The Hype Train has been somewhat of a poisoned chalice for those titles that I have chosen to publically build up. My first (and only) Hype Train article had a maiden voyage redolent of the Titanic, with a whole article dedicated to pumping up Homefront: The Revolution’s wheels. And when that game was slaughtered by a myriad of critics upon launch, there was no short supply of people rubbing it in my face. It was thoroughly deserved I must add, as I was perhaps a tad too optimistic about the game. But there have been numerous games considered ‘average’ or ‘mediocre’ that yours truly has found enjoyable, such as The Order: 1886, Quantum Break, and Ryse.
However, my next Hype Train piece shouldn’t elicit too much trepidation amongst the readers, as this title comes from proven pedigree. In fact, Dishonored 2 probably doesn’t need any extra hype from me, with critics praising the first iteration of Bethesda’s and Arkane’s Victorian London-steampunk-inspired stealth action-adventure title. There’s always that one game in each generation that stands out from the rest, and delivers an experience that is unmatched in your eyes. For me, Dishonored was my game of choice from the PS3/XB360 generation. I enjoyed the game so much that I ended up buying all the DLC (which was also fantastic).
Corvo Attano – the man in the iron mask
I remember buying Dishonored from my housemate for $40, as he said it was almost tailor-made to my interests. As I embarked on my journey into Dunwall I began mercilessly slaughtering every living guard I could find (at this point I was not aware of the effect that endless killing would have on my game), and it wasn’t until just under halfway through the campaign that my housemate informed me that killing everyone would have a detrimental effect on my ending. So from there I made a concerted effort to tone down the number of murders I was committing, but let’s be honest, with the array of powers at Corvo’s disposal, Arkane made it so much fun to kill everything and anything.
During the second half of the game I tried to cause as little chaos as possible, and upon getting to the final mission I thought I’d done enough to salvage my playthrough. Then it happened, that bastard Samuel Beechworth – my mate – backstabbing me harder than Julia Gillard backstabbed Kevin Rudd in 2010 by letting off a flare faster than an Italian football hooligan after Francesco Totti scored the winning penalty against Australia in the 2006 World Cup Round of 16. This subsequently alerted the authorities to my presence and it wasn’t long after that I perished and had to live out the whole ordeal again. However this time Samuel wasn’t quick enough with the flare, instead he was subdued with a sleeping dart, which caused him to fall out of the boat and presumably drown. High chaos was well and truly etched into my playthrough. Despite Samuel’s betrayal, I couldn’t continue knowing I’d murdered the only bloke who’d been with me 95% of the way. So I restarted the mission, and as they say, ‘third time lucky’, as I knocked him out (without killing him) and went on my merry way. At that point I decided it didn’t matter anymore, the damage had been done; so I went on a murdering spree that would put Colin Firth in Kingsman (that church scene) to shame.
Samuel and I during happier times
I’ll be honest, I have been largely avoiding gameplay videos and the like when it comes to Dishonored 2, preferring not to spoil my future playthough. Although I did have a sneaky geeze at our mates Press Start’s Clock Tower hands-on write-up, and that coupled with the game’s trailers and E3 gameplay video have given me enough fuel to power my hype train all the way to the coastal town of Karnaca (Dishonored 2’s setting).
One facet of Dishonored 2 that has me coloured keen is that players will be able to play as Emily Kaldwin (the kidnapped daughter of the slain empress from the predecessor). There are too few female leads in AAA games these days, so it’ll be refreshing to play as Emily, especially given the sentimental attachment formed from Dishonored. In saying that, I am equally excited to once again play as lead fella Corvo Attano, however it will be interesting to see how his character is portrayed this time around given that he be a voiced character, unlike last time.
One gameplay element that Arkane nailed last time was the ability to complete your directives with a lethal or non-lethal approach, which gave the player a multitude of ways to complete missions. I am confident that Arkane can pull this off with Dishonored 2’s level design, and will give players memorable levels akin to Dishonored’s House of Pleasure and Lady Boyle’s Last Party missions (two of the game’s best levels in my view).
Another one of Dishonored’s best features (once again in my opinion) was the game’s narrative and universe. The lore in Dishonored was deep and interesting, and it heightened the immersion if you bothered to look hard enough for it in the game world. I am excited to see how Arkane will have expanded on the game’s world and lore. Much like the first iteration, I have no doubt that Arkane will deliver a story-driven experience capable of once again bringing true innovation and style to the table, and perhaps become this generation’s defining experience.