Dishonored 2 could have been a fantastic game - and is if you're playing on a console - with the same great gameplay mechanics that have been improved upon, its deep and fascinating world, and its immensely high replay value, but instead the experience has been damaged by its terrible and unacceptable performance issues since launch to present day.
Take Back What's Yours
Dishonored 2 is truly a fantastic game and is much improved from its predecessor which was also a really great game. It takes place 15 years after the first game as it seems to have taken the good ending from the original Dishonored and disregarding the bad one. Emily Kaldwin is now empress of Dunwall and she has her father Corvo Attano - the protagonist from the original game - by her side until her evil aunt that Emily didn't know she had appears and corrupts the people of Dunwall to work for her and lock Emily and her father away. One of the biggest problems I have with the story is the voice acting which isn't bad, but some of the dialogue feels awkward at times and the delivery from some of the actors just isn't there, which is truly unfortunate because the performances in the first game were actually really good.
Dishonored 2 is all about choices and decisions and the first one you have to make is if you want to continue the story as Corvo or start a new one with Emily. While both of their stories play out essentially the same, all of Corvo's abilities from the original Dishonored return, but Emily brings new powers that really change up the gameplay style making 2 playthroughs already worth the time and effort and they also work well for however you want to play the game or you can choose to not take any powers at all.
You Do You and I'll Do Me
Much like the first game, Dishonored 2 offers the 'play how you want' approach. You can either beat the entire game without killing anyone and sneaking your way past guards or you can run in 'swords' blazing and take down everyone in your path. At the end of each mission, you're ranked on how much chaos you caused with low chaos being stealthy and non-lethal and high chaos being the more aggressive approach, your chaos level will affect how other missions play out. If your overall chaos is low, citizens are less likely to notice you in the streets, but if your overall is high chaos, they might report you to the nearest guard forcing you into a fight. My first playthrough was with Emily and I went with low-chaos which took about 15ish hours, but I have no doubt in my mind that a high chaos would be much faster considering that in low chaos you will be doing a lot of waiting for guards to pass by and finding alternative, non-lethal ways to eliminate your targets.
I Could Live Here
While you do get you return to Dunwall in Dishonored 2, you spend most of the time in the beautiful city of Karnaca which is very different and great change of tone from Dunwall. While Dunwall was very gray and depressing (in the best way possible), Karnaca is very much the opposite with its lively city and beautiful scenery all around. The mission maps are all a lot bigger this time around giving you a huge space to explore with runes and bonecharms returning from the first game and numerous books, notes, and audiographs throughout each mission that gives you, even more, detail and context to this already living, breathing world. The amount of detail to every little thing is already incredible and really shows that Arkane Studios loves this universe they have created and wants everyone who plays to love it as much as they do.
I'm Back and I'm Better
The fantastic gameplay you remember from the original Dishonored is back in Dishonored 2 and is improved in all the right ways. As previously mentioned the 'play how you want' approach has returned and is better than ever, with the huge area to explore it makes it feel like no playthrough of the game is the same. There are so many ways to tackle each mission it makes it feel like you could play this game forever and probably never get bored. Playing stealthily is just as fun as playing aggressively since both of Corvo's and Emily's skills help you however you choose to play. There is a lot of good done in Dishonored 2, but now it's time to talk about the bad.
A Damn Shame...
Dishonored 2's performance on PC might be the worst I've seen since Batman Arkham Knight. You essentially need a monster of a PC to play the game on high settings to get a solid 60fps and that might not even be enough since I have seen people complain about terrible performance with a GTX 1080. When the game first released it was unplayable, framerates were below 30fps for the majority of the time even on the lowest settings. Since then we have received multiple patches and at the time of writing this review, I am currently on the latest patch, patch 1.3. It has improved somewhat since launch, but I am still getting unacceptable performance issues. I'm forced to play the game on medium at 720p to get a somewhat stable 60fps, but even then I still drop below 30fps from time to time. I couldn't even record gameplay for a video review because the game would run at a constant 15fps while doing so. Consoles don't seem to have this problem as I've heard it runs smoothly on both Xbox One and PS4. I wanted to wait before it was fixed before writing my review, but it has almost been a full month and it still isn't fixed which is in itself unacceptable.
Dishonored 2 could have been one of, if not, my game of the year. It's world and detail is remarkable, the freedom to play how you want is back and better than ever, and the replay value here is quite exceptional, but the performance issues on PC really tarnished my experience with the game and is unacceptable for a game to run this poorly and a month later have it not be fixed. The performance issues seem to be a PC exclusive so I highly recommend you play this game on Xbox One or PS4 or wait until it is fixed before purchasing on PC if you enjoyed the first one since this is truly an admirable sequel.
- Incredibly detailed and Beautiful World
- Fantastic Gameplay Mechanics
- Freedom To Play How You Want
- High Replay Value
- Terrible and Unacceptable Performance on PC
- Awkward Dialogue Delivery
If you liked this review, check out the other reviews I have done on my blog Gaming For The Poor which you can find here!
You can also follow me on Twitter - @Richard_D_S - for updates on when I post news stories, reviews, and opinion pieces!