Ever since Dishonored 2 was announced, I wanted to play it. The original game, which I reviewed for Shack back in 2012, was a rollercoaster ride that played with my emotions and drove me to play in ways that I would not normally play. So far, Dishonored 2 is more of the same, and that's a good thing.
Despite the different setting, there is definitely a feeling of familiarity as you jump into the game. The story begins in much the same way as the original, with an incarceration and the need to get out to stop a coup in progress. The decision to play Emily was easy, as the role gives you new powers and the need for you to get your crown back from a usurper, who may or may not be legitimate. Personally, the way the game starts made me mad, not at the game itself, but at the story antagonists, setting the stage for a high chaos run-through where everyone pays ... everyone dies.
The story to this point in chapter 5 has been relatively the same as the original game. Political intrigue, backstabbing and the Outsider watching over it all with his usual analytical commentary. And while you can play either Corvo or Emily this time, the motivations are also similar, although Emily has a bit more self-discovery going on after a early sheltered life protected by Dad. Even Karnaca looks a lot like Dunwall and a rat plague has been replaced by a new infestation of sorts. These are not bad things, just an observation. This could change as I get further into the game.
That said, the game has still been intense to this point. Even on normal and high chaos, the game seems a bit more difficult than the last one, or I have gotten worse as a player. The Clockwork Mansion was incredibly intricate and provides some mind boggling puzzle moments as well as some rather tough, hard-hitting enemies in the clockwork soldiers. Also, many bone charms and runes needed to augment my powers seem to be a bit more difficult to discover, as some are off the beaten path or incredibly hard to reach locations. That's not to be viewed as a criticism, just a note that the game really forces you to explore if you want to play with all of the wonderful new abilities that Emily possesses so you can have them early in the game.
I'm not sure how far I am into the game at this point and I'm beyond the few videos Bethesda released to push anticipation for the game. I was a bit nervous early on as within the first 20 minutes of play, I was noticing some video glitching with walls that quivered as I leaned against them, or pieces of statues that seemed to jump slightly as I moved around them. I also experienced some of the minor slowdowns on my PC that had been mentioned, but as the game progressed, there were very few. Only one has been severely noticable where I fell between some rocks into the water, and partially clipped into acrag, forcing me to reload a previous save.
All early indications qre Dishonored 2 holds up to the high bar of its predecessor, and while it offers a bit more replayability with Emily and Corvo and some new game mechanics, it isn't as much of an advancement as it is a return to a formula that continues to work incredibly well for the series.
John Keefer posted a new article, Dishonored 2 Review in Progress: Kill them. Kill them all