Friday 2 December 2016

Dishonoured 2

Most sequels are hampered by the fact they're introducing you to a story that has already come to a natural conclusion. The original Dishonoured is an enjoyable stealth-em-up, with supernatural elements and powers coupled with a great story with multiple endings. But does the second installation end up outstaying its welcome? It can sometimes be tough to continue past the natural ending point of a story, and some fail to live up to their predecessors whatsoever. So, what about Dishonoured 2? It's enjoyable up to a point, but it can be slightly repetitive and the later levels aren't as enjoyable as the earlier ones would have you expect. Regardless, it's still worth picking up, even if you decide to wait for a price drop. The original had you clearing your name as Lord Protector Corvo, framed for the murder of the Empress he was sworn to… Protect.

The choices you made were more than superficial as it changed the world around the player, leading to greater difficulty in later levels if you left a stream of bodies in your wake for the plague rats to devour. The sequel lets you decide between playing as Corvo himself, or his similarly skilled daughter, who just so happens to be the supplanted ruler of Kirkwall and the surrounding areas. I opted for the latter, considering she's a new addition with different skills to offer for returning players. The gameplay is familiar, with expanded skills and larger levels to navigate.

Play styles will vary depending on your character choices, but that only scratches the surface in terms of the multiple ways you can approach a task. Dishonoured’s true strength comes from the open-ended gameplay, which includes tailoring skills and upgrading weapons to fit your particular style. Graphically, the game is a stunner, with a bit of minor slowdown during cutscenes at sea during my play through on the PlayStation 4.There were no real issues throughout my run, although I did encounter a few bugs while warping around with the powers. (i.e. I ended up getting stuck in a few windows, leading to a lengthy reload when I was inevitably spotted by a guard.)

It's worth noting that the soundtrack is brilliant, making a stealth run easier thanks to the quality of the cues when you're close to being spotted. The voice acting is also top-notch, although the volume didn't always match the distances, which led to a few issues over the 10-hour campaign. It's jarring to spin around when you hear an enemy voice, only to realise they're two floors below you outside when you frantically scan for heat signals using your powers. Even so, a rail car going past at full pelt was enough to make me jump a few times thanks to the intense pressure of staying hidden, and later enemies serve to ramp up the difficulty further as you progress through the story.

The antagonist is evil enough, with a typical backstory that unravels as you progress through the story. It's not incredible, but it's definitely serviceable. Whether it's revenge or justice, there's enough to keep you going until the conclusion. Fans of the original will find a refined experience, but you might not be up for a second run with the alternate character. It's a great game, and it's a worthy sequel all things considered. 

Verdict: 3/5 Not without Hono(u)r 


James Milin-Ashmore

Dishonored 2 at CeX

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