Dishonored 2- Do We Need a Next Gen Sequel? Review (PS4)
I’ve been tackling my backlog of games and one game that’s been on there for a while has been Dishonored 2, released back in November of 2016, developed by Arkane Studios and published by Bethesda. I played the first Dishonored and enjoyed it most for its emphasis on providing players a variety of ways to accomplish a task. Whether it was rewiring security systems, finding alternate paths through an open window, or deciding if you wanted to take the lethal or nonlethal route. In this review I’ll highlight what I enjoyed and if Dishonored 3 is something that we need on the next-gen consoles.
I recently finished my second playthrough of Dishonored 2, and the differences in gameplay in the stealth and nonlethal compared to the assault and lethal actions feel like a completely different game. You can go through the entire game not killing anyone or even being spotted, one of the most difficult achievements to attain, or murdering everyone in your path. The powers you unlock by collecting runes can also be forgone if you decide to take that route early in the game. I could even see myself playing through the game another two times, just to upgrade and utilize powers I didn’t use the two playthroughs.
I was excited to play this game because unlike the first Dishonored, this game gives you the choice to play through the story as either Corvo from the first game, or Emily who is now empress and has been trained by Corvo over the years. Unfortunately, whoever you choose the story plays out the same. I feel this was a bit of a missed opportunity as I would have loved to see different stories or levels with the two characters. But one thing that does make them unique is the difference in the powers that are available to them. They both start with the familiar blink ability, but the difference in their powers is will have you enjoying at least a second playthrough doubling the 15 hours it takes to complete a single game.
While the gameplay is fun, whether you choose the stealth option or non-stealth route, the stealth option is definitely harder and more time consuming than if you played the game solely as an action game. I find 1st person stealth games much harder than 3rd person stealth games such as Metal Gear Solid, just because you just can’t rotate the camera to see if anyone is nearby. In first-person stealth games, while I agree is definitely more immersive, you have to take more time to scout the area and be aware of the enemy's field of vision. So if you’re focusing on stealth, being spotted will most likely cause you to restart from a checkpoint.
My biggest frustration with the game is how inconsistent the autosave checkpoints are. After spending a good 10 minutes or more sneaking around making a lot of progress, being spotted and killed will take you back to your last autosave or quicksave. I soon found myself hitting the start button and quick saving every few minutes just so I didn’t find myself having to redo large sections of the level. The quick load and quicksave can also take a bit to get used to. You can save the game like normal, but the quick load feature only loads the most recent quick save, so sometimes I would load back in a previous chapter instead of the most recent quick save if I saved using the main menu.
While the gameplay is where this game shines, the story was a little underwhelming and parallels the structure of dishonored 1 a little too much. Your choices from the first Dishonored game are not reflected in this new game, making it feel that there were one intended path and other choices led to other realities that are non-cannon. At the end of the first game, after I got the “good” ending, I thought that Emily would be a good empress and try to improve the living conditions of the people of Dunwall that you observed in the first game. But there haven’t been any changes, and no one has any loyalty to her or Corvo. So I’m left to wonder what Corvo and Emily have been doing since the years that past from the first game.
After both playthroughs of Dishonored 2, I feel my actions either ending in low chaos or high chaos didn’t have much of an impact on the story. You do get an epilogue at the end of the game that shows what happens as a result of your actions, but it's only a voice with some still images and didn’t give me the satisfaction I was looking for, even after all the time I spent reloading to avoid high chaos on my stealth run. Similar to the first game there’s something that mentions high chaos will result in more bloodflies appearing but I didn’t notice any difference after my high chaos playthrough. I also felt that the introduction of bloodflies instead of the plague rats didn’t add anything unique to the game, even after I sent time reading a lot of the optional text you find along the way.
So do I think that Dishonored needs another proper sequel on the next-gen consoles coming out at the end of this year and into 2021? I thought the gameplay was a blast, and all the unique ways you can get to an objective or killing your enemies is something I could definitely look forward to but without a good story, it's hard to get me hooked onto the idea. What this game made me miss was Bioshock 1 and Bioshock Infinite. I’m not a real fan of fixed good/evil ending, or in the case of Dishonored low/high chaos. While I love choices in dialogue and missions, when this mechanic is present I always feel like I’m fixed on one path I choose from the beginning, even If I want to see where the other option leads, the choice for the good/bad route is always so clear that I almost feel forced into one path because of the investment I already made.
So I can recommend this game for the gameplay alone, but the weak story and choices throughout the game that lead to an unsatisfying conclusion leaves me with mixed feelings. Let me know in the comments what you all think of Dishonored 2. Also if you’ve played the expansion or follow up to this game Dishonored: Death of the Outsider and if it's worth playing, and I may check that out too.