The follow-up to 2012’s surprise hit, Dishonored, launched this week. To learn what we thought of the game, check out Fandom’s full Dishonored 2 review by our very own Bob Mackey. In celebration of the release, we wanted to take a look at the first-person stealth action-adventure game and help explain why it’s poised to be one of this year’s biggest hits. Here are five reasons to be excited for Dishonored 2.
The original Dishonored was a critical darling. The the PC version earned a 91 Metascore and won several 2012 game awards. Though that game didn’t launch with a ton of fanfare, initial sales were strong if not mind-blowing. The game was the fourth-highest selling game the month it launched. Only Resident Evil 6, Pokémon Black Version 2, and NBA 2K13 sold more copies that month.
In the months after release, Dishonored 2 won over more and more converts. Many ended up regarding it as one of the best games of 2012. It was the top-selling new game franchise that year. This prompted Bethesda to announce that they would be developing it into a full franchise.
Dishonored 2 retains much of what fans loved about the original. The series’ signature steampunk meets supernatural aesthetic is still here. As are the clever level design and emphasis on freedom and the ability to play however you like.
Like all good sequels, Dishonored 2 builds upon the first game. It gives players more of what they loved about the original while introducing new features. There are new, unique supernatural powers, a new main character, and an all-new city to explore.
The Amount of Freedom
One of the series’ signature elements is the amount of freedom and agency it gives players. While technically you play as an assassin, you can get through the game without killing anyone at all.
Dishonored 2 is a thinking person’s FPS. While other action games have environmental puzzles, and claim to let you approach them however you wish, this is mostly illusion. There are usually a few set number of ways to solve these puzzles and progress through the levels. The Dishonored series is different. This game gives you a set of tools and lets you figure out how best to apply them to accomplish your objective. There are immeasurable ways and approaches to take to accomplish mission objectives.
When Bethesda formally announced Dishonored 2 at E3 2015, fans of the series were ecstatic to learn that Emily Kaldwin, the child who played a pivotal role in the original, was returning as a playable character. The new game begins with you playing as Emily in a prologue. Once you make your way through that, you decide on which main character to use for the rest of the game: Emily, or Corvo Attano, the hero of the first game.
In addition to the compelling duo of main characters in Dishonored 2, the game’s supporting cast is a who’s-who of Hollywood heavy hitters. We already did an entire article on the genius of Sam Rockwell. The cast also features Pedro Pascal (Oberyn Martell in Game of Thrones), Rosario Dawson (everyone’s favorite go-to nurse, Claire Temple, in the Marvel Netflix universe), Robin Lord Taylor (Oswald Cobblepot in Gotham), and Vincent D’Onofrio (Wilson Fisk, a.k.a. Kingpin in Daredevil).
The Supernatural Powers and Abilities
Both Emily and Corvo have their own unique supernatural powers as well as shared passive abilities . Though at a recent preview event the developers were quick to point out that these characters shouldn’t be pigeonholed as one type of character over another. Both have powers that suit a variety of situations and ways to play.
You can choose to be the ultimate killing machine, murdering your way through levels with no regard of the Chaos you leave in your wake. Or you can take a more stealthy approach, sneaking past enemies silently. Alternately, you can choose a combination of the two approaches and become a silent assassin that takes out your enemies before they can see you coming. We recommend you take a look at our handy Dishonored 2 infographic. It contains suggested characters builds for three of the more common playstyles.
The New Setting
Dishonored 2 is bookended by levels in Dunwall, the city from the first game. Dunwall has a dark, industrial feel. Much like the cities of London and Edinburgh that inspired it, fog and smoke permeate the air.
However, the bulk of Dishonored 2 takes place in the all-new city of Karnaca, the “jewel of the south.” This new location serves in stark contrast to the drab exteriors of Dunwall. It takes place in a warmer, sunnier climate and is inspired by southern European and Mediterranean countries like Spain, Greece, and Italy.
The different climate and atmosphere heavily influence Karnaca’s architecture. The buildings feature flat roofs and ornate windows with balconies open to the gorgeous views. However, these aren’t all just for show. The new architectural style has a functional gameplay purpose. Verticality plays a more substantial role in the new game. You’ll frequently be traversing these rooftops and balconies as you make your way around the city.
Check out our full Dishonored 2 review to learn more about what we thought of the sequel.
Dishonored 2 is available now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.