The Knife of Dunwall

I picked up this Dishonored DLC recently.  It’s pretty good!

Rats planning to enjoy some whisky and cigars
Rats planning to enjoy some whiskey and cigars

Or maybe I just understand Dishonored now.  I think the way to play the game is low chaos, completist.  That is, accept it as a pure stealth game, ignore all the combat options, and try to find every last coin, bone charm, rune, and elixir.

It took me awhile to remember how to play– this kind of playthrough relies heavily on Blink, and Blink doesn’t always give you great feedback on whether you’re going to make your teleport or plunge to a quick death.  But once that was under control, I took my time on the maps, exploring nooks and crannies.  Can I climb way the hell up there?  Omigod, I can.   There are a lot of guards, and finding ways to take them down one by one is great fun.  (There’s still a lot of moving slightly, alarming everyone, and either reloading or hiding.  But you can hide, for the most part: blink out of range, and don’t get too far from a safe spot anyway.  That’s one positive difference from Deus Ex.)

Where the main game has about nine missions, the DLC has three.  But they’re big complex areas, interesting to go through.  The first one, set in a whale oil factory, is a pretty dark exploration of the basis of Dunwall industry, and only reinforces my view that Empress Jessamyn was by no means as benign as she’s portrayed.

You play the DLC as Daud, the assassin who actually killed the Empress, but who is finally reconsidering his career path.  Daud has (what are the chances?!) virtually the same skillset as Corvo, and as you rarely see or hear him, there’s not a huge difference in the character.

The one problem is that the DLC, though a good tasty size, feels like about 3/4 or 3/5 of the game it should have been.  You don’t get enough missions to really play with the runes (all I got was fully upgraded Blink and Void Gaze), and the story doesn’t quite resolve… though this turns out to be because there will be another Daud DLC, The Brigmore Witches.

(I do kind of worry that they’ve written themselves into a corner for Dishonored 2, if they’re going to do one.  The net effect of the two games, even in Low Chaos, is that Dunwall is pretty damn ruined as a country.  It’s corrupt, nasty, totalitarian, and rats have eaten most of the population.  What’s Act II?  Alien invasion?)