Dishonored 2’s New Abilities Sound Promising

Dishonored 2 [official site] is one of those games that I don’t need to read about, because I’ve already decided that I’m going to play it based on how much I enjoyed the first’s blend of magic and stealthy murder. Still, for you, I have mined Game Informer’s recent preview for news of how its new and old powers will function.

Arkane’s sequel starts two characters, one of whom is the hero of the original, Corvo Attano. For undisclosed reasons (videogames) Corvo has to re-gain all the powers he enjoyed during the first, though those abilities have been tweaked somewhat.

Blink is back, for example, but can now be upgraded to allow you to pause time when not moving, just as Daud could in the Knife of Dunwall DLC. Possession, which allows you to possess other humans and animals, can now be chained together so you can hop from entity to entity seamlessly and can be used to possess dead bodies. Devouring Swarm returns also – which is slightly more odd, given that the new city of Karnaca doesn’t have a rat plague – but is now tempered in power somewhat by the introduction of bloodflies who attack rats “on sight”.

The second character is Emily Kaldwin, daughter to the assassinated empress from the first game’s opening moments. Her abilities are more interesting because they’re brand new – although in some instances are an obvious mirror of Corvo’s. For example, Far Reach is an obvious equivalent of Blink, letting you cover large distances quickly, but it’s powered by a supernatural grappling hook and so you’re visible as you travel instead of teleporting.

I’ll leave the many other details to the Game Informer article, which you should go read. It’s heartening – though not a surprise – that the non-lethal playstyle will be even better supported this time around. That’s how I played the last game, though I gave it up when an event gave narrative motivation to do so.

Dishonored 2 is due on November 11.


  1. Lars Westergren says:

    > one of those games that I don’t need to read about, because I’ve already decided that I’m going to play it

    Yes, this is probably my most anticipated game right now.

    • Snidesworth says:

      Same, though I’m devouring every scrap of information I can get my hands on. Still quite keen to see some in game footage, though, which isn’t due to be shown for another few months, I think?

      • Jigowatt says:

        They’ve announced they’re showing it at E3 in June… so 5 weeks to wait for some gameplay.

  2. bit.bat says:

    I liked the fact that time did not pause in the original version of the blink ability, it made complicated manoeuvres really satisfying when you managed to pull them off. Jumping straight out of a window, turning around and blinking into the window on the floor above was a particular favourite (when it worked out).

  3. MrFinnishDude says:

    I guess Corvo’s power loss could be easily explained. That Outsider dude gives people powers for his own amusement, so I guess he thought it would be interesting to take Corvo’s powers away (and also: vidja gayms).
    I hope this game will elaborate on the “whole universe will eventually disappear into the void cuz whales” thing from the last game. I was sad that the plot didn’t really delve into it that much.

  4. The Ultimate Clone of The Ultimate Warrior says:

    Man I really disliked Dishonoured. In it’s quest to be Like Thief But… it really lacked an identity of it’s own and suffered due to it’s own desperate attempts to compare itself to Thief. It’s not a bad game but I struggle to see what everyone else sees in it.

    • OpT1mUs says:

      I also didn’t like it. It tried to be a stealth game, but made the most fun abilities and weapons be for non-stealth use. So you either use them and get a bad ending, or play “as intended” and don’t use half the stuff in game. Boring.

      • CraftyBanana says:

        Although I did really enjoy the original, I too am hopeful that this time around they’ll be a little be less heavy-handed with making sure you know you’re a terrible person for using the violent options, so that I can savour the simple pleasure of strapping a mine to a rate, possessing the rat, running the rat into the middle of a group of guards and making it explode.

      • gabrielonuris says:

        That alone is reason enough for me to skip Dishonored 2 completely (unless they say this time I can actually have fun with the game without being penalized for it. That’s why I still read news about the game.)

      • klops says:

        I liked it a lot, but agree completely with the problem you mentioned. I ghosted most of Dishonored, while the game clearly gave me all kinds of cool killing toys to play with.

    • LacSlyer says:

      I agree completely. I think its biggest fault in trying to compare itself to Thief it comes off as somewhat of a dumbed down stealth game when you have something like Blink and Possess for stealthing. That alone made the game so overly simple to play and really turned me off to it when it should be more about enjoying the abilities. I think if they focused less on stealth and more on pulling off crazy moves against enemies they’d be more successful, not that they need to be.

      The one thing that still remains impressive to me with it though is how absolutely gorgeous everything looked even though the design of some characters was to make them purposely ugly.

      • KenTWOu says:

        The game was focused on pulling off crazy moves against enemies, that’s why its stealth wasn’t that good, its non-lethal approach was an afterthought (improved in Daud’s campaign), but we have tons of youtube videos where people pull off absolutely insane tricks.

    • Emeraude says:

      The thing is, overall it wasn’t trying to be like Thief, it was trying to be like Deus Ex (and on that front works better as spiritual successor to DX than Human Revolution if you ask me).

      Seems to me like it’s just that people were so focused on the setting and stealth element they decided it would be a Thief follow up. And judging it from that perspective, the perspective of a pure stealth game, found it wanting.

  5. Chorltonwheelie says:

    Thief was boring.
    Dishonored was great.
    That’s the only comparison needed.

    • Blackcompany says:

      I agree completely

    • Zekiel says:

      To be fair, they cater to different audiences. I wanted to love Thief but lacked the patience. I adore Dishonored.

    • celticdr says:

      My thoughts exactly – loved the original Thief games but the latest one I never ended up finishing, whereas Dishonored I practically played in one big session (ok it took me a week).

      I think it was the cool steam-punk orwellian world that had me hooked on Dishonored… and the boat rides at the start of the missions… and blink was awesome… great game!

    • LacSlyer says:

      I think a lot of people feel this way, but not because Thief was a bad game, just not quite as tailored to mass appeal as Dishonored obviously was. Thief was closer to an old school stealth style while Dishonored was a more modernized version that offered more for players overall.

      I love stealth games, and have played every single known stealther since the original Thief, from Splinter Cell to Mark of the Ninja. However, Dishonored doesn’t really fit into the stealth category for me because one, it’s not the main focus, and two it’s got a lot of what I’d consider cheating for a stealth game (i.e. the ability that lets you see enemies through walls).

      • Emeraude says:

        Thiaf (if that’s the one we’re talking about) was in very few ways; if any, close to a an old-school stealth game. But it was trying, or at least pretending, to be a stealth game.

        Dishonored wasn’t a stealh game. It was though, a game that had a stealth element to it.

  6. Monggerel says:

    So… Emily is the high-profile murderhobo and Corvo (who?) is the sneaky snacks?


  7. Frosty says:

    I’m currently replaying Dishonored and I think it’s one of those games that really benefits from setting your own rules.

    In this play through I am aiming for a non lethal ghost play through. But I am playing on hardest difficulty with all UI tooltips (like enemies indicating awareness) turned off. However I am not allowed to load a game unless I die. On top of this I am only allowed to save every ten minutes or so. This combination means when I am spotted I often have to fight my way out of the situation as running away rarely works out, and I can’t just savescum and reload from before I got spotted.

    On top of this my current Corvo is a rather bloodthirsty chap when it comes to the assassinations. He aims to kill all of his targets and always face to face in combat, so they recognise him, rather than one of the more sneaky ways. To top his slightly disturbed actions he always makes a very public display of his killing. This means even if no one saw him kill the target he promptly clubs the highest roof he can find and throws the body into the major crowded area he can.

    Got to send a message see?

    Please don’t call the police on me.

    But this allows me to enjoy the best of the stealth gameplay and combat abilities.

    For example the other day I killed the lord regent. First I climbed the tower and broadcast to the whole city his confessional tape revealing he had brought the rat plague upon the city. Next I moved to his bedroom and killed the fella face to face as he panicked about what the public would do to him. Unfortunately I got rather carried away and used up all my magic in getting to him and so when a guard rushed in I found myself with little other option but to fight him. I chopped off his head and was so horrified by this action went over to it and discovered you can pick up severed body bits. A new guard rushed in and in a panic I did thr unthinkable, I there his friends head right st him. To my awful delight I discovered throwing a, er, object at the guards knocks them off balance and used his momemt of abject horror to make my escape.

    I found far cry 2 also hugely benefits from setting your own rules.

    • Zekiel says:

      Absolutely. dishonored is not a game to try and play the most efficient way – it’s hard to argue with “Bend Time plus sword to the face” for ease. But there is a huge amount of fun to be had with doing things interestingly.

      In the Lord Regent’s case, I broadcasted his crimes, then retired a wall of light so when he was arrested the guards walked him straight through it, killing him. That was satisfying.

      • thedosbox says:

        dishonored is not a game to try and play the most efficient way

        Exactly, I suspect many of those who bounced off it tried to min/max the game. That’s not an approach that is particularly satisfying. Trying to get the different systems to interact? That was way more fun.

        • Premium User Badge

          gritz says:

          The problem is that the reward system wasn’t built to reward that kind of experimentation. Min/Max is kind of your only option when playing in the gray area means you get the “bad” ending and the less rewarding interactions.

          • Emeraude says:

            That’s one of the things I like the game for though. It misses on many fronts, but it has a point and keeps to it. There’s no “bad” end. After all the plague can be overcome however violent you are.

            But the game refuses to be that power fantasy where you can murder indiscriminately, spread violence,and be pat on the back and told you did good and are a hero that made the world around you better.

            That being said, the game is fairly forgiving and you can kill quite a few people before you get into “chaos” territory.

    • Premium User Badge

      gritz says:

      It’s unfortunate that the game offers such diverse and interesting playstyles while the worldbuilding and writing lack the ability to recognize and reward them with any kind of appropriate nuance.

    • Emeraude says:

      Amusingly, started replaying it yesterday, and yes, it’s the best way to play the game.

      Also, and that’s a conversation we already had here, but I find in its conflict between being a entertainment product and auteur piece it lost some of what could make it work as either.

      See the recurring complaints about the “bad end” on one side.
      See the failure into enforcing is own systemic narrative on the other.

      I do think a save system that wouldn’t have allowed you to reload after mistakes would have made the game a lot better both from a gameplay standpoint and in respecting the own narrative it was trying to establish about control and applied force.

  8. tormos says:

    Also Cara Ellison is writing for it! This is part of what she did when she decided to abandon RPS for bigger and better things.

  9. dickall says:

    Corvo has to re-gain all the powers he enjoyed during the first, though those abilities have been tweaked somewhat.

    Do you have a source on that, Graham? Because the Gameinformer article never mentions Wind Blast, Agility, Blood Thirsty, Shadow Kill, or Vitality. Their article only mentions half of Corvo’s powers of the original. If I’m to assume that Gameinformer’s coverage is indeed official, you’d be best to get your facts straight…