Dishonored 2 5/5 Stars
Dishonored 2 is an action/adventure stealth game developed by Arkane Studios. You play as either Emily, the young Empress, or Corvo, Emily’s father and Royal Protector. The game’s story begins with the main antagonist, Delilah, staging a coup through both superior technology and magic. This forces your deposed protagonist to flee and begin a mission to “take back what’s yours,” as the game’s tagline reads.
Early in the game you are approached by The Outsider, a morally ambiguous supernatural being who grants power to the marginalized, as well as a choice of whether or not to use those powers to increase the chaos of the world through violence. Dishonored 2, unlike its predecessor, allows you to reject The Outsider’s powers entirely. However, if you do accept these powers, an impressive toolkit of magical abilities becomes available to compliment your gadgets and weapons.
Despite the plethora of cool ways to kill in Dishonored 2, the game pulls no punches in giving those actions consequences. Acts of violence lead to a darker, more grotesque world infested with pests and discord. Non-violent solutions, however, improve the world around you. Only by rising above the violence of your enemies can you reduce the chaos and have a happy ending.
One of the greatest strengths of Dishonored 2 is the “play your way” design philosophy giving players exceptional freedom of choice. The level design encourages multiple paths to each objective as you use the environment to your advantage. Everything from what weapons and powers to use, to whether or not to use lethal force, makes Dishonored 2 a deeply customizable experience.
Dishonored 2 is notable for having excellent replay value. Not only are there multiple endings depending on how you play, but each character has their own unique powers and personal history in the world to explore. With this variety of options, Dishonored 2 can be played several times with a distinctly different experience each time.
The story of Dishonored 2 is a unique moral parable. While the game gives you the tools for wanton violence it also won’t reward you for it. The message is that violence and revenge are easy when you’ve been wronged, but will only lead to a darker world. The only way to end the game as a hero is through mercy. Doing the right thing and improving the world might be harder, but in the end, it’s worth it (2 Timothy 2:22).
Dishonored 2 stands as one of the best games I’ve played in years, and is one I plan to play through again. If you enjoy stealthy gameplay and compelling storytelling, I cannot recommend Dishonored 2 highly enough as a master class of the genre.
Chris Clark | Portland | Northern New England