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Dishonored 2 – Quick Game Review

Dishonored 2 – Quick Game Review
Dishonored 2 (PC [Reviewed], PS4, XB1)
Developer: Arkane Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks

Dishonored 2 is the long awaited, and highly anticipated sequel that takes place 15 years after the story in Dishonored. It’s a first person, stealth action game with optional supernatural powers and assassination.

The game starts off with control of the empire being seized from Empress Emily Kaldwin by her powerful Aunt Delilah. You choose to play as either Corvo (the protector) or Emily (the Empress), and you must find a way for Emily to take back the throne. 

How you play it is entirely up to you. Whether you want to play merciful and stealthy, or go in guns blazing killing everything in sight, or just mix it up as you see fit. Keep in mind though, that your choices influence the ending of the story.

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If you choose to accept powers from the outsider, you will acquire abilities that you can upgrade as you discover collectibles while playing. Some of the abilities are the same for both characters, but there are some really fun activated abilities that are unique to each character. I played as the Empress, and decided to kill just about everyone I came across. I love her shadow walk ability; just running in as a shadow and one-shotting people by ripping them apart was really fun.

You embark on missions to neutralize different targets in various areas. There were two missions that really stood out to me as being fun and unique. In one of them, you manipulate the environment by pulling various levers all around the house to find a way to your target. It was like a puzzling maze, and the clockwork enemies that are difficult to kill made it exciting. In another mission, you could move to and from the past at will. Being able to walk through the past, and position yourself for kills in the present was awesome. This part of the mission was really enjoyable. Overall, the gameplay is great, and it’s everything that I had hoped for from a Dishonored sequel and more.

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Pros:
  • no matter which play style you choose, the gameplay is enjoyable, and it is everything that you would expect from a Dishonored sequel
  • the story interesting, but most of it is predictable
  • there is definitely replay value with multiple endings, two playable characters to choose from (with some unique powers), and the option to play without powers (my first playthrough took me 11-12 hours)
  • voice acting is absolutely impeccable; all of the main characters, and their dialog did a stellar job at telling a great story (some of the guard’s lines get a little repetitive, but much like in Skyrim, it’s more funny than annoying)
  • the music and sound effects are all great, and they do a good job to set the mood, and keeping you informed about what’s going on around you
  • keybindings are customizable, and there is full controller support
Cons:
  • game is very poorly optimized, unreliable performance; many people will be unable to maintain 60 FPS, and likely experience severe frame drops that could potentially make the game unplayable (see performance for more detail)
  • negative mouse acceleration is extremely irritating when you are fighting multiple enemies, and can’t turn around quickly enough – it makes absolutely no sense that the faster you move your mouse, the slower your cursor moves
  • (nitpick) even with all the settings on ultra, the visuals looks decent enough, but not quite as nice as they could have (some of the models and environments look overexposed and a bit washed out in well lit areas, and there are quite a few texture popping issues that hurt the immersion)

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Performance:

The poor performance is the absolutely biggest issue with Dishonored 2. There have been tons of complaints about low and inconsistent framerates for the majority of people with a variety of difference PC builds. I am using Windows 10, 32GB of RAM, an Intel i5-2500K, and GTX 970 with a slight overclock. Whether I ran the game on very low, or on ultra settings, I could not maintain 60 frames, and the frame drops were inevitable practically anytime I was in an open area with a lot of stuff in the background. I played with the settings, and wound up just playing the game on Ultra, but with a lot of the in-game graphical settings turned off or lowered. It helped to get more frames, but I was still getting inconsistent framerates ranging from 30-60 frames.

Dishonored 2 simply doesn’t perform like it should. Supposedly, patches are in the works, but this game should have been put through a lot more QA before being released. I did not refund the purchase because I found it was still very playable; many others have not been so fortunate though, and they can’t even play the game at all. Personally, I never experienced any stuttering, or any noticeable lag that negatively impacted the overall gameplay, so I just kept playing.

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Conclusion:

I was super excited to play Dishonored 2, and as for gameplay and story, it was everything I was hoping for and more. Whether you choose to stealth around or brutally attack, the gameplay is satisfying, and I was never disappointed in that regard. With that being said, the performance is seriously lacking; there are definitely optimization issues, and problems with negative mouse acceleration. I do recommend playing this game, but it think it would be a very good idea to wait for updates and fixes to be released first. It’s a good game that’s held back by its terrible performance issues, which may result in the game being completely unplayable for some.

Rating:

75