Dishonored is one of my favourite games of the last five years. It is both a stellar stealth title and an incredible action-adventure game. It was released in 2012, during the last couple of years of the previous console generation, so I take my hat off to Arkane Studios for releasing a new IP when it wasn’t the best time to do so. Their risk payed off though, with Dishonored winning multiple game of the year awards and garnering widespread critical acclaim. It is a modern masterpiece, so a sequel was always on the cards.
Dishonored 2 is out on 11th November, so here are a few things that we would like to see implemented.
1. A More Difficult Sequel
Don’t get me wrong, Dishonored was hard, especially if you decided to go down the ‘kill no-one, never be seen’ route. However, if you went in guns and crossbows blazing, the game was an absolute breeze and you could finish it in a few hours without breaking a sweat. If you found yourself in a hectic situation, you could stop the flow of time using the ‘bend time’ power, and literally walk up to any hostile and slit their throats. Even the tallboys (heavily guarded foes sat atop mechanical stilts) could quickly be dispatched with the use of the teleportation power (blink) and a sword rammed into their chests.
In Dishonored 2, I want to see the difficulty cranked up a couple of notches, especially for those players with a thirst for blood.
2. A Different Experience for Each Protagonist
We all know that in the sequel we will be able to reprise the role of Corvo, the protagonist from the first game, and also Emily Kaldwin, who is now fifteen years older. We know that these playable characters will have completely different powers, which should make us want to play the game at least twice to experiment with their unique abilities. However, I hope that Arkane has gone one step further than this and actually made the campaign different depending on who you choose to play. For example, it would be really interesting if an NPC in Corvo’s campaign was an enemy, and in Emily’s they are an ally. Or perhaps certain plot details are revealed during Corvo’s campaign, but you will have to play as Emily to fill in the rest of the puzzle. This could potentially open up a whole plethora of ways that the player can tackle the game. I would love to see different side-quests for each protagonist, and diverse ways to dispatch the assassination targets that are exclusive to Corvo and Emily. A fresh outlook for each protagonist would be like two sides of the same coin, and it should make players want to dive straight back in using the other character to experience the entire game again and have a completely alternative experience.
3. Better Stealth Powers
The powers that the player could unlock for Corvo in the first game were amazing, especially blink, which allowed you to teleport across huge gaps quickly and quietly. It wasn’t all great though. There were only a handful of powers, and they could only be upgraded once more after initially unlocking them. It all felt slightly basic. My only other complaint towards the first game in regards to powers is that the vast majority of them were geared towards a hostile playthrough, rather than a stealthy one. Unleashing a swarm of rats on an unsuspecting foe was ingenious and brutal, and ‘windblast’ allowed you to devastate groups of enemies by unleashing a mighty explosion of wind, but they were completely wasted on those players who love to squat in the shadows like Sam Fisher. For the sequel, I know that Arkane will introduce a more complex skill-tree for powers which will definitely shake things up, but I want to see more powers that cater to those ghost-type players who don’t have itchy trigger fingers.
4. An Improved Narrative
The mechanics of Dishonored were incredible, and the gameplay sublime. The only thing that soured the overall package was the story. It was very clichéd, relying on well-worn tropes such as the damsel in distress, the protagonist’s thirst for revenge and the inevitable double cross. Yawn. As much as I love all of these separate story elements, when you play a game like Dishonored which feels so fresh and original in terms of the gameplay, it’s disappointing when the the story falls short of the mark. When I play Dishonored 2, I want the story to grip me, and then blow me away, just like the original never could.
5. Bigger Levels
I don’t necessarily mean that I want Arkane to follow the current trend and make every level an ‘open world’, because part of the original game’s magic came from the small sandbox levels that contained so many different avenues allowing for diverse player stories to emerge through the gameplay. I would like to see the sequel fit more side-quests into its levels, but when I say ‘bigger’, I don’t mean horizontally. I mean vertically, because it was so fun to use blink and Corvo’s natural climbing ability to scale buildings in the original game. I would really like to see some mammoth structures form part of the sequel’s world, because there’s nothing more exhilarating than ‘blinking’ between buildings hundreds of feet above the ground, where one wrong move could prove fatal.
6. More Complex Moral Choices
One of the most interesting aspects of the original game was that although you played as an assassin and had targets to kill, in certain levels there were ways to neutralise them which didn’t end with blood being spilled. The most notable example was in ‘The Golden Cat’ mission, where instead of eliminating the Pendleton brothers, you could complete a sidequest for Slackjaw and he would take care of them. This is where things get darker, because if you chose this route and spared them, they were enslaved to work in mines with their heads shaved and their tongues cut out. This is arguably a fate worse than death, and when I played the level in this way, I did feel a pang of guilt. For Dishonored 2, I would welcome many more of these tough moral decisions, because they add a great amount of depth to the gameplay, and let’s face it, it’s sometimes much more fun playing as a sly puppet-master rather than a brutal savage.