Initial Release: 15 September 2017
Stare into the void… There’s one hell of an experience there.
Dishonored: Death of the Outsider is a new separate gaming expansion brought to you by Arkane Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks. Set inside the Dishonored universe: You are an assassin requested by an old mentor to help with one last task… To kill a God.
Death of the Outsider is a first person game with platforming and RPG elements. Players control Billie Lurk. An assassin who, after a recent visit by the one they call ‘The Outsider’ is given a quest from her former mentor Daud to infiltrate cults and take down their leaders. Gain a sacred dagger, destroy God himself… and bring Death to the Outsider. The visit from the Outsider costs Billie dearly (you might say it cost her an arm and a leg… or rather an arm and an eye). As you find you have been stripped of vital parts of you and in exchange given the power of the void. For the most part these changes affect the gameplay in aesthetic only as your right hand attacks with a sword, apart from your awesome void powers. The void plays a large part in Death of the Outsider’s lore and it is the main source of your powers.
You will have a vast array of lethal and non lethal weapons to use during your play through to suit your method of choice. Also you have picked up some nifty supernatural void powers too: Displace, A teleportation method which functions the same as Blink from previous games. Foresight, An out of body experience that allows you to scope your surroundings and tag enemies and things of interest at your discretion and finally there is Semblence, the ability to temporarily steal someone’s face and use it as your disguise to infiltrate or go unnoticed in hostile territories.
These work great. With the exception of Blink, which, with the game being first person, makes it hard to use correctly especially when you’re trying to jump from ledge to ledge and you can’t quite get the right angle for where you want to go without falling off your current platform. There is a serious depth perception problem inherent in first-person games like these. Yet it comes with practice and aside from this, the gameplay functions really well. Void powers can be used in conjunction with each other and there is such a rush of excitement in stealing someones face and the doors that Semblance can open is great. Knowing you can steal almost anyone’s face and borrow it really opens up just how you can tackle a variety of missions. Also the decision to have the energy deplete based off movement is smart and adds a new element of strategy.
Lethal or non lethal? The game strongly encourages you to play the game the way it suits you. Chaos or Order? Lethal or stealth? Blood or Shadows? The choice is yours. That much is true. Play any way you want. As long as you play stealth… Because pray to the Outsider himself if you end up getting caught by some guards. They will kill you fast, even on the easiest settings the guards can quickly over-power you and take you down in a matter of seconds. Combat feels a bit light but the slow motion kill animations are awesome. Stealth is the way you will get the most satisfaction out of the game. You can kill pretty much any character you want and how you choose to infiltrate and possibly assassinate your targets is up to you. If you are diligent, you will find extremely effective and highly satisfying ways to take out your enemies. Crash through a crowd and stab someone in the face? A little obvious but gets the job done. Shoot them from a distance with one of your many contraptions? Nice and effective but lacks that personal touch. Sneak under their building and find they just happen to be standing on an old trap door? Now we’re talking. There’s very little in the way of hand holding. Clues to making the most successful assassinations are gained through listening, finding clues and creating opportunities. Knowing that you did it all by yourself is very satisfying.
Research and patience pays off in this game. Stalk your foes. Find out their weaknesses. Exploit them. You will feel more satisfaction when you know if you put the effort in. You will be treated unique opportunities for some elaborate take downs.. To assassinate or show mercy? You won’t know the ramifications of your actions until it is far too late. So make your choices wisely. With different endings according to how you act: You will find there are plenty of reasons for a second play through.
Outside of the main campaign are a series of black-market missions. These can be toggled on and off at any time, and are a satisfying and varied way to get a bit of extra coin when you want a quick break from the main narrative. Of course that being said, if you don’t just steal what you want from the black market in the first place. The beauty of this game is that for better or worse, you do things your own way. Sometimes the most obvious path isn’t the most rewarding and you have to respect a game that not only carries a strong narrative but also allows you to take the reigns for yourself and do things at your own pace.
Exploration is key, and very rewarding, the game is full in lore and context with numerous logs and collectables to read and help build the already rich world. The menus and interfaces are beautiful and capture the amalgamation of all the different themes and eras that helped inspire its world. The character designs and creature concepts are very well thought out through. It really is a beautiful looking game in every aspect.
Graphically, The Outsider is astounding. The amount of love and attention to detail in the surroundings brings an extra sense of satisfaction to exploration. From beautifully designed wooden statues of animals, to tiny carved Whalebone scrimshaws. An excellent location is the Taxidermists, in which you a treated to illustrated animal anatomy posters and an entire menagerie of sophisticated and elaborate fictions beasts mounted on walls. The game thrives in its visuals. The art-style pops and accentuates the Victorian-esque, steam punk feel. As you wander around the high city streets or vast wealthy homes, everything is elaborate and well designed and yet still feels functional and realistic.
The sound design is also great. Early on a mission gives you the opportunity to infiltrate an opera singer’s home. His home is luxurious and extremely befitting of someone of his stature. As he sits in one of his many rooms he is singing and it is rather beautiful. And again, in the same mission you listen to a potential target meticulously going through his speech notes. It’s good and another example of just how well crafted this game is.
Dishonored: Death of the Outsider is an excellent game. Its beauty lies in the gorgeous aesthetic, its well crafted location design and its smart gameplay choices with a great narrative and a satisfying world that you will enjoy snuffing out… One target at a time
Stare into the void… There’s one hell of an experience there.
Verdict – 9/10