Since Bethesda went exclusive on Xbox Game Pass in March, it reminded me of how enjoyable their game, Dishonoured 2 (2016), is to play. It is an action/adventure game in which players travel around a fictional world getting revenge and gaining back what is rightfully the main characters’. This game has so many amazing attributes, the different scenery that the gamer is taken through are astonishing from abandoned houses to breathtaking mansions. Players are able to explore through these stunning settings and do not have to stick to one path throughout the whole game. With special objects and runes, a player can upgrade their characters and make exploring or fighting easier. Complimenting the scenery and runes is amazing voice acting that helps to deliver the story and convey the character’s personality. However, there are some issues with the game, such as not being able to go back and play once the storyline is done. As well as confusing controls and disappointing boss fights.
The game starts in the city of Karnaca, which is building itself up from financial and social ruin. During the first event scene, Emily Kaldwin is attending her coronation as the new Empress of Karnaca. However, her Aunt interrupts and claims her throne. At this point, gamers have the choice to play as either Emily Kaldwin or Corvo Attano, an assassin and her father. Both characters have different powers that benefit the players. Emily has the Far Reach power that enables players to quickly and quietly travel across the map. Corvo has the Blink which allows gamers to travel to close areas unseen. The character that does not choose gets turned into a statue by Emily’s Aunt’s powers. From that point onwards, gamers travel around a fictional world making alliances to win back the throne and assassinating those involved with Emily’s Aunt.
When playing the game, the setting is immediately enticing with the 19th Century, European-styled world. All the cities are recovering from a plague so they have a post-apocalyptic look with dead bodies lying in the streets, doors boarded up and belongings scattered. The post-plague theme accentuates the economic dilapidation and the corruption between the high and low social classes. Each place the gamer visits is completely different from the rest. For example, the Dust District has an abandoned appearance with piles of dust from the mines in the street and houses. In contrast, the gloomy streets of Dunwall look like Paris during the 19th Century. The variety of environments emphasises the fact Emily is travelling to different cities. It also gives the game a variety of personalities and completely changes the gaming experience with each place. In the Dust District, players can use the frequent sand storms for cover and to move around without being seen. Alternatively in Dunwall, Emily can use the shadows to keep hidden.
Another benefit to the setting is the game allows you to explore it and not just follow the storyline’s path. There are not any side missions, only alternate ways to complete the main mission. However, it is an open-world game and players can investigate nearly every building, town squares and deserted alleyways. Hidden away in the world are runes, ammo and special objects that aid the players’ gameplay. The runes are what help advance Emily’s (and Corvo’s) powers. The special objects are things like health serum or food, things the characters need to survive. The open-world game does not force people to stick to one path, it is what makes the game so engaging; the wonder of exploration.
Furthermore, with how the setting has been made and the powers the characters have been given, players can play the game however they like. With abandoned vehicles on the street, derelict buildings and empty rooftops, gamers can channel their inner stealth mode and take enemies out silently. On the other hand, with a variety of weapons and powers, along with a constant supply of ammo hidden around the world, people can take on enemies face-to-face instead. With the option to be stealthy, it enables players who may get anxious when playing action-packed or stressful scenes to play the game. There is no better way to play this game as being adventurous means enemies can be taken down quicker. However, sneaking around means you may overhear some of the non-player characters speaking; giving gamers clues to the storyline.
Moreover, the powers that are gifted to Emily and Corvo enhance the gaming experience. Having special abilities in any game makes it stand out among the rest and is better to play but in this game, they really hit the spot. One of the best powers that both the main characters share is Dark Vision. This enables someone to see which way the enemies are looking and whether they have spotted you or not. This is extremely useful when trying to sneak past enemies.
In addition, the voices of those non-player characters are perfectly acted. Enemy soldiers have a gruff, rough voice which helps portray their brutality along with their large build. In contrast, those characters in a higher status have a ‘posh’ voice to represent their social class. The differentiation in voices also helps when it is hard to distinguish what enemies are lurking around and how many there are. The voices of the games main characters are sensational and capture them perfectly. Corvo Attano (voiced by Stephen Russel) has a deep, hoarse yet calm voice which represents the assassin he is. Emily Kaldwin (voiced by Erica Luttrell) is quiet, rather like her fathers, yet is filled with raw emotion which is to be expected after what the character has been through. Voice acting is crucial in a game as it helps tell the story and hearing the voices helps emphasise the emotion of the main characters, especially as players cannot see their face.
However, there are some issues with the game. These issues are entirely down to opinion and some players may have a different experience and opinion. The first one being, that once a player has completed the storyline, the game ends. This means that they cannot go back and collect any collectables they missed or go back and explore any areas they had missed. So, it is either play the whole game from the start and make sure every corner is searched or just not play it again. This is a shame as it would be nice to walk around the cities and get all the runes or take out any enemies that were missed when playing.
Another personal issue is that the controls can be a bit confusing at times. The game does give players a tutorial at the beginning as to what button and button combinations control each move. However, with the brain of a goldfish, it can be difficult to remember what button does what. While it is cool to have a special move and multiple fighting actions, it would be much more appreciated if there were little reminders that would pop up on the screen. For example, before entering an area where conflict could occur a hint could appear as to what button to press to use the sword. It is infuriating forgetting a control, then having to pause the game and look at the controls on settings. Especially in a chaotic fighting moment.
Although, on the topic of fighting moments, there are moments where some parts should have been easier and some harder. If Emily gets spotted then all the enemies rush towards her at once and it gets a little chaotic and out of control. What makes it even worse is when Emily dies and it reverts to the last save. On the flip side, the ‘boss’ fights were easier to complete than expected. There is a build-up on every mission to assassinating someone involved with the evil Aunt and then they can be taken out by a single bullet. It is a little disappointing and underwhelming to realise it is more of a struggle to battle the ‘easy’ enemies.
Overall, Dishonoured 2 does have some issues which are my opinion and some people may have a different viewpoint. However, there are so many more amazing qualities that outweigh the bad ones. It may have been released in 2016 but it is still a sound game to play.