PAX East – Dishonored DLC: Knife of Dunwall Early Look
By Darren Henderson (DizzyPW), OnRPG Editor-in-Chief
So you’re probably a bit surprised seeing Dishonored coverage here at OnRPG. Well when we booked our appointment at PAX with Bethesda to get Elder Scrolls Online coverage and they mentioned that the Knife of Dunwall DLC would be playable in the same location, who was I to say no? Especially with Ardua and Leliah on the scene to cover ESO for me, I took my chances and went outside my comfort zone to play a non-MMO and let me tell you, Dishonored remains the top of my list for the ultimate methodical action stealth title on the PC and this DLC is only making things better. And based on what I've been reading on our community's forums, you guys are tired of MMOs and could use a single player break for a change!
So before I hop into describing what’s new with the DLC and why I absolutely couldn’t remove the grin from my face despite dying every 5 minutes playing, I have to give a warning. The Knife of Dunwall DLC is balanced to cater to the chiseled veterans of the original content. Throw someone like me who has only spent a good three hours playing Dishonored and expect to see a massacre against the challenges waiting in this DLC. The enemy AI has been improved dramatically and you’ll find yourself getting into plenty more combat scenarios than in the previous version even if you’re attempting to play the stealthy route. Luckily the new playable antagonist Daud is no spring chicken when it comes to getting the full use of the Outsider’s Mark, and players will find quite a few new tricks up your sleeve that Corvo only dreamed of utilizing.
But while I’m not looking to spoil all the surprises (cough Arc Mine cough), one particularly gnarly advantage Daud carries over Corvo is the backing of his assassin organization, The Whalers, and his incredible information network. The Whalers offer some interesting story telling functions in that you might gain advantages such as when the second in command of the Whalers threw me a free Rune at the beginning of the mission demo I tested out. She will also jump in to back you up in particularly epic fights, and you can summon other members of your assassin faction on demand when you’re really in a pinch.
The information network on the other hand seems like a bit of a story tool to opt out of giving Daud an official base to return to between missions as was the case in the original Dishonored. At least on the surface. The reason I don’t want to fully knock it is that one, you do get to check out Daud’s base at an advanced point in the DLC, and two, it offers an explanation for a sweet new feature in which you can purchase “Special Favors” for missions.
Special Favors are nice little add-ons that could almost be considered cheats to make your life slightly easier, save you time, and occasionally keep you alive. They might be something small like a guard writing the code to a vital safe on a brick way at a specific location, to something more noticeable like starting with a keycard to a warehouse you’re breaking into. If you’re willing to dish out a bit more money, you can even get some dangerous work done for you ahead of time like disabling alarms and traps that allow game changing short cuts in your goal of completing a mission. This all comes at the price of slowing the progression of your character’s arsenal though so choose carefully.
The other part of this DLC that just enamored me from the perspective of a creative writer is the way they are going about doing this story. The Knife of Dunwall isn’t a continuation where the game ended with Corvo. The opening scene is the assassination of the empress, played out with the narrative and from the perspective of Daud and his motley crew of half man, half flock of crows assassins. And just like Corvo, you’ll quickly find yourself face to face with the Outsider to let you know that you’re playing with the big boys now and if you’re unable to figure out his extremely vague clue about Delilah then you can kiss your ass good-bye.
And as a lover of good stories, I’ll leave it at that without spoiling things any further. Happy hunting friends come April 16th.