‘Dishonored 2’ ‘Dishonored: Death of the Outsider’ by Arkane Studios

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Genres: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Steampunk, Favorites, Video Game

Similar Games: Aragami

Previous books in the series/by the author reviewed:

Rating: Recommended

Here’s the TL;DR for my review (SPOILERS!):

  • Pros
    • Fun, diverse gameplay. You can stealthily wind your way through your missions, or you can storm through like a wrecking ball. You can kill everyone in sight, or you can kill absolutely no one.
    • Excellent movement mechanics. The protagonists travel around the map via teleportation, and it feels good to use.
    • Protagionists are mechanically excellent. Corvo is a direct port from the first game, able to teleport around the map, stop time and possess his enemies. Emily can teleport, can mesmerize people and turn invisible. Meagan can also teleport around, impersonate people and foresee the future.
    • The antagonist Delilah was just fantastic. She’s the scorned bastard princess of the dead Emperor, who was cast out after his death. Well she’s come back with a vengeance, kicking Emily off the throne and triggering the plot.
    • The setting. Holy shit, the setting. Steampunk sorcery, evil witches, clockwork automatons, plant horrors, steamer ships and… Karnaka is just cool. More, the stylized art-style has a timeless quality.

Mixed

    • Mostly excellent map design, which is intellectually challenging to traverse. However some of Meagan’s maps were a little linear for my taste. She was the DLC character, so that makes sense, but still.
  • Cons
    • Corvo and Emily are a little bland personality-wise. They are fully voice-acted characters, but the game studio did a bad job of giving them personalities. I wanted them to be as fully fleshed out as Geralt or Shepherd, but instead we got a stock character.

 

I liked the first game when I played it years ago, and I have to say that this game is more polished than it’s predecessor.

Story:

You are the ‘chosen one’ of the dubiously ethical god known only as ‘the Outsider,’ an eldritch teenager who’s favorite pastime is meddling in mortal affairs by giving people powers and seeing what mistakes they make with them. He gave powers to Delilah, the antagonist, and she used them to overthrow Emily and unleash a reign of terror upon the Empire of Dunwall. Emily/Corvo is forced to go on the run. The Outsider, being a jackass, decides now is an excellent time to give you powers so you can regain your throne (or, if you play as Corvo, you can help your daughter Emily regain her throne).

You travel south to the city of Karnaka, a bloodfly infested Art Deco city on the coast, where silver mines choke the air with grit. Karnaka is where Delilah achieved immortality, and it’s now up to you to find out how she did it and to undo it. You must use your magic and what tech you can scrounge together to save your friends, defeat your enemies and regain Emily’s throne.

That’s the story of Dishonored 2. Dishonored :Death of the Outsider, follows it.

In DotO, you are Meagan Foster (AKA Billy Lurk), a side character from Dishonored 2 and a re-occuring character from the DLC of the first game. You have to save Daud, the protagonist of the first game’s DLC, and together hunt down and kill the Outsider (or spare his life).

Gameplay:

Dishonored 2 is a ‘play it your way’ stealth assassination game. The goal of it is to infiltrate your way into a secured location and kill someone… or you can spare them and instead subject your target to a non-lethal fate.

My preferred play style is nonviolent and stealthy, which is the harder playstyle. In Dishonored 1 the game designers failed to add very many nonviolent-stealthy mechanics to the game so the game became very repetitive as you used the same abilities and items the whole game. In this game + it’s DLC (really ‘Dishonored: Death of the Outsider is a standalone, 8 hour game and not DLC) the designers provided many more mechanics for the non-lethal player, which has added depth to this game’s gameplay.  Playing this way requires methodical skill and patience… and frequent saves. Frequent saves.

Emily’s kit is designed for subterfuge and stealth, avoiding her enemies rather than killing them.

You can also kill everyone you see. You can carve a bloody swath across the city of Karnaka, killing the guilty and innocent alike. Pull out your sword, gun and crossbow and go to town carving people to bloody lumps, then feed their corpses to the rats once you’re done with ’em. That’s not my style, but whatever floats your boat.

Corvo’s kit is more designed for brutal combat and overpowering his foes.

Finally, a few words about the map design. Some of the levels in Dishonored 2 were simply FANTASTIC. The maps ‘A Crack in the Slab’ and ‘The Clockwork Mansion’ will probably go down in history as some of the best levels in any game ever. And by ever, I mean EVER. The time travel mechanic in ‘Crack’ was pure genius and the moving nature of ‘Clockwork’ was mindbending.

Constructive Criticism

I like the teleportation mechanics in DotO more than the main game. In the main game your teleport has a hefty cooldown if you don’t want to pay a heavy fee, whereas in the DLC you have three charges of teleport. This makes the movement in the DLC more fluid and feel snappier.

The map design in the main game of Dishonored 2 is better than it is in DotO. In D2 you have more tools in your toolbox for finding routes into your enemies fortress and eliminating them- both Corvo and Emily had more spells than Meagan. This meant that each destination in the game had at least two, and usually three or four, ways you can get to it. This lead to great choose-your-way gameplay. In Death of the Outsider, there were frequently just one method to solve a puzzle/get into a location.

I suspect the game designers had to make Meagan’s maps simpler because Meagan just didn’t have the same set of tools which Corvo or Emily did. Meagan just needed more spells- she only had three, none of which had any realistic combat applications. Compare to Corvo or Emily who each had six different spells, four of which had combat applications. I liked that Meagan had all her spells unlocked from the start, but the mere fact that she couldn’t unlock more was disappointing.

Net total I had fun, and in a few years I’ll probably come back to these games and play ’em again.

 

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