*Excerpt from The Maneater
Games that focus on stealth have always stood out to me. The Splinter Cell and Metal Gear Solid series as well as the original Dishonored game stress the potential of quiet, hiding-in-the-shadows gameplay that challenges and rewards the player with a greater sense of accomplishment. Dishonored 2 attempts to do the same and, for the most part, succeeds.
Dishonored 2 takes place 15 years after the original, and the player is given control of either Corvo Attano or Emily Kaldwin. Attano is the bodyguard-turned-assassin from the first title, whereas Kaldwin is the former Empress of Dunwall, one of the city of the game. Arkane Studios gives the player the decision to play as either Attano or Kaldwin and the ability to give up their powers early on. Both characters have different abilities and skills, which in itself presents a reasonable call to replay the game simply to experience it from the other perspective.
Dishonored 2’s stealth elements of the game presents new challenges and new ways of solving said challenges from a gameplay perspective. Enemy combatants are more aware of their surroundings because of changes to the artificial intelligence. For example, guards will notice when other members on patrol suddenly go missing. Some games love to play this off easy and make the guards simply not care or shrug off the fact that someone they previously saw is now missing. Now they will investigate and ‘track’ the player, but not directly. If they are confused or in a specific situation, they will simply hit an alarm.
The game presents itself, to the best of its ability, from a linear storytelling perspective. Dishonored 2 is predictable but counters this with player choice and a feeling of freedom that is somewhat rare in linear games. I have the utmost praise for the level of design and variety of scenarios the game presents. Each level contains some sort of environmental variety like stacks of smoke that go up at different times or levers that can be pulled to improve navigation. These elements add depth to the linear gameplay. Dishonored 2 could have easily been a rehashed version of the first game, yet the skills and abilities of the two characters save it from this fate.
The weapons, skills and environments all force the player to act in a creative fashion. Blending of the three elements leads to unique encounters, but only if the player seeks them out. However, you can easily play through this game with a bland perspective. Dishonored 2 is only as enjoyable as you want it to be. The storyline isn’t intriguing. It’s a tale of vengeance much like the first, littered with lengthy and melodramatic exposition. That alone is my only true complaint. Sure, people are reporting bugs and framerate drops on the PC version, but my rig, which has i7-6950x processor and a GTX 1080 graphics card, held up just fine. Considering Bethesda’s new policy to not give out early advanced review copies, I am thoroughly surprised that others did not see this coming. It should be almost expected that there are going to be some bugs and kinks in the game.
Dishonored 2 attempts to stand on its own, and for the most part, it does. It tries its hardest to coerce the player into going the stealth route while not overtly penalizing the player for killing enemies. If you were a fan of the first game, I have no doubt that you will spend countless hours in Dishonored 2.
Edited by Katherine White | firstname.lastname@example.org