I was always open with my belief that Dishonored was “good’, but wasn’t some mind-blowingly amazing game that revitalizes it’s franchise. That being said, I was excited to hear there was more Dishonored coming in The Knife of Dunwall, because I was ready to take a new trip back to Dunwall. This DLC pack, or “expansion”, as it feels, plays like Dishonored with a twist.
You play as Daud, the assassin who murdered the empress, and the man you have the choice of killing or not in the main story of Dishonored. What makes this pack so interesting is the fact that you relive those first few moments of the game through Daud’s eyes, and actually see the empress murdered from that perspective. Suffice to say, even though Daud’s a hired killer, he has been troubled after this specific job.
Knife of Dunwall tries very hard to spin you a tale of remorse on Daud’s part, but they don’t really succeed in it. I can believe that seeing what the empress’ death has done to the city can bother the one who pulled the trigger, but really believing he has changed his ways is hard to get across. Giving the player character such as myself, who usually goes the “non-violent” route, to this ruthless assassin, felt kind of off. Also I’m very confused on where the story is trying to take me. The idea of this “Delilah” that you are following through the three missions just ends on a very “unanswered” note.
So yes, the story is out there, unbelievable, and confusing, but the gameplay is exactly what anyone who wanted more Dishonored wants; it is, in fact: more Dishonored, exactly how the original game plays, with some nice twists. You get some new toys to use as traps and weapons, with a huge adjustment on your powers, such as freezing time when you stop to Blink. Its size is comparable to about two and a half full missions from the main game, with two completely new areas, and a more brief return to a previous section you’ve seen before.
The designers also set out to make this expansion more difficult, and they succeed. With the adjustment to the powers, and with the newer powers like Summon Assassin, to call in aid during combat or to eliminate an enemy, it really feels more like “the master assassin” approach, where you need to take out the big guns for all of the enemies. Especially because the enemies are much deadlier.
They might even be too deadly, for one of the new enemy types, the butcher, has his spinning saw blade in front of him constantly, making it impossible to fight him. It takes out that comfort zone of “well if you mess up, you can fight your way out,” because you can’t. It felt very contrary to the original game, but if you are really seeking punishment, I doubt you’ll have much trouble.
More Dishonored, so long as it still looks and feels like it, is never a bad thing. They nailed the feel of it in this new, harder set of areas. For just $10, this additional four to five hours is completely worth it, but it does have quite a few problems, like some out-of-place additions and a forced story to prepare you for more Dishonored in the future.
This review is based on the Xbox 360 version of the DLC