Dishonored 2 Review

Meeting Delilah in shadows

Oh, please don’t look at me like that! Haven’t you heard about the terrible state Dishonored 2 was released in? You have no idea how it lagged, froze, crashed, burned computers, and summoned demons from hell. Forget about the reviews – you should try forming your own opinion about a game that struggles to reach a pitiful 59 frames per second on ultra settings. “Literally unplayable,” as they say in the West.

In reality, the forum dwellers, as usual, exaggerated the technical horrors of the November release. The framerate was a bit shaky, yes, but the subsequent patches fixed most of the issues. Watch Dogs 2 In this regard, joy brought much less. Well, or I just got lucky, because while the owners of six-digit “geeforces” were loudly indignant, I spent twenty wonderful hours in the best adventure of last year. Which, judging by the improved reviews, can now be enjoyed by everyone.

A massive sea creature

The problem is only one, and let’s deal with it before we start to appreciate the numerous unquestionable merits of the game. Dishonored 2 has a bad plot. Not a terrible one, but it is much more cliché than it could have been. Moreover, the story, which manages to be inferior to the original while practically being a complete copy of it, does not deserve any positive epithets.

I’m ready to bet that at the entrance to Dunwall, there is a welcome sign that says something like: “Welcome to our “Plague-ridden city!” – and just below, a counter of days without a government coup is installed. And on the day when the sequel’s plot begins, someone will have to go and put up the old good zero there. A foreign fifth point is aiming for the imperial throne again, and once again we are forced to run away in order to punish the conspirators and regain our honest name.

The setup doesn’t give false hopes: we have another round according to the same scenario ahead of us. The pursued main character discovers a group of allies, receives a list of targets, and pays them a visit with a sword and a crossbow – does it remind you of anything? Arkane simply retells familiar motifs, not daring to introduce anything of their own. Even the new villain, the witch Delilah, is quite old and has already received a belt in the DLC for the first game – that’s how secondary the resources used are.

Stealthy operations underway

And, like any retelling, Dishonored 2 is painfully superficial. It lacks the interconnected arcs that made the predecessor’s story engaging. There is no kidnapping, no loyalists with murky motives and a sudden twist up their sleeve, and ultimately, no Daud of their own. It is a direct and predictable path from the mud back to the nobility. It is easy to predict how it will end long before the finale, and therefore it does not bring the satisfaction it should.

The only thing that pleases is the slight variability in presentation, as we are now free to choose who will do all the dirty work and who will stay at home, decorating Lady Delilah’s collection of stone figurines. You can remain faithful to Corvo Attano – or take on the role of little Emily, who is no longer a little girl and wields a blade as well as her father.

The choice is not an easy one, as they differ not only in their arsenal of supernatural abilities but also in their unique perspective on what is happening. Corvo finally becomes a fully-fledged character with a rich backstory (and voice acting!), while his daughter goes through the process of becoming a mature individual and reevaluating her actions. Despite being conveyed through a handful of unique monologues, the development of their characters is intriguing enough to try both options. Although, with Emily in the lead role, everything looks more complex and logical.

Time's strange transition

Valuable bonecharm collection

Amulets, including homemade ones, significantly simplify life. Sometimes, however, they also ruin it as compensation.

The narrative of the game is valuable more for the background it portrays around the central events. The unparalleled universe of Dishonored was not very willingly revealed before, but here its potential is fully realized. The southern city of Karnaca, where the main action takes place, turned out to be noticeably brighter than Dunwall, and it’s not just because of the scorching sun. It is adorned with expressive details that make it both a place of exceptional originality and a beautiful addition to the game world.

There are simply no boring corners in Karnaca. Wherever you go, something is always happening. Crowds gather around street musicians. Down the street, a group of fanatics spins the propaganda hurdy-gurdy, but their audience is nowhere near as extensive. Meanwhile, in the building across the street, guards search an apartment that happened to be within reach, while on the floor below, a black market robbery is taking place, and just beyond the wall, a corpse is decomposing, eaten by deadly mosquitoes.

The density of optional scenes in Dishonored 2 has increased many times over, and now you can wander through other people’s homes for hours and eavesdrop on passersby, listening to their secrets through the magical heart. With the help of books, notes, and well-placed props, the environment tells its own mini-stories, sometimes much more interesting than the main plot. The world design feels like handcrafted work, meticulous and sincere down to the smallest details.

Confrontation with a formidable adversary

Gameplay-wise, Dishonored 2 does only what is required of it – it improves upon the original mechanics. It plays exactly like it did in 2012, only better, smoother, more fun, and so on.

The main achievement of the sequel in this regard is that it managed to dispel the monotony of non-lethal playthroughs. Perfectionists, surely with tears in their eyes, remember the hours of unrestrained fun in their attempts to achieve the “Clean Hands” achievement. Not killing anyone in the first Dishonored meant crawling along walls, spitting tranquilizers, and repeatedly witnessing the same choking animation. There were no other ways to entertain oneself in a pacifist manner.

Here, the spectacle of combat is preserved regardless of whether you unleash rivers of blood or leave behind piles of snoring bodies. Absolutely every playstyle has a “harmless” alternative. Shock mines, distracting and mass spells, blinding arrows, and even stunning moves in open combat – for those who are determined to follow the sixth commandment, this time an impressive arsenal has been prepared for all occasions.

Nightfall in Karnaka

In general – yes, it’s the classic Dishonored with new focuses. Corvo hasn’t changed his methods much, still playing around with stopping time and hordes of rats, but Emily behaves completely differently. She is a true manipulator, capable of grouping enemies together, clouding their minds, and creating her own projections. At first, the usefulness of these abilities is not very obvious, but when it finally “clicks,” it’s unstoppable.

For example, here’s a task: there’s a room with a very tasty rune for an upgrade in the middle. So tasty that there are three guards in the room, and a fourth one is patrolling outside. How will we get out of this?

We can handle it professionally. We cast a huge black rift in the most visible place. The guys’ brains go haywire from such a spectacle, and we calmly take the rune and go about our business.

Or we can apply the “Domino” effect to them: whatever happens to one “link” will happen to the others. We shoot the nearest one in the throat – two more drop dead. All clean, no one heard anything.

There’s a noisier way. We drop on the enemies’ heads, summon duplicates, and fight them on equal terms. Although nothing stops us from attaching our “domino” projection to everyone in the room and enjoying the spectacle, hanging from the chandelier. In such a case, there’s no need to worry about the outcome of the battle – everyone will die anyway.

The highest level of skill is to neutralize the enemies without even entering the room. Remember that patrolling guard? Great. Then you know what to do.

A deadly, silent strike

And yet it’s just a miniature skirmish, in the scale of the whole mission it doesn’t have a key significance. The main goals imply vast opportunities for complex combinations of traps and abilities, open conflicts and covert elimination. The variety of ways to solve game problems, big and small, is an inexhaustible source of delight in Dishonored 2.

It is reinforced by the signature level structure, which has become even more complex here. The locations in the game are only slightly open, but their functionality is not inferior to modern sandboxes. The architectural features of Karnaca, particularly its verticality, strongly influence the gameplay, making it much more free than in the narrow streets of Dunwall. Even in the interiors, there are often dozens of entrances and exits of varying degrees of accessibility, so there are means for any tactical maneuvers.

In combination with the luxurious art design, the local landmarks produce an indescribable effect. It’s as if you were given a whole BioShock Infinite, but this time you decide what to do with it, from which side to approach the core, and where to emerge with a triumphant cry. And even though I may sound like a worm that found the best apple in the world – I swear, it’s a wonderful feeling.

After experiencing this – damn it, with this plot. When the game provides hours of blissful pleasure in exploring locations and finding your own style, the story really isn’t that important.

The intricate Clockwork Mansion

The mechanical mansion, about which you have probably already heard a lot, is really cool. Multifaceted design in the most literal sense.

However, it is best to play with a single save, as before. I know the temptation to complete the level flawlessly and uncover all the secrets is great, but Dishonored 2, like the original, suffers from it. Save your tricks for subsequent playthroughs – you can’t see everything in one go anyway.

The game truly shines when you stop quicksaving every few seconds and go with the flow. Notice the situation and act accordingly, instead of cowardly relying on quicksaves. Run, fight, hide, do whatever it takes to maintain the elegant flow that combines challenge, spectacle, and the pulsating feeling of your own awesomeness. Dishonored 2 inevitably starts to play along with those who improvise.

Preparing for a voyage

This is her true beauty. In the ability to adapt to the player’s natural behavior, in having the right reaction to all of their actions. Everything works for this, from level design to pockets filled with equipment. And it is precisely for this reason that the first game became so beloved to the authors. countless editing cuts – And the second one, it seems, only multiply success Although not in everything, Arkane still outdid themselves. The slight disappointment in the storyline did not prevent Dishonored 2 from becoming the “Best non-Overwatch” of 2016.

Dishonored 2
PC, PS4, Xbox One
Action, Adventure
Bethesda Softworks
Arkane Studios
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



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