Game Review: Dishonored – Death of the Outsider (Xbox One X)

I really enjoyed Dishonored 2, it’s a great game. However, its narrative was a little too straightforward and was crying out for some kind of twist. Dishonored: Death of the Outsider serves as the third entry into the franchise. This time, you won’t be playing as Emily or Corvo but instead the mysterious Billie Lurk. Along with her mentor Daud, they devise a plan to kill the Outsider and put an end to his curse once and for all.

After the events of Dishonored 2, Emily Kaldwin is reinstated as empress and begins to salvage the Empire previously broken by Delilah’s rule. Billie Lurk wakes aboard her ship, the Dreadful Wale, having a recurring nightmare regarding her right arm and eye. Billie has tracked down her old mentor Daud’s whereabouts to a boxing club in Albarca Baths. She makes her way to Daud’s location, finding that the boxing club is run by a Void-worshiping cult called the Eyeless.

Later, Daud explains that the Eyeless are in possession of a ritual knife, a special blade that was originally used to create the Outsider thousands of years ago. Daud surmises that the blade will allow Billie to kill the Outsider. Billie is then visited by the Outsider, who gives her a cryptic message, whilst simultaneously replacing her right arm with a Void-made arm, and her eye with a special red artefact, the Sliver of the Eye. The arm gives Lurk supernatural abilities.

Lurk’s main mobility power is “Displace”, which allows her to set a marker in the world. The player can then teleport to it at-will at any time. “Semblance” allows the player to take the faces of living NPCs and use them as a temporary disguise, though they can only take a character’s face once. The disguise drains power as the player moves, but not when they are standing still. Using Semblance on specific named NPCs may produce unique interactions.

During missions, the player may pick up optional “Contracts” at black markets, which are side missions that involve doing tasks such as assassinating another character. In one example, the character is tasked with killing a mime and making it look like a suicide.

In order to obtain the knife, Billy must break into in Karnaca’s largest bank. Will she succeed in putting an end to the Outsider and the pain that he has exacted upon those that have the mark? Play Dishonored: Death of the Outsider to find out.

If you’ve played any game in the Dishonored franchise then you’ll know exactly what to expect from Death of the Outsider. Still, it introduces just enough new mechanics that it doesn’t end up feeling stale. I both liked and disliked some of the new abilities that are introduced. “Displace” is a direct swap for “Blink” but one that wasn’t particularly welcome. Using “Displace” is much slower than “Blink”. It feels less accurate and it will likely lead to you getting spotted on more than one occasion. Also, it doesn’t freeze time in the way that “Blink” did which made it easier to reach higher platforms.

“Semblance” is a fantastic addition but one that makes it a little too easy to stealth through the game. Still, if you’re smart enough it can be used on a number of occasions in well thought out ways.  The locations that you visit are quite small, which is to be expected. However, there is a nice variety of ways in which you can make your way through.

Another aspect of Death of the Outsider that is strong is the visuals. Much like Dishonored 2, the game is littered with immense detail. I played the game in 4K and it showed.

My favourite mission involves you robbing a bank vault. The number of ways in which you can achieve this is seriously impressive. For whatever reason, they decided to remove the chaos system from Death of the Outsider. This means that you’re free to slaughter every enemy without repercussion, it’s a shame.

My biggest criticism towards the game is directed at the protagonist, Billie Lurk. Billie is arguably much more interesting than Corvo or Emily. Still, I can’t put my finger on why I just don’t feel at all compelled by her character. Her story is interesting enough and she looks the part, it’s just something I can’t quite articulate.

What frustrated me most about Death of the Outsider is that it doesn’t feel as grand and impactful as it should feel. The stakes are high but the game runs out of steam by the end. The story surrounding the Outsider, cults etc. is extremely well crafted but it feels rather bland. Much like Dishonored 2, it’s far too straightforward. Again, way too much important information is lost in written documents. I shouldn’t have to read several essays in order to feel invested in the story.

Overall, Death of the Outsider is a good continuation but not a great one. The missions it has you doing are well-crafted and fun. It’s still extremely satisfying to stealthily make your way through the game and go completely unseen. However, the removal of the chaos system was a huge mistake. Also, now that the storyline surrounding the Outsider has come to a close I feel the franchise needs to dramatically change things up. It was wonderful to step back into the world that Dishonored 2 had introduced. Unfortunately, Death of the Outsider falls just short of what came before it.

Dishonored - Death of the Outsider
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