Professional reviewers often consider a game’s performance, audio, and graphical fidelity in an overall score. For most fans, fantastic gameplay or a gripping story are required to earn top marks. But the crucial factor that most reviewers and fans miss is replayability.
Consider the success of multiplayer games like Overwatch, Titanfall, and Star Wars: Battlefront. Each of these games gives players a reason to play and replay matches tens or hundreds of times. Although single-player games are less likely have a compelling replay experience, some might have been true masterpieces if the developers had created an experience that could be replayed over and over.
Choose Your Own Adventure
While Arkane Studios admittedly left something to be desired in the story department, the team improved upon every other aspect of the first game’s 12-hour long campaign, including its re-playability.
From the start, Dishonored 2 lets the player know there are multiple ways to finish a mission and asks them to choose two main protagonists: Corvo Attano or Emily Kaldwin. Each character has unique powers to sneak under enemies’ noses, take back the throne without casualties, or create chaos, bloodshed, and revenge.
With Corvo’s signature Blink, slip past the city watch and Delilah’s coven without attracting attention. This move can also be done using Emily’s Far Reach, or the same power could be used to fling enemies into Walls of Light. She can also chain her opponents together with Domino and hurl them into a carefully placed spring-razor trap.
Multiple Methods, Multiple Games
The game provides the opportunity to decline the Outsider’s gift and play the game without any powers – just a folding blade and a flintlock pistol or crossbow for those who take the silent or pacifist routes. Even small details like allowing players to skip cut-scenes and cinematics give the game a higher replay value.
Dishonored 2 provides opportunities to take out targets or complete objectives in each chapter. But beware: robbing the black markets or choosing to assassinate a key target rather than knocking him out has consequences in the world of the game. Each action changes the environment and might bring on swarms of the rats and blood flies that infest the streets of Karnaca.
Updates Add to the Experience
Not long after the initial release, Arkane rewarded fans with the much requested New Game Plus and customizable difficulty features that add even more paths to beat the game. Players even can start an NG+ game, save either character with all their powers, and then turn on the new Ironman mode to have one life for the entire playthrough (if you’re up for that kind of masochism).
More single-player games should strive for this level of replayability. Not only does this give fans long-term value, it helps to create more loyal players.