​Dishonored 2 Hands-on: The Clockwork Mansion

During a press event in NYC, Bethesda invited Kevin and I to play a single mission in the highly anticipated Dishonored sequel. The demo took place around the halfway point in the game, as you’re tasked with rescuing an old friend Anton Sokolov (you may remember him from the first game), and figure out how to deal with the eccentric person keeping him captive, Kirin Jindosh. As the new playable character to the series, Empress Emily Kaldwin, you venture into the walls of his impressive Clockwork Mansion, one of the most visually stunning pieces of architecture you’ll ever see in an action-adventure title.

As you explore the beautiful mansion, you’ll come to respect the sheer amount of hidden secrets within the mansion. Throughout the mansion, you’ll come across levers that when pulled will transform the inside of the estate in spectacular fashion. StaircaseS will fold inside themselves; floors break apart, and walls will vanish beneath the floorboards. Seeing it happen on the current floor you are standing on is one thing, but when you venture underneath and witness the mechanical gears and cogs making everything happen is an amazing sight.

Just like Corvo and his supernatural abilities from the first game, Emily’s skills are just as useful. Instead of actual teleportation like Corvo’s Blink ability, Emily uses Far Reach to pull herself towards far away locations. The difference here, Far Reach still keeps her visible to enemies, so you have to be careful not to be spotted. If you are, well, she does have a blade to cut down foes to pieces. Running into a handful of guards down a long hallway, I got to test out her Domino skill. When used, you can quickly kill (or incapacitate) groups of enemies. Domino links the fate of multiple characters together, so anything done to one will happen to the rest. A single sleep dart can down an entire squad of soldiers, if you are feeling for a less lethal tactic.. Shadow Walk is the last ability I messed around with during the 45 minutes it took to complete the mission. If you are focusing on not being seen, you can transform into an almost invisible shadow-like entity. While enemies will still spot you if you are directly right in front of them, it will make it much harder to be detected, not to mention a much safer way to sneak around.

As you would accept, there are many different options open to players. Myself, I’d prefer to go for a frontal assault, using grenades and mines to my advantage. I’ll occasionally use the shadows to sneak up on my foes, but it will always end with a dagger through the neck. I attempted to rescue Sokolov first, but that meant finding the best path through Jindosh’s guards, and our first look at his Clockwork soldiers. These mechanical beasts are tough, and being only halfway through the game, I’m intrigued to see what the second half of the game has to offer. My approach, luring them into a perfectly placed stun grenade to shock their systems and leave them open to attack for a brief period. The climax came when we finally came face to face with Jindosh, after taunting us the entire time we were exploring his residence.

Later on, I explored the mansion in detail and found multiple paths to take, and some great secret spots. I found a way to get between the walls after using Far Reach to scale outside the mansion by traveling through an open window. Following the path, I found myself looking down into a room with two potential buyers for Jindosh’s Clockwork soldiers. Listening to their conversation, I found they were not decent human beings, and both felt the cold edge of my blade.

Before I knew it, my time with the demo was over. I spent a lot of time exploring the shifting floors of the mansion, but I still know of some areas that I didn’t get to explore. It’s one of the more exciting environments in the game, and I’m ready to experience the rest of the uniquely designed locales in Dishonored 2.

Dishonored 2