+Memorable graphics engine and art direction providing a unique and immersive experience
+One of the strongest stealth games on the market
+Leaves open a possibility for future Dishonored titles
-Character building seems forced and rushed between Daud and Billie
-Level design feels lacking in comparison to Dishonored 2
I’m in a bar, the guests have been subdued by the use of my hyperbaric grenade, and a steady amount of guards have been executed as needed be. This action is something I’ve done many-a-times before without raising an alarm and once again have done without drawing attention to me. It’s something I’ve become well versed in doing since Arkane Studios introduced me to the city of Dunwall in 2012.
The dark fantasy series has not changed much in the sense of the story’s draw. Over the spawn of the past five years, I’ve come to appreciate Arkane Studios masterpieces they’ve created, an overarching story that tells the tale of nobles betraying one another for what little power is left within the lands. Within this fantastically built universe, Arkane hasn’t missed one stroke of the brush to give us the story they wanted. Their universe is filled with assassins and vigilantes, aiding those whom are sick of the corrupted politicians and tyrants who mold the world around them, which includes making a deal with the games unique take on the Devil – The Outsider himself.
Standing before us now, is what is seemingly the final chapter within the Dishonored series, one that is heavily invested with The Outsider himself, and takes on the task of essentially working to oust him from his right to power. But what’s unique is the fact that this stand alone expansion for the Dishonored franchise isn’t one of the most powerful. It’s one that does justice, however, by giving us a look at two rather interesting characters from the series who serve as returning cast members.In Death of the Outsider, you will be taking on the role of Billie Lurk, the captain of the Dreadful Wale, and a student of Daud’s, whom has finally reunited with Daud after years of separation from her now-aged mentor. In the game he presents her with one final job, one that could change the very tides of the world Arkane Studios created over the past five years. The best aspect of this game isn’t just the fact we get to return to Karnaca, but also the fact we get to see it through a new set of eyes, and in new locations from the base game its expanding upon.
The relationship built within it between Billie and Daud is rather well done, so much so I actually grew to admire their kinship, one that wasn’t just about them both being hardened killers filled with regret, and hardships caused by the events that came to exist due to their doings. One of their biggest regrets is the most memorable, one that has been the catalyst for everything that has transpired – the murder of Empress Jessamine Kaldwin, the mother of Elizabeth Kaldwin, and lover to Corvo Attano. Unfortunately for Daud, he’s not well, and with the coughing disease quickly taking him from this world, it’s up to Billie to complete this one last job, and quickly.
Luckily for Billie, she’s got the right set of tools that aren’t limited to just her wrist-bow, bombs, and skills as an assassin. The Outsider has even given her his own tools of the trade, replacing the abilities we’d become familiar with through the past two games and the respective content from Dishonored.In order to give Billie her own presence, Arkane Studio gave her a set of abilities of her own, distinctively different from the rest including: Displace, which allows her to send a ‘clone’ like figure not far away that she can teleport to, Semblance, which allows her to take on the form of another person, and Foresight, the ability to move remotely and detect enemies, mark, them, and even find hidden objects such as bone charms before returning to Lurk.
While her abilities are essentially mutated versions of the three previous ones, Billie still somehow makes them enjoyable and quite worthwhile. Testing and adapting to them is something completely needed and highly advisable as Billie can take on combat in never-before-seen ways in the franchise.
She can use abilities such as Displace to set a pre-determined escape point before taking on enemies, causing a street brawl, and quickly escaping, only to use it to also teleport inside of an enemy, turning them into a pink mist filled storm of gory chunks. If combat isn’t for you, mastering abilities such as Semblance and Foresight are highly advisable.One of the most unique aspects of the game, is the fact will incline players to enjoy the game however needed. Meaning you can approach the game in stealth-like manners, using your pacifism to your advantage, before approaching the game with a streak of high-chaos later in, but approach it with abilities from the previous titles.
Mechanically speaking, Dishonored: Death of the Outsider doesn’t change its approach to the franchise. It instead, revisits many of the mechanics we’ve known and loved about the game for the past five years. Instead, we get to see only a few minor changes to how Billie lurk plays. Unlike Corvo and Emily, Lurk uses something entirely new as far as her powers are concerned. She uses an ever-charging currency called “Void Power”. This small change is rather welcomed, allowing Lurk to be more threatening than the others and even allows her to approach combat and stealth in unforeseen ways.
Much like the previous titles, the chaos system is still in place as it was in Dishonored and Dishonored 2, and didn’t make a return this time around. The system once determined if you would perceive a different ending than before depending on your choices made based on who you killed or didn’t.
If you are one that wants to ensue as much chaos as possible, you will be able to take out as many guards or opposing forces as needed be, and it still won’t suffer as many narrative consequences before. The chaos system, which determined what ending you would get in Dishonored and Dishonored 2, is gone completely. You can kill as many people as you want and suffer no narrative consequences for it.
This tweak also turns out to be for the better, giving you the freedom overcome obstacles with whatever means necessary, lethal or otherwise, without any systems in place to hold you responsible for your actions in an artificial manner. However, to counter this, Arkane Studios implemented a new set of side quests for players to undergo called contracts, which ends up rewarding players for their use of unique skills. Taking my time to do these, I found myself rather enjoying them while making way to the main story.One included a mission where I needed to infiltrate a bar owned by the Eyeless, from there I was to take them out except for the bartender, whom I knocked unconscious, and made my way with him across the city. If you took my approach, subtlety wasn’t your best friend. Instead, if you approached it as I do, you would be picking off one enemy at a time, shooting who you can with voltaic rounds, before tossing in a hyperbaric grenade, which knocked them all unconscious. Other contracts change it up, forcing you to steal the contents within a bank without getting caught, which means no weapons used, and even using stealth as your best friend.
The only large complaint about the expansion is the fact that none of its open-ended levels aren’t as memorable as the other titles. None of them stuck out or even crafted a way of their own. While they are artful masterpieces in design, none of them were writhing with memorable cause or reason. Sure I enjoyed the bank heist and the map itself was beautiful, I didn’t find it something enigmatic and alluring as the others. I just didn’t find anything as memorable as say Jindosh’s Clockwork Mansion or the Brigmore Manor where players chased down the Brigmore Witch named Delilah.
The storytelling, alone, left a lot for me to desire, occasionally pushing me back to Dishonored 2, where I found myself pushing forward into hungering to know more about what was going on around me. While the concept of killing The Outsider left me reeling with excitement, I found myself occasionally hungering for something a bit more broader, one that would focus upon Daud and Billie’s past through flash-back based missions. The best part of this games narrative, however, just happens to be The Outsider himself. He’s an enigmatic figure, one that appears wherever he wants, when he wants, and however he wants to.
Dishonored: Death of the Outsider – PlayStation 4, PC, and Xbox One
Developer: Arkane Studios
Release Date: Available Now
The games plot itself feels as if it eventually began moving quicker than I anticipated, almost too quickly at times, seemingly taking away the balance needed for fans to enjoy the relationship between Daud and Billie as they interact with his limited time remaining. At times I found myself struggling to finding a way to capitalize upon their dramatic story, and even history they share. Had the games pacing been a bit slower, I may have actually had reason to not push forward as I had, and ultimately taking on my ultimate task.
Ultimately, Death of the Outsider emerges as one of the strongest chapters within the Dishonored franchise. From its death-defying moments, to its gameplay refinements, and even its beloved dedication to its dark and fictional universe. While the expansion doesn’t revolutionize the series, but instead does what we’ve needed for a solid ending to the game. It allows us to navigate everything we’ve become familiar with into one satisfying conclusion that ends the series just how it needed. With everything wrapped up, Death of the Outsider is a must-have title for fans of the series, and even leaves room for future titles to find placement between the events that end the series.
Our review is based upon a retail version we were provided by the games publisher. For information about our ethics policy please click here.
Final Score: 8 out of 10
About the Writer:
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter or Facebook.