Assassins, Gang Wars, and Witches
Few inhabitants of Dishonored’s world are brazen enough to think of taking on the notorious assassin Daud, and even fewer are cunning and powerful enough to take the fight to his doorstep. We know that Corvo Attano did so in the main game, but in the previous Dishonored DLC, The Knife of Dunwall , we learned that a mysterious witch presents a far more urgent threat to the aging contract killer. Playing as Daud, it’s up to us to guide his actions and determine not only his own fate, but also that of the entire Empire.
The Brigmore Witches concludes Daud’s story, and it’s highly recommended that players complete The Knife of Dunwall before tackling this DLC. Not only will the story make a lot more sense, Arkane Studios has done a great job reflecting Daud’s previous choices in this new DLC. The echoes of Daud’s actions ripple across his new missions, and people he helped in The Knife of Dunwall return the favor here. While Daud’s quest was personal before, this time we learn that the powerful witch Delilah is hatching an insidious plot that threatens the Empire, and that Daud is the only person who has even an inkling of what’s going on.
There are three major missions to complete in order to track down and defeat Delilah: a return to Caldwell Prison, a mission that takes Daud through the gang-scarred streets of Dunwall, and the final showdown in the derelict Brigmore Manor. The Caldwell Prison mission is fairly standard Dishonored fare. Daud has several options to infiltrate the prison and numerous paths he can take to free and extract a gang leader who can help him reach Brigmore Manor. The prison mission is quite different from the one that Corvo escapes from at the beginning of Dishonored’s main campaign—enough so that it feels like an entirely different map. In fact, the prison’s security has been upgraded thanks to Corvo, and Daud will need to be much trickier in order to get in and out of the place.
The mission through Dunwall’s streets puts Daud in a gang war between the notorious Hatters and the river-going Dead Eels. Arkane has played up this gang war in its promotion of the DLC, but in practice, that part of the mission feels rather underwhelming. Small groups of Hatters and Dead Eels skirmish from time to time, and Daud can intervene in order to garner favor with one of the gangs if he desires. It’s a lot easier to simply let them fight it out and sneak past it all, though. The last half of the mission, in which Daud infiltrates the Hatter factory, contains more interesting gameplay and choices.
The final mission, in which Daud must breach the magically guarded ruins of Brigmore Manor, is the highlight of the DLC. The Manor is both beautiful and deadly, much like its inhabitants. Filled with traps both mundane and magical, guarded by creepy hellhounds and witches who also wield the Outsider’s power, the manor is a challenging, fun level that makes a great capstone to the entire DLC series. The final choice Daud makes, that of what to do about Delilah, is satisfying and fully in keeping with the tone of the main Dishonored game.
Daud’s unique arsenal remains similar to the one he employs in The Knife of Dunwall , but it has a few improvements, such as an upgrade to the choking gas that temporarily scrambles the victim’s mind as well as senses. Most notable among these new additions is the Pull spell. At level one, this new spell allows Daud to pull items to himself and work gadgets at a distance. It’s great for pickpocketing and disarming traps. At level two, players can even move bodies and larger objects around from a distance. Pull makes stealth gameplay much more interesting and flexible, which is helpful since a stealthy, non-lethal playthrough requires the player to avoid several of Daud’s cooler weapons and powers.
The DLC’s presentation remains as high quality as ever, especially at Brigmore Manor. Daud’s strong voice acting helps create a more interesting character, one that it’s ironically easier to get attached to than the silent Corvo. Unfortunately, the AI challenges around these new levels cause Dishonored’s complex systems to stretch at the seams. It’s easier to confuse the enemy AI or cause awkward sequence breaks in quest lines this time around. Worst of all, my tendency to tranq-dart first and ask questions later led to some very strange behavior in the DLC’s final battle.
Although The Brigmore Witches features a well-told story and interesting missions, it’s good that it is the final piece of DLC for Dishonored . By the end, it feels like we’ve seen all we need to see of plague-infested Dunwall. The occasional book talks about far-off places in the Empire, teasing the player with new and interesting locales. The overgrown Brigmore Manor, surrounded by lush grasses and full of eerie glowing flowers, gives us a hint of the world beyond Dunwall’s crumbling sprawl and only emphasizes that it’s time to move on to a new story, perhaps one set in the Empire’s dangerous frontier.
Dishonored fans should definitely play The Brigmore Witches after completing The Knife of Dunwall . The two pieces of DLC offer a fascinating look at the events in Dunwall from a different point of view, and (depending on the player’s choices) tell the story of an unsung hero who redeems himself from throwing the empire into chaos by secretly saving it from a more wicked plot than the Lord Regent could ever dream of.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 4.4 Graphics
Strong as usual, though only the third mission is set in an area that feels fresh and new. 3.9 Control
Pull is a great new toy, but it’s easy to accidentally break the game’s AI in these missions. 4.5 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The same quality as the main game, with the added improvement of solid voice acting for Daud. 4.0 Play Value
All three missions contain meaty choices and interesting people to meet. 4.3 Overall Rating – Great
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
|Review Rating Legend
|0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid
|2.5 – 2.9 = Average
|3.5 – 3.9 = Good
|4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
|2.0 – 2.4 = Poor
|3.0 – 3.4 = Fair
|4.0 – 4.4 = Great
|5.0 = The Best