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Dishonored 2 is an action-adventure stealth video game developed by Arkane Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks. The sequel to 2012’s Dishonored, the game was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on November 11, 2016.
The series takes place in the fictional Empire of the Isles, with the majority of Dishonored 2 set in the coastal city of Karnaca. After Empress Emily Kaldwin is deposed by an “otherworldly usurper”, the player may choose between playing as either Emily or her Royal Protector and father Corvo Attano as they attempt to reclaim the throne. Both Emily and Corvo employ their own array of supernatural abilities. They can alternatively decide to forfeit them altogether. There are a multitude of ways to succeed in each given mission, from stealth to purposeful violent conflict.
Ideas for a sequel to Dishonored began while developing its downloadable content, which spawned the decision to create a voice for Corvo Attano after being a silent character in the first installment. Emily Kaldwin was first proposed as a playable character and brought about the advancement of the timeline. The design was influenced by paintings and sculptures. Set in the new fictional city of Karnaca, its history was invented over the course of one year. The city itself was based on southern European countries like Greece, Italy, and Spain, drawing on the architecture, fashion, and technologies of 1851.
Dishonored 2 was released to a positive reception. Praised were the improvements made since the first game: the more challenging stealth, the adaptability of Emily and Corvo’s abilities to both play styles, the art direction, the realization of the game’s world as well as the replay-value and the artificial intelligence. Criticism was directed at the lack of focus of the overarching narrative, while the individual missions were praised for their creative designs. Aside from this, technical blunders as well as issues with the PC-port were received unfavorably. Dishonored 2 won the award for Best Action/Adventure Game at The Game Awards 2016 and for Costume Design at the 2017 NAVGTR Awards.
After playing as Empress Emily Kaldwin during the prologue of Dishonored 2, players can decide to play either as Emily or as Corvo Attano (the protagonist from the previous game). Players can choose whether to play stealthily or not, and can finish the game without taking a life.
Dishonored 2 introduces non-lethal combat moves, and features the “chaos” system used in the first game. The player gains chaos by killing characters, representative of the player destabilizing the world. The game adds a new element to the system where, at the start of a mission, random non-player characters are procedurally assigned one of three states: sympathetic, guilty, and murderous. Killing a “sympathetic” person gives the player more chaos than killing others, while in contrast killing a “murderous” character gives the player a lesser amount. The amount of chaos accrued affects the dialogue used by Emily and Corvo, as well as the world itself. Insects called “bloodflies” make nests in corpses, therefore if many people are killed, there will be an increase in bloodflies. This encourages the player to hide bodies from bloodflies while on a mission.
Each level in the Dishonored 2 is intended to have a unique “theme”, in either “fiction or mechanic”. In one level, the player is confronted with two factions each with their own assassination target, and may use the level’s reoccurring dust storms for cover.In another, time distortion is introduced as the player traverses an abandoned mansion in ruins. The player is given a device that lets them glimpse three years into the past, where the mansion is still occupied and guards roam, and can shift back and forth between the two points in time. The player is now able to be detected by guards if they peer out from behind a wall for too long, a feature not seen in Dishonored.
As in the Dishonored, the player has access to supernatural powers. These powers are optional and may be rejected, in which case the game is traversed in their absence. In the event that supernatural powers are not rejected, the player receives a heart item which aids in the discovery of bonecharms and runes; these provide upgrades to one’s vitality and skill points, respectively. Unlike the first game, the upgrading system was changed to a skill tree with multiple paths and more possible upgrades; a power may have a lethal or non-lethal upgrade.