Genre: Action-Adventure, Stealth
Release Date: April 15th, 2013
Developer: Arkane Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Rating: M for Mature
Download: $9.99, 800 Microsoft Points
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 (Played on PC)
Knife of Dunwall is the first piece of DLC for Dishonored. It follows the story of Daud, the man that assassinated the empress in the main game. I’ve done a review of the main game, focusing on the game’s mechanics here, with Marcus Puckett’s review of the story can be found here. While I feel that I may have been a bit harsh, I stand by my complaints that while the game had some really fun abilities and gadgets, due to poor level design and a complete lack of challenge you were never required to use them in creative ways. This DLC is more of the same.
Daud has a few new powers that Corvo didn’t have. He can now summon assassins to help him or cause distractions, and with a second ability give them all the same powers he has. While most of Duad’s abilities are similar to Corvo’s, the main difference is that Blink now slows down time when in use. Blink was generally considered overpowered in the first game, but with the time slow it’s even easier to blink away from a battle or out of the sight of some guards. There are also a few new gadgets, such as a new mine that kills people and then turns them into dust so their body can’t be discovered, or chokedust which is basically a smoke grenade that also stuns enemies.
While some of these new skills are fun to use, there’s no incentive to use them. The AI seems to react more quickly to your presence, and there are many more guards patrolling one area at a time then in the average level of the base campaign, but even on the hardest difficulty it’s still easy enough to finish the levels without being detected, and if you don’t care about doing a no-kill or no-detection playthrough then the game is even easier. Mashing attack is usually enough to get past any group of enemies, and just running right past them to the end is a viable choice due to their lack of proper aim. There’s no real incentive to use anything other than the sleep darts and blink. While progressing through the story is boring for this reason, messing around is still really enjoyable, and with the new abilities and gadgets you’ll find new ways to torment the AI. It’s just a shame that the game never really encourages this kind of playstyle.
The new levels are very short, but are packed with content. The main campaign required you to playthrough the same hub world a few times, and each level would only have a few runes and bone charms. These new levels remove the padding and have a more concentrated amount of items to search for.
However, there is a fair lack of replayability. While there are usually multiple entrances to any location, they don’t require any specific skills. The first level requires you to get into a factory. There are three ways in, but all the entrances are fairly close to each other and each requires that you do the exact same thing. Neutralizing the guards with predictable AI patterns near the rooftop entrance is no more difficult than neutralizing the guards with predictable AI patterns near the sewer entrance. The last level is particularly disappointing as it’s a level directly from the main game but with new enemy placement.
The plot follows Daud as he searches for Delilah. Delilah is a mysterious woman that the Outsider has described as being important to Daud. No explanation for her importance is ever given, but along the way bits and pieces of her life is fleshed out. We also see glimpses of Daud’s regret over killing the empress, but it’s really not covered in great detail. The DLC features a mostly new cast of characters, but most are one-dimensional, and they don’t get much screen time anyways. Billie Lurk is the only person that appears for more than a few minutes, and her character is well fleshed out. As the second in command to Daud she appears to help him and give information, and she also looks up to him. She’ll question your actions, and then seek to emulate them.
The DLC is fairly buggy. I’ve had my controls lock up and be unable to move, I’ve had AI stop in one place and not trigger an event when they were supposed to, and I’ve had the game flat out crash. I expect these bugs to be patched up over time so I’m not too concerned about them, but they never should have existed in the first place. Knife of Dunwall doesn’t really have any major changes to the core campaign. There aren’t any major improvements, but no major mistakes either. It’s basically the same experience you’ll get with the main campaign, but with a few new toys to play with.