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Aside from warning our readers of the game's poor PC performance before release, we've yet to publish any review of Dishonored 2. I decided to wait a few days, given outlets only received their copies one day before release and the early reviews would be rushed. That said, the difference in tone between the early reviews and the ones published a few days later are negligible, and they're all pretty positive towards Arkane Studios' FPS stealth/action game with RPG elements.
With two unique sets of skills to play with across 10 themed chapters that keep things interesting and a gorgeous, evocative world that feels alive, Dishonored 2 is a remarkable experience. Though I would have liked a little bit more originality in its central story, which again revolves around a usurper to the throne, it’s the stories that I’ve created on my own using its many creativity-enabling powers that I’ll remember, every graceful, fumbling, and hilarious one of them. I’m compelled to create many more in the months to come.
GameSpot, 8/10, complained about the level of challenge and the story.
If you use your powers creatively and judiciously, you can be in complete control. It feels exceptionally empowering, especially since when you mess up, you realize your enemies really are smart and powerful enough to kill you quickly. Dishonored 2 might lack challenge in its later levels, but the basic tools are a joy to play with regardless. And with two characters and two basic play styles to choose from--both of which noticeably impact the story and the world as you go--there's a lot of longevity to be wrung from the campaign. It's an incredible shame you can't restart the campaign with all your powers intact once you beat the game, but you can, at least, bring up old saves, adjust the difficulty, and see what unfolds.
Morality is mostly a binary choice here: slaying your enemies throws the city in chaos, while showing them mercy (and uncovering some crafty methods for taking them out of the picture) results in a happier ending. Dishonored 2 does try to expand the scope of your decision-making by letting you hear the dark secrets of any NPC with the return of the psychically whispering Heart. It's certainly a neat touch, but ends up having little significance: as in Watch Dogs, these insights into people's past wrongdoings are randomized, so they won't likely sway you from deciding to take or spare their lives. The Heart also provides some fascinating insights into how the villains turned out the way they did - though it feels a bit silly that whole minutes can be spent standing idle in front of an incapacitated antagonist, pumping the Heart for numerous drips of backstory before you really get a sense for who they are.
In the end, any criticisms of Dishonored 2 feel like nitpicks of a thoroughly entertaining, mechanically complex, impressively realized world, just like the first. My primary playthrough as a stealthy, nonviolent Emily clocked in at over 15 hours - and though I sometimes found myself wishing for more character development in the overcrowded story, I was never for a moment bored with the otherworldly abilities of my agile assassin. With the potent possibilities inherent to its gameplay, ample replay value, and mesmerizing environments, Dishonored 2 certainly feels like more of the same - and that's a very good thing indeed.
GQ Magazine UK, scoreless.
Right now, this is a sequel that feels far bigger than its predecessor, albeit no less dense, so we foresee ourselves delving deeper into the underbelly of Karnaca to find out quite how far the rabbit hole goes. We’re still yet to play around with Corvo’s abilities, too, although we suspect they remain similar to when we played him back in 2012. For now, Dishonored 2 feels like a sumptuously artistic and incredibly well designed video game – despite its reported performance issues on PC. It’s a game that takes fantasy and real-world ideas and compounds them together in a truly fascinating world, one which reacts to your choices in a way that only video games can.
In conclusion, Dishonored 2 is a remarkable game that builds on the successes of its predecessor while still managing to add newer and better features. The bugs that plague it, while not all game breaking, are largely forgivable in light of how easily they can be patched and how good the game itself is. Its also not often that you hear of a sequel to a major triple A title managing to surpass the original, and Dishonored 2 is a prime example of how to do it right while still honoring that which came before.
TechRadar, "Play It Now."
There will, too, be those who maintain that Dishonored 2 isn’t vastly different to the original Dishonored. Superficially this might be true, but we would applaud, rather than criticise, developer Arkane Studios for sticking to its guns.
The original Dishonored was a fine game, and although Dishonored 2 follows its blueprint it feels like a vastly improved, even perfected, take on the first game.
Its myriad systems mesh in a manner as clockwork-smooth as its robotic soldiers, its story is rich, imaginative and involving, and it offers a challenging and memorable retreat to a harsh but endlessly interesting fantasy-world.
It's another entertaining, absorbing slab of stealth-action, full of atmosphere and character, for those who prefer games with a bit of wit and intelligence.
In the end, I love this game. While it’s a slow starter plotwise, Dishonored 2 builds up wonderfully to a satisfying conclusion, with plenty of memorable challenges along the way. But more than anything else, it’s fun. It’s a gorgeous, deep, enjoyable piece of work, and I highly recommend it if you like stealth, exploration, or cool steampunk Portugal. See you in the Void.
Dishonored 2 will successfully function for both fans of the series and those who pick it up for the first time. With a robust side-quest system, you'll find the game has much to discover. That, and the ability to play the game how you want and rewarding you for taking a more challenging course, make Dishonored 2 a rousing success. This game isn't hard to pick up and play, but it will be almost impossible to put down.
Dishonored 2 is the bigger, badder, and bolder version of the original game, thanks to its densely packed world and wonderfully enjoyable mechanics. Even though the experience only has nine main missions, the amount of replayability and exploration offered allows this title to always feel exciting. This is only enhanced by the interesting characters and story that string each level together, which makes Dishonored 2 a more than worthy sequel to the first title. Even with a few technical hiccups and lack of new powers for Corvo, this trip to Karnaca is one worth taking again and again – just make sure to steer clear of Bloodflies.
Xbox Achievements, 90/100.
Dishonored was a genuine surprise when it launched four years ago; an innovative first-person experience that confounded expectations. That Dishonored 2 manages to once again surprise and amaze as much as the first game did is testament to what Arkane has crafted here. Dishonored 2 is quite simply one of the greatest games this year, and quite possibly one of the best of this generation. Do yourself a favour and go get it.
Attack of the Fanboy, 5/5.
Trumping the first in nearly every way, Dishonored 2 is at the very top of the list of “must play” first-person action games in 2016. Causing bloody chaos or sticking to the shadows, Arkane gives players the tools to run wild in this new world. This brand of gameplay combined with a beautiful presentation and plenty of customization leads to fun playthroughs of Dishonored 2 whether its your first time or your fifth.
Cheat Code Central, 5/5.
The only thing that keeps me from telling stealth and action-adventure fans to go play this game right now is that it's much better if you've already played Dishonored. This is an intricate world, and while Dishonored 2's main story makes perfect sense on its own, there's a lot of background an nuance that you'll miss if you start with the second game. For instance, early on you'll have the option of infiltrating an Overseer enclave in order to obtain the assistance of a local gang leader. Who are the Overseers and why are they wearing creepy masks and chanting about the Outsider? You'll know them only too well if you played Dishonored, but the second game doesn't really bother to explain them.
That said, Dishonored is an excellent game that can be had for pennies, and playing it will only make you appreciate the improvements in Dishonored 2 all the more. This is a title by a studio at the top of its game, lovingly crafted for players who enjoy lavishly crafted worlds and delightfully creative gameplay challenges. It's for the thieves, the mischief makers, the lovers of experimentation. It's for playful thinkers, for explorers, and for idealists and cynics alike. Dishonored 2 is stealth-action at its finest, and deserves every one of the awards it will no doubt be lavished with this winter.
Impulse Gamer, 4.5/5.
If you liked the first Dishonored then I have no doubt this will feel both familiar and also an even more expansive world with some nice new twists to make for an even more satisfying gaming experience. If you’ve never played the original then you can still jump straight in and get your Steampunk action on. Great conspiratorial story telling with some fun game mechanics make this a worthy game for your collection… plus there are plenty of reasons to return to Dunwall after your first play through… try a different main character or try a different approach to the many challenges that await.
Finally, Angry Centaur Gaming has a video review that warns of bugs and performance problems on all platforms and recommends waiting for a sale: