EB Expo 2016 – Dishonored 2 Impressions

Dishonored 2 is the sequel to the original title that released back in 2012 and was playable at this year’s EB Expo 2016 to attendees.  Fortunately we were given the opportunity to run wild with our hands on preview with no clocks or stop watches hanging over our heads, except for those in the game.  With no time limit in sight, both CJ and I each grabbed our own controllers and delved in to the world that is Dishonored 2.

Dishonored 2 continues the action with our protagonist Corvo Attano and also a new member of the royal family, Emily Kaldwin. It’s been 15 years since Corvo rescued Emily, however Emily has become an assassin also and is once again trying to retake her throne.  It’s up to you to fight and restore order and seek out those who wish to destroy you.

Paul “Playing as Corvo”

As a fan of the first Dishonored title I was keen to jump straight into Dishonored 2 and lucky for me, our particular section of code was set a few chapters in and was called the Clockwork Mansion.  There were no tutorials and slow paced gameplay here, as I was thrust straight into the game.  I began by pressing LB to bring up my inventory wheel, where I could select from the various weapons, ammunition, arrows, healing flasks and a host of special abilities.  The quick selection wheel was a great idea that put all commands easily at the palm of your hands as well as the ability to assign 4 selections to the d-pad. 

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The Clockwork Mansion initially on the surface seemed like any other mansion, with the exception of a wealth of puzzles.  I’m not referring to simply sneaking behind the old bookcase trick, but more a completely reshuffling of the structure and elements of the mansion itself.  Shortly after I ran up the stairs, I needed to cut the power to an electrical gate which otherwise would have electrocuted me to death.  I proceeded to pull the lever and literally half the floor and walls folded away as another floor with stairs emerged showing me the way to the lower levels.  Suddenly I had a new area to explore as well as new puzzles to contend with.  Clockwork Mansion was filled with many puzzles, secret areas and hidden pathways that I am sure I only scratched the surface.

I chose to play as Corvo during my hands on experience as it felt the better place to start in terms of using a character that I was familiar with from the past.  Emily also has similar powers to Corvo, but also packs a few new powers to the Dishonored series.  Despite all the powers at my disposal, I had the choice once again to play the silent assassin, or go out guns blazing.  I initially tried using sleeping darts on my enemies which seemed to do the trick, however you need to ensure that you hide the bodies so as to not be discovered and cause an alarm to be raised.  Although for the purposes of this level, our presence in the mansion was already well and truly noted.

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As I moved around the mansion many things became clear to me.  Firstly the controls and the way Corvo moves were very polished, and never did I get stuck against objects or find movement to be slow and tiresome.  Corvo responded quickly to the challenges ahead, then again so did the enemies as they moved rather quickly when I tried to run away and recharge my health meter.  Visually Dishonored 2 looks amazing, with crisp visuals and smooth gameplay.  There was no texture popping or screen tearing here, not even the occasional frame rate drop either.  The whole environment was extremely detailed, right down to the fruit in bowls and the glass display cabinets around the mansion, you can certainly see the effort that has been put in here to create a truly immersive world.

Scattered around the various halls, rooms and secret passages are a range of collectible notes and letters that much like its predecessor provide a further insight into the characters and their stories, however I didn’t dwell too much on these given I was conscious of the time.

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It wasn’t long before I reached the end of the level and exited the mansion and it was here my gameplay session ended.  I walked away from Dishonored 2 yearning for more.  I wanted to sit back down for another hour and a half and experience the same level from Corvo’s perspective, but that will have to wait until Dishonored 2’s release.

CJ “Playing as Emily”

Having thoroughly enjoyed Dishonored, I was keen to see what Dishonored 2 had to offer. I got to play as Emily Kaldwin who, although similar to Corvo, had her own abilities and skills that set her apart and hence I plan to be doing a separate complete play through with both characters once the game is released. Just the different abilities alone bring a different play style for the player.

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What I really liked about the game came from a tip advised before I grabbed the controller, it was to spend the time to look around, don’t dash through to your objective. This is great advice and I enjoyed my time just checking out the building and everything inside. You find objects to interact with as well as extra supplies. The level we played was a beautifully detailed building with hidden areas galore. The transforming rooms not only add extra places to explore but also can allow you to sneak past enemies without conflict if desired. What was really clever was the space between the walls enabling alternate paths to choose from.

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When I decided to conduct some “wet work,” I was presented with a combat system that was intuitive, smooth and at times, a challenge which I enjoyed. The demo controlled well and I did not notice many issues in regards to quality or glitches, and those that I did were considered acceptable considering it was not a final release of the game. If I wasn’t excited before (I was) I certainly am now, this is a game that I look forward to playing until completion.

Overall

Dishonored 2 is shaping up to be a fantastic title that releases soon on the 11th of November 2016, and it will be one that we will both be picking up on launch.  We both cannot wait to explore the rest of the city, the only question is which character will we select when we begin?

Edit: I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank Bethesda for giving us the opportunity to experience Dishonored 2 at the EB Expo 2016 media event.  It was an absolute pleasure and we thank you for the opportunity you gave us.

Written by

Paul Barbara

I've been an avid gamer since I was 5 and owned almost all systems possible in that time. I love podcasting, having produced over 280 episodes over the last 7 years and I get a real buzz out of discussing all this gaming news with other gamers. So tune in!

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