I finished Dishonored 2 last weekend and immediately jumped into a New Game Plus. Turns out it’s a fantastic, downright essential addition to the game.
New Game Plus (NG+) was added to the PC version in a beta patch late last week, and the update just went live for everyone today. Provided you’ve finished at least once, NG+ lets you start a new game at any difficulty with either of the two main characters while carrying over the runes, learned bonecharm traits and blueprints from your completed first playthrough. Crucially, it also gives you access to all of the character-specific powers, letting you build one ur-character with every ability in the game.
How it works: Your learned bonecharm traits, assigned runes, and available blueprints all carry over. Coins, held bone charms, inventory items, upgrades and whale bones do not. Here, let’s do a little guide.
Assign all of your runes before ending the game. At the start of mission 2 in NG+, you get access to every rune you had assigned when you saved at the end of your last playthrough. You don’t, however, carry over any unassigned runes. So assign every rune you have before ending the game.
Break down all of your bonecharms, too. Learned bonecharm traits carry over, but held bonecharms and raw whale bones do not. Break down every single bonecharm you have before you end your game.
Craft runes out of all your extra whale bones. It’s worth buying the runecrafting ability just so that you can craft a few spare runes out of your leftover whale bones. If you got all the bonecharms in the game, it should more than balance out. Use those runes to buy powers (any powers) and the runes themselves will carry over to NG+.
My first time through the game I played as Emily and focused on nonlethal stealth. It took me about 25 hours to finish, and on the whole I very much enjoyed myself. My second playthrough has been a totally different ballgame—I’m playing as Corvo and not giving a single fuck about stealth or about how many people I kill. My only rule is that I never reload a save unless I die. It has been a REALLY good time, and a perfect complement to my first playthrough.
Because I have access to any combination of abilities, I can fully explore what this game can do. Turns out just like its predecessor, it can do a lot. I have Corvo’s Blink ability, which, thanks to its time-freezing perk, is superior to Emily’s Far Reach if you’re engaging in combat. His Slow Time ability is also crucial for setting up wild takedowns of multiple guards. However, Emily’s Domino effect is amazing to use on a lethal playthrough, and really fun to break out in the thick of combat. With each of those (and more) unlocked and combined from the start, I’ve been able to make a more specific, powerful build.
I’ve also been able to take a more focused approach to bonecharm crafting, which has already made my character hilariously powerful. I’ve learned the majority of bonecharm abilities in the game at this point, and my approach in NG+ has been to methodically craft four-way charms of the best abilities. For example, I now move faster in stealth than I do when standing, and half the abilities I use don’t consume mana. When I put my weapons away, I move almost as fast as the guy from Doom. I also appreciate how Dishonored 2 NG+ stacks on top of itself—you can start a third NG+, or a fourth, or a fifth. That means you can keep playing until you’ve maxed out every ability, which will hopefully pair well with the custom difficulty settings Arkane has said they’re adding in an upcoming second game update.
My time with Dishonored 2 has been a steady crescendo: I was initially frustrated by the issues I had with the PC version, and even when I got it running decently was a bit underwhelmed by the first few levels. I came to like the game more and more the further I got, and now that I’m in NG+ and really cutting loose, I’m having a straight-up blast. If you really want to see Dishonored 2 at its best, I highly recommend giving New Game Plus a go.