Revenge has ultimately been the core of the Dishonored series for me with the freedom to experiment in just how you deliver that vengeance and allowing players to play the games as they see fit. Do you play full on stealth or swords out slaying anything and everything that moves and breaths is a question asked of all players and if honest, I have had a mixed enjoyment of the games with Dishonored 2 being a slight disappointment from a performance side on Xbox One. But I have always been grabbed by the story and the world of Dishonored and now we get potentially one final chapter for the series in the standalone DLC story of Death of the Outsider, which tasks the player with one last mission to kill a god!
Death of the Outsider is set a few months after the events of Dishonored 2 and sees a returning Billie Lurk heading back to Karnaca to find her mentor Daud who both trained and raise Billie to be a thief and assassin. Immediately the sense and tone of wrapping up stories is evident just in the character narration from Billie in the opening cutscenes performed by the excellent Rosario Dawson, as Billie feels she owes Daud something but she is also being troubled by some disturbing dreams the close her ship the Deadly Whale gets to the city. Billie has the sense that Daud is in trouble but soon it will be Billie herself in trouble as she takes Daud’s personal mission of revenge on herself.
My first concern about this DLC was that it would simply reuse elements from Dishonored 2 but to my very pleasant surprise, Death of the Outsider does enough to really make it stand out and feel like its own chapter in the Dishonored series. Though you do return to Karnaca and it has all the basic elements to gameplay in terms of combat and stealth, DOTS (Death of the Outsider) has a rather unique twist when it comes to the supernatural powers Billie can use as well as being the only main hero of a Dishonored story not to actually gain the Mark of the Outsider, the mark that gives them access to the void abilities but this does not mean Billie is powerless. Instead the traditional use of void powers has been tweaked for DOTS and actually works superbly well. To start with Billie’s void energy recharges by itself, removing the need to carry and use Void Energy vials, making the use of void gifts more frequent and also more satisfying. Next the number of powers is stripped back to just three but they are quite possibly the most useful abilities seen yet in the series. First we have Displace which gives Billie the familiar teleport ability seen in all the games but here it has a nice twist. Activating the power will allow the player to place a marker to where they want to teleport too but in doing so creates avoid clone of Billie which can be used to show where Billie will appear but it can also be used to distract guards and enemies and if aimed correctly, can explode a person should the marker appear right where they are standing.
Next power is Semblance that gives Billie the power to disguise herself as person by literally taking their face off in a nice nod to the Faceless Men of Game of Thrones. Now this can only be used on unconscious characters and uses up void energy for its duration adding a time limit to its use. It is also not a perfect disguise as should you for example take the appearance of a standard guard, senior guards and indeed hounds could sense something is off and become suspicious. This is a seriously fun ability to use both in terms of gameplay but just how cool it looks to void rip someone’s face off and how the eyes of anyone you go near once activated, glow to show that the power is working on them yet always being aware that the time is running down once activated or that it could be broken at anytime. It is a very useful power if you want to try and sneak your way through an area but also fun just to cause a little mischief as well between guards for example and has a rather cheeky Achievement/Trophy for taking the appearance of an elite guard and having a standard guard salute you, which is a nice touch.
The final ability is Foresight which allows Billie to freeze time and have an out of body experience that allows her to move around the area and to mark enemies or items of interest which once the power is deactivated, will continue to be marked and in terms of enemies will also track their movements for you. This comes in very handy when wanting to either avoid enemies or plot a route for the intended target and for finding bonecharms and collectibles. Combined these three void abilities are really straightforward in aiding Billie on missions and due to void energy recharging it changes the dynamic for how much powers can be used. These abilities are also complimented by some amazing gadgets such as the hook mine which can be either set to lethal or non lethal and positioned to catch enemies as they get close allowing for traps to be set for distraction or route clearing methods. Though the number of powers has been restricted, with gadgets Billie is still a formidable character for players.
Happily also the mission areas and objectives are very fun as well but it does have to be say this is a shorter experience in terms of story telling and getting the end game scenario but it is DLC so and it my first playthrough did come in at over ten hours. That is because of the new ‘Contracts’ which provide side missions for Billie to tackle alongside the main objective of the mission which can range from stealing an item, assassinating a character or even doing a friendly bit of kidnapping. Some will force a certain kind of gameplay style such as not hurting any characters whilst the mission is active. It is pretty much just filler but it is fun filler and really compliments Billie backstory and character and gives DOTS real substance as DLC. I actually enjoyed this more than playing through Dishonored 2 and after the ending I did feel it was a shame that Billie never became the main lead in a third full game for the series.
Performance wise I am very happy to say that it does a lot better on Xbox One than Dishonored 2 with the strange blurriness to the art style finally corrected for this outing. The mission areas may not be as stunning as say the Clockwork Mansion but are intricately designed such as the Bank Heist mission which will task the player with finding a way to break into a bank and them navigating the perils inside to achieve the goal. Music is splendid throughout and the voice acting is spot on although the ending overall felt more like an afterthought in how it wraps things up for the player depending on how they choose to end the story. But for a standalone story and gameplay, the amount of content for the asking price of this DLC is spot on.
Death of the Outsider feels very much like an Epilogue to the whole series with a sense of finality which will be rewarding for players who have followed the series to this point but may not make much sense if you are new and only jumping into this series with this DLC but Dishonored 2 can be found at most online retailers and near the same price of this DLC so it is worth seeking it out before playing this. I love the new powers and the nice touch that once completed, DOTS has a New Game plus mode which allows you to replay DOTS but using the powers from Dishonored 2 instead. Should this be the last ever Dishonored game then it is a nice way to tie it off with a satisfying story end that follows the “you decide how to play” core gameplay of the series but I was a little underwhelmed by how the ending was delivered despite appreciating that it meant for this universe.
Billie Lurk is a great character and brilliant choice to lead this Epilogue of sorts for Dishonored but I do hope this is not the last time we venture into the void but should it be, it has been an incredible ride with a very fitting end with Death of the Outsider.