The Dishonored saga continues with yet another expansion. This time in the form of a standalone release for some reason, but I guess it doesn’t really make any difference, does it? All I know is there’s more of the same good old thieving and stabbing that the series does so well, but with a new playable character with a few new tricks up her sleeve.
Things haven’t changed much here since Dishonored 2. The basic gameplay mechanics are pretty much the same, the only real difference is your motivation for all your thievery and assassinations. Your objective is obviously to kill the being known as The Outsider, but to do so you’ll have to get through five long chapters of elaborately designed locations that are just bursting with enemies and treasures (it’s about half the size of a full Dishonored game).
Your core abilities as Billie Lurk are the same as the previous games, but your mystical abilities are a little different and you have much less of them than the previous super-powered protagonists. You’ll have to rely more on your skills and tools without the usual large array of deadly spells to work with. You don’t even get convenient little passive powers like being able to make people’s bodies disappear upon death, which meant a lot more cleaning up after myself than I was used to in these games.
Some of the levels are locations that you’ve been to before in Dishonored 2, but at a different point in time, so while they look a bit familiar, there have also been a lot of changes to their appearance and layout. Everything looks and feels great though, with so many little details and optional areas to explore and conquer. The level design, effects, and presentation of everything are excellent, as usual for an Arkane Studios game.
Probably the biggest new addition here is the new contract system which is basically side quests combined with challenges. Most of these optional quests are tied into the main story quests in a way that makes things much more difficult for you than they have to be. The one that wants you to grab a little extra something while you’re in the large bank heist level, but has a condition that you can’t be caught, detected, or hurt anyone at all the entire time was particularly tricky.
Ultimately it’s really just more of the same, but in the best of ways. It’s probably a terrible place to jump in if you’ve never played the rest of the series, but to those have been following Dishonored, it’s a great way to revisit the world and learn a bit more about some of the more enigmatic supporting characters from past games. Personally, I can never get enough of these Thief/System Shock type games, especially when Arkane Studios is involved.