Dishonored 2 is a massive game with hundreds of little decisions that heavily influence your overall outcome on each mission and with the entire campaign. Every mission is littered with different paths to take which can lead you to new opportunities, new blueprints, and runes to upgrade your supernatural abilities — but nothing is more important to your experience than picking the hero which best suites you.
After completing the brief introduction, you’ll be faced with a decision: Emily Kaldwin or Corvo Attano. You’ll have to pick which of the two you’d like to play the entire game as and the other becomes a driving motive behind your goals. Emily is the up-and-comer in Dishonored 2, while Corvo is the returning protagonist from the original game. Both have their own set of abilities that remain entirely separate except for Dark Vision, which is shared between the two.
It’s a big decision and odds are you’ll have a difficult time choosing the first time around, but here’s a few things you should know about how your game will play out based on the character you pick.
The daughter of Corvo Attano and Empress Jessamine Kaldwin, Emily Kaldwin is the rightful heir to the throne of the Isles and has been ruling over them for the 15 years leading up to the start of Dishonored 2. Trained and raised by Corvo, Emily is a deadly fighter and a morally driven individual, which will show throughout the game if you chose her as a character. In Dishonored 2, Emily’s journey is one of self-discovery, where you’ll have plenty of provoking discussions about who she wants to become and how she wants others to see her. Emily is unsure but skilled, and over the course of the game, your actions will shape who she is upon her return to Dunwall.
When it comes to supernatural abilities, Emily features an entirely new set in Dishonored 2. Many of these can be used effectively for both non-lethal and lethal approaches to combat, although several of her abilities are more useful for players actively working to spare lives. Take Shadow Walk for instance, which allows Emily to assume a shadowy form that is difficult to detect. If upgraded, you can perform up to three takedowns without being detected. You can also combine this with Domino, which allows you to link up to four targets so that they share the same fate, meaning that if you knock one target out who is chained to three more? You’re good as gold.
From our time with the game, Emily Kaldwin is the best character for players who haven’t played the original Dishonored and received the background lore regarding the world around them. She’s also an excellent choice for players hoping to perform a non-lethal playthrough thanks to her abilities, which are much easier to handle enemies with if used with a bit of planning.
The protagonist of the first Dishonored and father of Emily, Corvo Attano is the Royal Protector once again in Dishonored 2, working to instruct and protect his daughter while she rules the Isles as Empress. Corvo is one of the most reserved and mysterious individuals in the entirety of the Isles, but remains one who is willing to use any means necessary to protect those he considers close. If you end up playing as Corvo in Dishonored 2, you’ll be greeted with a narrative like that of the first game where he meets and works with old connections to save his daughter from Delilah. It’s a story filled with old acquaintances and daunting revelations, but one you’ll fully appreciate only if you’re familiar with the characters from the first game.
From a supernatural standpoint, Corvo has access to the exact same abilities present in the first Dishonored with a few modifications. As before, Corvo is a character who excels in combat when augmented by his supernatural powers. When upgraded, Bend Time allows you to halt time to a complete stop and manipulate your enemies like pieces on a chessboard. If timed properly, you can group enemies together and fire off a few different crossbow bolts that will eliminate them all the second you return time to a normal pace. This ability can also be used in tandem with Possession, which allows you to jump into the body of an animal or human to manipulate them as you see fit. Have enemies walk into their own bullets or traps, or sneak by in the body of a rat — its entirely up to you.
Corvo Attano is a character best played by those who have played (or at least are familiar with) Dishonored and remember most of the characters, story, and lore behind its universe. His supernatural abilities never feel as specialized as Emily’s, but they can be used for both non-lethal and lethal approaches to combat; they just take a little more time to master if you’re a new player.