Reviews - Updated on April 15, 2022

“Do corpses have shadows?” – must be the main question that tormented all the “lucky ones” who launched Dishonored 2 on PC. Fumbling with the sliders in the graphics settings menu gave absolutely amazing results, the fps indicator demonstrated its complete independence from the beauty of the picture on the screen, which testified to the developers’ innovative approach to optimization.

But let’s close our eyes to trifles – all these problems are temporary, transient. And before us is the continuation of the game, which has already won a place in eternity.

Dishonored 2 game review

Probably the hardest choice in the game.

Honor and dishonor

After solving the “cadaveric wasp dilemma”, you have to pay attention to the plot. He in Dishonored 2 suffers from every conceivable scenario cliché and fits into what is called the phrase “second part”. Emily Kaldwin, daughter of Corvo Attano and the late Jessamine, has been on the throne for fifteen years now. However, swinging a sword and having fun with magic under the guidance of her legendary father is clearly more to her liking than wisely ruling the state. The socio-economic situation in the kingdom is bursting at the seams, people vegetate in poverty, and only the spreading epidemic of those same cadaverous wasps indicates that someone else is living well.

In such an environment familiar to most citizens of the CIS, the wayward girl Delilah is unexpectedly found among the Queen’s aunts. She does not play the role of a bored aunt and from the threshold arranges a palace coup. And, rather unsurprisingly, he succeeds in his audacious endeavor. Important help to the usurper was provided by a series of murders of prominent oppositionists to the legitimate authorities, which significantly undermined Emily’s authority.

In general, the piano in the bushes, betrayal, intrigue and the restoration of justice that drags on throughout the game – the plot of Dishonored 2 gives off a smell
tortured secondary. But such is the fate of almost all continuations of completed stories, because the endings of the original creation of Arkane Studios hardly implied a sequel.

The secret brethren of the newly-made queen settled in the city of Karnak, where most of the game takes place. The scenario is built on the sequential cutting out (or pacification) of all Delilah’s henchmen. The story develops linearly and monotonously. There are no unexpected plot twists anywhere, and the ending generally seems like a script stub. Political conspiracies, interesting character motivations and realism – that’s what would really be appropriate in a plot of this kind.

Dishonored 2 game review

At times, the surroundings are quite creepy.

The Metal Age

However, the story of each individual level feels like a unique adventure. Dishonored 2 uses all the features of the setting that have proven themselves since the days of Thief. The themes of mechanism and magic with the corresponding antagonists are revealed as if from a textbook, stereotyped, but coupled with political and family intrigues (it is better to close your eyes to the spontaneous appearance of which), the narrative creates the illusion of layering and complexity.

The ubiquitous notes/books/audio recordings also give the fundamental nature of the universe, studying which you can get stuck for a very long time. At the levels, staged scenes are abundantly scattered with people communicating with each other on current topics. You believe in the plot and world of Dishonored 2. But you believe in the same way as in the rules of the road or Newtonian mechanics – there is absolutely nothing to surprise and “hook”.

I want to cry and scream at the sight of how much the work of the writers contrasts with other sides of Dishonored 2, which more than win back the points lost in the plot field. So, this is just exemplary location design. And in all respects – the levels not only stylistically perfectly convey the atmosphere of steampunk, but also purely technically superbly organized and offer endless scope for various ways of passing. If you cut out all the narrative part of the game and leave the pure gameplay, as the authors of DOOM did, Dishonored 2 is unlikely to become less attractive. All locations, whether it’s a constructor house or the streets of Karnaki, are not alike, have their own flavor and are remembered for a long time after passing.

Deus Ex and Thief ideas are everywhere here. You can complete the main task in just a few minutes. However, you simply cannot afford to complete the mission without first exploring every corner of the magical world. On the mansion level, which introduces the mechanics of playing over time, you get great pleasure from exploring two layers of one space.

By their structure, the locations are small “sandboxes”, but thanks to the vertical development and dense concentration of various paths, they leave what is needed in any action game with elements of stealth – freedom of action. Get to the goal on the roofs, balconies, sneak past opponents right along the streets or swim under water – the variability here is endless, far exceeding even the variety of the first part.

Dishonored 2 game review

As Socrates said, “how many things are there without which you can live!”

World of Opportunity

In the process of a palace coup, one of the main characters is destined to become a victim of Delilah’s magic before the final credits. And the second – to administer justice and revenge. Although the course of the plot will remain the same in any case, a lot of things change depending on who you decide to complete the missions for. Firstly, all dialogues are adapted for each character separately. Given that neither Corvo nor Emily are following Gordon Freeman’s silent lead this time around, this is pretty significant. Secondly, the deposed monarch and her bodyguard have their own views on what is happening and leave unique comments and notes in the journal about all events. And thirdly, the abilities of the characters are strikingly different.

If Corvo’s magical arsenal has remained the same (although it has received a number of significant improvements), then Emily’s spell book can be found many interesting new items. For example, the ability “Domino” binds the fates of several opponents together, due to which killing or stunning one of them will affect others. “Hypnosis” summons a spirit that neutralizes enemies for a while. The gameplay really differs depending on the chosen character – plus to the already high replay value.

In general, there are a lot more things that can be done in Dishonored 2 than there are opportunities for this within a single playthrough. And I want to try everything: and go through the storyline without a single kill, and shoot fire arrows from a crossbow, and set hordes of rats on enemies, and have fun with Emily’s duplicates … Whatever path you choose, there will always be something behind the scenes. Dishonored 2 is a game of missed opportunities in which you’ll grab onto one thing with wild passion, but then, with some pleasant longing, realize that you haven’t seen a bunch of everything that you will definitely need to return for.

Dishonored 2 game review

Is it similar?..

Have mercy!

Stealth passage in the second part has become much more interesting. At a high level of difficulty, opponents do not suffer from myopia – they have learned to actively rotate their heads, sometimes even looking up. With direct eye contact, you will not be saved by an impressive distance to the guard and a slight shadow from the oak standing a meter away from the character. Enemies are disturbed by any little thing – a door that is open for some unknown reason, a guard is absent from the post, a strange sound. The conventions of Thief, where one could dance with impunity around hapless patrol polkas in relative obscurity, are a thing of the past. Only the “probably it was a rat” syndrome reminds us of the stubbornness of artificial intelligence.

Get ready for the fact that, having chosen a bloodless path of passage, you will use the sword in most cases as a fan, brushing off the plague wasps, whose numbers in Karnak clearly exceed the sanitary standard. However, slashing blades with some lone guard can now send the opponent to sleep by properly blocking the blow. And that’s a good thing: keeping up with the low level of Chaos required for a positive ending is quite difficult. But the main thing is not to kill almost anyone, but to catch the eye and lull opponents is allowed in unlimited quantities.

A happy ending, as before, will also require you to be creative in dealing with the main reptiles. It is impossible to kill bastards – you need to pardon, but do it in a specific way: put them on electric chairs that weather the memory, deprive sorceresses of magical powers, replace lords with their counterparts. In any case, the “pacifist” path is more difficult and, less pleasantly, severely limits the player’s choice of means. Still, it’s clearly not worth holding back the itch in your hands, which are reaching for the sword in the scabbard, for the sake of one optimistic minute of a crumpled finale.

Dishonored 2 game review

Poor fellows, they did not know that the entrance was only upon presentation of the lifeless body of the head of the hostile camp.

“From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”

One can only guess how difficult the work of the location designers was. After all, the creators had to remember about all the options for passing that may arise in the minds of users. Adapting the levels and making them interesting both for those who like to sneak unnoticed and for those who want to jump to the goal on the roofs is not an easy task. Once again, the lion’s share of the success of Dishonored 2 lies on the shoulders of the “architects” Arkane Studios.

Yet some skills, when properly used and fully developed, may seem unbalanced. So, Corvo’s ability to inhabit the bodies of other people can easily become the only trick in your arsenal used. “Saddling” the soul and taking the defenseless guard to a quiet place, you can easily make your way anywhere. Stopping time completely also has limitless potential. Sometimes you complete a task and you can’t get rid of the thought that somehow everything turned out too easily.

However, if you wish, you can completely refuse magic and magic and go through the plot in the spirit of the old man Garrett. But this style leaves many charms behind the scenes. These are bloody finishing moves, and a bunch of destructive abilities that allow you to arrange a real genocide for your opponents. Dishonored 2 makes you feel like both a superhero and an ordinary person – each player independently decides how to approach problem solving and at what point in the stealth / action graph to locate.

In general, we have the original, sparkling with new colors. And attempts by Arkane Studios to introduce newfangled “chips” into the old mechanics look completely redundant. Thus, worthless “crafting” appeared – one of the most useless skills in the game. From the talismans scattered across the levels with some small bonus, you can make other talismans that have several useful properties. The meaning of the innovation is rather vague, because by and large, all these trinkets are needed in the combat style of passing. But if you decide to cut right and left, then it would be much wiser to invest runes in some attacking skills, and not in creating gizmos with dubious properties.

Dishonored 2 game review

Corvo and the guard are separated by only two meters and three years.

***

Dishonored 2 needs to be played. And more than once. But this is the rare case when the high potential of replayability is not based on plot variability, but on gameplay. Surprisingly, despite the repulsive scenario, the creation of Arkane Studios makes you want to play again and again, experiment with different approaches to solving problems, combine the abilities of the characters and just enjoy the perfect design work.

Pluses: exemplary design of locations; impeccably maintained atmosphere; high replayability; elaborate stealth mechanics.
Cons: plot without ambition; weak PC version.

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