Dishonored is a fantastic stealth game and was one of the highlights of 2012. The incredible sense of freedom to sneak around multi-layered environments as Corvo the Assassin proved to be both refreshing and unique.
The sequel is just a few weeks away from launch, and with Bethesda revealing an abundance of new information at E3 and in recent trailers, we’ve compiled everything you need to know about Corvo and Emily’s next adventure.
Live-action trailer: Take Back What's Yours
Dishonored 2 takes place 15 years after the first game, during which there has been a fragile peacetime.But now Kaldwin has been deposed from her rightful throne, plunging the Empire of Isles back into chaos.
Kaldwin and Attano must join together to regain power, taking the game away from the industrial city of Dunwall where the original game was set, and towards the more prosperous coastal town of Karnaca.
I died a lot during my time with Dishonored 2. Not because the game was unfair. Not because the game was hard. But because Arkane dares you to try. Try to Blink across that chasm as Corvo. Try to Far Reach onto that precarious ledge as Emily. There are myriad possibilities in every inch of Dishonored 2’s beautifully designed world.
Getting the chance to run around and cause havoc in one of the early missions, I’m pretty confident Arkane has another Game of the Year contender on its hands.
I was given two hours to explore mission four: The Clockwork Mansion. Emily or Corvo is tasked with infiltrating the luxurious abode of one Kirin Jindosh, a mad scientist who’s filled the place with contraptions and creations, including Clockwork Soldiers, capable of killing any unwanted visitors. An old friend – Anton Sokolov – has been kidnapped by Jindosh, and must be rescued along the way.
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The mission begins right outside the mansion. I’m free to explore the outside of the building before heading inside and beginning the mission proper, so of course I immediately turn and head in the opposite direction.
Across the way is a giant industrial complex. Between Emily and said estate lies a series of collapses staircases, huge chasms between them. Now’s the time to toy with Emily’s new powers. First up is Far Reach – think of it as a shadow grappling hook. It works the same as Corvo’s Blink, except Emily is able to pull herself toward the target, even propelling her beyond.
The chasm is too great to make, so I leap and try to Far Reach in mid-air. Miss. Death. Three minutes in, I’m already reloading the start of the demo. Unperturbed, I try again and pull it off by using a succession of Far Reaches and land at the complex, smack-bang in the middle of three guards. Thankfully Emily’s second power, Shadow Walk, allows her to turn into a grotesque, hidden creature that’s able to crawl in a more discreet form. She’s still noticeable to enemies, though it takes them a bit longer to turn hostile.
This is Dishonored’s greatest strength: handing the player the tools to adapt to any given situation. I come across a multitude of guards, and take them out in a ways that any Dishonored fan will appreciate. I throw a couple into a wall of light, I tranquilize one with a sleeping dart before choking his friend unconscious and dropping both off in a dumpster. I even take out two guards at once thanks to Emily’s final (and my favourite) power, Domino, which allows you to chain multiple human targets together and dispatch them at once in a chain reaction. So if you set one guard on fire, guess what, all in the chain are going to be extra crispy.
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It isn’t until I’ve spent around 30 minutes in this industrial playground that I’m told this is the section before the mansion, which the player will have already explored before arriving at Jindosh’s abode.
So I head back, and am now ready to take on Jindosh. It should be noted at this point how great Dishonored 2 looks. I’m playing on PC, and Arkane has given the game a noticeable facelift while maintaining the same gorgeous art style, with a much-needed injection of colour. This is no more apparent than in the mad creator’s home. The rooms are awash with vibrant reds and golds, light shines off of the varnished wood floors. It’s a very pretty game.
I pull a lever in the foyer of the mansion, which transforms the entire room. The floor moves and display cabinets are replaced with new furniture, all happening in real time. It’s another stunning feat of level design to watch a room change from one layout to the next. And the best part is it can all be exploited – I just didn’t realise how much until I ran through rooms multiple times.
Moving from room to room, taking out Jindosh’s guards, sneaking through vents and pulling levers to redecorate the place, I fell through one of the floors as it was lowered. I assumed I was stuck. I’ve broken the game, glitched it, clipped through a wall or something. I was then informed that getting under the floorboards is something Arkane has more than accounted for.
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I then begin to work my way around this “backstage” area. Unfortunately, there are a few Clockwork Soldiers around, which are able to emit one-hit-kill electrical charges. Thankfully they’re pretty easy to dispatch once you get up close.
Earlier in the level I’d become completely flummoxed while trying to find a way into a lift in order to reach Sokolov, which was the second part of my mission. However, now I’m under the floorboards, I don’t even need the lift, and soon I’m staring at Sokolov.
Sokolov is being kept in a maze, having been used in some horrific human experiments by Jindosh. After rescuing him from his bed, I turn to head towards the elevator. Unfortunately the lift is now occupied by three guards. A quick Domino link of two guards and a shot to the head leaves me just one. I go for overkill, using an explosive round.
All that’s left now is Jindosh, who is on the top floor of this building. Reaching his laboratory I can see he’s flanked on either side by a Clockwork Soldier. The autonomous bots are fiendishly perceptive, so I need to use the tall bookshelves surrounding them to avoid detection.
I could, theoretically, just shoot Jindosh with the crossbow. Mission complete. But I want to find the non-lethal ending. I Far Reach behind his desk. He’s a yard away from me, but I can’t act yet. On the desk is a scrawl of paper detailing his experiments on Sokolov, and the horrific treatment they entailed. There’s mention of an electric chair in this very lab, capable of turning a man’s brain to mush. I’ve found the non-lethal completion. Now I just need to kill the Clockwork Soldiers.
Unfortunately, my demo crashed at this point, with all my saves disappearing in the process. I was utterly devastated, but out of this moment I got to see the sheer amount of depth Dishonored 2 has to offer.
Naturally, the team at Bethesda has played the game a fair bit, so despite restarting the demo, I was shown a way of getting back to Jindosh’s lab in less than two minutes. Obviously I’m not going to tell you. These are my secrets
Back in the lab, I quickly dispatch the Clockwork Soldiers, opting for a full-chaos approach: I hit Sokolov with a stun dart and dump him in the chair. Mission complete.
The first Dishonored is one of my favourite games. It’s sheer depth, choice and freedom make it one of the most liberating experiences any player can enjoy. Being given a toybox and told to play any way you want, with all of it working well, is a credit to the team at Arkane. The level design on show is astonishing.
Dishonored 2 takes it a step further and delivers one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had in gaming. This mission alone was filled with so many laughs, gasps and moments of elation, simply because I was able to adapt to any situation and was always rewarded for exploring just a little further.
The added diversity of Emily and Corvo’s powers gives me even greater incentive to replay a game I’ve already planned on completing multiple times, too. It’ll be a game I spend an awful lot of time playing come November.