Dishonoured: Death of the Outsider is the third game in Bethesda’s sneaking, stabbing and choking series, following the exploits of a colourful character with a host of powers at their command in order to help them on their quest. Breaking from the previous games you play a previously unplayable returning character, Billie Lurk, who helped Daud in the first games DLC (Knife of Dunwall) and reappears in Dishonoured 2 as the Dreadful Whales captain Meagan Foster. The game starts with Billie searching for Daud, her old assassin buddy, who she finds and quickly sets free, this leads to the beginning (and short) epic quest to kill the Outsider, the one who has been pulling the strings behind the scenes for millennia.
Like all other games from the outset the goal is clear; there is something you need to do (someone to kill/dispose of) and you are to steadily work towards it, picking off minor threats or accomplishing small tasks that eventually lead your ultimate goal. However, Death of the Outsider differs from the others in that it is not crafted as well.
Billie Lurk, our new protagonist.
Firstly, there is the core decision of how the player is going to go through the game, are they going to operate full run through and kill everyone, or are they going to go the stealth route, sneaking around and knocking people out, or a mixture of the two, only killing people when they have to.
When I played Dishonoured originally I decided not to kill, adopting a roleplay aspect as the character was a silent protagonist, similarly when it came to the second game and Corvo was given a voice I furthered this roleplay, as I saw it from carrying on from the previous game. Even when I played Emily I decided to do the same, assuming my version of Corvo had taught his daughter the same ethos; to show mercy to their enemies. When it comes to Billie Lurk she is an established character, already a killer and with no reason to change, and a full range of emotions and traits already thrust upon her; my roleplay element and immersion was broken. Furthermore, there was no material reward for not killing people (much like the other games) which made me question why I was bothering to be so sneaky other than for bragging rights.
The game has an interesting story, providing an in-depth look into the Outsider, his creation and the role he has played in the world. However, this is largely based on player initiative. Without reading the extensive number of books and notes scattered around the player could still learn some cool information, however they would not gain the full picture of the story Bethesda have tried to craft.
Furthermore, the gameplay elements of figuring out alternative ways of getting the non-lethal ending were highly diluted. Unlike in the previous games where the ways to get the non-lethal assassination was heard by being in the right place at the right time, or reading it in one of the many books scattered around the vast map, the alternatives were presented on a silver platter, either being an objective (taking away the challenge of having to seek for it), or being so mind numbingly obvious that it deprived me of any sense of reward for figuring it out.
This mind-numbing ease also extended to the puzzles, with the most complicated puzzle being a Fibonacci sequence. However, I realised that by simply googling “examples of a Fibonacci sequence” I was able to find the answer, as they one of the most basic examples as an element in their gameplay.
The Displace ability allows you to move through Fences.
With the new game has come a new set of powers, however this time the player is limited to just three. Displace takes the place of previous games’ Blink and Far Reach, allowing the player to place a marker, which when they reactivate the power allows them to move to that place.
The second power is semblance, allowing you to take the image of an unconscious enemy and access areas that would be tricky to get into without it; with the mana bar draining while the player is moving, not draining if the player stands still and looks around with just their head.
Lastly is foresight, the most interesting and useful power, which allows the player to stop time and look around. This power is made better by the fact that you can mark enemies, allowing you to see them through walls, and place displacement markers. These displacement markers can be put in a sequence, allowing the player to jump to one place, complete their objective, and leap to another place. The ability to place markers adds a new mechanic, which is that if a player can see their marker through some bars or a window, they can jump to it, bypassing having to run through doors, or make tricky evasive moves.
Death of the Outsider makes a big move in stepping away from the classic rune system and relying mostly on bonecharms (little passive upgrades). These passive upgrades help to define how you will play the game, with some providing offensive boosts and others helping your stealth or giving boosts to your powers.
Look at all my bonecharms!
Death of the Outsider provides a good experience for Dishonoured fans that are looking for another fix of a beloved franchise. The powers provide new and interesting ways to play the game, and the lore provides a deeper look into many of the questions that have been puzzling fans of Dishonoured since the first game.
However, Death of the Outsider has its flaws, the story has been made into a sort of investigative journalism, with the player reliant on themselves if they want to really find out what is going on. Furthermore, the breaks in immersion through the exposition provided by Billie Lurk rip the player focused on roleplay out of the game. The puzzles have also been majorly diluted, making them far too easy, meaning most of the challenge comes from how the player decides to play. Lastly, the game faces the flaws of the other games of the franchise which is that there is no reason for you not to massacre everyone in sight; there are material awards in game, nor does it really effect the overall experience.
Dishonoured: Death of the Outsider was reviewed on PC. Also available on PS4 and Xbox One.