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Parents' Guide to Dishonored 2 (PEGI 18)

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In collaboration with the Games Rating Authority, here’s our parent’s guide to Dishonored 2.

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1. Genre

Dishonored 2 is a stealth action game in which the player takes on the role of either deposed Empress Emily Kaldwin or her father and bodyguard Corvo Attano, as they fight to destroy Emily’s enemies and restore her to the throne.

The game is played from a first person perspective, and each level involves exploring an environment, avoiding or eliminating minor enemies while closing in on a specific target. Emily and Corvo have different weapons and supernatural powers available to them, allowing for many, many ways to engage with enemies and move around the maps.

The game is single player only.

Dishonored 2’s stealthy hooded protagonists are reminiscent of the Assassin’s Creed series, but the first person perspective, combat using weapons and supernatural powers, and dank steampunk environments feel closer to the Bioshock games.

2. PEGI Rating

In the UK and Europe, PEGI rates Dishonored 2 as PEGI 18, suitable for adults only, due to depictions of gross violence towards humans, violence against multiple innocents and the defenceless, and sexual expletives.

The Games Rating Authority expands on its PEGI details by saying that ‘as the player you can kill enemies by decapitation, dismemberment or blowing them up [and] the vast majority of violence is paired with strong blood [and] gore.’ The GRA goes on to say that the player can kill ‘innocent civilians around the city’ and that there are scenes, usually involving guards, in which violence or death is inflicted upon ‘defenceless and vulnerable’ people. ‘Variations of the word ‘fuck’ can be heard throughout [the game].’

3. Story

Fifteen years after the events of the first game, Dishonored 2 sees Empress Emily Kaldwin usurped. As with Dunwall in the first game, Karnaca has a rich and complex history reflected around its environment, and learning this history from documents, posters and so on deepens the game’s story.

As in the first game, the player is offered supernatural powers by a mysterious figure called the Outsider, and Emily and Corvo have different power sets reflecting their experience and personality. However, the player can choose to reject the Outsider altogether and take the challenging path of completing the game without powers.

4. Developer

Arkane Studios is a developer based in Lyon, France and Austin, Texas, which worked on the first Dishonored game and is responsible for a reboot of the Prey series of first person shooting games.

5. Format

Dishonored 2 is available for Xbox One, PS4 and PC for around £40 or $60.

6. Duration and Difficulty

The first Dishonored had a basic story that could be played through in around 12 hours. Dishonored 2 promises to extend play time with more mission and playable characters.

7. Themes

The Dishonored series is set in a fantasy world but draws on historical themes for its environment and story, in particular the industrial revolution and times of plague. Dishonored 2 is a game deeply interested in the machinations of the powerful, from weapons-building engineers to criminal gang leaders to aristocrats. The player will also encounter neutral factions on the streets of Karnaca who can help or hinder them.

In the world of Dishonored the way that an individual’s acts affect the society they live in is literalised - if you leave a trail of mangled bodies and destruction behind you, death and decay will spread, with corpses infested by bloodflies, and the world will become more dangerous to Corvo or Emily themselves. The freedom provided by the game, up to and including non-lethal means of disgracing or dispatching your targets, gives the player plenty of options to choose the kind of world they want to make.

8. Why people play

Being able to approach objectives multiple ways leads to great empowerment, with the player able to teleport behind an enemy and stab them in the neck, or set a trap then throw them into it, or create a ‘domino’ link between three guards so that when Emily shoots one the other two die as well.

All those powers would be of little interest if there wasn’t an intriguing world to interact with, and Dishonored 2’s Karnaca is as gorgeously stylised as Dunwall was in the previous game. The voice acting is once again top notch to match the visuals, with Daredevil stars Vincent D’onofrio and Rosario Dawson appearing as well as The Wire’s Jamie Hector and many more.

Dishonored 2 promises to balance complex, intelligent gameplay with strong narrative and production values.

Avatar for Andrew Robertson
Andrew Robertson
Andy Robertson is the editor of AskAboutGames and has written for national press and broadcast about video games and families for over 15 years. He has just published the Taming Gaming book with its Family Video Game Database.