Dishonored was one of the most unique games of last gen. A spiritual successor to the Thief series, yet with an identity completely of its own. It is a game that cannot just be described but needs to be experienced. When its sequel was announced, many were excited and I myself was curious where Arkane would take the series. Could they top the original? Or would it fall short?
Well, I am pleased to say that Dishonored 2 manages to surpass the original in every way. The developers looked at each and everyone of the complaints and tried to do something about them. They didn’t always succeed but they did try. For starters, we now have voiced protagonists. This was a great move in my opinion, as it lets the player get more involved with the story. The story itself can be a little disappointing, coming off the first game. No spoilers will be given, but some changes may upset some players.
Visually the game is just a marvel, with some of the best visual effects in gaming in 2016. I feel that this game is a true standout both in art design and use of shading. I wonder what it would look like on a 4K TV on the PS4 Pro (I played on a standard PS4), because the visuals are just that eye popping. The setting just feels authentic and the dynamic changes just make everything more immersive. In terms of audio, the game could have had a better soundtracks, I won’t lie, but it does its job well. The sound effects are great and the voice acting as mentioned above, helps bring the player more into the story. Plus, remember how I called the first game a spiritual successor to the Thief series? Well Corvo is now voiced by Stephen Russell, aka Garret himself.
In terms of gameplay, Arkane built on the foundation set by the original and made it better where they could. Stealth is handled better, combat is more intuitive and choosing what path to take, in terms of behavior, has a more interesting feel about it. The characters also play differently and this helps set it apart from the first game even more. You can play in a variety of ways that can make the game easier or as hard as you want it to be, and not through difficulty settings but rather through in game choices. I love the way this was handled and I applaud Arkane for it. The upgrading system from the first game has been changed to a skill tree with multiple possible directions to take and thus different possible upgrades. each character has unique abilities to set them apart but with some shared.
I must recommend that players check out the tutorial, not just in case you have to brush up on controls and how to play, but also because it helps serve as a but of a prelude to the game and shows some interesting bonding between Corvo and Emily. It was a good touch and I like that it was done this way. It helps new players get up to speed, gives some story details and teaches you how to play the game. All done in a simple and refined manner.
Dishonored II just feels better than the first game. The different protagonists gives them game more replayability than the first game as well as more options for ways to play. The game can be played as a stealth game or as an action game with stealth elements and it is entirely up to you. The mechanics are more refined, the graphics are better and combat is more natural. I just had a really good time with this game. If I was asked to say where or not I would recommend it, I would say without hesitation to buy this. It is just a great game!
Disclaimer: We were provided with a review copy by Bethesda Softworks