something completely different. Hitting the switches throughout the mansion was very fun as I watched the level transform. It is also possible to get inside the inner workings of the house and sneak through it in that manner. My favorite level however was Stilton’s Manor, as it very cleverly implemented time travel to change the level from an overgrown mess to a well-guarded and pristine estate. Switching back and forth between these two versions of the manor was necessary to progress through the level. These ever changing and evolving level designs were among my personal favorites, but all the other missions were extremely fun as well.

Despite everything that Dishonored 2 does right, it does have its set of flaws. Most importantly, for many PC users the game does not run properly. Hopefully the developers can get this issue sorted out as soon as possible, but two months after the release I am still hearing of issues concerning the poor performance on PC. Luckily I did not have any performance related problems, but there were also a few other issues that I had with the game. The overall story was just mediocre. It plays out similarly to the original Dishonored: the queen is overthrown and you must retake the throne by eliminating the usurper’s associates in one way or another. The usurper and her associates are the main enemies and villains of the story but you rarely ever see them or hear of them outside of their particular missions. I never really cared about any of the characters as you so rarely interact with any of them. Overall the whole story just felt loosely stringed together and it seemed like it was just the vehicle to connect all the unique and interesting level designs together. The cool thing about the story is that there is a large set of different endings depending on who you leave alive and who you kill and how much overall chaos you have caused. My only other complaint with the game is at times there was a bit of backtracking. There were many levels that required you to walk all the way back to the starting point just to complete the level. It just feels like every level should have an exit point near the end, instead of having to walk all the way back to the start after completing the main objective.

All in all, Dishonored 2 was pretty great game. Just the sheer amount of options and tools available to the player is a breath of fresh air when so many games play so linearly. The amount of creativity and thought that went into every mission is remarkable. Many of the levels were extremely memorable and jaw-dropping. Unfortunately the PC performance issue exist so just be weary if you are thinking of purchasing this game on PC right now. Other than that there were only some minor issues with the game overall. Due to all of these aspects I give Dishonored 2 a 8.5/10. Just think of Dishonored 2 as a giant playground, and you can do whatever you want, that is what makes it so fun.

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