Dishonored screenshot
Dishonored screenshot

Dishonored needs a sequel, for many of the same reasons that genre stablemate Hitman did back in 2000. It needs one because if it doesn't get it, Arkane's new IP will have been so close to greatness, yet missed it. Just.

Like IO's first steps into the stealth genre, Dishonored has a cool premise, but it isn't there yet. Granted, Dishonored is a far, far more coherent experience than the original Hitman game – the fact that it runs at all pretty much puts it higher than the Dane's first attempt at an assassination sim.

Dishonored isn't the mess that Codename 47 was, but I believe that a follow up - like with Hitman 2: Silent Assassin – would fix the game's glaring flaws and produce something truly special. The two story-based DLC packs that have been released so far have attempted smaller, more incremental changes to the main problems with the game, but haven't truly fixed them. Only a full-blown sequel can do that.

And those problems are easy to spot. The beauty of Dishonored - outside of its wonderful setting, which I'll get to in a moment - is in using your supernatural powers to navigate the world. They give a feeling of omnipotence and power that should be the preserve of a master assassin, but you'll only ever really need to use one, to the detriment of the others: Blink.

As the only mandatory power (in the main game, at least), it's integral to the experience. It also makes it far too easy. Most of your problems can be solved by simply teleporting around from ledge to ledge, and Dunwall's defences can do little to stop you. Rather than having to use your abilities as a toybox to navigate the world, instead you'll often just have to look up. A problem if you're a dog in the world of Shaun of the Dead, but not here.

(During a pre-release demo, Bethesda showed me a mission where you have to kidnap a non-combatant. It was a dense stage, with plenty of options: rewires, possession opportunities, silent takedowns. I hopped up onto two ledges, grabbed the target, and jumped into the boat. The PR team asked me to do it again, this time actually, you know, using the game's various mechanics. They assured me that this was a pre-release build, and I wouldn't be able to do it in the full release. No prizes for guessing if I could or not.)

While some would argue that you don't have to use Blink, the question is why you wouldn't use it. You're meant to be the stealthiest thing since sliced F-117s. Why open up the possibility of being caught?

Dishonored screenshot

The world just isn't really built for anything else, and it's a waste of Antonov and co's work. Dunwall is one of gaming's great creations: a steampunk Victorian London of rigid class systems and loose alliances. The art style and direction is impeccable, the politics absorbing; a place to visit as well as slash and burn through.

But you see so little of it. Dishonored's standout mission is Lady Boyle's party. It was shown extensively pre-release, highlighting how close to Hitman the game apparently felt. Here, inside a giant manor teaming with guests, Blink was mitigated. You had to engage with the populace, use them for your own ends. You could sneak around how you wanted, but you couldn't over rely on one power over another.

It was the one time in the game when you really had to combine powers to get the result you needed, and nothing like it was really seen again: a huge shame.

For any sequel, Arkane needs to ramp up these types of sections and reduce the level of simple infil/exfil missions. It also needs to work on enemy AI, and your options should the mission go sideways and you're seen.

Early stealth titles had various approaches to enemy reaction upon detection. Splinter Cell had a detestable system of near-instant mission failure. Metal Gear Solid saw every guard in the area come running. So why then, does Dishonored - a game released nearly fifteen years after Kojima's groundbreaking PSOne title - use a very similar system?

It's utterly frustrating, not helped by the fact that enemy recognition rules aren't that well defined. Sometimes they see you, sometimes they don't. Stealth games need clear and consistent rules, but they also need to give you an out if you mess up. Reloading straight away doesn't count.

Dishonored screenshot

Instead, I'd like to see Dishonored 2 use the system from MGS 2: alert one guard, and he gets a set time to call it in. Take him out, and you're good to go. Dishonored tries to do this at the moment, but back-up arrives far, far too quickly.

These elements frustrate because the rest of the game is so accomplished. A Dishonored 2 with smarter AI, more defined rulesets, and less of a reliance on an overpowered ability would be something truly special.

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PCGamer589's Avatar

PCGamer589

One thing I'd like to see is more of the empire like Serkonos, Tyvia or Morely plus more weapons for non-lethal, as well more on The Outsider (but not too much) and the Pandyssian Continent.
Posted 23:43 on 02 November 2013
JE5U5INCOGNITO's Avatar

JE5U5INCOGNITO

Dishonored showed alot of promise and had a surprisingly rewarding melee combat system considering how simple it was. Perhaps a nerf on Blink is needed, but I personally enjoyed it because it let to some amazing moments. For instance, being in the middle of an all-out brawl with three guards and a captain, and in a instant, blink above and air-assassinate the captain. What I really want from a Dishonored 2 would be more powers, more weapons ( including a greater variety of non-lethal weapons) and more swords. In the game there are only three, the dunwall city's guards sword, the assassin sword, and the seekers sword. They all look entirely different yet operate exactly the same, I would like a greater variety of swords, the ability to purchase, upgrade, and swap swords, plus a variety of the swords stats. For instance, one sword might swing faster, but would do less damage and would be more difficult, if not impossible, to parry with. Another sword might resemble something like a Scottish Claymore, would have very high damage, but would be slow to block, hard to parry, and is unable to stealth kill (one hit kill yes, but your victim would scream in agony, alerting everyone. More powers might include a morph abilty which would allow you to change into a different animal for navigation, how people react to you would depend on your location (for instance, if you're a dog in a fancy party, guards will try to chase you out). Also an actual hacking mini-game would be nice, instead of just pressing a button.
Posted 18:31 on 20 October 2013
OmegaTwiists's Avatar

OmegaTwiists

You're saying the game was too easy and then you say that the guards and them noticing you is too hard and should be made easier??? I disagree with all those points you made negatively... The only problem i could find is the area given. If the game was more of a free-roam it would have made a bigger impact. For me the reveal trailers were misleading as it gave a feeling as if there were no restrictions. However i must say that Dishonored is one of my favourite game and would love a second Dishonored. Maybe even co-op?
Posted 13:09 on 19 August 2013
Clockpunk's Avatar

Clockpunk@ Batmamerc

Hah - I did the exact opposite - only used Blink, and did so without killing or alerting anyone! :p

Personally, I hope for more weapon options - could certainly do with some melee stunning capacity - and as you say, a slight overhaul of the whole alert system. That was the main issue for me. Level designs/hubs were well done (reminiscent of Deus Ex: HR), but could have used a couple more. Other than that... I can't think of much more I'd like to see changed.
Posted 11:16 on 14 August 2013
Batmamerc's Avatar

Batmamerc

I disagree with pretty much all your concerns lol, for a start I rarely used blink I preferred to try and sneak on the floor using the paths n tunnels provided and only used blink to get to a balcony to stealth kill a target occasionally, instead of blink I used the slow time/freeze time a lot and the rats were always fun and occasionally push just to chuck guards in the sea, but can see that blink could make the game a lot easier but there were choices of routes so was up to you how you played the game. The guards been to fast to alert other guards just meant you had to react fast and forced you to use all your powers to take him down quickly. My only gripe with the game was it got repetitive probably not helped by my own play style of making sure no man was left standing, but every mission was the same a few of the missions were in the same area and all essentially meant sneaking in killing the target and leaving, yes I know that was the point of an assassination game but at least hitman gave you more of a story to your targets with more things needed to find like incriminating evidence etc, all dishounered did was leave clues around to find a target that was already pointed out and gave you a moral choice option to kill or not to kill.i honestly couldn't wait to just get the game over with and after the mansion party mission I just went all guns blazing. The end.
Posted 19:29 on 13 August 2013

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Release Date: 12/10/2012
Developer: Arkane Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Genre: Action
Rating: BBFC 18
Site Rank: 405 73
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