Dishonored surprised many when it released in 2012, a loving continuation of concepts and ideas found in older PC titles like Deus Ex and Thief. The game had a unique look to it, with the fictional city of Dunwall taking inspiration from late 19th century London, pirate adventure, and steampunk-style iconography. Dishonored wrapped all that in a freeform stealth action game, offering objectives and allowing players to find their way forward. There's literally nothing like it on the market.
Now Dishonored and Arkane Studios return with a sequel, building upon the great foundation the studio laid in 2012.
What is it?
Dishonored 2 is the continuation of the story of Corvo Attano, a former bodyguard wrongly accused of murdering his Empress as part of a coup. Visited by the Outsider, a supernatural being with his own reasons to interfere, Corvo is granted supernatural abilities. With his new powers, gadgets, and cunning, Corvo goes on a roaring rampage of revenge, killing those who had assassinated his Empress, kidnapped her daughter, and falsely accused him.
Dishonored 2 picks up that story fifteen years later. Instead of the city of Dunwall, the sequel is set in the city of Karnaca, part of the Empire of the Isles. Emily is older and free, but she's been removed from her throne. Players can choose between the older Emily Kaldwin or her bodyguard Corvo Attano, as they seek to regain her throne.
Dishonored 2 diverges heavily from the first game by adding non-lethal combat moves this time around. Chaos returns from the first game and by killing enemies, you create more chaos. The twist is enemies are categorized as either sympathetic, guilty, or murderous. Killing a sympathetic foe gains far more chaos, which changes the overall thrust of the game: how many guards are around, how NPCs react to the player, and even your ending.
It is an annual franchise?
This is only the second Dishonored game, released four years after the inaugural entry. It's safe to say that Dishonored isn't an annual franchise.
Are we excited?
Hell yeah, we are! The first Dishonored was an absolute blast to play. I'm a big fan of stealth action games and while Dishonored may not be the best, it does offer more liberal options for how players complete their objectives. You're given a sandbox, a wide variety of tools, and told to make your way forward. Good luck!
Dishonored 2 is building on that, offering even more choices to the player. Sure, you could kill the guard below, but if they're sympathetic, then you've made your life harder elsewhere. If you kill someone, bloodflies will gather around the body, which can alert other guards. Perhaps it's better to let that guard live and find another way around. Or perhaps you can use a non-lethal takedown to dispatch the target. I play and replay Dishonored for the choices - most of which involve murder of some sort - that are spread out in front of me.
Hell, Arkane will let players actually turn down The Outsider's offer for powers, meaning you'll be forced to player through the game without any special abilities. I'll never make that choice, but the fact that it's in the game is indicative of an openness on the part of Arkane. Give players choices and respect their intelligence; Arkane understands that players will reward you if you trust them.