Arkane Studios' first entry in the Dishonored series was one of the best games of the previous generation. The game introduced us to the "whale-punk" city of Dunwall and its highly-stylised, gorgeous environments. And then it served up a selection of brilliantly entertaining supernatural powers, removed the leash, and allowed us to go wild with them. This opened to the door to one of the most enjoyable first-person stealth games this side of Thief, and added another incredible asset to Bethesda's publishing collection.
"The sheer quantity of engaging powers available between both protagonists takes what would be a quality stealth game and elevates it"
Fast forward to 2016, and Dishonored 2 delivers again. Set in the city of Karnaca, exiled Empress Emily Kaldwin – or Royal Protector Corvo Attano if you want to play as the same character from the first game – has to plot her way back to her throne.
The game could've just been "the same thing, but again", but instead Arkane used this as an opportunity to refine the series, and expand on it. This means smoother gameplay, more hulking, elaborately expansive environments – like the remarkable Clockwork Mansion – and most importantly, a new array of powers. Oh boy, the powers.
The Dishonored games present their stories with a linear series of sandbox environments, and this allows the powers to really shine. Do you want to use these powers to go completely undetected and encounter no one? You can. Or would you prefer to hilariously chain enemies together using the best new power in the game, Domino, to attack one person and have the same thing happen to everyone connected to them? You can.
The thing is, Dishonored 2 has a great narrative and great world building. But while important, these can only get you so far. You need more than that to create a truly great experience. This is what Arkane gets so, so right. No matter what might be going in Karnaca, the things that you can do with Corvo and Emily can make any situation you find yourself in a joy. The sheer quantity of engaging powers available between both protagonists takes what would be a quality first-person stealth game and elevates it, making for a refreshing variety of approaches while allowing for truly inspired creativity. And that, is what makes this game truly great.
Do you think that Dishonored 2 deserves one last 'Corvo, blimey'? Do you reckon there's something archaic about Arkane's latest? Try not to Blink in the comments section below.