E3 2016: Dishonored 2 Preview

Bethesda’s pre-E3 conference talked about a lot of cool things – new DOOM DLC, an Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim remaster, Quake Champions, another attempt at a Prey reboot and VR Fallout 4 but the thing that drew my attention more than anything else was the presence and focus on the upcoming Dishonored 2. Developer Arkane Studios’ follow up to the well received 2012 supernatural assassination stealth game.

Dishonored 2 takes the series away from the city of Dunwall and brings its unique action to a new, coastal city named Karnaca 15 years on from the original. The story revolves around the Empress Emily Kaldwin, who after years of reigning over a peaceful empire, finds herself suddenly deposed by an otherworldly usurper and her power stripped away. Alongside former bodyguard/father figure Corvo, together they need to flee Dunwall, expose a deep conspiracy and use their supernatural powers to take back the throne.

From gameplay seen, the sequel appears to make use of the same stealth gameplay that made the original so memorable, with players able to make use of supernatural powers and an array of gadgets and traps to work their way through the game’s campaign and picking off their designated targets. As with its predecessor, it’s likely that experimentation and finding useful combinations of these abilities will be necessary in order to successfully complete the game as the developers have stated they wish for this to be a much longer and more challenging game than the original.

Developers Arkane have made the effort to increase replayability in Dishonored 2 as well. The game will feature a pair of protagonists – leading man from the original Corvo and newcomer Emily Kaldwin the now deposed empress. Each of the characters has their own unique powers and abilities which can now be upgraded via a series of skill trees. Said skill trees will allow finer control over evolution of power and will give options as to how to advance them, whether those choices be either lethal or non-lethal. It has also been revealed that it is possible to refuse receiving the Outworld powers altogether, leaving players to head through the game with naught but standard melee/ranged weaponry. No doubt there will also be an achievement/trophy for making your way through the game without killing anyone as well – so make that at least four different ways to experience the same campaign. Four!

The Chaos system is also making a comeback, giving player actions and choices a chance to shape the subsequent narrative and appearance of the world. This time around however there appears to be a better balance of lethal and non-lethal options in play so that players are not locked into high chaos environments simply for playing around with the powers at their disposal. During the game, players will also be able to encounter and assist various factions existing in the world, or simply avoid infighting altogether and watch on from a distance.

The original Dishonored was one of my favourite games of 2012, with consequences, deep gameplay and an immersive game world, it was a truly memorable experience. Dishonored 2 looks to improve on just about every aspect of the first title and with multiple characters, a better power levelling system, the return of chaos levels, and the appearance of factions and decisions which will shape players’ journeys to make things a little more personal, it’s hard not to get excited for its release, this 11th of November.

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