Dishonored 2 - Review

Author: Lucy O'Brien
Date: 2020-07-30 23:57:37
Test translated from English by IGN France.

Every playthrough on Dishonored 2 is different. Since the first episode, studio Arkane has doubled the possibilities for the player to play in their own style with the arrival of two distinct skill sets, a deep, multi-faceted universe, as well as a wide range of level-designs that affect your approach for each new area you travel. Whether you choose the stealthy or the brutal approach, each of your parts proves to be a complement to the different plots taking place within this wonderfully twisted universe.

Fifteen years have passed since the events narrated by the first installment, and the world of Emily Kaldwin, the Empress of the Islands, finds itself in the greatest disarray when her evil aunt finds herself on the throne for obscure reasons. . Then comes the crucial decision of this Dishonored 2: Will you play Emily or will you prefer to choose her father and protagonist (main protagonist of the original opus) Corvo Attano? While their stories broadly follow the same pattern, with well-designed, minimalist dialogues tailored to the chosen character, it's important to consider your choice, since you'll be playing it for the 12 to 16 hour campaign, knowing that the duration of this varies according to the approach chosen (with a more expeditious brutal approach and a stealth approach necessarily slower).

Their basic skills are much the same. Players who want to focus on combat have access to a wide range of ammo for their pistol and crossbow, and mines can be used to stun or dismember your enemies. If you prefer to play it stealthily, each of the characters can smother the enemy when you manage to parry their blow with the right timing, and perform silent elimination by diving on them. When it comes to supernatural skills, Emily's "Far Reach" power works roughly the same as Corvo's "Blink" (allowing her to teleport short distances), and both characters can use Vision of Darkness, which allows them to distinguish enemies through walls and facilitates stealth.

Their skills really differ when you reach the later levels and gain the more advanced powers, which actually increase the fun. Take for example Emily's "Domino" skill: this has the effect of "binding" your enemies so that they experience the same fate. You can use this power to slay multiple enemies at once with a single poison dart while lurking in the shadows, or blow up the noggin of one and observe. with relish sprays of blood spurt from a multitude of skulls. If you choose Corvo, your possibilities are just as enjoyable: his ability to manipulate time allows him to stop it completely during the last stages, causes magnificent kills in slow-motion, and offers him a magnificent opportunity to flee after having perpetrated a “old-fashioned” assassination.

All of their skills can be combined in different ways, and playfully experimenting with these different possibilities allows Dishonored 2 to give us some wacky moments. With careful timing and proper preparation, you can for example send one of Emily's doubles into the fray, link the various enemies together with her "Domino" skill, before seeing them sadly cut to pieces. As Corvo, you can stop time in the midst of an alleyway clash and take possession of a nearby rat, which will leave them confused and disoriented when they find their prey has vanished. At its best, Dishonored makes you feel like you can take control of any situation using an almost endless number of creative approaches.

Renew without ceasing interest

You can't count on just one type of approach to get you through in Dishonored 2, as Arkane is constantly evolving the game mechanics within the various chapters on offer, which has the effect of making each of them crucial and unique.

In the Poussièreville district, dust storms obscure your vision every five minutes or so - and these also affect the guards' vision, giving you unique opportunities not found in other maps. In the Mechanical Manor, the layout of each floor can be changed using levers, which gives you quick escape possibilities as well as access to secret areas. When you arrive at the Royal Conservatory, you face enemies using the same teleportation technique as you. You must integrate these changes and evolve your approach according to each situation that presents itself to you.

These unpredictable additions to this (already) complex world kept me constantly on the alert and forced to think as I pursued my targets. And since death is ultimately a binary choice in Dishonored - killing fewer NPCs means you will be blessed with a "happier" ending, killing more will greatly facilitate your progress - this constant focus is very important.

The world and those who live in it

At the same time, the world of Dishonored 2 is proving to be extremely effective in adapting to the chaos that you can sow by traversing it. The city of Karnaca, drawing its architectural inspirations from the cities of Southern Europe, is not only magnificent, with its lush vegetation and its port seemingly devoted to whaling, since it also contains many secrets, Dunwall style for the first Dishonored, with main routes filled with guards, winding lanes, secret entrances and buildings infested with blood flies.

If I noticed some pop-in problems on the Playstation 4 version of the title (the only version used to carry out this test) in open areas - and a single crash - these were not really annoying , and the attention to detail shown by the developers of Arkane is simply astonishing. The beauty and pictorial aesthetics of the original opus have been preserved, and the presence of every piece of furniture, illustration or other architectural oddity seems thoughtful and cohesive. Discovering the coherent universe created by Arkane is certainly part of the joys felt while browsing Karnaca, from the eccentric advertisements to the newspapers shedding light on certain events taking place in this strange universe - the suspects named following a murder, for example, or the advances. technologies that are shaking the world.

The city is full of life. Unlike the deserted streets of Dunwall (town where the previous opus took place), whose emptiness was justified by an epidemic of plague transmitted by rats, Karnaca is a flourishing city. NPCs can offer you optional quests; a merchant may inexplicably ask you to protect him from an approaching enemy band, and you may hear two bloodstained whale hunters discuss the repercussions of your actions a few chapters earlier. If I am to believe my personal experience after performing two playthroughs, this last detail (as well as the more frequent appearance of killer insect nests depending on the number of people you have previously killed) represents the full impact of your actions on the world of Dishonored 2 as a whole, and it is still a pleasant blink of an eye.

AI also seems alive. The most common enemies react to your every move, and if you attack one of them a little too loudly near a group of enemies, that will surely be the start of trouble for you. They are fun to play with due to their attentiveness and reactions to group attacks - distract an enemy's attention and send them straight at a mine by throwing a bottle or making noise, bind them to his fellows using "Domino", and you can clean the area by exploiting his near-human behavior on the first try.

In reality, it is really with the Mechanical Soldiers that you can have fun at the expense of the AI of Dishonored 2. They are massive mechanical robots with blades instead of arms that can kill you with a single blow. , but since these react to movement, you can blind one of them which will then attack anything that moves indiscriminately ... including other enemies. More than any other AI in Dishonored 2, these bots represent real "opportunities on legs".

This sense of life that travels the world of Dishonored 2 constantly encourages you to explore every nook and cranny, which is both rewarding due to the clever distribution of points of interest around the maps, and especially useful when you're directing. the main quests. You're an Assassin, but you still have at least two different ways to accomplish your task in Dishonored 2 - and one of them can only be unlocked after a close look at the various. clues and evidence scattered around an area. During my second playthrough, I thus discovered crucial information that I had missed the first time around, reading carefully a letter that I had hitherto ignored, and I imagine that I would still have a lot to discover then. of my third journey.

This sense of life that travels the world of Dishonored 2 constantly encourages you to explore every nook and cranny, which is both rewarding due to the clever distribution of points of interest around the maps, and especially useful when you're directing. the main quests. You're an Assassin, but you still have at least two different ways to accomplish your task in Dishonored 2 - and one of them can only be unlocked after a close look at the various. clues and evidence scattered around an area. During my second playthrough, I thus discovered crucial information that I had missed the first time around, reading carefully a letter that I had hitherto ignored, and I imagine that I would still have a lot to discover then. of my third journey.