I've pre ordered this game. I'm not joking, It took almost 5 years until I finally completed it. I tried playing it when it got released, but it had some weird graphical bug that made it look awful at that time, so I stopped playing after the first level. Then it completely fell to the sideline and I lacked motivation to try it again.
The game feels more like a 2.0 than an actual 2. What I mean by that is that the game hasn't evolved much. It feels the same, exactly the same. Even the main plot is almost the same.
The story was just average in Dishonored, but this time it seems like Swiss cheese to me: It stinks and it's full of holes. I didn't enjoy the story. There was no real intrigue, there was no mystery, not even any interesting characters. And since the plot is again about a coup, it all felt regurgitated, we have been here before. It's one thing to do an unoriginal story, but doing the same unoriginal story twice? What can I say to that. This empire seems all too easy to take over by anyone, and all the people are all too eager to betray their empress.
What actually is different in the game, is that now you can choose who you play as. Although this does not change much in how you play, the changes are purely in dialogue. You can play again as Corvo the royal bodyguard. Or as Emily the empress. Since I had my fill of Corvo in the first game I choose Emily.
Which also leads to a mistake in the game. Since everyone knows your face you wear a mask. But I have no idea what is the purpose of the mask as all guards and overseers will attack you on sight even in public places. So this is compleletely pointless.
There is also the option to play without magical powers if you want. Well I wanted, which is not a popular option as less than 3% of players have finished the game this way. Magic is very prevalent in the story, it's not as grounded as the first game. Yes that had some magic and witchcraft too but it wasn't the main plot.
One more thing about the plot, is that the game warned me about playing in high chaos, that it will make your character cynical and the ending very dark. Well, it didn't seem that dark to me in the end. If you are going out of your way to hype up the path as dark, you'd better put your writing skills where your mouth is at.
Enough about the story, let's examine the gameplay.
The enemy AI is now faster to detect you and can detect you from much further, which makes sneaking more interesting. But otherwise the soldiers are as dumb as ever. But there is a new enemy type, a mechanical soldier, that has eyes on it's back, and almost unkillable by conventional means. So that's great. You can't kill it, and you can't sneak past it. If their goal was to make the game annoying congratulations, they succeeded. Thankfully this monstrosity only appears on a few levels, but even that is too much.
On a positive note, the graphics is much better than of Dishonored. It actually looks good now, except for the character models, those still look awkward and hatchet faced. Emily in the promotional poster and on pictures looks quite beautiful but the in-game model has a jaw like Robert Z'Dar. Thankfully you don't see it often. And of course all characters have weird proportions as in the first game.
The level design also got worse. Instead of being semi open, with many different routes to your destination, maps are more linear now. The only choice you have is whether you rewire or disable walls of lights. There are rarely options to go around them anymore. And internal maps are now designed like Doom levels. Imagine three interconnected cul de sacs. Your goal is in the third, but first you need to go into the first to get item A to unlock door in the second dead end area, where you can turn on power to be able to reach the third. Of course this is an oversimplification, but the basic concept of all maps is like this in Dishonored 2.
There was one interesting level, which I both hated and liked. I hated it because I hate magic, especially when it's out of place, and this certainly felt out of place. There was a map where you could travel back and forth in time, and it made for some interesting puzzles. But it was very ex-machina that we got the ability to time travel just out of nowhere.
- Stealth Gameplay
- Environment graphics
- Pacifist option
- No magic option
- Weird, uncanny looking people
- Annoying new enemy types
- Lacking level design
- Ending cinematic was very underwhelming
- The touted dark and cynical ending wasn't that dark or cynical
Overall impression: 6/10
All things considered I did not hate the game, it was a fun game, just slightly worse than the first. Mainly thanks to the level design and the weak and uninteresting plot.