Opinion: Six Things We Want In Dishonored 2
Expertly blending stealth, action and exploration, and armed with one of the most intriguing and atmospheric settings in recent memory, Dishonored proved to be both one of last year’s best games and one of the greatest new IPs of this console generation – garnering a rave review from our writer Dan Jenko upon its release in October.
But even with an original experience as strong as that, there’s still some room for improvement. And with a fully-fledged franchise now very much on the cards, it’s tempting to think about things that could be introduced to broaden the horizons of Dishonored 2. Things like…
More ingenious tools of death
If you chose to take the bloodthirsty approach in your compelling quest for revenge, the first game gave you some very tasty toys to play with: from exploding bullets to summoning swarms of rats to devour your foes.
Even so, however, it felt like there was a somewhat limited range of offensive implements and tactics at your disposal at times. In the sequel, therefore, it would be great to have a wider selection of death-dealing devices. How about a steampunk sniper rifle for long-range kills? Or a wider variety of traps and hostile spells? Taking a further cue from BioShock, magic could be opened-up considerably to accommodate a whole host of elemental, environmental and generally nasty attacks.
More ingenious tools of stealth
As rewarding as getting through a level without setting off alarms or killing any guards made you feel, taking the generally non-lethal, ‘high road’ in Dishonored could sometimes be a little tiresome as you became all-too used to the tactics afforded by choke-holds, sleep darts, possession and general avoidance. It seems clear that more possibilities for evasion and ‘humane’ take-downs should be in order next time out.
You could have stun grenades to render multiple targets unconscious, the ability to lace guards’ drink/food with sleeping drugs, a spell to become invisible for a short-space of time, and clockwork spybots to fly off and scout locations for you (which could be turned into a kamikaze spybots, if you actually wanted to do some killing).
More ways to eliminate key targets
One of the cool things about the first game was the way in which you could get rid of assassination targets without actually murdering them – working out a way to deliver a sort of ‘poetic justice’ punishment instead. Unfortunately, there was only one ‘non-lethal’ possibility for each target, and you feel this idea could easily be extended in the next outing to encompass a much wider range of possible approaches.
For example, a corrupt official could be exposed through a stolen recording, framed through the planting of incriminating evidence, blackmailed with some dark secret, or removed by a more morally-agreeable underling. Every target could have multiple ‘weaknesses’ that can only be exploited through in-depth exploration, eavesdropping and puzzle-solving – adding another dimension to the whole non-lethal element, rather than simply throwing in a single alternative solution.
Non-Urban locations – and other cities
Make no mistake: Dunwall’s moody plague-ridden alleyways, grubby industrial factories and lavish decadent palaces were all part of Dishonored’s distinctive atmosphere. But it would be cool to have missions outside of the city in the second installment.
Rural settings could take in a sprawling country residence complete with gigantic garden maze and assorted outbuildings; a busy mill-town surrounded by wheat fields and lakes; or a secret hideout located in the middle of a forest. You could also have a sea mission where you stowaway on and infiltrate a giant ship – and perhaps this voyage could take you to other cities of the Empire, each with their own individual flavour.
A proper sandbox approach
One of the best things about Dishonored was the somewhat open aspect of most levels, which allowed you to explore whole sections of the city, navigate an impressive range of routes to your objectives, and occasionally stumble upon interesting side-quests and goings-on.
It would be terrific to see this fully embraced in the sequel: with more randomised events unfolding in the streets, a greater number of side objectives in each environment (each opening up distinctive rewards and sub-plots), and larger maps to negotiate. You could also have a much bigger ‘hub’ area between missions, with plenty of characters to converse with and possibilities to open up.
Skill trees and perks
The ‘Bone Charms’ system was probably one of the few weaknesses of Dishonored, as it was quite an abstract, inflexible and arbitrary way of affording bonuses – giving the player access to enhanced stats and skills based purely on their talent for locating loot, with the nature of these enhancements determined simply by the Bone Charms you happened to find.
Instead of this, it would be much better to give players access to new abilities and skills based on their progress in certain aspects of the game, or the completion of certain challenges or objectives. Effectiveness at killing could open up augments to offensive capabilities; aquatic and athletic achievements could boost swimming and stamina; and success in stealth could grant bonuses to your means of remaining undetected. Alternatively, general skill points gained in this way could be allocated to branching skill trees as the player sees fit.
Either way, players could gradually mould themselves into ultimate killing machines, ghost-like ninjas, and anything else inbetween.