The original Dishonored was more than a pleasant surprise when it released back in 2012. The game looked and played really well and was a great new IP from developer Arkane Studios. Dishonored 2 continues where the first game left off, but fifteen years later. You can choose to play as the ex-Empress Emily Kaldwin, or her father and bodyguard Corvo Attano who you played as in the first game. The story follows both characters as they attempt to reclaim the throne from a mysterious character using the strange powers and abilities in the city of Karnaca.
Just like in the first game, you can use special powers in your fight against the establishment. These are optional powers and you can choose not to use them if you wish. The way you upgrade these skills has changed now to a skill tree that has multiple paths with more upgrades. You also have new non-lethal moves and upgrades so that you can truly choose to play the game how you want to play it. Corvo has most of the abilities he had in the first game, including the popular ‘Blink’ teleportation ability, but the progress of all the upgrades has been reset. Blink however has been upgraded as it now can also cause damage where you are teleporting to and also freezes time temporarily.
Other abilities have been upgraded as well, the possession ability which allowed Corvo to possess specific animals can now be used to take control of dead bodies, but also to jump to another animal or dead body without having to return to Corvo. Emily however has brand new abilities so may be the more interesting character to play as. She has an ability similar to Blink called Far Reach, which she can use to pull objects towards her, or to move herself as if she was using a grapple to another location. There’s loads of new abilities to mess with, and can be obtained by collecting runes throughout your missions. Using these abilities is completely optional, so if you want to increase the difficulty of the game you can choose to play it without powers completely.
The idea of “Chaos” is still prevalent in the world, which you can gain by killing enemies. Chaos causes an increase in bloodflies, and means you need to hide the corpses of enemies you kill if you want to get through a level quietly. There is also some effect on what Emily or Corvo say based on how much Chaos has been accrued. A new feature that has been added in that characters in the world are randomly assigned one of three states; sympathetic, guilty and murderous. Killing sympathetic characters gives you more chaos, and killing murderous characters will give you less.
Dishonored 2 has a similar mission structure to the previous game in that you have a central location called The Dreadful Wale boat that is used to discuss missions, and talk to other similarly minded individuals, after which you take a small boat to your actual missions. The world itself, once you are in the mission, is significantly more open-world than the previous game which is a welcome addition. There are loads of ways to play, and the placements of enemies feel more realistic in that they are where you would expect them to be. Most missions are based on finding an confronting a target, similar to the Assassin’s Creed main missions, but there are some twists here and there.