Dishonored 2 (PC) Review

By Ofisil 01.12.2016

Review for Dishonored 2 on PC

It's good to let steam, and thank The Icon of Sin for FPS juggernauts like Doom, but pure action isn't the only thing the genre has to offer… And that's where titles that are more than just pulling the trigger come into view. After the somewhat disappointing Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, the burden of the best thinking-man's FPS for 2016 falls on the shoulders of the inevitable sequel of the classic stealth-a-thon, Dishonored. Is this tale of revenge and imperial assassinations worthy of the throne?

Concerning the plot of Dishonored 2, the crew behind it all have made one minor and one big mistake. The minor one is more like a nit-pick, and it has to do with the fact that this feels like a retelling of the original's storyline; a storyline that had Corvo Attano trying to slay the ones that blamed him for the death of his Empress, while this time around that blame has also fell unjustly on the hands of her daughter, Emily Kaldwin.

The big flaw? The overall presentation. For starters, there's no built up leading to the events of this adventure, whether that's the coup in the beginning, or a confrontation with a boss - things just happen, and are as predictable as they ever were. Furthermore, and while Dishnored had a somewhat similar lack of passion, it's characters never felt as… disinterested in their own ordeals as the ones in here, something that has a lot to do with the wooden voice-acting; voice-acting that many times sounds like mumbling and murmuring.

Screenshot for Dishonored 2 on PC

Someone might say, "Bah, who cares! I'm only here for the action, baby!!!" but, no, this isn't Call of Duty, so this won't really do as an excuse. On the other hand, though, in terms of pure world building alone, Arkane Studios has done it again, giving us a majestic steampunk-meets-magic universe that makes you want to know more about it, and, luckily, there's lot to learn from all those pieces of lore scattered around.

Furthermore, and although it's far from a technical masterpiece (more on that later), this game world is a beautiful picture that has been painted using a modified version of the older, but still alive-and-kicking, id Tech 5, with an emphasis on grandiose architecture and distant, breath-taking vistas, a blend of cartoony character design with an otherwise dark and "dirty" atmosphere, as well as some fantastic special effects, whether that's the speckles of dust in your "eyes," or the magic tricks that come forth from the main characters' hands.

Screenshot for Dishonored 2 on PC

Let's not avoid the smelly elephant in the room anymore, though, because it's common news that, while great-looking, Dishonored 2 is a piece of software in dire need of some tweaking. As if the lagginess of the PS4 version wasn't enough, the framerate drops that the PC port will generously offer are insanely annoying, especially on a game that has such a high aesthetic quality. Yours truly has been luckier than the average gamer/reviewer out there, and, yes, this isn't a game-breaking deal since a patch will probably come pretty soon, but most are advised to wait a bit.

The good thing is that, all these put aside, this turns out to be one of the best open-ended first-person shooters of all time, and probably the best of the current year. Once again, it's all about approaching the problem at hand on your own way, with no restrictions in changing your strategy mid-game. Want to be a stealthy assassin, a merciful acrobat that avoids conflict by jumping from roof to roof, a spell-wielding, steam-powered Rambo, or mix and match when necessary? It's all up to one's preferences.

Of course, half of the fun stems from the wonderful level design, which, unlike, for example, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, which conveniently placed air ducts to go through, or PCs to hack, the locales here are quite complex, require a better "analysis" of your surroundings, need more work when it comes to exploring for collectibles (aside from coins which are literally everywhere), and instead of throwing a bunch of guards around to backstab, many levels are a bit more gimmicky and innovative, helping in never letting the experience get repetitive.

Screenshot for Dishonored 2 on PC

Some weird enemy behaviour put aside, the stealth mechanics are almost perfect, guards need actual skill to trick, the controls generally feel quite natural (although the mouse acceleration still needs some work), and the available tools of trade are great and diverse - but how good could a Dishonored sequel be without special powers? Thankfully, magic is back and better than ever, with lots of abilities that can be upgraded and enhance the fun even more, whether that's teleporting from roof to roof, or becoming a powerful creature made out of shadow.

Note that it's now possible to choose amongst two characters at the beginning, with Emily's magic revolving more around stealth, while Corvo gets to have a much more battle-ready arsenal of skills. Unfortunately, they are not that much different, meaning that, while most will find it easy to choose a favourite, don't expect a considerably that choosing Emily instead of Corvo will feel like choosing a witch in an RPG instead of a warrior.

Finally, this retains the 'Chaos' system, which is basically calculates how much of a "bad boy/girl" you were, in turn affecting how things will turn out story-wise. This has been pleasantly improved and rebalanced, because, while killings still generate Chaos, it all depends on who you kill - and this is where the - also upgraded - Heart artefact comes into play; an artefact that, besides showing you where secrets are hidden, can be used to "analyse" a character's morality, letting the player decide whether he or she should draw steel, or live and let die… err, live.

Screenshot for Dishonored 2 on PC

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Don't get disappointed by a plot that is as far from ambitious, original, and engrossing as possible, because, as gameplay goes, few can hold a candle to Arkane Studios' Dishonored 2's level of replayability, non-linearity, and just plain fun. As for the gripes concerning the inexcusable framerate drops, follow this simple advice: wait a while, and then jump right in, because this isn't a title that's worth avoiding just because of its current technical issues.

Developer

Arkane

Publisher

Bethesda Softworks

Genre

Action Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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