The idea of a first-person stealth game may not entice too many modern game developers but Arkane Studios embraces the challenge of making one where the player wouldn’t constantly get infuriated by enemies spotting you from behind, while maintaining solid combat options if you do get caught. Both Dishonored and Dishonored 2 are fantastic games in their own right but the recently released Death of the Outsider stands on its own as a way to building up the world’s lore and keeping the gameplay fresh.
The Void is Still Full of Surprises
The use of the powers from the Void (which were gifted by the Outsider) was a great way to make first person stealth more enjoyable and put a twist on the genre. Corvo’s powers from the original (which followed him into Dishonored 2 if you chose to play as him) were very stealth based with emphasis on not being seen. Emily’s powers from Dishonored 2, meanwhile, were more movement-based with a little bit of combat mixed in. When I started up Death of the Outsider, I was very curious as to what kind of powers Billie Lurk could be given that wouldn’t feel the same as the other two sets. Thankfully, Arkane delivers, giving Billie powers that mostly focus on hiding in plain sight.
The first such ability is displace, a power that’s akin to Corvo’s blink but you have to set a marker for where you would like to go before actually going there. This ability can be modified if you find certain bonecharms, a series staple. These collectibles can augment the ability by increasing range, removing the marker placement, creating a mirage where you moved from and more. Billie’s other abilities are Semblance, which allows you to take the identity of an unconscious person for a short time, and Foresight, which acts as Dark Vision but pauses time, allowing you to mark enemies and move around. However, my favorite element of Billie’s powers is that all of her Void energy regenerates, meaning that you don’t need to find and manage elixirs throughout the world; instead you just have three bars of Void energy that recharge pretty quickly.
Combat itself is not changed up at all from Dishonored 2. You can still take a full non-lethal approach and choke out all enemies instead of killing them. The only real change to combat is a sword that you obtain pretty early in the game, which changes up the standard charge attack. If you have any Void energy, your charge attack will push back enemies in an area in front of you and uses one of the bars.
How does one kill a god?
The task of killing the Outsider is more loaded than it sounds. If you know anything about the lore of Dishonored’s universe, you know about how complex and convoluted the Void is, and how any person who has visited the Void is seen as lucky. With the exception of the Outsider’s devout following, most cannot find the Void easily. So, the premise of killing someone who resides in the Void would be an absurdly difficult task. Yet, it falls onto Daud and Billie to eliminate the one who became a god.
The whole premise of the story here isn’t terribly complex. The narrative from the offset seems pretty confusing, with plot points that don’t fully make sense in the context. This is only compounded by more confusing threads introduced later. The plot doesn’t makes full sense until the end, and, having played through to both endings, the non-lethal finale makes more sense and explains away earlier issues. This ending also makes more sense to the universe of Dishonored as well as the characters.
My biggest problem with the story here is Daud. Much of the promotional material for the game really lead me to believe that the game would be focusing on both Biliie and Daud in their combined quest to kill the Outsider, yet Daud does not take a big role here. After the first mission, he really just sits back on the boat while acting as your mission guide, much like Sokolov in Dishonored 2. Daud was a very interesting character that got more story in the first Dishonored’s DLC, but he doesn’t get much development here.
Serving up honor on a silver platter
Death of the Outsider does not change up the formula much from Dishonored 2, but it does enough to make this installation a solid game. The new powers paired with a seemingly impossible task lead to a good, if at times perplexing, story. If Death of the Outsider is the last Dishonored game, the series ends on a high note.