I’ve always found there to be a weird link between games like BioShock, Deus Ex and Dishonored. All of them are first-person but all of them are totally committed to building strong and believable worlds. There’s some linked history between them all as well. The original Dishonored worked so well because it married the Thief franchises well-designed stealth mechanics with Deus Ex’s almost trademark penchant for successfully inviting players to explore every nook of every level. Dishonored 2 is largely the same beast as its predecessor – but it’s bigger, it’s grander and it generally does everything much, much better.
Dishonored 2 takes place fifteen years after the events of the original game. Emily Kaldwin has grown older and has assumed her role as the Empress of the Isles. Following her redevelopment of Dunwall and its expansion, Emily and her royal protector Corvo Attano are embroiled in a coup which results in Delilah, a mysterious woman claiming to be Emily’s aunt, assuming the throne and banishing Emily and Corvo out of Dunwall. With nowhere to go, they flee to Kanarca to investigate who Delilah is and how to take back what’s rightfully theirs.
What I enjoyed about Dishonored 2 is that it’s very unapologetic in that if you never played the first game or any of its downloadable content you’ll probably be a little bit lost. There are recaps on the original games events, sure, but there’s an element of “wink-wink nudge-nudge” when the main villainess reveals herself in the opening chapter. There’s plenty of superficial references to previous characters in the series – especially given that Emily herself grew up with them – but make no mistakes, this is a story that can be improved by anyone. If anything, it’s probably a more surprising outcome if you’re playing Dishonored 2 fresh.