Return to Karnaca in Dishonored: Death of the Outsider
The first Dishonored game was an outstanding mix of stealth with more than a tip of the hat to Bioshock. Beautiful to look at, we were lucky to have it. The Knife of Dunwall and The Bridgemore Witches expansions, which followed Empress Jessamine Kaldwin's assassin, Daud, established Arkane Studios as masters of their art.
Dishonored 2 featured the same exquisite gameplay as its forebear, allowing players to either continue as Corvo Attano, or play as the deposed empress, Emily Kaldwin. Improved in every way, the game had a more ingenious, multi-path level design and even more challenging stealth gameplay.
Some would call Dishonored: Death of the Outsider a standalone expansion, but I think that it’s more than that, and best described as a spin off. For this outing, once again, you change sides, this time walking in the boots of Billie Lurk, former assassin and one-time pupil of Daud. Together they are on a mission to kill the Outsider, the mysterious being responsible for doling out the fancy powers in the previous games.
Set in Karnaca, the same city as Dishonored 2, Billie finds herself taking on the Eyeless gang, a bunch of rogues obsessed with the macabre. Along the way she will have to rob a bank to obtain a two-edged blade with which to kill the Outsider. How you do all this is up to you. The post-mission screen would suggest that the game would like you to do it stealthily, but if you want you can slaughter everything that moves.
As well as the main quest, Billie can take on contracts for extra rewards. These tasks involve things like assassinations, kidnappings and finding missing persons.
Billie has a new set of abilities, not so different as those before, but enough to keep things interesting. Displace allows her to teleport, Semblance to take another’s face as a disguise and Foresight to stop time and explore in spirit form.
The level design, again, challenges the player to seek hidden and easily overlooked routes through the map to best avoid conflict, or, at the very least, to minimise the risk of getting overpowered.
The maps are full of collectables. There’s plenty of literature to fill in the game’s back-story if that’s your thing. There’s also the much more useful bonecharms- which modify Billie’s abilities.
The huge open world is connected by carriages that run on wooden tracks- like a roller-coaster. As with it’ predecessors, Death of the Outsider encourages players to approach the game in their own way. The anything goes gameplay and sand-box environment means there’s lots of opportunity for emergent gameplay as the denizens of Karnak react to your choices.
The game rewards patience and careful consideration, but punishes rash, ill thought out action. Of course, you will want to experiment, so be sure to save often. The design of the missions and the environment invite multiple playthroughs to try different approaches. For the stouter player there’s a game plus mode that unlocks after you finish the game.
As with the previous games, Death of the Outsider utilises a lovely stylised art-style, looking more like a painting than a video game. The game looks absolutely stunning. The level of detail in the environments is breathtaking.
For players already familiar with Dishonored 2, Dishonored: Death of the Outsider provides a great extension with very similar, but equally as excellent gameplay. If you longed for more when you got to the end of Dishonored 2, you are going to absolutely lap this one up. Whilst I’d recommend that new players at least start with the second game, no previous experience with the Dishonored games is required, you can just dive straight in and have lots of fun.