To Kill a God – Dishonored: Death of the Outsider review

Spoilers obviously follow so stop reading if you haven’t finished Dishonored 2 yet *

Dishonored: Death of the Outsider comes out during a period where massive open world experiences are the big rage. However, its status as a standalone adventure allows the game to deviate away from the clear-cut boundaries of the main series and become something that stands to be noticed amongst these other games. This is mostly due to the liberties the game takes that not only improves the overall gameplay we’ve seen from the main series but also focuses on the most interesting person in the entire Dishonored universe.

Narrative

Delilah has been defeated.

Empress Emily Kaldwin is now back in charge of the emperor with her father proudly by her side; Anton Sokolov has returned to retirement; and Karnaca has returned to a “normal” state of seedy lifestyles and dangerous backstabbing. All is well, except for Morgan Foster (a.k.a Billie Lurk). After fifteen years of searching, she’s finally found the location of the man who molded her into what she is today: The Assassin Daud. The problem? He needs to be rescued from a new cult that have somehow procured supernatural abilities.

What follows is a journey that will take Billie to the deepest reigns of the Void in order to confront the one responsible for all the problems in the world: The Outsider, a being who possesses infinite knowledge and power.

The Outsider in all his mystique. 

Because the story isn’t as long as the games from the main series, the story feels like it rushes by a little to quickly for the audience.  However, since this is being hailed as the “conclusion” to the Dishonored story, everything is nicely wrapped up in a little bow by the time the credits roll and you feel satisfied to have bought this game.

Gameplay

Gameplay, for the most part, has remained the same as previous entries in the series. You still run around a map looking for alternative means to infiltrate a building; clash swords with guards who catch you in hostile areas; and sneak past supernatural entities that are far stronger than you’ll ever be. So what’s changed?

Well, for starters, you have a new weapon available this time around. Named the hook mine, it essentially acts as a grappling hook that draws enemies towards it when that get within a certain proximity of the mine. Useful for both lethal and non-lethal takedowns, the mine provides wonderful  for setting up a trap for foes, or a quick fix in taking out one guard from an ongoing battle.

The hook mine in action.

Next up is the introduction of two new groups of foes in the series. The first are an Outsider worshipping cult called the Eyeless, who have begun to use mysterious powers and charms to take control of the Underground gangs and cause havoc. Essentially taking over the role of the witches from the previous games, the Eyeless are not to be messed with unless you are completely prepared.

On the other hand, the second group of foes are much more daunting. Nicknamed the “Stone men” (that’s my name for them, not sure if they have one in the game), these guys are like walking tanks. They are literally made of stone and can only be defeated by stabbing their heart located at the direct center of their being. Though they take over the role of the robot guards from the previous game, they seemed to be a lot harder to kill than the robots. Personally, I avoided these guys as much as possible, but if you stocked up and full of gadgets, then by all means, take a swing at them.

Hide or fight from the stone men. It’s your choice

Moving on, the next changes from the main series can clearly be seen when using the new powers. You are only given a preset skill list of three: Imitation, Foreshadow, and Displace. None of these are particularly useful in combat with the powers boiling down to: Imitation allows you to steal the face of an unconscious person and walk around as them; Foreshadow lets you roam around the environment in a “ghost” form of sorts to scout out upcoming areas; and Displace acts similar to Emily Kaldwin’s far reach with the exception that instead of teleporting instantly, you create a respawn point to travel to at the click of the power button (it should be noted that if an enemy is in this respawn point, they’ll be in for a deadly surprise).

However, that’s not the only change to the power’s section. To all those Dishonored fans who hated the Mana wheel, I’m happy to tell you that it has been altered for the better!!!! The developers finally removed the one concept that made the previous games feel completely like a micro-managed adventure and replaced it with a slow refilling mechanic. Yes, you still have a wheel telling you how much power is left, but because it slowly refills on its one, this allows for a continued use of powers instead of the old “hunt down an mana elixir in order to use blink again” routine.

Displace in action

Finally, I come to the biggest change to Dishonored gameplay. Are you ready for it? I am proud to announce that the MORAL SYSTEM IS COMPLETELY GONE AS WELL!!!! No longer do players have to worry about that one soldier they killed ruining things for the entire empire. Now you can kill to your hearts desire without any consequences. Sure, you can still be a pacifist and choke/knock people out, but where’s the fun in that?

Level Design & Graphics

Level design and graphics are also pretty much unchanged from what Dishonored 2 showed us. Everything is cast in bright, sharp lights that highlight the city of Karnaca below you; interior buildings seem like they adopt a personality of their own based on who lives there; and old wore-torn areas really do seem like the slums of the city.

However, all is not pretty and realistic when we come to areas such as the Void and a certain mineshaft. While the mineshaft has the decency to offer some liveliness by having equipment scattered about, it still comes off as a rather bleak and uninteresting area. The same cannot be said for the Void. Because of its primary use of stone integrated into most structures, the Void comes off as bleak environment (I know its purposefully done for the story, but as for graphic viewing: UGH)

Also, it doesn’t help the game’s case that they also decide to revisit some old locations from Dishonored 2. Yes, I like the idea of going back to revisit these areas and see how they’ve change since Corvo/Emily has been there, but still, at least make it bigger and stand out more than the way it was presented.

Replay value

Perhaps unsurprising to fans, the game does offer multiple replays to get the full amount of enjoyment out of it. However, what surprised me the most was that after you beat the main game as it is, you can go back and replay it with the powers from the main series. Though I haven’t tried it yet, if that means being able to use Emily’s or Corvo’s powers while playing as Billie is possible, then hell yeah, I’m gonna give it another go.

Conclusion

I truly enjoyed this “possible” final romp through Karnaca. Whether I was sneaking past a stone man or stringing together a chain of kills, the fun never stopped for a second. Thanks to a few changes that improved the overall quality of the series and a plot that really sends things off on a high note, I’m happy to give Dishonored: Death of the Outsider a…

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