Review: Dishonored: Death of the Outsider — Arkane triumphs again

Dishonored: Death of the Outsider is the first expansion for Dishonored 2, continuing the story of Billie Lurk (Meagan Foster) and her old mentor Daud as they go after their biggest target yet: the Outsider himself. The premise alone should indicate how important this expansion is within the Dishonored universe. Every story so far has been tied to the Outsider bestowing powers upon those he deemed interesting, and this last mission will end his otherworldly reign, one way or another.

While Death of the Outsider is meant to close out the narrative arc that began in the first Dishonored with the political assassination of Empress Jessamine Kaldwin, new players can still start this journey without having played the first two games. There will be references to previous events in the series and you may not fully grasp the importance of a few characters’ relationships or motivations, but it is very much a standalone experience.

Like with previous DLC from Dishonored, Arkane chose to put us in the shoes of a new protagonist. Whereas Daud was the star last time, Billie Lurk steps up to the plate now. Billie has her own set of supernatural abilities thanks to a makeshift arm granted by the Outsider that draws power from the Void itself. Though she has the ability to listen to rat whispers and utilize a special double-bladed knife, her main abilities are Semblance, Foresight, and Displace. Each of these mechanically serve the same function as certain powers that Corvo and Emily have, but they are unique enough that they do not feel recycled.

The game starts off with Billie searching for Daud, who she hasn’t seen in over a decade. Once she sets him free from his captivity, the story really takes off, as this is when Daud informs her that he wants the Outsider dead in order to put an end to all of the chaos surrounding their lives. Death of the Outsider relies heavily on the universe’s mysticism and supernatural elements like the Void and the occult. Learning more about the Outsider and getting a deeper look into his personality made me pity him, even after everything he has done. Though I felt the Outsider’s story was strong, I can’t say the same for Daud’s, which ended in a bit of an anti-climactic way if you choose the lethal ending to the game.

A feature that has served as an integral part of the Dishonored series is notably absent in Death of the Outsider, but the change isn’t unwelcome. The Chaos system used to take into account how ruthless or merciful a player was, changing the atmosphere of the city to reflect this. Now this system is entirely gone, so slaughtering your way to the Outsider will have no ill effect. I almost miss the system because I thought it was a fantastic way to show how your actions have consequences, but it also doesn’t seem necessary in Death of the Outsider. Most of your missions involve stealing information instead of assassinating high priority targets, and Karnaca is no longer plagued by bloodflies, making a Chaos system essentially irrelevant in this case.

If you’re familiar with the Dishonored series, you should know by now how well Arkane crafts levels. Each area in the game is full of little details and secret passageways that add so much personality and mystery to every location. I spent several hours in Karnaca and still feel like I haven’t seen a fraction of it. Not only that, but the level design serves to highlight the amount of freedom that players have, letting them tackle missions as they see fit. There wasn’t an area as impressive as the Clockwork Mansion or Crack in the Slab mission from Dishonored 2, but the levels were fun to play through nonetheless.

Death of the Outsider is an excellent addition to this chapter of Dishonored. It ends a long narrative arc in a satisfying way should you choose the non-lethal route and still leaves open the possibility that we could return to the Empire of the Isles in the future. Even though its levels don’t quite reach the high standards set in Dishonored 2, it’s a must-play expansion for any Dishonored fan.


Xbox One

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