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"It's happened again. Someone's pulled the rug out from under you; an empire at your feet, and you've lost it all. Be honest: did you really deserve any of it? More important: what would you do to get it back? Careful. There's always a price to pay. What you decide will ripple across the years; blood in the gutters and corruption on the wind. It'll be fun watching this unfold. What will you do with this power I've given you? How will you make your mark on this wretched world?"
The Outsider

Dishonored 2, released November 11th, 2016, is the first Numbered Sequel to 2012's adventure/Stealth-Based Game/Immersive Sim Dishonored, developed by Arkane Studios for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC, and the third entry (following the Daud DLC) in the Dishonored Series.

15 years after the events of the first game (more specifically, a Low Chaos playthrough of the first game), Emily Kaldwin rules The Empire from Dunwall Tower, with her father Corvo Attano at her side as Lord Protector. Emily doubts that she is being as good an empress as her late mother Jessamine Kaldwin, while she and Corvo are being framed for the murders of Emily's critics, committed by a hooded assassin known only as the Crown Killer.

On the anniversary of Jessamine's death, Emily receives a visit from the Duke of Serkonos, Luca Abele, and Emily's supposed aunt, Delilah Kaldwin. Delilah declares herself the true empress and the duke's soldiers attack; Corvo defends Emily and stabs Delilah, but she shrugs it off and strips him of his magic. Emily and Corvo stand back-to-back, at which point you choose who you'll play for the entire game.

Whoever you choose must escape the chaos while the other is turned to stone, leaving Dunwall on a ship captained by a mysterious ally. You'll head to Serkonos' capital city and Corvo's childhood home, Karnaca, in order to eliminate the coup's conspirators, find out how to defeat Delilah, and try to solve some of Karnaca's own problems. Or maybe just exact revenge. Either way, the Outsider is looking forward to your journey, whether or not you accept his Mark.

Dishonored 2 expands on its predecessor in numerous meaningful ways. The biggest change, obviously, is that Corvo is now joined by Emily as a player character, who has her own suite of powers to play around with. The setting has moved mostly from Dunwall to Karnaca, a sunbathed Greco-Roman/Indian style city, and the level design has changed somewhat as a result, with the buildings being far more open and detailed than previously seen. Corvo and Emily are much more agile than Corvo was in the previous game, able to now vault over objects and pull people over cover. The game allows for more non-lethal options in gameplay as well, featuring changes like the ability to non-lethally drop attack someone and being able to choke opponents out mid-fight. In addition, there are more gadgets and gear to play around with this time as well, and the Chaos System makes a return.

Spoilers of the previous game will be unmarked. Examples for the standalone sequel, Dishonored: Death of the Outsider, go on that page.

Previews: E3 2015 trailer, E3 2016 Gameplay trailer.

Dishonored 2 contains examples of:

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  • Ace Custom: All of the non-consumable equipment was custom-made for both Emily and Corvo. Some are relics from the previous game, like the folding blade and mask made by Piero Joplin in the previous game.
  • Aerith and Bob: Much like Dunwall, Karnaca is a Culture Chop Suey of names: Italo-Hispanic names such as Luca Abele, Lucia Pastor, Paolo, alongside Alexandria Hypatia, Aramis Stiltonnote , Breanna Ashworth, with the most out of place name being Kirin Jindosh as a "Kirin" (with that English spelling) is a creature from Japanese folklore.
    • Though Kirin could be a variation on the name Kiran, which is either an Indian name, or an anglicised version of Ciaran.
  • The Alleged Car: The Dreadful Wale is a rickety old tub.
    Meagan: Another week, another leak...
  • Alternative Calendar: The collectible calendar souvenir from Aramis Stilton's house shows that the isles use a system very similar to the International Fixed Calendar, with 13 months of 28 days each shown here
  • Amazon Brigade: Delilah's coven returns from The Brigmore Witches, providing one variant of the game's Elite Mooks.
  • Amplifier Artifact: Several bonecharms are dedicated to enhancing the player's supernatural powers. Most of these just increase their duration or cause them to grant Regenerating Health while active, but a few have more unique benefits such as making Doppelgangers have more health.
  • Another Side, Another Story: The story will change depending on if you choose Emily or Corvo at the start of a playthrough, to suit each character's circumstances and personality.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: This installment introduced Quicksave and Quickload on consoles. Also, quicksaving is impossible immediately after getting spotted and during combat, so a player can’t twitch the save button and save themselves into a corner or accidentally ruin a ghost run.
    • If you're doing a Flesh and Steel (no magic) run any runes you pick up will instead give you bonus money to spend on ammunition and upgrades.
  • Arc Words: "The World as it Should Be" and "Take back what's yours".
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Emily gets nailed by the ever-cunning Sokolov.
    Emily: "I suppose the Duke doesn't care, so long as he sips from silver cups."
    Sokolov: "And what are the cups in Dunwall Tower made of, Empress?"
  • Asshole Victim: The Heart can reveal the nature of any person you point it at with an anecdote from their life; ranging from innocent, to guilty, to murderous. It has a gameplay element; the more guilty a victim is, the less chaos killing them would cause.
    • Like the first game, most of the targets are this too, though unlike it, a couple don't actually deserve their deaths. Certainly, Ramsey, Jindosh, Duke Luca, and Breanna do. However, the Crown Killer aka Hypatia is an unambiguously benevolent person who had been poisoned into a twisted serial killer and Delilah herself is subject to some grey morality, given the sheer horribleness of her backstory that drove her wicked.
  • Assassin Outclassin': In a book "The Child Empress", it details how a cabal of die-hard Burrows loyalists ambushed Emily (then 14) by blocking her carriage. After the other carriage occupant return-to-sender'd a grenade, one of the assassins jumped onto the cabin, only for young Emily to yank free a railway brace and brain the assassin with it.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking:
    • Two of Delilah's four inner circle members, the Crown Killer and Breanna Ashworth, are significantly tougher than your average Mook, Breanna due to being a high-ranking Brigmore Witch and the Crown Killer because of a Psycho Serum. Then there's Delilah herself, who as an Outsider-empowered individual like Corvo or Daud is every bit as tough a fighter as she was back in the Brigmore Witches DLC.
    • On the side of the heroes, Emily is the Empress herself, trained by her father and is a great swordswoman, a good shot, a stealth expert and immensely tough despite her slight frame, able to knock out and choke guards many times her size and battle clockwork soldiers. This is without powers. Her father Corvo Attano, in his early 50s, is Royal Protector and Spymaster, and the second-in-command in the Empire of the Isles. He's also tough, skilled and dangerous, with or without powers.
  • Badass Bystander: Workers will join a fight if you start one, wielding pipes that deal less damage than the swords that everybody else uses, but they'll typically end up fighting you.
  • Badass Family: Corvo and Emily are a father and daughter both gifted with supernatural abilities by the mysterious Outsider and trained in the arts of an assassin.
  • Bad Powers, Good People: Averted deliberately. As noted by Harvey Smith, many of Emily's powers — Mesmerize, Domino, Shadow Walk — are symbolic of her stature as Empress, someone who controls and manipulates people (Mesmerize), collectively affects people linked by her actions (Domino) and holds an inner darkness and capacity to invoke fear (Shadow Walk). Even the name of her basic traversal power, Far Reach, depicts her power as the Empress, and its enhancements further expand on bringing things (and later people) to her. Despite the ambiguous and dubious nature of her powers, and the great scope for abuse, Emily, via the player, has full choice and control to use them either for good or for evil.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": In low chaos, Howlers trying the Decoy Damsel routine are... less than convincing.
  • Bag of Spilling: Corvo gets his powers drained by Delilah in the intro, meaning that if he chooses to get them back has to relearn all of his powers from the first game.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Emily's restless thirst for an adventure resulted in her skiving off her imperial duties often. And now that she's an utterly usurped fugitive (should she be the Player Character), she got what she wanted...
  • Big Fancy House: Stilton has a lavish mansion. At least it was one before the fateful seance.
  • Bizarrchitecture: Multiple examples across the game:
    • The Clockwork Mansion, built by inventor Kirin Jindosh has rooms that can fold and collapse in curious ways. Be prepared to see the Kitchen rework itself into the ceiling or walls, whole rooms going up and down. If you're quick enough, you can even get into the spaces between the rooms, though Jindosh warns you that said spaces aren't intended for people. Considering his defenses cannot touch you while you are there, he may be lying.
    • Aramis Stilton's Mansion turned Bunker. The reasons for its bizarre nature doesn't have to do with its architecture necessarily but should you knock out Aramis before he sees the ritual and return to the present, the Mansion ends up showing a rather unique personal style, such as rooms filled with giant trompe l'oeil paintings, and a giant statue in the middle of his office, which feels pretty bizarre since most prefer busts for interior decorations not something that could be on a pedestal in a garden or a street. The fact that the statue exists in what is a normally proportioned office makes it stand out.
    • Duke Luca Abele's Grand Palace sticks out because unlike the nominal ersatz fantasy take on nineteenth-century society, culture and design for the overall series, his Palace looks pretty modern. It's basically a giant ziggurat that naturally fits into the landscape in the manner of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings. It features clean vertical lines while providing large interior spaces, going in for a particularly asymmetrical design that makes it look like no video game house in any 3D game.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Some of the optional objectives or encounters have you making a last-second rescue for a civilian oppressed by the state. A notable instance is the Edge of the World mission in the first visit to Karnaca, where a Grand Guard was planning to throw a whistleblower for his corruption into a Wall of Light. There's an achievement for stopping the guard from doing this. Later on, in the Dust District, you can save two civilians from being executed by the Overseers for stealing food.
  • Bond One-Liner: After killing a target, Corvo/Emily will usually make a snappy comment towards them.
Emily: (to Kirin Jindosh) Goodbye, Grand Inventor.
Corvo: (to Kirin Jindosh) Welcome to the final mystery, Jindosh.
Emily: (to Delilah) You won't mind one more unfairness, will you, Delilah?
  • Body Horror:
    • Karnaca has insects that turn human bodies into organic hives. While they mostly do this to corpses, in rare cases it can happen to people who are still alive, turning them into brainwashed "Nest Keepers". You can hear the churning and shifting of the larvae inside them as the Nest Keepers try to move around.
    • The serum that makes Dr. Hypatia into the Crown Killer. Her pallor darkens, her eyes start glowing and her hair spikes up, looking like some fantasy creature.
    • When the Witches go from sentry state to attack mode, their bodies pulse black and red, and green, looking quite demonic.
  • Bodyguarding a Badass: Playing as Emily Kaldwin can qualify. She learned much from Corvo during both installments, as she uses stealth, weapons, and magic (possibly) to defeat her opponents. Despite this, depending on the ending, Corvo can still stay by her side as Royal Protector.
  • Broken Aesop: This game and the previous installment both have a moral against killing, as it's the main metric by which the Chaos level changes. The more you kill, the worse everything becomes. However, the events of this game are only possible because Daud didn't kill Delilah when he had the chance and instead eliminated her nonlethally by trapping her in the Void. Meaning, all the suffering and death Delilah's coup resulted in can be traced to someone refraining from killing.
  • Brought Down to Badass: At the beginning of the game, Delilah uses her powers to remove Corvo's Mark of the Outsider, taking away all his abilities. If you choose to play as him, the Outsider shows up in the next mission to offer you the same bargain he did the last time; this time, though, you can tell him to piss off and go through the game using only your natural abilities.
  • Bullying a Dragon: A Corvo playthrough can qualify, whether he accepts the Outsider's gifts or not. The supernatural targets and witches might get a pass. The City Watch officers, however, should know what Corvo was capable of during the first installment.
  • Call-Back: Several to Dishonored:
    • The moment you get onto the streets, you have an auditory flashback to the Canned Orders over Loudspeaker from the first game, "Attention Dunwall Citizens..." which melts into a live guard's pronouncement of the coup.
    • Not only is there the use of 451 as the first passcode in the game, as is requisite to all immersive sims, but the safe it opens belongs to Doctor Galvani, the same man who had it in the original game.
    • Corvo's branding of High Overseer Thaddeus Campbell becomes a cautionary tale in "Edge of the World", where an overseer mentions the legend of a High Overseer whose name has been stricken from the records because he was branded as a heretic.
    • The final voiceover from The Brigmore Witches DLC by Daud can be discovered in Meagan/Billie's chambers where Emily finally learns that Daud, the man who killed her mother, had once rescued her from Delilah Copperspoon.
    • The game's brief tutorial level at the start is one to Dishonored where Corvo and little Emily played Hide and Seek. Now an elder Corvo trains Teenage Emily. The later part of the tutorial in addition to being a Shout-Out to Thief is also one for the Flooded District level of the first game, where one of Daud's assassins tells a novitiate to sneak up on him and attack him stealthily. Now it's Emily who has to sneak up on Corvo.
    • The final battle with Delilah once again takes place in the Void and dealing with her non-lethally has you tampering with her ritual and trapping her inside a painting.
    • A painting of the Hound Pits Pub is present in Emily's room, the first playable moment after you switch between characters. Dialogue from Corvo and Emily acknowledge the significance of the first game's Hub Level and the dark days it represented.
    • The last victim of the Crown Killer was a descendant of the Boyle family, Ichabod. Like his predecessor Lady Boyle, he was plotting against Emily and Corvo.
    • Yet again a level has you carrying out an unconscious Anton Sokolov, only this time it's a rescue instead of a capture.
    • In "The Dust District", an Overseer mercy kills his buddy who's slowly dying from a stab wound, much as one did in the first game for his friend who was stricken with the plague.
    • In both installments, a target's non-lethal elimination results in an arrest by his own guards.
    • Additionally, in both installments, another target's non-lethal elimination is to be put to work in the mines.
    • In both installments, if you deal with the game's first target non-lethally (Campbell in the first, Ramsey in the second), they each make appearances in later stages in a very sorry state.
  • Cardboard Prison: After the coup, Ramsey decides that a room with an open window from which the adjacent room can be accessed literally feet away is adequate to imprison the royal bodyguard and master swordsman who foiled the last coup/his daughter who he trained to have the same abilities.
  • Casting a Shadow: Shadow Walk lets Emily turn into a shadow monster as one of her powers, designed to be more stealthy. Emily's unique power set has a "shadow/fate" theme in general, similar to Delilah's plant-themed powers, and the speed/space-time themed powers of Corvo and Daud.
  • Causality Mechanic: The level "A Crack in the Slab" sees the player character stripped of their mystical powers, which are replaced by just one — the ability to travel back and forth in time between the present and the night when the Big Bad Delilah was brought back from the Void. At several points in the level, manipulating the level in the past propagates into the present (such as when cremating an infested dog corpse in the past clears out a bloodfly colony in the present), but the biggest whammy comes at the end of the level, where knocking out or killing Aramis Stilton not only swaps out the entire level in the present, but also the level after that, as well as changing a number of other details, such as giving Megan Foster back her arm and eye.
  • Central Theme:
    • As in the first game, What You Are in the Dark. When they get power where once they had none, what do they use it for? A second theme is the idea of people who were hurt and beaten down rising into positions of power and authority, where they either overcome their feelings of retribution and vengeance to improve the lot of the downtrodden, or embrace their resentment and become the new tyrants.
    • Having honor, losing it, and gaining it back. On some level, multiple characters are dishonored either by actions from their past, or from society. Sokolov sees his past as shameful as does Meagan Foster, Aramis Stilton tried to hide his social origins because society demeaned him, Duke Luca Abele dishonored his father's legacy, while Delilah Copperspoon reveals that Jessamine had feet of clay. Emily and Corvo wish to atone for their failure in neglecting Karnaca, seeking to restore honor for all.
  • Chekhov's Armoury: The player can use Jessamine's secret room hidden behind the fireplace (which was also present in the previous game) to enter the throne room instead of using the elevator.
  • The Cobbler's Children Have No Shoes: Apparently the manufacturer of the safes you find throughout the game is completely inept at securing his own property. Not only does he keep forgetting every three-digit code he tries to secure his shop and his safe with, but when you break into his apartment, his safe's code is 123. And you can find it from a picture of the safe with the code entered on it in the exact same room.
  • Coming of Age Story: For Emily, who is finally forced to face the result of her actions as a passive empress. She either assumes responsibility and becomes a good and wise ruler, or lashes out and becomes an entitled bloodthirsty tyrant, depending on your actions.
  • Continuity Nod: Some of the Drawings Emily made for Corvo in Dishonored decorate her safe room in Dunwall Tower. Others decorate Corvo's room.
    • When you're poking around Addermire, you can find patient records and the diary of Vera Moray, Granny Rags from the first game.
  • Contractual Boss Immunity: The Crown Killer and Breanna Ashworth are immune to normal non-lethal knockout methods, such as sleep darts or knockout blows. Each has to be disabled with a special level-specific method if you want to take them out non-lethally. However, unlike the first game, instant-kill attacks work perfectly fine against them.
  • Creepy Children Singing: Heard during the last chapter on your way through the city here.
  • Cutting Off the Branches: The first game had Multiple Endings, some of which directly contradict the possibility of a sequel. Harvey Smith stated that the developers "chose a canon" based on some of the popular choices made by players:
    • In general, the game assumes that the Low Chaos ending of Dishonored 1 is canonical, since Emily survives and starts out as a stable and functional empress rather than the child sociopath she became at the end of High Chaos D1. Anton Sokolov and Piero Joplin cured the Rat Plague (the elixir is sold as S&J Elixir), which only happens in Low Chaos. Samuel wasn't killed by Corvo and lived to give a carving of his boat he made to Emily, which she keeps in her safe room, and since it's implied he's since passed from old age and he's remembered fondly by Corvo/Emily he didn't denounce Corvo as he did in the High Chaos ending, so the Low or Middle Chaos Kingsparrow Isle must have been canonical. Notes from a group of supporters/fans of the Lord Regent calling themselves the Regenters indicate that Corvo exposed the Lord Regent's crimes, rather than kill him, leading to his arrest, while a Street Overseer confirms that High Overseer Thaddeus Campbell was branded a heretic.
    • The game also assumes Low Chaos for the 2-Part Daud DLC, since Corvo spared Daud, Daud spared Billie Lurk, and Delilah Copperspoon wasn't killed at the end of The Brigmore Witches and the Outsider speaks less dismissively of Daud to Corvo/Emily. Emily also discovers Daud's final narration at the end of the DLC proving that the latter had once rescued her from Delilah. The Hatters are the dominant gang of Dunwall, indicating that Daud did not cause the Hatters to be gassed to death by the Geezer's life support system.
    • A pacifist run (AKA Clean Hands) is not canonical, however, since the opening narration shows Corvo killing some guards, and in-game dialogue strongly implies Corvo killed at least enough to be feared during his time on the run. Finally, Corvo kills three guards at the start of 2, making it clear he's willing to kill if threatened.
    • Additionally, the opening animations indicate a guard running towards Corvo, proving that he raised alerts and was seen at least once, therefore eliminating any Ghost or Shadow runs.
    • While it's not made clear if Granny Rags was killed by Corvo in the game itself, it is clear that she is dead. note  Likewise, Word of God confirms the Royal Interrogator was killed by Corvo.
    • On a similar note, during the opening cut scene's Anniversary Ceremony, Corvo activates the Bend Time Skill, making any Mostly Flesh and Steel run non canon as well.
    • In minor side-quest related stuff, it's canon that Corvo stole from Dr. Galvani in the first game.
  • Cutting the Knot: An easy way to get to the mystic study in "A Crack in the Slab" (without the room combination) is to use the player's sword to break the board that is blocking the door.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: On the console versions of the first game, pulling the triggers while your weapons were sheathed would ready your weapons and powers for use. In this game, pulling either trigger causes Emily/Corvo to use a power or weapon even if their hands are down, which can lead to unwanted consequences.
    • Also on consoles, the attack and block/parry buttons have been reversed from the first game. These are also the buttons used to decide between lethal and non-lethal takedowns.
  • Darkest Africa: The Dishonored Universes' equivalent is Pandyssia. Unfathomably huge, filled with hostile tribes and wildlife, and a breeding ground for exotic diseases. All expeditions have ended in failure or insanity, and Sokolov became famous simply because his expedition only lost most of its members instead of all of them.
  • Deconstruction: Of Royals Who Actually Do Something. Emily was so eager to become a hero and to go on adventures, she neglected to actually be an empress; daydreaming through council meetings, barely looking into the actions of other leaders, signing nearly anything that reached her desk, and in general wishing she was anywhere else. But the Isles needed an empress, not just an Action Girl, so while she was busy daydreaming and going on nighttime adventures, people like the duke were running rampant with no one to stop them. It took a coup and the death of some of her closest friends before she realized her mistake.
  • Decoy Damsel: A favorite tactic of the Howlers. Have one of their members call for help while others wait in ambush. You can see them doing this behind the carriage station in "The Clockwork Mansion" and by the black Market in "The Royal Conservatory".
  • Defeated and Trophified: If Delilah was taken out non-lethally, the painting she is trapped in can be seen behind the throne in the ending.
  • Developer's Foresight:
    • If you knock out the guard in front of the printer in the first level while their conversation is still civil, the printer freaks out (like any other civilian who sees you committing violence). If you wait until the guard is actively threatening him, however, he'll just calmly watch you.
    • In the second level, you can save an npc from being fried in a wall of light by some dirty guard members. If you manage to do so in plain sight of him, he will directly thank you for saving him. If you do it from the shadows, he won't realize you're the one who saved him and only tells you about the corruption of the Grand Guard.
    • Breaking the elevator only has a practical function in the Addermire level, however, you can break all of them in the game. Doing so in the Clockwork Mansion will elicit a dry comment from Jindosh, while doing so at Dunwall Tower will trigger Emily/Corvo to comment on taking the secret passage through Jessamine's secret room attached to the Empress' quarters.
    • Any and every nook and cranny of the Clockwork mansion will have a button or lever to pull as to not trap the player in any of the spaces between the walls, no matter how small or seemingly obscure.
    • In the Royal Conservatory, attacking and killing Brianna Ashworth in front of Delilah's statue (a magical communication device) will cause Delilah to cry out in shock and condemn the player, and conversing with the statue afterworlds yields a slightly modified conversation.
    • If you kill either Sokolov or Meagan before the final mission and bring the other the body, the surviving one will have a reaction to it.
  • Didn't Think This Through:
    • Mortimer Ramsey, your first target. He takes the player characternote  hostage and takes no steps to disable or kill them, apart from locking a door.
    • The code for Kirin Jindosh's lock that closes Aramis Stilton's manor can be deduced with a simplified version of the Zebra puzzle or easily brute forced by spamming all of the 120 possible solutions. Even a three-digit code would be more effective here, with 1000 possible combinations. It's another example of his Pride and Complexity Addiction.
  • Difficult, but Awesome:
    • Knocking unaware enemies out with thrown objects is very difficult since there is nothing to indicate the trajectory and the object must precisely hit their head to do so. However, the glass and bottles will come in handy once you've mastered it.
    • Slide tackling people can be an effective way to nab someone in a patrol and run before others arrive, but it's tricky to pull off and can expose you, ruining your ghost playthrough by causing a detection if you make too much noise on the run-up to doing it.
    • Emily's powers require a bit more thought and experimentation than her father's, as hers are far more indirect in their use. This is best exemplified in Far Reach, her equivalent to Blink. As mentioned in Early Game Hell, it's neither fast enough to spam in a fight nor is it stealthy enough to use as carelessly as Blink, and unlike Blink it can't have its range extended through upgrades. That being said, it's far more useful as an all-purpose tool, essentially being a magical Grappling-Hook Pistol and long-range retrieval tool if upgraded correctly, allowing you to steal enemies away from their patrol routes to choke out as well as swiping away items right from under their nose.
    • Sleep darts work on wolfhounds, meaning players have the option of not killing animal foes if they wish. Given that Emily's domino magic doesn't work on them, it does come at a heavy cost to your already limited sleep dart inventory. It's particularly difficult in the 'A Crack In the Slab' level, as you are without magic and thus sleep darts are an even more precious resource than they are normally, and the level is littered with several hounds.
    • It's possible to make it through the Clockwork Mansion to Jindosh without him even knowing you're there. Doing so, however, requires you to never interact with any of his tech or get caught by any of his guards, servants or robots. You also have to take him out before you save Sokolov.
    • It's also possible to go through the game with no magic at all, which makes it much harder.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: In the course of events, you learn that the Parliament building in Dunwall was burned down by a mysterious act of arson. This may elicit comparison to the burning of the Reichstag building in the Nazis' rise to power in Germany.
  • Doppelgänger Attack:
    • Doppelganger lets Emily create a clone of herself as either a distraction or for combat.
    • When facing Delilah in the Void, she'll be sitting on a throne, surrounded by dozens of statues. As veterans of the Brigmore Witches DLC may suspect, several of them are Delilah clones in hiding. Approaching the throne will trigger an ambush from every fake Delilah, including the one on the throne. The real Delilah stands on top of the portal the player came through.
  • Double Entendre: Witches can actually realize they are possessed and will talk to Corvo while he possesses them. Some of their remarks are rather... suggestive.
    Witch: Two minutes of bliss with you inside me, love.
  • Drone of Dread: In the Dust District, an incoming dust storm is sounded by a distant enormous horn blowing.
  • Due to the Dead: An early side mission has you deliver a corpse from the chair of an interrogation room to a Howler gang member, so that it can be given a proper burial (in addition to the quest giver getting a chance to study the corpse's tattoos).
    • In the temporary Overseer HQ during low chaos, one overseer performs last rites for his wounded friend before performing the traditional Mercy Kill mandated by the Abbey.
  • Dumb Muscle: You can hear banter by some of the lower-ranked Grand Guardsmen rationalizing their illiteracy, struggling with simple arithmetic, or butchering the alphabet song. Some dialogue scenes between lower-ranked ones and officers have the officer exasperated with the duller-witted underlings.
  • Dungeon Bypass:
    • The latter half of the first level has you fleeing Dunwall Tower with nothing but a few health potions, a sword, and a pistol with limited ammunition. Because you don't have any powers it's a challenging test of either your stealth or your combat prowess, and one wrong move means you could have half a dozen guards on you at any given time. If you're quick, however, you can hitch a ride on top of a passing train and ride it all the way to the end of the level. Or, if you don't stop for anything and don't care about being detected, it's equally possible to just vault over the wall outside the Tower, sprint for the docks, and dive into the water to lose your pursuers.
    • Upgrade your strength passive ability and you can simply chop your way straight through wooden locked doors. This creates noisy shortcuts through many areas of the game. You could also blow them up with explosives, but that's usually wasteful.
    • You can skip almost all of the Dust District by solving a difficult logic puzzle, which may or may not make logical sense. Unfortunately, it's randomized every time.
    • The final level. Fight/sneak your way through Dunwall Tower (including seeing parts of it you could visit in the first game), or You can bypass most of it by entering a secret passage in Jessamine's hidden chamber from the first game that leads to the safe room you used at the start of the game. Doing so catches Delilah unaware as she doesn't hear the power return. Note, however, that this causes the game to glitch before reaching the end of mission screen, so this was one possibility even the developers didn't anticipate when they otherwise anticipated everything else.

  • Early Game Hell: Emily has a notably harder time at the beginning than Corvo due to Far Reach not having as much flexibility as Blink. Despite having the same maximum reach as an upgraded Blink right out of the box, it's neither instantaneous nor stealthy (without help of a bonecharm you can find later in the game, anyways), making it harder for Emily to stay out of enemies' sight or Teleport Spam in battle to confuse them. However, she can become overpowered with just a few runes, and Far Reach can get itself some much-needed utility to make up for its deficiencies.
  • Easy Level Trick:
    • The first mission, A Long Day in Dunwall, can actually be quite hard if you're not careful. Specifically, the last section can be a tough challenge to get through unscathed even for seasoned Dishonored players. You need to navigate a multi-level street filled with guards on limited supplies and with no powers. There are numerous ways to get through, but by far the easiest is simply hopping on a shipping train that goes by soon after entering the level, which will take you right to the docks and allow you to slip into the waters unseen.
    • It can be difficult to tell the real Duke Abele from the fake one, since they act very similarly and the real one has a slightly deeper voice. You can stand around and wait to see which one begins smoking, which can be risky with patrolling guards... or you can just point the Heart at them, which will outright say which one is which.
    • If you're attempting a Ghost run, Delilah's painted world can be tricky, relying on the player carefully navigating the area and destroying her replicas without being spotted. Or, you can simply turn around once you enter the area, climb up a convenient set of ledges, and assassinate/choke the real Delilah without any fear of detection at all.
  • Eldritch Location:
    • The Void, which the Outsider explains is not exactly a place; it exists in every person. It's not so much another dimension as the space between dimensions. The way it seems to appear when characters dream and the description by Corvo of it being a place of endless cold makes it reminiscent of H. P. Lovecraft's plateau of Leng, which at various times is likened to a planet on the borderlands between dreams and dimensions.
    • Aramis Stilton's Mansion/Bunker as seen in "Crack in the Slab", it was the site of ritual for Delilah's return to the mortal plane after her imprisonment. She returns and creates a Soul Jar, but the result created a nested time crunch that ended up making the mansion leech into the Void, and time to move differently there.
  • Electroconvulsive Therapy Is Torture: You can choose to sit down antagonist Kirin Jindosh in the same electroshock chair he used for his test subjects. He will trembles in pain when you turn on the machine.
  • Emergency Temporal Shift: One level in the campaign allows you to time travel between the past and the present thanks to local time having warped as a result of a dark ritual. In the past, you have to deal with a mansion full of guards, while in the present, the decaying house is infested with bloodflies, forcing you to switch between time periods in order to evade danger and avoid obstacles. Fortunately the bloodfly infestation is limited to a few locations, so you're usually safe in the present, and you can use the outsiders timepiece to see into the other time period before you enter to plan your movements more carefully.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: One final way to distinguish between the real Duke Luca Abele and his body double is to talk to one of them. The real Duke's voice is much more gruff and deep than the body double's voice.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture:
    • Karnaca was intended to be a Mediterranean, tropical and Non-Anglosaxon counterpart to Dunwall. The overall sun-kissed lands and buildings meld together architecture from Barcelona, Havana, and other South American nations, as well as former colonial cities like Mumbai, which art director Sebastien Mitton noted had British architecture, "weathered by the sun and the rain that never happens in London".
    • The heavy presence of silver mines and their importance in the overall political and economic makeup of Karnaca and the Empire of the Isles also makes it analogous to Argentina, with its famous legend of the Sierra de la Plata.
    • In terms of class and social development, Karnaca is much like Europe in the age of The Enlightenment (referred to within the games a few times) where new technology and scientific advancement is clashing against obsolete economic and political systems. Karnaca has tensions between a ruling hereditary duke whose predecessor invested heavily in industry and opened up to class mobility, while the current ruler is a tyrannical despot who is wasting all the resources for his own selfish vanity. Emily Kaldwin herself, in the Low-Chaos run, comes around towards devolution and constitutional monarchy and she allows Karnaca to appoint a representative council with greater autonomy.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Less present than in the original game, where almost all of the non-lethal eliminations led to a fate worse than death, but still true with Kirin Jindosh, one of the brightest minds in his time, who is turned into a raving idiot. The audiograph in the duke's office shows that he actually remembers being bright and is still interested in natural philosophy, but is now cruelly inept. The duke himself can be thrown into an insane asylum.
  • Finishing Move: Emily and Corvo have their own sets of finishers that fit their respective backgrounds, while each enemy type has one of their own for the player.
  • Foil: All over the map:
    • Anton Sokolov and Kirin Jindosh, Mad Scientist Insufferable Genius inventors. The difference is that Sokolov, now ageing and aware he's on the way out, suffers regrets about how he spent his life, while the young and vital Jindosh is utterly ruthless, fully willing to back a Sorcerous Overlord and lend his genius skills to the service of Intellectually Supported Tyranny.
    • An interesting thing to note is that Jindosh is essentially Sokolov... as he was in the first game. Both are geniuses with a fair bit of ego and disregard for those around them, both join their respective conspiracy not out of dislike or hostility for the current Empress, or even love for her replacement, but under the promise of freedom to do whatever they want research-wise and a belief about how their genius can change the world, with no grasp on the harm they might be causing along the way. Both of them are cocky and defiant upon meeting the protagonist. And both are willing to do immoral things to reach their scientific goals.
    • Emily has foils with many of her targets. Like Duke Abele, she's the successor of a beloved monarch and was raised as a Sheltered Aristocrat, but Duke Abele became a dilettante and tyrant who has sullied his father Duke Theodanis' legacy, while Emily (despite being sheltered by Corvo) remembers her mother Jessamine's example and is willing to learn from her mistakes. At least in Low Chaos, and depending on the player.
    • Delilah Copperspoon was, according to her, the illegitimate daughter of an emperor and a kitchen maid while Emily Kaldwin is the illegitimate daughter of an empress and a Working-Class Hero bodyguard. Legally speaking, there's not much to say that either of them is legitimate by blood alone. Emily says in Low Chaos that birth doesn't determine fitness to rule, and poor upbringing is no excuse for tyranny, and that it is tyranny that delegitimizes Delilah, whose kingdom is a pile of corpses sacrificed for her whims.
    • The Outsider and Delilah. The Outsider was a poor boy sacrificed against his will in an occult ritual that made him essentially all-powerful. Delilah was similarly killed/trapped in the Void as a result of a botched ritual (of her own making) but broke free with more power than ever. The Outsider, however, chooses to give his mark to individuals and allows them freedom to see if they can use power for good or not, while Delilah wants to become a God Empress and reshape the world in her own image.
  • Foreshadowing: Quite a bit. You can find bits and oddments in every chapter that refer to people or places that will be important in later chapters, such as the closure of the Royal Conservatory or Paolo's frightful reputation.
    • The Outsider Shrine in the mission the Good Doctor gives a vague sentence that explains how the Crown Killer came about as the target's alter ego due to Grim Alex finding a way to resurface.
    • Early on in ''A Crack in the Slab", you need to toss a wolfhound corpse infected with bloodflies into a burner in order to solve a puzzle. This tells the player that actions they commit in the past can affect the present, and acts as a Player Nudge to try either killing or otherwise knocking out Stilton.
    • The last of the Oracular Echoes from the Oraculum illustrates the Overseers' failed attempt to get control of Dunwall Tower from Delilah.
    • In the player's trip to the void after dealing with Aramis Stilton, the Outsider explains that what must be done after reaching Delilah's spirit will be very hard. It ends up being replacing Jessamine's spirit with Delilah's in the heart.
    • In the ending to ''A Crack in the Slab", Lucia Pastor's speech indicates that not everyone in the Grand Palace is the player's enemy. This hints at the Duke's body double being an ally in the non-lethal solution.
  • Frame-Up: Delilah's coup d'etat relies on murdering Emily's political enemies in order to gather allies and also to make it appear that Corvo committed the murders on Emily's behalf.
  • Gadgeteer's House: Kirin Jindosh's Clockwork Mansion is a tribute to his mechanical engineering genius and rearranges itself on the fly to better fit his current mood and desire to impress the guests.
  • Genre Shift: While the overall plot stays the same, which player character is chosen will colour the themes of the story in a very different way. Choosing Emily has the story take on a Coming of Age Story bent, as Emily slowly learns of her sordid family history and the weight of being a ruler as the consequences for her shirking her royal responsibilities arrive to depose her. Corvo's story meanwhile deals with The Last Dance as its core theme, following Corvo in his old age as he struggles to protect Emily despite his body just beginning to fail him, at the same time coming to terms with what his constant coddling of Emily has inadvertently resulted in for the Empire. Notably, the amount of Chaos in a playthrough causes these two stories to fulfill their themes in different ways- for Emily, she either assumes the responsibility of the throne and becomes a just ruler or devolves into tyranthood, while Corvo can either guide Emily on the path to becoming a just ruler by forcing Dunwall to help fix Serkonos or push her into being a cruel despot.
  • Golden Ending: For Karnaca, carrying out the Ducal Body Double's plan to switch out with the Duke and have the Duke committed to a looney bin (or possibly killing the Duke and installing Corvo in his stead in an otherwise Low-Chaos playthrough), sparing Alexandra Hypatia in the process of defeating the Crown Killer, saving Baron Aramis Stilton's sanity, and getting the needed information about the Jindosh Lock without interfering for either side in Byrne's and Paolo's street war in the Dust District leads to a Council forming as leadership in Karnaca, constituted of all the above parties.
  • Goomba Stomp: Drop assassinations are expanded into "Drop Takedowns", where landing on a foe from on high can forego the lethal blade if opted, instead landing on them, and then quickly grabbing their head on impact to make sure it hits the ground hard enough to knock them out (and sometimes a second, manual head smash for good measure). Despite being nonlethal, it's still headache-inducing just to watch.
  • Gorn: You can slice apart practically any guard, but civilians and (most) targets are immune to dismemberment. Emily's shadow form is absolutely brutal when killing mooks, ripping their limbs, heads and even their bodies apart.
  • Gray-and-Grey Morality: Both sides in the battle for dominance of the Dust District have their pros and cons. The Howlers do want to improve the livelihoods of the lower class, but they're still a ruthless gang of criminals who run a fierce protection racket and frequently terrorize those same lower-class people. Meanwhile, the Overseers are the same Knight Templars they've always been who arrest and kill people on the suspicion of witchcraft, but they can bring order and hope to the people of Serkonos as well, and to their credit, they oppose Delilah's rule. Depending on whether you end things with Low or High Chaos, either can work to improve the situation in Karnaca, or make it much worse.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: If you prevent Aramis Stilton from attending Delilah's ritual and alter the present-day Dust District, no one, other than the Outsider, will know how you made the world a better place through your actions, and literally improved lives overnight.
  • Guile Hero: Emily and Corvo come off as extremely smart, on account of them being voiced. Many of the improvised solutions and Take a Third Option are discovered and acknowledged by them and they seem to have a diverse set of skills in stealth, combat, personal relations and science. Both Emily and Corvo are able to create a medical cure after glimpsing a recipe and synthesizing ingredients which they use to exorcise the Crown Killer from Dr. Hypatia. Indeed, in the Low Chaos ending, Emily is known as Emily the Wise and Emily the Clever, while in High Chaos version she is called Emily the Vengeful.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: Bottles can be thrown for the element of misdirection easily enough. It is more challenging to nail a mook in the head with one for an instant KO. A few variant bottles inflict status effects: several high-proof spirits are effectively Molotov Cocktails, some are filled with chloroform and cause a short-term lingering knockout cloud at the point of impact, and others are filled with "Howler Dust", which irritates the target's eyes to the point of temporary blindness.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: Tossing a body at a guard will knock them off-balance, allowing you to rush in and knock them unconscious or execute them if you're quick.
  • Happy Ending Override: The plot of the game runs contrary to what was shown in the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue of the first game, where Emily served as empress for the rest of her life. Of course, what we saw there was depicted in the Void, a place of both prophecy and dream, so it wasn't necessarily set in stone, nor exact enough to give such details as when the golden age would start or what would happen during it. The Outsider even occasionally notes with annoyance/amusement that he hadn't anticipated some events in this game. It seems to have a lot to do with how Delilah went about reclaiming her power. The ending has Emily and Corvo end up more or less in the same position they were in during the epilogue of the first game anyway, so it's only a major change if you ended Dishonored in Low Chaos and take the High Chaos path in this game, or vice versa.
  • Harder Than Hard: If you want, you can tell the Outsider you want nothing to do with him or his gifts, in which case you get to play through the game without any powers.
  • Here We Go Again!: The Outsider clearly sees the game as a case of History Repeats.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: It is possible for Jindosh to be killed by his own clockwork soldiers. Also involved in Jindosh's (the elctroshock device) or Breanna's Oraculum non-lethal eliminations.
  • Human Resources: In a somewhat roundabout way. Blood amber is a popular material for the upper class to make figures and decorations out of. Blood amber is harvested from bloodfly nests... which are made out of human corpses.
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him!: Invoked by Emily's target, Jindosh, in the reveal trailer while begging for his life; if she kills him, she will be the assassin they've framed her to be, and she will be just like him and his friends, whoever they are. Emily doesn't seem to care.
  • Infernal Retaliation: Using incendiary attacks on a Clockwork soldier is useless due to its mechanical nature. However, thanks to its wooden components, it will be set on fire, so now there is a giant robot on fire trying to kill you. Strangely enough, you do not seem to be damaged by the flaming frame of the Clockwork soldier.
  • Interface Spoiler: The loading hints to "A Crack in the Slab" spell out how time-travel works from a gameplay perspective, spoiling the fact that the next level involves time-travel.
  • Internal Reformist: Emily resolves to become one in the Low Chaos ending. She grants Karnaca greater autonomy and allows them to appoint a representative council, signifying a move towards constitutional monarchy.
  • Invisible to Normals: According to the Heart, only its bearer can actually see it, which explains why nobody freaks out when they see you with a beating, half-clockwork human heart in your hand. This is something of a half truth. Individuals heavily touched by the void, such as Delilah and Stilton, are also capable of seeing it. Even after you save him from insanity, Stilton is able to see it, and is justifiably freaked out that Meagan's friend is carrying a human heart around
  • Item Crafting: There's a skill tree dedicated to crafting Bone Charms and eventually Runes.
  • It's Probably Nothing: Aside from the usual guard craziness, Kirin Jindosh thinking this if only the first room-change switch in his mansion is pulled is the only thing that makes a perfect stealth run possible in the Clockwork Mansion if the Outsider's powers are rejected. Without Blink or Far Reach, it is impossible to get above the foyer's sun roof, the common way to not raise Jindosh's attention, but if the room's switch is pulled and the player gets behind the wall to the left during the room transition, Jindosh will say a line that chalks up the disturbance to a technical error and he can be stealthily eliminated without pulling any more mechanisms.
  • Jedi Mind Trick: Emily's "Mesmerize" power creates a strange, scintillating object that draws the attention of nearby enemies, preventing them from seeing or remembering her.
  • Jekyll & Hyde: The Crown Killer turns out to be an Expy of Mr. Hyde, a mild-mannered doctor who was tricked into injecting herself with a flawed experimental serum that periodically turns her into a superhuman psychopath aligned with Delilah.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Ichabod Boyle's criticisms of Emily's rule are totally correct, even if he's willing to take low blows by criticising her technically illegitimate lineage. All he seems to want is for the Empire to move towards a constitutional monarchy. Rather than come up with some moronic plan to stage a coup, he instead tries to transition into a democracy by being politically active and peacefully campaigning.
  • Karma Meter: It's far more variable in the sequel than in the original. Each level will assign chaos ratings and meters as per the level and threat it contains. So a level with more unsavory characters and criminal guards invites justified violence and force against them while sympathetic characters and areas have a lower threshold. At the end of every level, you are judge by a four-axis grid that measures your lethality as well as how sneaky you are.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Carried over from the first game, still played straight as ever — in the very first level, you can (and, following optional mission objectives, should) take money from a secret stash filled with caches of gold from the royal treasury. You can't steal the gold reserves, which are too big and heavy to carry but small ingots is fine to take.note  Emily will remark on this if you steal money later on, commenting that never had to worry about money before.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The game confirms a fair number of important things in the first 15 minutes that were only strongly hinted at in the previous game:
    • Corvo is Emily's father, and that he was both the Lord Protector of Empress Jessamine and her consort.
    • The Heart contains Jessamine Kaldwin's soul.
    • Delilah is (or thinks she is) Jessamine's half-sister who was denied the throne.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The Outsider seems to be disappointed that the events of Dishonored 2 are a slight rehash of the first game; the empress is deposed, the heroes are framed, and they have to torture/kill their way across a hive of scum and villainy to save the empire. Again.
    The Outsider: It's happened again.
    • If you play as Corvo and return to the Void, you get a hilarious little jab:
      The Outsider: Corvo, old friend! Do I even need to say it? You've lost another empress!
  • Le Parkour: Downplayed, at least compared to most other games that feature it. While sprinting, Emily and Corvo can slide under things, vault over obstacles, mantle up ledges, and duck through narrow windows, all without breaking their forward flow.
  • Lighter and Softer: While it has some dark elements, the sequel is overall not as bleak as the first game. There's no second betrayal, as Corvo faced from Havelock and the Loyalists in the first game. Your allies include decent individuals like Alexandria Hypatia and Aramis Stilton while the first game had shady figures like Slackjaw and the creep who disposed of Lady Boyle. Karnaca is also a sunnier and brighter contrast to Dunwall, which was essentially a Crapsack World, the Outsider is mellower and more approachable. Sokolov and Meagan/Billie genuinely want to atone for their past. Likewise, except for the "Corvo the Black" and "Emily the Butcher" endings, even the High Chaos ending can potentially be milder and more tame than the first game. This does make some sense in that the heroes have survived the first game in Low Chaos and the Empire has had genuine peace for more than 10 years, so it wouldn't make sense for the game to be as dark as the first game was, where the Rat Plague preceded the events.
  • Lonely Rich Kid: Two of Delilah's conspirators — Breanna Ashworth and Duke Luca Abele — were this when Delilah turned them to her cause. It's also implied in optional conversations that this is true for a lot of the Brigmore coven, which kind of does deflate Delilah's rage at her poor background since she doesn't actually appeal or depend on the poor.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: One of the ways to deal non-lethally with Delilah is to seal her inside a painting of her 'perfect world'.

  • Magic Knight: As in The Brigmore Witches, witches in Dishonored 2 come packing swords in addition to their powerful magical abilities. This also applies to Emily and Corvo, naturally.
  • Magitek:
    • The Oraculum is a fusion of Kirin Jindosh's clock/steampunk engineering and Breanna Ashworth's Void Witchcraft meant to tamper with the clairvoyance of the Sisters of the Oracular Order, part of the Abbey of the Everyman.
    • The Timepiece used to view/traverse into to the opposite time frame during the mission to Stilton Manor seems to be a complex Steampunk-style gadget... powered by a Whalebone Charm.
  • Masculine Lines, Feminine Curves: The difference between Corvo's and Emily's Ace Custom projectile weapons exhibit this. Corvo's crossbow and pistol are more utilitarian in shape, while Emily's are more ornate and like works of art. Or instruments, according to the design team.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: Averted. There are just as many female guards as there are male guards, and neither Corvo nor Emily has any qualms about killing them if they have to.
  • Mobile Maze: Kirin Jindosh is a genius living in a mechanical Clockwork Mansion whose rooms shift and rearrange themselves in intricate and confusing ways. Just navigating the terrain is difficult and you may have to find yourself breaking the "rules" by popping into the spaces between walls.
  • Mooks, but no Bosses: Although a few of your assassination targets have special abilities (most notably the Crown Killer, Breanna Ashworth, and Delilah herself), unlike similar enemies from the first game they don't have as highly enhanced "boss"-like health and can be taken out with only somewhat more difficulty than normal in a straight fight. Likewise, unlike the first game, many instant-kill attacks (i.e. incendiary bolts) work perfectly fine on them. Even Delilah herself is only slightly tougher than a normal enemy after you disable her immortality and kill all her clones.
  • Multiple Endings: Like the first game, Dishonored 2 has different endings depending on whether you went through with Low Chaos or High Chaos. The finale changes based on certain actions you did or did not do in certain quests:
    • Karnaca. The outcome for Karnaca changes based on your decisions to kill and/or cure Alexandra Hypatia, resolve the Paolo-Overseer feud, rescue Aramis Stilton, or replace Luca Abele with his body double. The decisions you make in each sidequest directly alters the outcome. Depending on your actions, a Representative Council including all of Karnaca could be ruling either with the New and Improved Luca in charge, or alternatively with Duke Corvo Attano. Other possibilities include Paolo or the Overseer, while the highest chaos could include Karnaca crumbling into anarchy.
    • Sokolov and Meagan. If you choose to kill them, their sections won't appear in the Epilogue. In High Chaos, Sokolov is shown falling into despair as his life's work has come to naught, while Low Chaos has him make peace with his past and heads home to Tyvia.
    • The Throne Room. Emily reclaims Dunwall. Based on her actions in the Karnaca strand, either Corvo stands beside her or serves as her vassal as the new Duke of Karnaca in either the Low or High Chaos endings. High Chaos Emily has the option to refuse to release Corvo from stone and take the throne, and High Chaos Corvo likewise has the same option, to take the throne and become Emperor Corvo the Black. In Low Chaos, both of them release their loved ones first.
  • Murder by Cremation: One of the levels has a furnace that can incinerate bodies, including those of unconscious enemies. Impractical in that knocking an enemy unconscious is almost always harder than just killing them, and killing an already unconscious enemy is both a waste of time and raises your Chaos Level.
  • Musical Exposition: There's a pair of street musicians in several levels. Their songs offer a lot of exposition about the world and the backstory.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: In the official announcement trailer of the game during 2015's E3, Emily is clearly shown to use Corvo's Bend Time ability, but she can only get the power on a New Game Plus and it wasn't a feature initially in the game.
  • New Game Plus: Added later through a patch, which allows you to play with both Corvo and Emily's powers as well as carrying over any runes and charms you unlocked in your previous playthrough.
  • No Canon for the Wicked: As noted under Cutting Off the Branches, the High Chaos versions of the story did not come to pass in either the first game or the Daud DLCs.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: In the Dust District is a doctor's office. In the office is a ledger of the doctor's patients, what symptoms they had, what their treatment was, and what they paid the doctor for their services. The payments are all in simple favors that those of little means might be able to offer, like coupons for a fishmonger's shop, mending shirts and cloths, or a simple piece of mutton for dinner. Said mutton was starting to age, and was offered by someone who came in to be treated for Bloodfly stings. The doctor accepted, but planned to thoroughly boil the mutton to ensure it would be safe to eat. The doctor's office is completely overrun with Bloodflies by the time the player finds the ledger.
  • Nostalgia Level: The Finale is Return to Dunwall Tower from the first Dishonored, complete with reuse of familiar interiors, namely the grand entrance, the cellars and the rooftop office spaces. You can even revisit the sea entrance that served as Corvo's entry point in the original game; it's largely sealed off, but there's a bone charm hidden back there. However, the Brigmore witches have trashed the place and turned off power for the elevator to the roof, making it much harder to get to your target..
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Although the setting is fictional, you'd expect there to be linguistic differences between Dunwall and Karnaca, at the very least a different accent (not to mention characters from elsewhere in the Empire). Instead, everyone sounds more or less the same.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: In a rare example of the hero pointing it out, Corvo calls Delilah "someone like me" — a strange adversary with supernatural powers.
  • Off with His Head!: A possible outcome of sneak attacks against the Mecha-Mooks... not that it seems to slow them down at all. This is also how Emily will kill enemies if using a lethal attack in Shadow Form.
  • Parasite Zombie: "Nest Keepers" are humans infected with Bloodfly venom who, rather than dying, have entered a fevered state. It's unknown why, but these individuals end up responsive to the pheromones emitted by Bloodflies and left to defend and take care of the Bloodfly nests. Eventually they are reduced to drooling wretches with dried and graying skin. Unlike Weepers, they are able to speak and seem somewhat cognizant of what is going on around them.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Though it will still incur chaos, the higher-guilt NPCs (as revealed by the Heart's anecdotes on them) will have lower hits to the Chaos level. Konked out a guardsman and pointed the Heart at them, and it says he enjoys cornering commonfolk in alleyways and beating them to death? Well, that's enough of that...
  • Post-Peak Oil: Played with, in that the world is approaching peak whale-oil. The whaling industry produced an industrial boom when methods for refining the whale lipids into a major fuel source, but that boom is slowing down now that whales are increasingly difficult to find due to over-harvesting. This has lead to the rationing of whale oil, and the other associated economic and social difficulties contributed to the discontent with the Kaldwin dynasty that made the coup possible. Karnaca (under its previous ruler) took steps to address this and installed several electricity-generating windmills to take advantage of the good winds that blow through the region, setting it up to be an economically dominant part of the empire. Curiously, the bottles of processed whale oil that you can find as loot are worth ten coins instead of thirty as they were in the first game; with this resource grown scarce, you'd expect it to be worth more.
  • Possessing a Dead Body: Corvo can take this as an upgrade to Possession, allowing him to use dead or unconscious bodies as hiding places (though he can't actually make them move around).
  • Preferable Impersonator: Corvo or Emily can secretly replace the corrupt Duke Luca Abele of Karnaca with his own body double as the non-lethal alternative to just assassinating him. On a Low Chaos playthrough, the impostor turns out to be a much better and capable ruler who turns the situation in the city for the better (though on High Chaos, he turns out just as corrupt as the original...)
  • Promptless Branching Point: Being an Immersive Sim, the game has several, but perhaps the most drastic is one in the Stilton Manor that is not indicated to you in any but the most cryptic way: when giving you the power to jump back in forth in time, the Outsider warns you that altering the past will affect the present, but for the bulk of the mission, this seems to only concern minor things, like clearing out a bloodfly hive in the present by disposing of an infested body in the past. But when you reach Aramis Stilton, the master of the manor and an all-around Nice Guy, in the past, you have the option to knock him out, so his past self cannot witness the events that drove him mad, and his present self remains sane and retroactively allies himself with you. This changes not just the state of his manor, but of large chunk of the city around it in the present, essentially banishing the entire mission hitherto into a Bad Future that never came to pass.
  • Red Baron: Based on the given ending and path, Emily can end up as Emily the Just and Emily the Clever (Low Chaos), Emily the Vengeful (High Chaos/Frees Corvo), or Emily the Butcher (High Chaos/Leaves Corvo trapped). Corvo in High Chaos/Leaves Emily in stone becomes known as Emperor Corvo the Black.
  • Reluctant Ruler: The game puts a heavy emphasis on how in order for a country to function, it needs a ruler who can actually do the job. Therefore, all three rulers in the game (Emily, who still had the restless energy of youth and spent a lot of time skiving off; Delilah, who didn't give a fuck about anyone other than her allies and coven, and that's even questionable; and Luca Abele, who was running Karnaca into the ground with the amount he was spending) find a lot of opposition to their methods, and the countries they rule suffer for their actions.
  • The Remnant: The Regenters are believers of the former Lord Regent Hiram Burrows from the first game and people that hate the Empress Emily Kaldwin, enough that they were alright at the idea of assassinating her and her friend when the former was just 14.
  • The Reveal: The game reveals the origins of the Outsider, although they had already been revealed a while ago via Word of God in internet discussions of the first game. He Was Once a Man, a boy sacrificed at an altar for an occult ritual some 4000 years ago by some crazed cultists. He ended up merging with the Void and became a god.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Duchess Lucille Clothilda was one of the first to switch allegiance after the coup, and Delilah invites her up for a special dinner in her honour. Lucille is found dead over a toilet, most likely poisoned. And to drive the point home, the invitation to her says that Delilah is "eager to show how I feel toward one who is so quick to change allegiance."
  • Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: The Outsider sees all possibilities already, but whoever the Player Character is will have the only memory of the blighted state of the Batista District should they avert Baron Stilton's direct participation in the seance in the past.
  • Romanticism Versus Enlightenment: The contrast between the painting and even naming styles of (respectively) Delilah's and Sokolov's paintings elicits this. Sokolov's are more realistic, and use mathematical terminology in the naming style. Delilah's are more surreal and vivid in coloring, and reflect her own mood on the subject.
  • Rouge Angles of Satin: Meagan's ship, the Dreadful Wale, causes some confusion, causing people to mistake it for Dreadful Whale. Several characters question the spelling. The reason is because it's an anagram for 'Farewell Daud.'
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Deconstructed. As Empress, Emily still lives to train with her father, and spends her days practically waiting for the opportunity to do so, even as she tries to be a just Empress and address political issues as they reach her. While the skills she develops let her quash all physical threats to herself or the Empire, failing to be proactive in governing leads to overreliance on her staff and on local authorities to bring issues to her attention. This leaves her unaware of how Duke Abele is running Serkonos into the ground or how public opinion there is turning against her for not intervening, and she is caught completely by surprise when the Serkonan Guard and a fair bit of the City Watch helps Delilah usurp her.
    • By the start of the final level, Emily has been thoroughly humbled by the amount of chaos that had been occurring without her knowledge, and argues with the trapped soul of Delilah that a monarch is not automatically entitled to the respect and adoration of their subjects, but must continue to earn them every single day.

  • Save Scumming: Actively encouraged by the game. The devs even added quicksave and quickload to the pause screen of the console versions.
  • Secret Room: The Empress's Imperial Safe Room is located through a secret door behind some bookshelves off the Imperial Chambers. To access the room you need to fetch one of the Imperial Signet Rings from an enemy. Doubles as a Secret Passage as the door at the other end leads you into the city.
  • Space Whale: Not quite, but the setting's whales are stated to exist in both the mortal world and the Void at teh same time, and one can be seen floating through the Void in this scene.
  • Static Role, Exchangeable Character: The character you don't choose ends up getting turned into a statue by Delilah in the intro.
  • Sequel Hook: The finale of both endings, High/Low chaos has Meagan Foster/Billie Lurk leaving to find Daud again, with her Whaler mask ready on her side.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: When you travel to the past, it's actually possible to change the timeline in order to effect a better outcome in the present in at least two ways. You can prevent Aramis Stilton from witnessing the ritual to summon Delilah, thus sparing his mind, and prevent the incident that causes Meagan Foster to lose her arm and eye.
  • Shockwave Stomp: The black bonecharm "Solid Landing" causes one of these if you drop from high enough up.
  • Shout-Out: The scene in Addermire Institute where Dr. Vasco, suspected of being a Crown Killer, is found wrapped in bandages is one for Batman: Arkham City's Identity Thief missions. Vasco is bare chested and wrapped in bloodied bandages and likewise the true culprit of that mission turns out to have been a doctor gone insane.
    • You can find a safe in the first and last missions of the game with the combination 451, which is written on the wall behind a nearby painting. This is the famous Looking Glass Studios "door code" Easter egg, which shows up in a lot of LGS veterans' later work, such as Deus Ex, BioShock, and System Shock 2.
    • Aramis Stilton is named after one of the The Three Musketeers.
    • When stepping onto a ledge on the exterior of Kirin Jindosh's mansion, Corvo or Emily will say "It's a long way down." The protagonist of Thief says the same thing on several occasions.
  • Sickening "Crunch!": Despite being nonlethal, the head-bashing motion into the hard ground that a drop takedown inflicts has a cringe-inducing crunch.
  • Significant Anagram: The reason why Wale in Dreadful Wale is spelled without a H, is to serve the purpose of the anagram. Dreadful Wale can be rearranged to form "Farewell Daud".
  • Sins of Our Fathers: Emily Kaldwin is targeted by Delilah for the grudge she holds against Emperor Euhorn and Empress Jessamine, respectively the father who denied her legitimacy and the sister whose white lie got her booted from Dunwall Tower. Both Euhorn and Jessamine are long dead, but Delilah still wants the throne, so Emily and Corvo take the full brunt of her rage.
  • Slide Attack: While sliding towards someone, you can hit a button to immediately neutralize them in lethal and non-lethal varieties. The animations vary from a rising uppercut-swing with a sword to sweeping out their legs to crack their head on the pavement. The noisy sprint into the slide will very likely alert your victim on the approach, however, so you'll want to nail the attack as accurately as possible to avoid causing an unwanted commotion.
  • Soul Jar: Two examples:
    • Paolo has a magic charm that prevents him from dying, unless he is killed twice before sundown.
    • Delilah Kaldwin's immortality, which allows her to survive Corvo stabbing her, comes from her putting a part of herself into a reliquary in Duke Abele's vault. That reliquary cannot be siphoned of its life spirit without an appropriate container... like the Heart gifted by the Outsider, which will mean displacing the soul that currently occupies it.
  • The Stoner: Hookahs are now a rather common set dressing piece in levels. There's even one in Emily's saferoom which a letter implies Emily shared a private moment with her lover Wyman high as a kite at least once.
  • Story Branch Favoritism: Even before it was confirmed canon that Emily was the playable character, the game still seemed aimed more at her than Corvo. The game's general theme of how the player character is responsible for Duke Abele running Karnaca into the ground is more applicable to Emily, whose job was to supervise the duke but she neglected her duties, than Corvo, whose job was to help Emily do her job but he let her neglect her duties. The player character is often underestimated, which makes sense if people assume they are dealing with an untrained Empress but less so when they know they are dealing with a seasoned Royal Protector. The opening scenes in particular feel written with Emily in mindnote .
  • String Theory:
    • There's a pinboard with a map and clues on the boat which gets updated after each mission.
    • Vice Overseer Byrne also has such a board in his office.
    • The villains have one in Luca Abele's mansion, which was presumably used to plan the coup.
  • Synchronization: Domino, one of Emily's exclusive powers lets her link the fates of multiple people so that whatever happens to one will happen to the other. It can also be used on her own Doppelganger so you can kill someone by killing your own clone.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Similar to the prequel, nobody but Corvo/Emily can swim at all. The Non Player Characters and wolfhounds are instantly killed when they fall into water, even the guard veteran outside of Luca Abele's mansion who talks about how he used to love (and taught!) swimming.
  • Superpowered Mooks: Delilah's coven make a return; as before, they use Void powers similar to your own.
  • Taken for Granite: Delilah petrifies either Emily or Corvo, depending on who you choose to play. In Delilah's boss fight, it's a One-Hit Kill. Also happens to Ramsey if you visit the safe room in the final mission if the player dealt with him non-lethally in the first mission.
  • Take a Third Option: In the Dust district, Emily/Corvo is tasked with getting the help of the Vice Overseer or Paolo by presenting one with the other's corpse. It's possible to get the information you need out of them without doing this, and letting them continue with their private war. It's also possible to knock them both out and have them shipped out of Karnaca in boxes for a 5-year trip. It's also also possible to press on without the information, solve a difficult logic riddle, and skip the entire level sans one small guard checkpoint at the beginning.
  • Technical Pacifist: Combat and powers have been adjusted so that it is possible to play aggressively while still achieving a Pacifist Run, including the ability to combo into a choke-hold as well as a non-lethal variation of the Drop-Assassination, or to kick-out opponents knocked off their feet instead of delivering a lethal coup-de-grace.
  • Tentacle Rope: Far Reach lets Emily toss out a shadow tentacle to pull herself across gaps and towards things as well as pull things towards her.
  • Too Important to Walk: Delilah is carried in a sedan chair into the palace in the opening scene.
  • The Unreveal: It's never confirmed outright if Delilah really is Jessamine's illegitimate sister as she claims.note  When she shows him visions of her past in the Void, Corvo wonders if the images are true or simply Delilah's delusional memories. Emily expresses skepticism about it, and even in the finale, she calls out the heart container with Delilah's spirit a liar when it repeats again that she's Emily's aunt. However, the Outsider seems to confirm Delilah's claim in his ending narration on a Low Chaos run.
  • Theme Naming: All the witches have names ending in -ah or -a. For example: Tabitha, Orianna, Breanna and Delilah.
  • Time Crash: One of the missions takes place in a house where an occult ritual went terribly wrong and as a result the house is permanently in a nested time crunch with parts of it in the past, and other parts showing the present. The Outsider gives you a timepiece to navigate the simultaneous timelines.
  • Time Skip: The game takes place 15 years after Dishonored, and Emily is now no longer merely a "child" Empress. Corvo is in his early 50s and Sokolov is balding and feeling his age.
  • Two-Part Trilogy: An unusual example. The sequel Dishonored 2 more or less continues the arc and themes from the 2-Part DLC The Knife of Dunwall/The Brigmore Witches for the first game rather than the vanilla story. The Daud DLC had 6 extended missions (2/3rds the size of the first game) and is in effect the true middle part of the trilogy. Most of the supporting cast of the first game is missing in the sequel, either Bus Crash or Put on a Bus, with the exception of Anton Sokolov. The Daud DLC has more returning characters (Billie Lurk, Delilah Copperspoon and the Brigmore Coven) than the first game, in addition to the DLC's plot and backstory being major elements of the plot of this game. The only recurring across all three parts (or 2+2/3rds) is The Outsider.
  • Uncanny Valley:
    • The Mecha-Mooks shown in the reveal trailer are almost completely inhuman... except for the fact that have perfectly human mouths stuck in an eerie grin apparently made of porcelain. The effect is extremely creepy. Sadly, the porcelain Clockwork soldier has been Dummied Out and replaced with the much more intimidating but less creepy Wooden Clockwork soldiers (who have heads resembling bird skulls). Hilariously Lampshaded in-universe, a book found at the Clockwork Mansion reveals that these soldiers were an earlier design that Jindosh scrapped because criminals found them goofy rather than intimidating.
    • Likewise, the humans of the Dishonored setting have exaggerated builds and frames which resemble either a burly gorilla or a lanky scarecrow. And their facial features look more like Victorian caricatures from Punch magazine. Emily's limbs in particular are a bit too long to be ordinary by our standards.
  • Undying Loyalty: A lot of Stilton's workers show this to him. One in particular named Jamie refused to abandon the mining baron even after madness gripped him because he gave Jamie a job as a fix-it man at the Baron's manor after a cave-in busted his leg and spelled the end of his mining days.
    • Duke Luca and Breanna Ashworth are this to Delilah, as well as both being her lovers.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Corvo's Cool Mask doesn't raise an eyebrow on the streets of Karnaca, whereas back in Dunwall in the original Dishonored civilians would run in fear away from him because of it even before wanted posters with his image on it were put up. A few passing comments suggest the local miners wear similar protective gear and people just assume Corvo's one of them.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment:
    • Killing too many people gives you a high chaos rating, which increases the number of bloodfly nests and gives the story a bleaker tone.
    • If you rob too many black market stores, the Howlers will set an ambush for you at black market shop in "The Grand Palace". If the shopkeeper is killed or frightened, you won't be able to buy from or rob the shop. In addition, the last singer duo you need to listen to to get the "Songs of Serkonos" achievement won't spawn.
  • Villainous Rescue: The Overseers attempt one at the end of the game, as no amount of political pressure would make them allow a Void-worshipper to sit on the Imperial throne. Unfortunately, while they're prepared to deal with Delilah's followers' Void magic, they're completely unprepared for Jindosh's Mecha-Mooks and get wiped out before you even arrive at the Palace for the final showdown.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • During the gameplay Emily or Corvo may be confronted by characters who blame them for the situation in Serkonos pre-coup. They note that even though the duke had been a terrible ruler, Emily as empress or Corvo as Emily's most trusted teacher turned a blind eye to the duke's corruption as long as silver flowed back to Dunwall. Depending on your playthrough you can help turn Serkonos around.
    • Before the last mission, you can kill Meagan or Sokolov and bring their corpse to the other. Both of them would be appalled and call you out for killing them. Sokolov's 'Why?' is notably heartbreaking.
    • Unlike the first game, The Heart will be utterly dismayed if you chose to do a High Chaos run. Before Jessamine's spirit fades away, she'd note how much she loathed the world and how she no longer cares about the player's decisions and future.
  • What the Hell, Player?: During the first mission, you have the chance to rob the home of Doctor Galvani, whom Corvo could burgle twice in the first game. You can find his notebook, where he expresses his hope that moving his home to a new neighborhood would prevent future burglaries. In the final mission, you can return to Galvani's house, but all you'll find in his safe is a few coins and a note from him to whoever keeps robbing him that he's tired of it and leaving Dunwall for good, despite years of loyalty to Emily.
  • When Things Spin, Science Happens: Or Magitek happens. The Timepiece that The Outsider gives you to work your way through the reality-damaged Stilton Manor is a steampunk gadget with a spinning gimbal that houses an also-spinning Whalebone Charm, an occult Void-empowered artifact.
  • Where It All Began: The final mission is the same location of the first albeit in reverse.
  • Wretched Hive: Karnaca is in pretty bad shape as it is, but the Dust District really takes the cake. Dust storms frequently blow across the entire town, only the most destitute live there, everyone is in poor health, and the Overseers and Howlers fight for dominance over the district. It's so bad that the Grand Guard doesn't bother to enforce the law there, opting instead to just wall the place up and stay out of it. If the protagonist changes the past in Stilton's manor and prevents him from attending the seance that drove him insane, then his influence will alter history, turning the Dust District into a cleaner, safer, and more pleasant place.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: It's possible to visit the childhood home of Corvo Attano in the Dust District, a dilapidated, abandoned apartment in the poor district that hasn't been inhabited for thirty years, and its filled with sand and decay, and walls falling in. One can find inside it the journal of Corvo's mother, Paloma Attano who regrets being separated from her son as he sets off to Dunwall after he wins the Blade Verbena. You also find inside a brick enclosure in the wall, Corvo Attano's blade verbena trophy.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Played With. In combat zones, Overseers are mandated to execute crippled members of their order who can no longer fight, but it is done respectfully, with full consent of the wounded, and all Overseers are aware that it will happen should they sustain debilitating wounds. It allows them to save manpower and resources that would otherwise be used trying to get the permanently disabled soldiers out of the combat zone.

"The years are long, but it's always good to see a familiar face."


Video Example(s):


High Chaos Ending (Corvo)

The newly crowned Corvo the Black became a ruthless tyrant who crushed all who tried to overthrow him and his daughter.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / DownerEnding

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