Review: Dishonored 2 (PS4)

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Formats:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • PC

Format/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 / PS4 Pro
  • 4K
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Title: Dishonored 2
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PSN (48.03 GB)
Release Date: November 11, 2016
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Developer: Arkane Studios
Original MSRP: $59.99
ESRB Rating: M
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
I missed out on the original Dishonored. I can say, “missed out” with certainty because, even if the first game was a fraction of what its sequel is, there was a gaming experience that I am less fortunate for having missed. Having been tasked with reviewing the sequel, I have made amends and will more than likely pick up the prior game.

Dishonored 2 proves, like very few other games, that stealth and action gameplay styles can mix well together, and that both can exist within the same shell with little to no sacrifice to the enjoyment of a gaming experience. I’ve made it no secret that I am terrible at stealth gameplay, and with the exception of Rise of the Tomb Raider, I am constantly the victim of enemies spotting me, ending my ninja tactics almost as immediately as they begin.

This game doesn’t give a (pick your expletive). The tight gameplay allows you to successfully navigate environments and blend into your environments, making you almost invisible to your enemies. But if you happen to get caught, you have so many skills and combat abilities at your disposal that you will make your opponents wished they had just looked the other way. That is, of course, if you don’t decide to end them with a sneak attack regardless.

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For those, like me, who may have missed out on the first title, Dishonored 2 plays like an action adventure game. “Mirror’s Edge crossed with Skyrim” might have been the sales pitch. While not completely open-world, the levels are enormous and allow for, nay, welcome, exploration and experimentation. There are various ways to approach situations. Again, whether you favor stealth or full-on “going nuts”.

Initially, you are given the choice of playing one of two characters: Emily or her father, Corvo who is the protagonist of the first game. I chose Emily for my first playthrough. Both characters share a similar story, with variations in dialogue and references making the real difference here. And both share a similar combat style, although skill sets differ as your progress. In fact, you are also given a choice to bypass any “magical” techniques early on as well, an option I chose to keep.

… the feeling of freedom that this game provides …
Both combat and exploration are handled well, despite the first-person vantage point that, in my opinion, has always hindered swordplay and stealth. Not only is your character able to perceive enemies around a corner, but you also have the ability to slide and jump into action, closing the gap between you and a thug, at times, before he even knows you are coming. You are also afforded ranged weapons, in the form of crossbows and guns, the former being the obvious in stealth attempts.

I cannot stress enough the feeling of freedom that this game provides. I never quite felt like I was limited when trying to approach a destination. That’s not to say that further playthroughs might not expose invisible walls, but I was constantly experimenting with ways to approach a situation, and that made for a grand ol’ time.

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Visuals:
This game is beautiful on PlayStation 4 and sharp on PlayStation 4 Pro. Regardless of your console, Dishonored 2 is beautiful, with steam-punkish influences and amazing details hidden in every dark alley or dingy apartment.

Character models are also highly detailed, while remaining stylized in “The Dishonored Look” versus hyper-realistic. Lighting is absolutely award winning here, with atmosphere owing credit to some fantastic use of said lighting.

… manages to successfully place you in the eyes of a badass without sacrificing gameplay …
Since the entire game is experienced in first-person, you get quite a few close encounters with enemies and no sacrifices were made in maintaining quality in close quarters.

These first-person high-octane games are risky. You are experiencing action sequences usually reserved for third-person games like Devil May Cry while looking through the eyes of a character. Dishonored 2 manages to successfully place you in the eyes of a badass without sacrificing gameplay, regardless of its perspective.

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Audio:
Ambience and dialogue create a living world. Nasty bugs buzz in your ear, if your sound system supports it, and echo-y chatter reverberates through alleyways. Fighting also “feels” good with that combination of “swoosh” and “clank” that accompanies the intensity of combat.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is singleplayer only with no online component.

Conclusion:
I can always appreciate a game that gives me the freedom of playing how I prefer to play while maintaining an entertaining edge regardless of that approach. At no point throughout the campaign did I feel that Dishonored was driving me in a particular direction.

Quite a few times I approached a situation wanting to be a ninja and sneak my way in, only to say “screw this” and rush in guns blazing and swords slicing. Not once did I feel that my approach was incorrect or made for a less engaging experience. I knew very little about this series when I jumped into this review. Now I will keep a very sharp eye open for any future entries.

Score:
9.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4 Pro.

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