Dishonored: Death of the Outsider Review- The End of a Tale

Posted September 18, 2017 by Thomas James Juretus in Video Games

Developer: Arkane Studios

Publisher: Bethesda Softworks

Release date: September 15, 2017

Available on: PC, PS4 (reviewed), Xbox One

Dishonored: Death of the Outsider serves as both stand-alone DLC and a sequel to 2016’s Dishonored 2, and serves as a finale to a tale began back in 2012 when Dishonored was released. While this game does not concern itself with Corvo Altano or his daughter, the now Empress Emily Kaldwin, it does continue the tale of Daud and Billie Lurk (who we first met using the name Meagan Foster, captain of the Dreadful Wale) and most especially that of the Outsider, the mysterious being from the Void who bestowed magical powers on individuals. With Emily and Corvo defeating Delilah for control of the throne, the Witches are now gone, and Daud decides that enough is enough with the meddling of supernatural forces, that the Outsider must go. But first Billie needs to rescue him from the Eyeless, a group that has risen in power to fill the void left by the witches.

Thus, the story of Death of the Outsider begins, with Billie (voiced quite nicely by Rosario Dawson, who plays the intrepid nurse Claire Temple in the Netflix/Marvel series) staging a bloody (or not so bloody- it’s up to you) raid on the Albarca Baths to rescue Daud from an underground fighting ring. This first mission is accomplished sans powers, as you need to rely on stealth and your skill with a sword and a voltaic pistol (a weapon that’s attached to your left wrist and fires various types of projectiles). you do get other gadgets to play with- several grenade types can be found, and you have use of springrazor mines, which can bring an enemy to a very grisly end. you alos get a brand new toy in the form of the hook mine, which grabs an enemy and hangs them from a wall or ceiling. This mine can be non-lethal if you wish, and it works well as a trap for pursuing enemies.

The one supernatural ability you do have from the outset is Rat Whispers. Billie can listen to the rats, and by listening to them can get clues on how to proceed with her missions. Sometimes they will warn her of an upcoming threat, like the wolfhounds. Other times they will tell her of a secret passage that offers an alternative path to your goal. Once Daud is rescued, Billie is visited by the Outsider, and is granted powers. Unlike the earlier games, your Void energy replenishes on its own, without the need to seek out elixirs. The refill rate is fairly quick, and the short cooldown rate allows a little more freedom. Billie has three powers, all available after her initial visit from the Outsider. The powers are called Displace, Semblance, and Foresight. Of the three, I found Semblance to be the one I used the least (though it serves as a great help for one particular mission), simply because moving around while using it can drain your Void energy quickly. Since Semblance allows you to disguise yourself as someone else (you must leave the person unconscious- you cannot disguise yourself as someone you’ve killed), having that disguise fade before you’re clear of guards can get you in real trouble. Also, wolfhounds can sniff you out (unless you have a certain bone charm equipped). So, while a nice ability to have, Semblance came with too many drawbacks to be used frequently.

Displace (similar to Corvo’s Blink) is the power I used most frequently, as it allows you to move from place to place quickly, even to platforms you couldn’t otherwise reach. Your destination must be in a clear line of sight- so you can’t use it through fences or windows (there is a way around this- more on that shortly). One button press places a marker, the second transports you to that marker. You have a fair amount of range, but it’s not so great that you can jump across chasms or entire plazas. For heights, you need to make sure your marker will have you land on something solid. Otherwise, a fall could prove to be fatal. Since your Void energy replenishes quickly, you can make successive jumps to cover ground quickly or escape from enemies. One bone charm you can equip even leaves a shadow behind when you Displace, to get your enemy’s attention while you make your getaway. As with Blink, you can use it to make easier work pick-pocketing or, if you’re feeling bloodthirsty, assassinating a foe.

The other major power you’ll use often is Foresight. Similar to Dark Vision, Foresight allows you to see guards through walls. The biggest difference is, while Dark Vision had you see foes through walls in real time, Foresight stops time and allows you to move about in spirit form. You can travel about until your Void energy depletes, but since enemies are alerted to your presence in this way, you can use it right away as your Void energy replenishes. Using Foresight you can mark enemies, bone charms, or anything else of particular interest, causing the object or person to glow with a golden light. For people, it will also show you a cone of sight, so you will always know which way they’re facing, which is helpful if you’re trying to be sneaky. Foresight also allows you to set a Displace marker, and as long as you can see the marker, you can jump to it. This is how you use the powers in tandem to get through to rooms and places you might not be able to otherwise. It’s great for scouting an area out, so you’re not surprised by a guard you might otherwise miss.

While your powers do come in handy, they also feel limited. You don’t get anything as viciously fun as Corvo’s Rat Swarm or Emily’s Link, at least in your first playthrough. Completing the game opens up Original Game +, which allows you access to Corvo’s powers. That goes to the replayability of the title, as you won’t find or maybe be able to do all the side content in one shot. You’ll find way more bone charms than you have slots to equip. Missions have multiple paths to your goal, and in one case, not taking a certain path has you miss out on a nifty Easter egg. You’ll alos get contracts through the black market. While they’re not necessary for you to do to finish the game, they can make you extra coin to spend on needed supplies and upgrades or net you some helpful items. The contracts all have qualifiers for success or failure. One may require you to kill everyone except a specific target, while another demands you cannot be spotted at all while making off with an item. They make nice little diversions from your five main missions, and offer a fair amount of challenge to complete.

One thing Death of the Outsider did away with is the morality system. There is no high/low chaos to worry about (though the grid still shows up in your stats upon mission completion). This means you don’t have to reload former save should your stealth run get ruined by an ambush, as those actions don’t really have much consequence in your playthrough. This is both liberating, as you’re free to do as you need or wish to do per your favorite playstyle, but it’s also feels like a letdown knowing my actions don’t have any real impact on the world. You’ll get a choice towards the end of the game that will determine which ending you get, but that’s it. To a point, that works for this title as it’s about half the length of the two main games (an initial playthrough can take you 8-10 hours, depending on how much you explore and engage in side activities, as opposed to the 18-20 hours it can take for the larger, main games). The story itself is smaller in scope, though by its nature would have huge ramifications for Karnaca going forward. While the story is certainly serviceable, it lacks the depth and multiple characters you encounter on your travels. You’ll visit some familiar locales, but none of the stages are as complex or clever as those you encountered in Dishonored 2. The third mission is perhaps the most complex here, but that isn’t quite the same thing as the Clockwork Mansion or the manor where you time shift. Levels are still fun to play, but they tend to be a bit more straightforward, even when all aren’t linear.

The game runs nicely on a technical level. I never experienced any drop in framerate, and the controls were responsive (any deaths tended to be the result of my skill, or lack of, rather than the game’s fault). Visually the game is what we’ve come to expect with a Dishonored title, and the voice acting, especially that of the two main characters, is very good. Rosario Dawson is terrific as Billie, and Michael Madsen returns as Daud, imbuing him with the weariness that character would feel after the hardships he’s faced. His reasoning for wanting to kill the Outsider makes sense, and offers up a little inner conflict when you need to choose your course of action towards the game’s end. It’s too bad that outside of the three main characters (Billie, Daud, The Outsider), none of the other characters you encounter are exactly memorable. They just seem to be disposable obstacles in your path, to be removed without any real consequence as your proceed to your end goal. Music and sound are solid, and as with the other games there is plenty of reading material to find and peruse. The new additions- Rat Whispers, Foresight, and the hook mine- are nice and keep it from feeling too much like a retread of the previous games. The story may be the weakest of the series, but it does serve as a nice finale to the overall series. It marks the end of an era, and it does do that well.

Death of the Outsider is a worthy addition to the Dishonored series. While it is a standalone title, players will need to have played the previous entries in the series to make sense of who’s who and what is going on. Not having that background would make this far less enjoyable. It’s a solid game technically, with very good voice acting from Dawson and Madsen. It has that built in replayability with its multiple paths, endings, and side activities to be accomplished. The new additions are welcome ones, even as we miss that morality scale of high and low chaos. It’s a game that sets out as a sequel and a final cap to a story that began in 2012 with the first title, and it wrapping things up, it does that admirably. This is a fitting end to a tale, and that makes this a must play for fans of the series.

About the Author

Thomas James Juretus