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Sep 26, 2017

Dishonored: Death of the Outsider Review

Lights Off
4 Awesome
Retails for: $29.99
We Recommend: $29.99
  • Developer: Arkane Studios
  • Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
  • Genre: Action
  • Released: Sep 15, 2017
  • Platform: Windows, Xbox One, PlayStation 4
  • Reviewed: Windows

With less than a year since Dishonored 2‘s release, we have a standalone expansion by the name of Death of the Outsider. That alone explains what’s going to happen within. Given that the title doesn’t bear the “2” in the title of it, it’s hard to see where this fits in. Death of the Outsider takes place after the second game, but ties in with events and follows up on things from the original, so a number in the title doesn’t help it or hurt it for that matter. Death of the Outsider serves more of an epilogue to Dishonored 2, by tying up loose ends, and is perhaps the end to the series as we know it.

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From the outside looking in, you’d think that this is purely more Dishonored 2. While that is true, it is more than that, and isn’t something you can gather at first glance. You play as Billie Lurk, or as those who played Dishonored 2 know her as, [spoilers] Meagan Foster. You are out to find Daud, the antagonist from the first game and DLC entries that revolved around him. Now, you two are working together to finish what was started years ago: to kill the Outsider. Death of the Outsider plays homage to the duality of Billie’s fate that was set in Dishonored 2. In that, there was a single mission that could alter the past that would affect Billie (aka Meagan), who started off disfigured years prior, but could have been undone. While Death of the Outsider doesn’t know what decisions were made, it toys with the duality of the timeline.

Billie wields what is essentially a kitchen knife, but used for whaling for all the stabbing she will (or won’t) do. Billie has new powers, and feels vastly different than those for Corvo and Emily. And you’re using Billie’s powers more organically than for chaos or for stealth, like Semblance to steal someone’s face to attend an auction without your real identity causing everyone to fight you on sight – makes sense given her wanted status. And there, puts you on the streets more than skulking high on lamposts. Displace, the power that closely resembles Blink for Corvo, but forms a silhouette copy that leaves one place for another. Here, it requires an extra click to go from one place to another, slowing down the momentum of traversing. Lastly, there’s Foresight which stops time and allows you to freely ghost you’re way around an area and mark enemies and items for later. Unlike the prior games, void energy recharges all its own. Dishonored and Dishonored 2 players would learn to milk the previous systems to only consume a pip of energy, and then let that little bit recharge before doing something else to avoid using vials. Now, you’re able to be more liberal in your use of expending energy as you’ll get it back after a short wait.

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While there’s a massive goal to complete in Death of The Outsider, the real star of the show are the “contracts”. Like a Karnaca Hitman, you can take on odd jobs to complete for coin. This adds massive value to a level as you can pick up multiple contracts per level, which vary from straight up killing people to delivering them to certain areas, stealing items for people, and cremating remains. Those who go for a pacifist run will have to be picky on which contracts get picked up, as kills in a contract will absolutely disrupt a no-kill run. This encourages replayability and choosing wisely. Because of the contracts, I stick around longer in a mission because of them. Though, over the course of the game’s five missions, the contracts fade away as the story reaches the crescendo. It all makes sense of course, but it makes me long for a new Dishonored that’s all about the contracts, as it has been so engrossing to take on.

An interesting change, is that chaos no longer alters the world. So whether you are high or low chaos, the world will not change as a result of your actions, or inaction. This gives Death of the Outsider unrelenting freedom to really play how you want with little to no consequence. When you complete the game, you get access to Original Game+, which gives you access to the powers from Dishonored 2 to play through the game once more to really do some damage.

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While the Death of the Outsider opens up immediately and feels familiar yet refreshing without chaos holding back from how you really want to play. Now, traversing familiar areas does get tiresome but its short enough that it doesn’t overstay its welcome. I don’t know where the series goes from here, but if it’s done, that’s a shame because the contracts make this game. The story is short and interesting all its own, but the contracts really explored what you can do in the world of Dishonored with its freedom and power.

A pre-release Steam code was provided by the publisher for review purposes