I had the chance to sink about three hours into Dishonored 2. Granted, it was only one level, but the fact that I was able to sink such a long amount of time playing through the level time and time again, using different strategies is testament to the game’s solid level design.
Even before entering the Clockwork Mansion, I felt a sense of mystery and wonder which really had me excited to enter. Upon entering it was a completely different story. The eeriness of the initially dark and empty rooms had me confused, but it wasn’t long before I was able to start pulling a number of levers which would unleash enemies and traps upon me.
The Clockwork Mansion is set 3-4 hours into the game and the difficulty of the version that I played through is said to be less difficult than the final product. This surprised me as the level was quite difficult in terms of enemy design. Although, every time I died, I felt like it was entirely my fault which was important.
I had two main objections in the level. The first was to rescue a doctor without injuring him. In order to find him, I had to solve many puzzles, all of which were challenging yet satisfying. Once I had successfully rescued him, it was time to turn my attention to the main enemy in the Mansion. Similarly, I had to solve a completely different puzzle in order to find him and it was then up to me to decide whether I slit his throat, or disposed of him more stealthily.
Stealth and combat are two entirely different, but viable options in Dishonored 2. If there was one thing that was clear throughout the demo, it’s that you really have to choose your play style and stick to it. It’s the way to success and the developers have really done well to build a game that lends itself to both play styles. I was able to successfully complete the level as both Emily and Corvo in both a stealth and combat-crazy manner.
Now, usually stealth games aren’t really my thing. I’m much too impatient to wait for the perfect opportunity and like to go in guns blazing. However, in Dishonored 2, it felt different, it felt right. I’m not sure if it’s because of the variety of weapons and powers at your disposal in order to pull off stealthy group kills. The variety definitely stops the stealth from getting repetitive and feeling like a chore.If I’m being completely honest, I was expecting much more of a difference in how Corvo and Emily play. Sure, their powers are quite different, but the basics feel extremely similar. Maybe this will differ further down the track as I only had access to a small amount of their abilities. Similarly, their powers aid you in your play through and are equally satisfying to pull off. I was able to get really creative in how I’d approach situations using the powers.
Emily had access to three different powers:
Far Reach which allowed Emily to grab onto an object in the distance and quickly rush towards it
Shadow Walk which allows Emily to be much lower to the ground and assassinate her enemies without being spotted
Domino which allows Emily to link a certain number of enemies together in order to ensure that they serve the same fate. This was easily my favourite as it allowed me to be creative in my attacks.
Corvo also had access to three different powers:
Blink which allowed Corvo to transport. It sounds similar to Emily’s Far Reach however Blink does not require Corvo to attack to an object before transporting.
Bend Time which allowed Corvo to stop time and get out of any stick situation. It was an absolute necessity to use this when unsuccessfully pulling off at stealth chain attack.
Windblast allowed Corvo to essentially push back a group of enemies. I found this less useful than the other abilities, but it was useful for knocking enemies over ledges and such.
You also have the ability to upgrade powers in order to further power them up in a way that suits your play style. For instance, if you use Corvo’s blink to get around, you’re able to extend the range or stop time whilst aiming your blink.
Dishonored 2 has me excited for many reasons. The characters in the game are genuinely interesting. Emily and Corvo seem to have completely different personalities. The Clockwork Mansion had some incredible puzzles that have me excited to play through the rest of the game. I genuinely can’t remember a game that absolutely nailed stealth, combat, atmosphere and puzzles. The balance feels absolutely perfect and it’ll be interesting to see if this comes across to the final product.