With Dishonored 2 on track to be released November 11th for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, the good people at Arkane Studios and Bethesda Softworks held an event at The Edison in Los Angeles, California, where they gave members of the media a chance to play a somewhat elaborate mission from the game.
Suffice it to say, spoilers follow.
For those unfamiliar with Dishonored 2 or the original Dishonored, both are steampunk-flavored, first-person action games that have you using swords, guns, explosives, Jedi-like abilities, and the power of stealth. All of which happens in a BioShock-looking version of Victorian England.
As for the part of Dishonored 2 that we were given to play, our mission was to infiltrate Clockwork Mansion, the home of Kirin Jindosh. Jindosh is holding our friend Anton Sokolov hostage, and it’s our job to kill Kirin and rescue Anton, though not necessarily in that order.
But before I began my mission, Dishonored 2 Creative Director Harvey Smith informed us that it was going be a tough one because it actually takes place in the middle of the game, by which point we’d be familiar with the controls and up to speed on our abilities. We were also told that, like in the finished game, we would be able to either play as Dishonored hero Corvo Attano, or as Empress Emily Kaldwin, who is new and has her own unique powers.
It was for this reason that I began my time with Dishonored 2 as Emily. Starting the mission, I found myself in what looked like the car of a rollercoaster, albeit one that slowly and carefully delivered me to the landing below the front door of Clockwork Mansion. After climbing the steps and heading inside, I walked into a large and tastefully decorated foyer that had a giant robot in it, one that looked like a battle droid from Star Wars: The Phantom Menace if they were made from gears instead of circuits, were ten feet tall, had heads that look like bird skulls, and, most importantly [SPOILER ALERT], had weak knees. Like really weak.
After launching a first strike attack on the robot, which is called a Clockwork Soldier, Kirin used what I assume is an intercom to welcome me to his home. While Dishonored 2 can be played as a stealth action game, in this mission, your prey knows you’re coming for him, and doesn’t seem too worried. Which is okay, I didn’t want to be sneaky anyway.
Once Kirin stopped prattling on, I started to look around. The main selling point of Clockwork Mansion is that there are numerous levers throughout the premises. Pulling them causes sections of the room you’re in to split apart and move around. Which must make it a bitch to clean. But since that’s not my job, I spent the first couple minutes wandering around the house, rifling through Kirin’s stuff, stealth killing his guards with my swords, and pulling all the levers to see how they changed the layout of Kirin’s bedroom.
Eventually, I headed in the general direction of the mission objective marker, and took the elevator to the basement. After taking out two guards who weren’t paying attention, and thus deserved to be kicked over a railing, I proceeded to reconfigure this level until I was able to get to the lowest floor of Kirin’s basement.
Here, I was presented with a large puzzle room, one that had pressure plates on the floor that cause huge sections of the walls to move up and down. After a little trial and error (very little), I found a stash of bullets, and then found my old pal Anton, who had been kept in an area of the puzzle room with only a bed, a toilet, and his paints to keep him company. But not well-rested it seems, because after chatting a bit, he passed out.
Picking him up, I carried Anton through the house and to that rollercoaster. Though it wasn’t as easy as that sentence makes it seem. Besides running into some guards, who I dispatched with my handy pistol (carrying Anton prevented me from using my sword hand), I also, when I made it up the elevator to the main atrium, found myself confronted with a rather irritating appliance called an Arc Pylon. Though it doesn’t look like much, this security device sends out deadly lightning whenever someone gets near. Which is what I did, several times, before I realized how to get past it.
After dropping Anton off at the rollercoaster cart, I headed back inside, and towards where the game told me Kirin would be found. But this, like getting past the Arc Pylon, was easier said than done, until [again, SPOILER ALERT] I realize that one of the switches that reconfigured one of the rooms opened up more than just the one pathway I’d seen earlier. Following it, I eventually made my way to Kirin’s laboratory.
Once inside, Kirin set two of his Clockwork Solders after me. But apparently he hadn’t counted on me switching the ammo in my gun to the explosive variety. He also hadn’t counted on me having an ability called Far Reach, which allows you to instantly jump from wherever you’re standing to a point within sight. It’s not an uncommon mechanic — I’ve seen it used in such virtual reality games as Everest VR and the VR version of the “Blood Ties” part of the Rise Of The Tomb Raider 20 Year Celebration collection. And it comes in really handy when you’re on the first floor of some jerk’s lab and he’s on the balcony level laughing down at you, even though you totally destroyed his homemade Phantom Menace action figures.
As fun as the Dishonored 2 demo may have been, there was one thing that felt a bit off: the controls. Even after fiddling with the sensitivity settings, it took me until the part where I was carrying Anton to the rollercoaster for me to stop feeling like they were a bit jerky. Hopefully, the aforementioned good people at Arkane Studios will be able to fix this before the game comes out.