To finish out stealth month, I visit a game that I had no idea even existed, Dishonored: The Death of the Outsider. I had heard something along the lines that the Dishonored franchise had really fun DLC but I didn’t know the latest one was its own expansion.
As you can imagine, I was pretty excited to dip into another adventure in this universe, especially one that promised to delve deeper into the mysterious God known as the “Outsider.”
Will this expansion live up to the precedent set by the two mainline titles or will it fail to reach the target? Thankfully, the Death of the Outsider does in some ways while feeling like a step backward in others.
Finishing an Old Story
Dishonored 1 and 2 were defined by Corvo and Emily’s story to remain in power and they received some pretty hefty assistance from an entity known as the “Outsider.” This man who can transcend space, has a cult of followers, and can bequeath superpowers on those he wishes. Not much is explained about his exact origins but he seems to have his fingers in everything and anything that he is interested in.
The Death of the Outsider (DotO) looks to expand on that lore while examining it from a new perspective. You take on the role of Billie Lurker, the captain of the Dreadful Wale who helped Corvo/Emily in Dishonored 2.
At the start of the story, Billie is having nightmares about her right arm and decides to track down Daud (the very same Daud who led the Whalers in Dishonored 1). After freeing him, Daud asks Billie to kill the Outsider for him, because he has become too weak to do it himself. Billie agrees and must track first track down the knife that helped create the Outsider in the first place.
Afterwhich, she must find a way to enter the void and take down the Outsider once and for all. However, it turns out, the Outsider is more than aware of this plot and even helps Billie out by giving her powers back that she once had before.
Billie and the player are left to ponder why the Outsider might do this until they reach him in the void where he has sat in agony for centuries. The Outsider is hoping that you can free him one way or another and it turns out that you can either kill him or free him to live out the remainder of his mortal days by speaking his true name.
This plot is a lot more simple and straightforward than the other games and that’s okay for a little expansion piece. I’m curious, if they continue the series, how they might include powers for Corvo or someone to use but maybe this is a sign that the franchise is done for now.
I enjoyed seeing these characters that have made appearances in previous games as well. Daud and Billie were some of the more interesting characters from their respective games and knowing that they were frenemies before was a nice thing to see. Nothing too amazing here as it really is just a nice setup for the gameplay.
New Set of Tricks
Billie doesn’t have the same tricks as Corvo or Emily. Instead of a gun, she uses projectiles that shoot out of a mechanism in her left arm. She also has three Outsider powers to help her complete her missions. The first is Billie’s Blink equivalent: Displace. Displace does everything Blink can but now you can appear insider of guards and make them explode, which I did on more than one occasion by mistake which completely killed my pacifist run.
Then there is Foresight which is like a more interesting version of Dark Vision. It essentially allows you to send yourself out like a ghost to mark enemies and see what might be lying up ahead without being spotted.
Finally, my favorite ability was Semblance as it allows you to take on the appearance of anyone who you have knocked out. Not only does this make it incredibly easy to scout out locations and learn guard patterns but you can even impersonate people in order to quietly steal things from targets that you need. I can’t imagine doing my peaceful run without this as my go-to ability.
That being said, if you were someone who enjoyed having a ton of powers to mix and match to carry out your goals then you might be a little disappointed. You can also talk to rats and use your sword to send a powerful energy blast out to knock people over but there aren’t a lot of Outsider powers for you in this title.
Honestly, I was okay with it as I would prefer to have three quality powers than a bunch of powers where only one was interesting for me to use (looking at you Dishonored 1).
More Complex Setups
DotO continues Dishonored 2’s level design complexity. You will have to scour most parts of these levels and while they aren’t going to have as many interconnected parts as in the mainline games they will be challenging you to use all of your skills.
One level had me sneak into an auction to acquire one of the items for sale before going off and infiltrating a bank that had several entrances and finally finding the best way to enter the bank vault. I had to tackle each of these problems in different ways, and I appreciated that is more than just “Blink through window, crouch, steal envelope, Blink away.”
However, there are some caveats. I felt like in Dishonored 2, if I didn’t the way something was going for me in one solution I could quickly pivot and get to another solution starting point. You might think it’s as easy as Displacing my way over there but even if I didn’t have to change load zones or backtrack through the level, I still would have to deal with the ridiculous number of guards.
If you feel like there isn’t a guard watching you in DotO, I promise you, he’s there somewhere. Nowhere is safe as it appears that the Eyeless have a much better guard budget than the usurpers who stole the throne from Emily.
And you don’t want to take too many people out or that will only alert the other guards that someone is there. I appreciated the challenge and some levels such as the bank level were improved by this but it did make it extra slow-going at times. At others, I was completely frustrated. The final level when you have to find the entrance to the void and a way to non-lethally take out the Outsider, there is a stupid number of patrols and very few places you can go.
The level was so slow that I ended up overlooking a body that had an important key for my pacifist run. After about 45 minutes of trying to get back to it without alerting anyone, I realized it was impossible for me now and would either need to load or give up on not alerting anyone.
I ended up sprinting past everyone, grabbing the key to open a door, and then jumped into the void, all while the entire cult screamed and shot at me. It was frustrating to lose that little bit but I guess it gives me a reason to replay at some point.
Dishonored: The Death of the Outsider is a great addition to the series, but with a frustrating number of guards and a smaller sandbox, it can feel like it tries to pad out its time with more tedious obstacles rather than with enjoyable gameplay or strategy. While it’s only an expansion and an overall enjoyable one, I don’t think I will be replaying this one any time soon. 7/10