2012’s Dishonored was the recipient of much critical acclaim as well as numerous awards. Any attempt at a sequel is going to have some lofty expectations to meet, but the information available about Dishonored 2 shows that the developers are up to the challenge. Taking place 15 years after the events of its predecessor, the protagonist Corvo Attano returns as a playable character with his familiar abilities but there is the new option of playing as Empress Emily Kaldwin with her own unique set of powers. The Outsider also interacts with the two characters differently, giving more encouragement for multiple playthroughs.
Corvo’s powers in the original were a large part of what made controlling him so much fun, but since the sequel has such an emphasis on player choice there is a third option available. The player can decline to receive the Outsider’s Mark and play Flesh and Steel mode where no powers are available. Dishonored 2 can be completed in this mode thought it is much more difficult.
There are new environmental obstacles thrown into the mix as well. The Clockwork Mansion has the unusual architectural design of having the walls, floors, and ceilings move on their own which could lead to some interesting stealth and combat situations. The Crack in the Slab mission will allow Corvo or Emily to move back and forth between two timelines within one house. That sounds like a bizarre concept, and based on the previous game it could end up being a very interesting experience. There will be other unusual environments to be encountered, but we can’t reveal all the surprises before November.
Moving away from the London inspired Dunwall, the sequel takes place in sunnier Karnaca which draws visual inspiration from Spain, Italy, and Greece. Karnaca is a more vertical city than Dunwall, which sounds like exploration should be enjoyable with or without the supernatural powers. Exploration is a major component of Dishonored 2 which is designed to be played at your own pace and not rigidly follow a linear path. The idea of political assassination and fighting for one’s own life are major themes, though playing through with the intent of creating a bloodbath is not required. Action and stealth are both equal elements of gameplay, and it is possible to complete Dishonored 2 without killing anyone. Or you can kill everyone. Or be selective in who is killed.
An example given about how some of these new powers can used involved a scene where a religious zealot is about to execute a heretic. Instead of using Far Reach to snatch the heretic away from the line of fire which should result in zero deaths, just to switch things up a power called Domino was used instead. Domino binds the fate of two characters, and when the heretic was executed, the man who pulled the trigger died as well.
Dishonored 2 is designed to be a stand alone title that can be enjoyed on its own. Granted people that have played Dishonored, including the Daud DLC, and read the comics and novels are going to have a deeper appreciation for it, but Dishonored 2 is designed where people who are experiencing this world for the first time with the sequel will be able to understand and enjoy it, no prior knowledge required. The success of its predecessor is a lot to live up to. Only time will tell if this delivers what is expected of it, but so far signs are indicative that those looking forward to this sequel will not be let down.