Immersive Sim Dishonored 2 is Still Great

This past year I finished Dishonored and the great Deathloop. Arkane Studios immersive sims are truly great, so I finally reached the Dishonored 2 phase of digging into my backlog. The first game was fun, but a bit dated to reach true greatness for me.

With Dishonored 2, there’s no doubt of its greatness. I’m just about the halfway point, but wow a huge improvement over the first and an instant must-play game..

Improvements Over the First Dishonored Game

Dishonored 2 Billie Lurk driving the boat to the coastline
Billie Driving my Character to the Coastline

Sure both Dishonored games were years apart, but I’m still impressed by the graphical improvements. The game art is still the same steam punk meets oil painting style, but it’s obvious that the lighting, shading and detail improved. Dunwall is much more impressive with the updated graphics.

Gameplay, to me, is smoother and the level design is a huge improvement. The chaos system is more deliberate, so there’s no surprise as to which way the current playthrough leans (High Chaos = lot’s of kill and Low Chaos = less).

This time around there’s also a choice to play the protagonist of the first game, Corvo, or the current Empress Emily (daughter of first game assassinated Empress and Corvo). Right now, I don’t know the difference between the two, but I opted for Emily to hopefully play with new powers.

This time around, the central meeting place pub is replaced with a large ship, the Dreadful Whale. I sort of miss the pub, but the ship is a convenient home base with all the new locations to visit in Dishonored 2. The first of the allies that take up space on the boat is Billie Lurk.

She was the right hand women of Daud, the assassin that killed the Empress that kicked of things in the first game. It is interesting and ironic that a member of the group that killed her mother is now an ally. Considering the betrayal and side switching in the first game, it makes some sense.

Still, it will be interesting when/if Emily finds out about who Billie really was. More allies joined the fight along the way, especially since I avoided killing everyone in sight. Probably the most important part of Dishonored 2 is its a lot more fun for me than the first.

Dishonored 2 Immersive Sim Fun

Dishonored 2 listening to citizens conversation
Love Listening in on Citizen Conversations for Mission Clues

I’ve played plenty of games, but never knew what exactly identified a game as an immersive sim. I’m not ashamed to admit I looked it up.

An immersive sim (simulation) is a video game genre that emphasizes player choice. Its core, defining trait is the use of simulated systems that respond to a variety of player actions which, combined with a comparatively broad array of player abilities, allow the game to support varied and creative solutions to problems, as well as emergent gameplay beyond what has been explicitly designed by the developer.

From Wikipedia

The Dishonored series is well know in this genre, but part 2 is smarter and more entertaining. Guards react to sight of my character and sound. They also don’t react well to finding dead bodies and begin searching. It’s great using these systems to my advantage or just for entertainment.

It doesn’t always work perfectly. Black Market shop keepers sometimes say it’s nice to see me again when I simply walk a few steps away. Guards saw me through a locked door, shot at me and threw stuff, but would not open the locked door for me. This led to one of my favorite pieces of Dishonored 2 emergent gameplay.

Although they did not open the locked door for me, they did accidentally shoot a container holding blood flies. I laughed as they were stung to death by their own stupidity. I didn’t plan it, but their mistake is a great idea for future situations.

Clockwork Mansion a New Favorite Game Location

Dishonored 2 Clockwork mansion room
One of the Best Rooms of the Clockwork Mansion

Level design in this game is great, but the Clockwork Mansion lived up to the hype I saw in online reviews. Pretty much every room transforms into 2 or 3 different configurations. A simple pull of a lever sets the clockwork mechanical features of the house into motion. Gears turned to move parts of the rooms and reveal other parts.

The level of detail in each room was fantastic. Not just the decoration and set pieces, but also the detail of how the rooms change. A huge plus was it’s the mansion of the in game inventor, Jindosh. That influence shows in each room beyond the clockwork changes. Even details between the walls and beyond the illusions was great.

Clockwork soldiers that guard the mansion are formidable face to face, but stealth and distance tilted odds in my favor. I loved rewiring and destroying their visual sensors. These freedoms help Dishonored 2 reach greatness. The latter forced them to attack anyone around.

I opt for low chaos (less killing), but I could not resist turning the Clockwork soldiers against guards. My only regret is not luring one of the murder bots into the room where aristocrats were waiting to view their new purchases. I let them live, but a fitting end for them would be murder by the machines they intended to purchase to protect their riches.

The detail and design of Jindosh’s lab was fitting for an inventor of his fame. My choice to eliminate him by non-lethal means was more complicated than simply killing him, but well worth it. For him, I think what I did was worse than death for him.

I can confirm impressions of the Clockwork Mansion as one of the greatest level designs in gaming hits the mark.

Back to Dishonored 2

Next up I’m off to the Conservatory to find another inventive way to eliminate someone without killing them. Next time, I’ll talk about the new powers I’m playing with. They are still too new to decide on whether I like them. Whether they are good or bad, I’m excited to see what’s next for the game.

Leave a Comment