In a game full of spectacular levels, which one’s the best?

Dishonored, Arkane Studio’s immersive sim released in 2013 has sprawling, intricately planned, and richly detailed levels that are the backbone of the game. They’re the biggest reason the game works as well as it does. They serve as sandboxes that the player can navigate in a manner anywhere between not being seen by a single soul to leaving every person in the level dead. The levels also do some excellent worldbuilding and environmental storytelling should the player seek it out, and generally create an atmosphere that sets the tone of the game perfectly.

For this piece, I’m going to be…

Some mystery games are more mystery game-y than others

Let’s perform a little thought experiment. Let’s Google ‘detective video game’ and examine the results. What do we see?

What do a cute farming sim and a plague survival horror game have in common? A lot apparently.

On the surface, Stardew Valley and Pathologic seem diametrically opposed. One is a charming farming simulator, while the other is survival horror-influenced (in the words of the YouTuber HBomberguy) ‘Pain Simulator’. I love Pathologic. Since playing it, I’ve compared every game I’ve played with Pathologic 2. Sometimes the similarities are obvious on the surface, but aren’t actually all that deep, like the plague outbreak in Dishonored. Sometimes what they have in common isn’t immediately apparent but seems obvious once you see it, like the dialogue-heavy nature of Disco Elysium.

And sometimes, comparing Pathologic with a game seems like a joke…

In this series, I’ve explained how I feel about Dishonored 2 in excruciating detail. I’ve argued that it isn’t a retread of the first game, although it could have benefited from incorporating more of that game, I’ve said that it rehashed too much of the Dishonored DLCs which hurt this game, and I’ve gone into depth about why I think the Low Chaos route was flawed and how it ends up making a High Chaos route more plausible and satisfying.

In this piece, I’m going to complain a bit more about part of the game I didn’t like, and these…

Sekiro has a lot of great boss fights, but here are my favorites

I recently beat From Software’s Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, and found the game to be an engaging, enthralling and challenging experience. The various bosses and mini-bosses encountered played a big role in shaping that experience. In this piece, I want to go over my ten favourite bosses and minibosses in the game. Most of these fights were extremely challenging, taking me a fair number of attempts to get past, and I’m reasonably certain I’m not alone here. …

These eight games are all quite different, but are unified by being single-player, story-focused experiences

2020 has been the year of video games for me. Even leaving aside the global pandemic that’s left many people at loose ends, I’d been on the lookout for a job since December 2019, and this year especially, video games have been an escape for me from stress. I played all of the games in this piece for the first time, they’re all pretty different from each other aside from being single-player and generally story-driven. …

In the last part, I went into detail about why Emily’s Low Chaos arc failed, and why her High Chaos arc works in a perverse way because of this. In this piece, I’m going to compare Dishonored 2 to the two-part story DLCs of Dishonored, The Knife of Dunwall and The Brigmore Witches. I argue that Dishonored 2 has as much in common with these DLCs as they do with the first game, if not more, and unlike the comparisons with the first game, Dishonored 2 doesn’t measure up to the DLCs as well.

A Recap of the DLCs

For all her faults, Emily was an early adopter of masks at least.

In the first part of this series, I discussed the common criticism of Dishonored 2: that it is a retread of the first game, and argued why that’s not strictly true and that it might have been more interesting if Dishonored 2 had actually committed to subverting the plot beats of first game more completely. At the end, I said that I’d be comparing Dishonored 2 to the two-part DLCs for Dishonored, and arguing the reverse, which is that Dishonored 2 is a retread of the DLCs and that the similarities hurt both games. …

When Dishonored 2 was released in November 2016, my anticipation was through the roof. I played the first Dishonored two years ago and was instantly hooked. I loved the characters, the worldbuilding, the level design, the sheer number of ways a mission could be completed, and the execution of the game’s themes of power and corruption. The Knife of Dunwall and The Brigmore Witches, two-part DLCs for the game were even better, and made me very optimistic about the direction the series seemed to be heading in.

At the time, I did not have a PC that could handle the…

Maris Crane

Chronic overthinker. Email —

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