Dishonored 2 came out for the PC, PS4, and Xbox One just last Friday. But because of Bethesda’s new review copies policy, outlets have just started releasing reviews for the game. So what do the Dishonored 2 reviews have to say about Arkane’s newest stealth game? Is it a worthy successor to the critically acclaimed original?
Well it seems the answer to that question is a resounding yes — technical issues notwithstanding. At the time of this writing, other than the Xbox One version (and really that’s more due to lack of reviews than anything else) Dishonored 2’s Metacritic average is higher than that of its predecessor on the past-gen consoles. That includes the PC version which has shown some severe technical issues in the past few days.
But what exactly makes Dishonored 2 good? Well let’s see what reviewers had to say.
Dishonored 2 Reviews: The Good
Multiple outlets agree that Dishonored 2’s strongest point is in its gameplay — which was one of its predecessor’s strengths as well. Reviewers praised the creativity that the game gives to the player with regards to how to use their otherworldly abilities. IGN gave the game a 9.3/10 and wrote:
All of their abilities can be combined in various ways, too, and playful experimentation makes for Dishonored 2’s most hilarious water-cooler moments. … In its best moments Dishonored 2 makes you feel like you can control any situation in any number of creative ways.
Which really is no surprise. Critics praised the first game for the very same reason. Even Arkane themselves would be surprised by the different creative ways testers used the powers. And this is something that they’ve always aimed for — the freedom for players to play how they want and choose their own path. As GameSpot, who gave it an 8/10, writes:
Moments like that happen frequently in Dishonored 2 because it’s as much a toy box as it is a game. It’s meant to be experimented with. It rewards and even demands creativity.
Its next strong suit is the game’s world and level design. Taken from NZGamer’s review that gave Dishonored 2 a 9.4/10:
Level design is sprawling and organic, and simulates an open world where there really isn’t one. After a mission that took me three hours, I sprinted from one end to the other in under a minute, so they’re not really that big, but they’re so much fun to explore that you’ll never really notice.
Which is again, something that the original game received praise for as well. While the levels themselves might not be big, they are incredibly dense and full of things to explore — should the player want to.
Dishonored 2 Reviews: The Bad
Of course the game isn’t perfect, despite a few outlets giving it a 10/10. Again putting technical issues aside for now, many outlets agreed that Dishonored 2 suffers from a poor narrative. The game’s story often feels like a repeat of the original — taking back the throne for Emily. GamingBolt, who gave the game an 8/10, writes:
Surprisingly, the story is brought out in a rushed way and is very cliche right from the beginning. … It’s a sad spin on the original game’s cleverly unwinding storytelling.
And later on in the same review critiques the voice acting in the game:
Several others in the game give off a stereotypical “video game voice” and persona that, in some cases, is almost cringe worthy.
Cubed3 gave the game a 7/10 — one of the lowest among the other reviews — and writes:
Story-wise, there’s very little weight to the plot. Characters lack motivations in both Corvo and Emily’s campaigns, and neither of the characters have fleshed out or fulfilling arcs.
They also agree with the other criticisms regarding the voice acting and voice direction in the game.
The already less than amazing writing is only hurt by the abhorrent voice direction. Dishonored 2 has an all-star cast, featuring the talents of Vincent D’Onofrio, Rosario Dawson, and Pedro Pascal, among many other strong actors, but the sloppy direction ends up removing any weight the story may have had.
So while the game seems to have nailed the gameplay, it falls short with regards to actual narrative. Whether that’s important or not you is your call, as for many outlets it wasn’t enough to hinder their enjoyment of the creative freedom the game provided.
Dishonored 2 Reviews: The Ugly
And we finally come to this, the biggest issue Dishonored 2 has had ever since launch — technical problems.
The PC version of the game has probably had the most coverage with regards to technical concerns. So much so that the game currently has a “Mixed” rating on Steam due to several users giving the game a negative score due to its performance. Arkane has acknowledged the problems that the game has on PC and are working on fixing it in patches, but as it is now the game just has too many issues on PC.
Consoles aren’t safe from this problem either. Several outlets reported on the game simply crashing on PS4 and Xbox One as well as some framerate drops. But nothing quite as bad as the PC version.
Despite these technical issues however, they still agree that the core game is very satisfying and very good. It is ultimately an upgrade from the first game, improving on many aspects that players loved. Hopefully the PC version gets patched up soon so that PC players will be to enjoy the game to its full potential.