Dishonored 2 brings back what was great about the first game while expanding upon the world, making an excellent game worthy for everyone who is interested in playing stealth action first person games. This time you’ll have Delilah Copperspoon, the so claimed older half -sister of Jessamine, who was the previous leader of Dunwall and who is Emily’s mother, Corvo’s love interest. Delilah is claiming that not only is she the rightful heir to the throne (instead of Emily), but also does she claim that the killer, called crown killer, who helps to get rid off any enemy of the throne in the past 15 years since Emily returned to her rightful place on the throne, is being contracted by Corvo and Emily themself. Leading to not only defamation but also a push against the current crown.
Path one: Emily’s story
Dishonored 2 gives you a choice right from the beginning: do you want to play as Emily, continuing the legacy of your father in the Dishonored-game-sense, or do you want to continue as Corvo, going back into the life as the marked one who has to take revenge against his enemies? The person who isn’t chosen gets turned to stone while the other has to flee and find a way to take revenge. I personally decided that since it’s been a few years since Dishonored 1 and the new grown up Emily since was destined to take the throne, it was her turn for my fist playthrough to defeat Delilah and to meet the Outsider. And talking about the outsider, Emily has actually not the same abilities like Corvo does, which makes her not only more interesting in a sequel sense, it also helps to diversify what the powers of the outsider can bring to a person. Besides the dark vision that both Corvo and Emily have, Emily also has the ability to link human targets together to make them fall unconscious with the Domino effect. Emily can use Doppelgänger to distract enemies and Mesmerize to enthramm humans or hounds. The last two abilities are the best ones which you should take right from the start: Far Reach and Shadow Walk. While far reach sounds similair to what Corvo can, the way this ability works is vastly different. With far Reach Emily can actually mark a point in her reach and jump to it, covering distances with different heights and it also helps her to not take fall damage, which, as I can tell you, might be a fun killer since more than often I tripped in Dishonored 2, nearly costing me a restart from the last checkpoint or save if it wasn’t for Far Reach. Emily 1, Corvo 0, at least when we talk about who you should play when starting Dishonored 2 for the first time.
Corvo makes a return in Dishonored 2 as either the protagonist or the victim you’re trying to protect.
What actually makes a difference
Now considering how the story diverges from either playing as Emily or as Corvo, I was actually surprised how little to nothing really changes between the two runs. I was expecting to see some different reactions from people meeting Corvo again than meeting Emily for the first time. The only real difference lies in the greeting of the outsider when you see him again for the first time. It’s remarkable and a little off how these two runs had nothing that differentiated them from each other. The only real difference lies in the gameplay again. Corvo’s abilities yet again are Blink for the movement, giving him a dash that let’s him move forward rapidly. Additionally he can use Possession to assume control of a host and use summoned rats that attack and devour enemies with the devouring swarm. Lastly, Corvo can literally bend time to slow down time for a few seconds and he can use windblast to shutter doors and to reflect projectiles. In most regards, the rest of the game stays the same. You get a knife for close attacks and a crossbow for lethal quick takedowns. Of course you can also use a pistol, but as this is a stealth game, you will be shunned for ever using it, from me personally actually. Send me a screenshot of yourself using the pistol in Dishonored 2 and I will send back a short video of myself staring straight into your face with disdain in my eyes*.
*Offer ends 12/31/2017
Choose your style
Whatever you do, Dishonored 2 gives you the option to play as you want, take the routes you want and fulfill as many sidequests as you want. There is absolutely no restriction unless you will find some invisible walls somewhere at the edge of a level. I am fascinated again how open the world is and how many hidden things you can see and find in Dishonored 2. From the backside of a train station where you’ll be robbed, to the gangster that’s taking mafia style tolls from shop owners you can watch in an early chapter, only to find out that the same gangster is a key character in a later story development. It’s a fantastic web on which you can traverse many paths to find interesting quests that just help you to develop better abilities or help to find better equipment. Bonecharms and whalebones also make a return to this game, as bonecharms grant smaller abilities, while bonecharms can change the game in quite a big way. Later on you can even craft and combine bonecharms, with the chance of even repairing broken ones so they lose their bad traits. This gets important as your slots for bonecharms barely increase, combining bonecharms too early though are prevented or running danger to be corrupted, making them useless as the benefits can’t overcome the downsides of their combination. It’s quite an interesting system. They don’t cost anything to swap out, yet combining them is a key part of the game to get better passive traits that help a lot on the adventure. Oh, don’t forget, however you decide to play, the game rewards you for playing non lethal and undetected as often as possible. Raising chaos and the deathcount actually will show what kind of leader you are. It makes up for an interesting ending and outcome how the characters, county and other city will react to you as the player. So don’t be shy, take the challenge if you want to be 100% non lethal or take the harder path and let no one survive. I recommend the non lethal route though, it offers more interesting ways to deal with problems.
The clockwork mansion
Hooooold up, you’ve read so far and still haven’t gotten enough review info from the game? Alright, then it is time for you to hear what I think about the best gameplay section, neigh, best level of 2016 in videogames: THE CLOCKWORK MANSION. From the introduction of Jindosh as a character, over to the actual routes you have to take in order to make it through the clockwork mansion, it is one enclosed, magnificent experience. But it doesn’t stop with that! While the mansion itself is made up of puzzles, reorganizing structures and deadly clockwork soldiers, it’s also possible to never get detected from the start. While the first time seeing the mansion and the big lever in the middle of the room make it seem as though you have no option other than to call for Jindosh, letting him know of your presence and then starting the clockwork soldier starting sequence, it is actually also possible (and a steam achievement) to complete the clockwork mansion without ever beeing detected. Find your way inside without letting Jindosh know you’re there and see for yourself how completely different this time the mission will play out. It’s one of those rare times when revisiting a place doesn’t necessarily reward you with more things later on, but it expands your knowledge about the world you’re playing in. It tells me how much work also went into the design of that mansion, how many steps have to be foreseen for players to take and where also to place guards in order to make it more difficult for you the second time, even though you know where everyone roughly will be placed. The mission in the clockwork mansion is split into two parts. Your first mission is to secure Sokolov and bring him outside, so he can help us with our fight against Delilah. The second one is to disable Jindosh and while he is being guarded by two clockwork soldiers, he also shouldn’t be killed as this is the true way of completing the game. Good luck knocking everyone out and finding your way, it’s certainly marvellous game design and correctly the best level in videogames of 2016 for me.
Play this game, hardest difficulty, non lethal, non detection, then you will appreciate the world design of Dishonored 2, the smart approach how players will traverse around enemies and how your opponents are more than often a pawn in a bigger game played out by the evil that is Delilah. That is the truest and best way to see and dive into the world of Dunwall in Dishonored 2. And now, go and play.