Preview: Dishonored 2
Emily improves upon an already brilliant format.
Two hours of Dishonored 2 has excited me more than the entirety of the original game could muster.
The stealth-action-adventure title surprised gamers with its 2012 release, offering up an open-world with seemingly endless ways to play. While some began to record YouTube videos showing inventive ways to kill with Corvo’s plasmid-like powers, others prided themselves on no-kill runs. We loved the game in its original form, and in its remastered format. Dishonored 2 takes that winning formula and manages to impress as equally as it makes the experience even more enjoyable and, simply put, fun. That’s largely thanks to Emily and her new bag of tricks.
Playing in the Clockwork House seen in Gamescom press blasts, we had the opportunity to use both returning protagonist Corvo and newcomer Emily over the second half of a main mission. Placed about three or four hours into the game proper, previewers were thrown into the deep end. Playing first as Corvo was recommended to get reacquainted with the game, its mechanics, and Corvo’s familiar set of skills.
Playing as Corvo took me an hour and a half to get the job done; that is, to save a captive man and then to infiltrate the Clockwork House and dispose of its owner, Kirin Jindosh. The Clockwork House was as much of a character as anyone else, offering up a labyrinth that you, the player, could control. Myriad levers around the house instantly reconfigured it, making one area a trophy room or battle arena. Watching a space transform multiple times into very different configurations was breathtaking; I have no idea how Arkane managed to do it (magick?), but I couldn’t help but appreciate their intricate level design when I should have been worrying about how to fend off Jindosh’s Clockwork Soldiers.
From what we could experience, Corvo’s powers are largely the same as in Dishonored. Blink allows him to travel around a space, while Bend Time lets you slow enemies down to set up some brutal kils. We also had grenades, a pistol and crossbow to help kill those in our path. That is, if that’s the playthrough we wanted to accomplish. I was in awe as I watched other previews skilfully sneak around the environment, getting to Jindosh without being seen.
As you might expect, I was running around, killing with glee. Through trial and error, I eventually fulfilled my optional objective and moved in for the kill. Even then, it’s not black and white – I managed to fulfil my mission without actually killing Jindosh.
Well, I did kill him in the end – but after the game registered that I had a mercifully accomplished the mission. I’m a jerk like that.
Playing as Emily wasn’t just offering up a female version of Corvo, even though it took me a playthrough or two to realise that. Her Far Reach power can work like Blink, sending her halfway across the room (and with a larger range at that), but it can also be used like Mortal Kombat’s Scorpion, pulling enemies to her. Hell, it also makes her Spider-Woman, sticking onto walls to drop down upon the unknowning. Her Shadow Walk power is also neat as hell, letting her sneak around environments with ease. While you feel confident playing as Corvo, you feel like a downright badass as Emily.
I threw caution to the wind with Emily, despite her enhanced stealth skills, and finished the mission in a tight seven minutes. It felt good, though I was tempted to reload from the beginning and actually try a no-kill run. That right there is the beauty of Dishonored 2 – a game with so many ways to do something, it surely will feel like the Clockwork House throughout.