Dishonored 2 is an action adventure video game developed by Arkane Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks. The sequel to 2012’s Dishonored, the game was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on 11 November 2016. After Empress Emily Kaldwin is deposed by the witch Delilah Copperspoon, the player may choose between playing as either Emily or her Royal Protector and father Corvo Attano as they attempt to reclaim the throne. Emily and Corvo employ their own array of supernatural abilities, though the player can alternatively decide to forfeit these abilities altogether. Due to the game’s nonlinear gameplay, there is a multitude of ways to complete missions, from non-lethal stealth to purposeful violent conflict.
Ideas for Dishonored 2 began while developing the downloadable content of its predecessor, which spawned the decision to create a voice for Corvo Attano after being a silent character in the first installment. The advancement of the timeline was brought about once Emily Kaldwin, a child in Dishonored, was proposed as a playable character. The game’s aesthetic was influenced by paintings and sculptures. Set in the fictional city of Karnaca, its history was invented over the course of one year. The city itself was based on Southern European/Mediterranean countries like Greece, Italy, and Spain, drawing on the architecture, fashion, and technologies of 1851. Voice actors include Rosario Dawson, Sam Rockwell, Robin Lord Taylor, Jamie Hector, Pedro Pascal, and Vincent D’Onofrio.
Dishonored 2 was released to a positive reception. Praised were the improvements made since the first game: the more challenging stealth, the adaptability of Emily and Corvo’s abilities to both play styles, the art direction, the creative design of individual missions, the realization of the game’s world as well as the replay-value and the artificial intelligence. Criticism was directed at the lack of focus of the overarching narrative. Aside from this, technical blunders, as well as issues with the PC version at launch, were received unfavorably. Dishonored 2 won the award for Best Action/Adventure Game at The Game Awards 2016 and for Costume Design at the 2017 NAVGTR Awards.
Dishonored 2 is an action-adventure game with stealth elements played from a first-person perspective. After playing as Empress Emily Kaldwin during the prologue, players may decide to play either as Emily or as Corvo Attano, the protagonist from Dishonored, the previous game. Side missions unlock alternate methods of assassination, non-lethal approaches and paths to navigate the main mission. Both characters wield a pistol, crossbow, a retractable blade, grenades and mines—all of which are upgradable. Upgrades may be purchased at black market shops found throughout levels, and blueprints scattered throughout the environment unlock new upgrades. Coin is required to buy these upgrades, which can be found throughout levels or gained from other collectibles, like stealing paintings. Players can choose whether to play stealthily or not and can finish the game without taking a life. Health elixirs and food consumables will restore health, while mana elixirs replenish mana.
Enemy detection works on line-of-sight, with players being able to use cover or high areas out of enemies’ cones of vision to stay undetected. Darkness can aid the player in staying hidden, but it is only effective at a distance. Enemy alert meters and musical cues let the player know if they have been spotted. Noise will cause enemies to go to investigate, including noise made by broken bottles or the player striking a sword against a wall; this may be used deliberately to lure guards into traps or disrupt their patrol route. Players can look through keyholes to help them survey a room before entering and can lean to look from cover without fully exposing themselves. The player is able to be detected if they peer out from behind a wall for too long, a feature not seen in Dishonored. To avoid detection, the player may choke people out or slit their throats. Bodies can be carried away and concealed. Alarms can be disabled to assure that enemies are not alerted to the player’s presence. Walls of Light, deadly electrical barriers powered by wind or whale oil, are subject to have their power turned off or be rewired so that only enemies are killed by going through them. Whale oil canisters explode on harsh impact, and can be thrown at enemies to that end.
Dishonored 2 introduces non-lethal combat moves to throw people off-balance or knock someone unconscious—choke-holds, blocks, pushes, kicks, crouch-slides, drops from high up, sleep darts, stun mines, and various supernatural abilities—and features the chaos system used in the first game. The player gains chaos by killing characters, representative of the player destabilizing the world. The game adds an element to the system where, at the start of a mission, random non-player characters are procedurally assigned one of three states: sympathetic, guilty, and murderous. Killing a “sympathetic” person gives the player more chaos than killing others, while in contrast killing a murderous character gives the player a lesser amount. The amount of chaos accrued affects the dialog used by Emily and Corvo and the quantity of enemies present in each given level. Further, insects called bloodflies make nests in corpses; therefore if many people are killed, there will be an increase in bloodflies. Loot can be found in the nests which, if destroyed, can be obtained. The bloodflies similarly encourage the player to hide bodies from them while on a mission. Each level in the game is intended to have a unique theme, in either fiction or game mechanic. In one level, the player is confronted with two factions each with their own assassination target, and may use the level’s reoccurring dust storms for cover. In another, time distortion is introduced as the player traverses an abandoned mansion in ruins. The player is given a device that lets them glimpse three years into the past, where the mansion is still occupied and guards roam, and can shift back and forth between the two points in time.