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Why even write a review if you're just gonna go "derrrr this game sucks ... the end" or "yay great game whoo!" Here is my impression of the game after 12 hours of gameplay. For those who don't want the details here's the abridged:
THE QUICK REVIEW: Dishonored 2 is a solid sequel as it sticks to the original formula and feel of the first game, but delivers fun combat additions and more expansive gameplay. Keep in mind, it does have its quirks when it comes to some game mechanics. Some glitches I've run into are rage worthy, but nothing that is so frequent or annoying that it ruins the game for me. The story itself is a somewhat cliche revenge tale, yet fairly compelling enough to keep you engaged in the general plot. Overall, I would recommend this game at full price for players that thoroughly enjoyed the first game. For everybody else, wait until the price drops or buy a used copy.
- COMBAT and GAMEPLAY: I enjoyed the combat system in the first game, and I enjoy it even more in the new game. I am currently playing a stealth build, but when I do run into combat it is deliciously brutal. The new powers you have to choose from keep things exciting and the kill shots are very entertaining. The combat is similar to Skyrim, but faster and with more versatility.
- FREEEDDOOOOMM. I mean freedom both in terms of stealth routes AND character build. While the other game was fairly linear in terms of character build and exploration, Dishonored 2 seems much more expansive and versatile. Corvo and Emily each have their own skill trees to choose from, and the game itself can either be played with Tarantino level of violence or ninja stealth.The levels themselves are also much bigger with a labyrinth of paths to take if you want to stealth.
QUIRKS/GLITCHES - Like any new game (especially by Bethesda) it has its stupidly frustrating moments. For example, I had a mission where the enemy AI would somehow immediately alert regardless of stealth or not. I could be inside of a box in super turbo stealth mode and 37281 enemies would simultaneously go "I see YOU!" and come charging across a football field distance towards me. Once the level progressed to a new map, the problem fixed itself. The clunky mechanics of the "reach" (a power that helps you climb physically impossible distances) also is pretty frustrating since it is probably the most used move in the game. Nothing like scaling roof tops to avoid everything only to land face first on the pavement because the "up arrows" were just kidding.
STEALTH PLAYER FRUSTRATION: One thing I have noticed, is that the AI seem 120392x more sensitive to detecting you than they did on the first game. I've played through the first game several times and I'm no stranger to stealth games. I even played it through 2 months before the release of the new game, obtaining the no kills, no detection achievements, so I know I'm not just "rusty." I love stealth builds, but until there is a patch, the game seems to cater more to the run and gun, blood is fun style.
So overall, the game is great. Not perfect, but definitely entertaining.
the stealth, combat, strategy and weapons use in Dishonored 2 are praiseworthy, but i found myself responding most to the visual design and artwork, from the gritty texture of maps in Dunwall and Karnaca to the "high art" paintings by piotr jablonski hanging on the walls of palaces and fine homes. i found myself frequently stopping between mission tasks simply to take in the view, the attention to detail, the lighting, the mood. all this in what is never a realist representation but something like great comic art.
my favorite maps are probably the clockwork mansion and the ducal palace, multidimensional puzzles with a variety of solutions. all the maps are quite small, compared to modern open world games, but the mood and atmosphere soak up your attention. even after several replays i found new things to discover in each level. the voice acting by stephen russell, vincent d'onofrio, rosario dawson, roger jackson, john gegenhuber and erin cottrell is top notch.
i recommend playing the game first in "high chaos", killing at will and cutting your way through every situation in order to explore each level thoroughly. then play through at "low chaos" avoiding, if possible, even a single kill. there are "non lethal" ways to dispose of all the villains, and you are provided with a non lethal form of stealth attack (choking out) and a crossbow that fires at least three different kinds of non lethal dart. the key magics to acquire are "far reach" and "time stop", plus ability and health. even if the difficulty is set on "hard" the game is not really difficult, so you can stop often and enjoy the views.