Microsoft shocked the entire gaming industry September 21 when it announced the acquisition of ZeniMax Media, the owner of Bethesda and popular franchises like The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Doom, and Wolfenstein. Despite this acquisition, a Bethesda game will actually leave Microsoft's Netflix-for-games Xbox Game Pass subscription service very soon. So you better play as much as possible between now and then.
On September 30, Xbox Game Pass subscribers must briefly say goodbye to Dishonored 2, Arkane Studios' magnum opus. It's a fantastic immersive sim stealth game where players are given a staggering amount of choice in how they complete any given objective. Give Dishonored 2 a shot before it leaves Xbox Game Pass, but don't be too sad about its departure, because Doom Eternal will take its place.
Dishonored 2 was initially released by Arkane Studios, a subsidiary of ZeniMax Media and now Microsoft, in November 2016. The game is a sequel to a critically acclaimed 2012 stealth game set in the plague-ridden Kingdom of Dunwall and coastal city of Karnaca. The Dishonored series is made up of immersive sim stealth games, which means that they give players a variety of tools too stealthily complete open-ended objectives in whatever way they see fit.
Most often, that means you'll be assassinating people as Corvo, the protagonist of the first game, or Emily, Corvo's daughter, who is a character playable for the first time in Dishonored 2. After a nefarious witch named Delilah executes a coup to take over Dunwall, Corvo or Emily must set out to take the kingdom back after the character players don't choose is turned to stone.
Dishonored 2's plague-ridden world is industrial and supernatural in a way that's unlike any other AAA games out there. The developers use this setting to the fullest, with fantastic environmental storytelling that makes each area Corvo or Emily visits feels lived in, even if they aren't in the most pleasant-looking locations. The Clockwork Manion is a particularly memorable level; its whole gimmick is that players can change and shift the rooms in order to progress.
Each level of the game is focused on one main objective, though there are almost always side tasks for players to complete. Once players start a stage, they are free to do as they please as they wield a variety of magical powers.
For example, Corvo can use Blink to teleport to a specific location while Emily can use Far Reach to pull enemies to her. Players can even choose to go about the game nonlethally if they wish, and are even rewarded with certain achievements and upgrades for doing so.
This open-ended nature makes Dishonored 2 immensely replayable and a great fit for a service like Xbox Game Pass. It's also only about 13 hours long, so you should be able to get a playthrough in before it leaves the service on September 30. But it sure is leaving Xbox Game Pass at an awkward time.
Its removal was announced before Microsoft's purchase of ZeniMax Media, so now that Microsoft owns the company's developer and publisher, it's only a matter of time before Dishonored 2 returns. Regardless, we recommend playing the game sooner rather than later.
Microsoft has yet to comment on the ongoing status of Dishonored 2 on Xbox Game Pass despite Inverse's inquiries. We were directed to the Bethesda announcement that confirmed the publisher's games would all come to Game Pass, but we just don't know when.
Dishonored 2 is available now for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.