Dishonored 2 wasn’t just one comprehensive experience for me. The game was like a firework that just went off and wouldn’t end. One package soon branched into an offering of several experiences. In equal measures, I found myself frustrated, engrossed, confused and satisfied all at once. For all intents and purposes, Dishonored 2 is a good game. Excellent even. So why then did I get this cocktail experience of pros and cons?
Dishonored 2, Do You Want To Be My Girlfriend? I Both Love You And Get Confused By You
In a small part, the issue was my TV. There are a select few games in existence that expect you to own a super hi-def screen, in the way that the HUD and other aspects are displayed. Sadly, I am the unlucky owner of a TV set that doesn’t reach Dishonored 2’s lofty expectations. Sure, my TV is nice and big and a majority of games look fine. Yet Dishonored 2 requires a pixel perfect representation of its steampunk environs. Only with such an ‘expensive’ screen will players not have to lean forward, squinting to read anything. And by golly gosh, there is tonnes of lore to read if the player so chooses. Players prepared to do the reading will extract tonnes of extra stuff from otherwise unexplored Dishonored canon.
Of course, this is one of the defining features that gave the original game such a cult following. An expertly crafted universe where, if you give it time, your understanding of it will blossom. Any gamer knows that this is a very rewarding feeling. A strong indicator that developers have been successful in translating a concept into an experience. Dishonored 2 is no exception to the rule. Only this time, sandbox mission areas are so much larger for players to absorb the world. Most notably, buildings have a grander sense of perspective. Character models are even better realised as grizzled comic book types. All of this doubtlessly adds to the game’s grandiose ‘wow’ factor, visually. Yet all of this can still become a victim of its own success.
If You Look Just A Little Closer
As a result of buildings and outside areas being so much more expansive, threats are simply harder to spot. Again, we have the squinting issue. This may have been an issue with just me and my sub-par TV but I have to mention it as that’s the gear I have to work with. Your experience may differ. However, level design is still playing a large factor in this issue.
An issue where players who favour a stealthy approach may pendulum from scoping out large distances between enemies. In the next instant, they may find themselves scrambling desperately to hide in a pile of leaves as an approaching threat closes in. A threat that wasn’t previously noticed before moving into the area. Still, its worth bearing in mind that perhaps all of this could have been resolved by… being a better player.
To Kill Or Not To Kill? That Is A Question Which Permeates Your Entire Experience Of Dishonored 2
The many tools afforded to the player will likely never be used if a stealth approach is favoured. Items and weapons that kill are almost always loud. Heck… killing is loud. So the two thirds of your lethally packed out inventory will stay highly stocked, never used. On first impressions, this statement would look like ‘an issue’. However, it is far from it. Cleverly, Arcane Studios have designed a choice of play system that nudges and pokes at the player to go loud. To kill… generally to go nuts. All the system mechanics are there for it from the stunningly designed kill animations, to encouraged use of initiative. At the same time, the temptation of virtual bloody glory is discouraged in what is really a game engineered for stealth. So what’s going on here?
When the player chooses to be merciless, killing all in their wake, ramifications of throwing morals out the window will show. More bloodflies and rats will try to eat you. Allies will be less inclined to respect you. The ultimate ending will change as a result of your haphazard ways. Had fun with all that? Well, here’s the consequences of your actions, you irresponsible child! Through the clever manipulation of how the player thinks throughout the entirety of the game, the developers have achieved something.
What Kind Of Royalty Are Emily And Corvo After All?
But like the original, Dishonored 2 leaves it up to you to decide if Emily Kaldwin or Corvo Attano (depending on who you choose at the start) are good or bad people. More importantly, are they good or bad for the kingdom? Are they selfishly following their own motivations, throwing the good of others down the drain? Or are they selfless royals, always remembering to serve the people? These questions remain constant in the players mind throughout, leaving it up to them to decide the fate of the kingdom through their every action. Bravo Arcane.
Picking Emily or Corvo at the start will adjust the script and character interaction very noticeably. A second playthrough is definitely encouraged with slightly differing power sets. The Outsider is back and remains as mysterious as ever.
Like a trans-dimensional puppeteer, picking those who interest him and giving them powers to alter the making of history. While Emily’s and Corvo’s powers are very similar in terms of functionality, many ‘gameplay modifiers’ are lying around. These are in the form of bonecharms (runes for leveling up are still here from the previous game too) which can do anything like turn killed victims to dust to increasing health.
Be Sure Not To Rush
Sadly, I missed out on a good portion of this for yet another reason borne of the huge environments. The first truly open area to explore is the Karnaca Docks. Here I was, thinking Karnaca would be a huge free roaming city with separately loaded mission areas. Wanting to crack on with things, I saw the many areas to explore, ignored them and got on with the story. Not something I would have willingly done. It turned out, there is no free roaming hub city in Dishonored 2. A shame but not an issue. As a result, I missed out on the initial collection of runes and bonecharms, setting me at a disadvantage progressively. Again, this is no bad reflection on the game. I just got the wrong end of the stick.
Ultimately Dishonored 2 Felt Disjointed But Still Fun And Very Fleshed Out
Playing through Dishonored was a treat for the eyes. Despite my many stealth mishaps and false assumptions about certain things, it is quite clear to see that Dishonored 2 is a fantastic game. Just make sure that when you start out… take it slow. Make sure you soak everything in and have a full understanding of how things work before you get cracking. Further down the campaign, players will time travel to get away from threats and around obstacles. They will use dust storms to their advantage. Crack open safes. Solve a massive building puzzle that morphs around them in quintessential steampunk style. Piece together the mystery of the void. Delve into great archives of lore. The list goes on.
Despite It All, Dishonored 2 Is Still A Worthy Successor
Sadly, there’s no hiding from the fact that my experience of Dishonored 2 was somewhat jaded. All for faults of my own, admittedly. Not having a high end TV. Not understanding the mechanics of the game as quickly as it would have liked me to. Needing better eyeballs… However, everything the developers set out to do appear to have been accomplished. The huge range of player choice from mission to mission has been maintained after the first game.
Then there’s the sheer variety in level styles and types of objectives, keeping things fresh throughout. The option to play as two separate characters doubles the game’s replay value. That’s always a plus for me. I mean you’re getting more for your money. It’s just a shame the successful ambitions of Dishonored 2 muddied my experience. Is that the developers fault or mine? An open ended question to be sure.