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The first ‘Dishonored,’ gave us a sleeper hit. The game gave you a new way to play. It bent to your playing style and let your creativity become central. The options were endless when it came to taking down enemies or getting through levels.  If you wanted you could use your powers to become a rat, slowdown time, lure enemies and teleport. Or you could simply choose to sneak past without using powers. It was an exhilarating and a entirely unique experience.  Dishonored 2 takes what made the original so damned good and builds on that foundation.

It’s been little over a decade since the Corvo Attano took his revenge on the powers that assassinated the Empress of the Isles. Over these years, Emily Kaldwin has taken the throne under protection from her father Corvo. Knowing that this world is a dangerous one, Corvo trained Emily in combat and stealth. Good thing too, when a mysterious person claiming to be the rightful aire to the throne arrives, Emily and Corvo are attacked and are left no choice but to flee their kingdom in search of answers.

Early on, you will have to choose who you will complete the campaign as. Emily or Corvo? Corvo comes with the same killer abilities that he had in the first Dishonored. While, Emily has an entirely new skill set. The story will play out pretty much the same way with either character, but the approach to stealth, combat and overall style is very different. Emily comes with new skills to pay the bills. They include “Domino” which chains enemies together. For example, if you kill or knock out one of them the other’s you chained will suffer the same fate. “Shadow Walk” allows you to become a crawling shadow that easily allows you to stealthily sneak past tight spots. “Mesmerize” has the ability to lure enemies into situations you see fit. As Emily you still have the ability to (like Corvo) to see through walls and teleport.

“It perfects itself in both level design and scale.

Learning abilities, still relies on finding runes. Runes still buy you new abilities and allow you to upgrade those abilities. For example, one of Shadow Walk’s upgrades will have you casting the shadow of a rat in order to remain even more undetectable. Since upgrades do rely on runes, you will spend much of your game pulling your hair out in order to locate all the runes in each level. These things are seriously more sought after and revered than Pokemon, in my book.

The enemies AI are truly aware of the world around them. They are smart, sometimes annoyingly so. This makes the stealth approach that much more difficult especially early on in the game. As you progress through, there is a section of the game towards the end that becomes easier. Almost too easy. This is mainly because your powers have reach their peak and you have become a true badass. To keep the challenge going I had to adjust my difficulty to a higher setting. It pays off.

No matter who you choose, the game heads and ends in pretty much the same place. Making a choice between the two, simply comes down to preference. I went with Emily the first time around, because I felt I was already familiar with Corvo. Replay value is high since both characters are uniquely enjoyable.

The real star of the show for me is in a boat captain named, Meagan Foster. Foster is voiced perfectly by the amazingly talented Rosario Dawson. Foster is captain of the Dreadful Wale. She is missing an eye and an arm. Her past is full of demons and those details are revealed throughout the entirety of the game. I found the character captivating. Dawson is great.

Each level is each its own individual world. Each, forces you to change and adapt gameplay style. What you do in one level isn’t a sure way to get past the next. The game peaks in a clockwork mansion level. Here you are able to change the architecture of the room by moving levers. This level tasks you with using your skills wisely. Each level is also absolutely breathtaking in scale and beauty. The steampunk approach from the first Dishonored is back and perfected. Outside of the abilities and gameplay, Dishonored 2 is unmistakably its own world.

Early on in the game you cross into “The Outsider’s” world. He is the one who bestows you with powers. I found it interesting that you are given an option to play through without powers. I didn’t choose that route. The game is too reliant on its cool powers for me to even imagine going powerless. I’m guessing the the powerless experience  would be more akin too the ‘Thief’ series.

“Dishonored 2 is unmistakably its own world. 

It is challenging to begin the game on a harder difficulty setting but, it pays off later. You simply become too powerful in later levels to sustain the challenge if you play on the normal setting. The game also conveniently offers the ability to switch difficulty levels while you play. If you enjoy a challenge you might find yourself looking for that option. Even if you don’t go for a harder difficulty, your powers make you almost godlike and seemingly invincible and that’s pretty awesome too.

If you were a fan of Dishonored, Dishonored 2 is for you. It perfects itself in both level design and scale. For those that haven’t played the first Dishonored, you can start here without being lost. The first game’s story (like this games story)  was simple. Both are revenge stories and both revolve around regaining a kingdom lost to the corruption. This game is all about its gameplay and its replay-ability. Choices you make effect the world around you and can have dire circumstances and a bleak ending if you choose to take a more murderous dark path. Helping NPC’s can reward you later in the game or have bad consequences. The amount of different ways to play the game is really cool. This game is really cool. Emily and Corvo are perfect central characters that I hope get more Dishonored games in the future.