Dishonored 2 Hands-On

Platforms:
PS4Xbox OnePC
Released:
November 11, 2016
Publisher:
Bethesda Softworks
Developer:
Arkane Studios

Feature article

The draw of a game like Dishonored 2 is the fact that missions can be tackled any way you want. Whether it be via stealth, running in guns blazing or using your variety of cool powers at your disposal, there are many ways to skin a cat. So to speak. Cats are awesome, please treat them nicely. Not only are there options already, but here you get to play the game with one of two different characters; Corvo Attano, the protagonist from the first game, or Emily Kaldwin,Empress of the Empire of the Isles.

In my play session with Dishonored 2, I was able to try out a mission using both characters for a literal comparison. I’m not great at stealth games (actually I’m quite terrible at them)  and usually try a more ‘in your face’ approach, which was definitely the case here. Luckily, Emily’s powers definitely lend themselves to my style of play.  Her Shadow Walk allows you to crawl around as a sort of demon, tearing enemies in half and her Domino ability lets you tag multiple enemies and take them all down at once by killing just the one. This took a couple of attempts before I got it just right, but it was incredibly satisfying when I finally did.

The new types of enemies you’ll encounter, Clockwork Soldiers, at a different level of concern that wasn’t there previously. These tall, strong robots are intimidating to say the least and genuinely inspire honest ‘oh sh*t’ moments when they spot you. Taking them down in stealth is definitely recommended to prevent it being a tough battle, but you can disarm them in combat by taking out one limb at a time, which after a few unfortunate deaths fighting them, I became pretty good at pretty quickly.

The Mansion itself where the demo took place was really the highlight, with levers scattered around that completely changed the room you were in with walls and floors shifting into place, creating a new environment. There were some relatively simple puzzles involving this, but for me it was the little things, like the lever that brought a dining table down from the ceiling next to the kitchen. The fact that the owner of the Mansion had actually thought about functionality rather than just elaborate puzzle rooms was a nice touch.

I will say that the game definitely felt exactly like the first Dishonored, which will either be praise or criticism when it is eventually released. You’ll progress using stealth and other abilities, gaining new powers and ultimately assassinating targets (or finding other means to deal with them). There is nothing wrong with this formula per se, but the addition of Emily as a playable character doesn’t feel like the revolution required to bring new players into the fold.

Even though I wasn’t great at it (just watch my full play-through as Emily to laugh at my incompetence at stealth), I enjoyed my time with Dishonored  2 and am keen to get stuck in to the full campaign. The new powers I did get to experiment with were certainly fun, and I know from previous experience that they will only get more interesting the deeper into the story you get. It has kept the same style and identity, but offers even more choice than before, which will certainly keep fans happy.

Dishonored 2 will be available on November 11th for Xbox One, PS4 and PC.