Dishonored: Dunwall City Trials Review
Xbox 360 | PS3 | PC
Dishonored: Dunwall City Trials Box Art
System: PC*, PS3, Xbox 360
Dev: Arkane Studios
Pub: Bethesda Softworks
Release: December 10, 2012
Players: 1
Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, Strong Language
Dunwall, Bite-Sized
by Becky Cunningham

Arkane Studios' epic, atmospheric stealther Dishonored was one of my games of the year, so naturally I was curious about the game's first piece of DLC, Dunwall City Trials. Priced at only five dollars, the Trials practically invite Dishonored fans to give them a go. Very different from the main game, the DLC presents ten miniature challenges based around various aspects of the supernatural assassin Corvo Attano's diverse bag of tricks.

Dishonored: Dunwall City Trials Screenshot

There's a little something for every kind of player in Dunwall City Trials. The stealth challenges include Mystery Foe, in which you must collect clues to find and assassinate a target; and Burglar, in which you must infiltrate a mansion to steal six treasures and as much miscellaneous loot as you can without being seen more than twice. Though the level layouts of these trials are always the same, clue and treasure locations are randomized for every playthrough, as is the identity of your Mystery Foe. Both these Trials are challenging and fun.

Combat challenges include Back Alley Brawl, a series of increasingly difficult enemy waves; Assassin's Run, a series of rooms in which the player must shoot all hostiles while avoiding all innocents; and Oil Drop, which is basically a pistol shooting gallery game with potentially lethal explosions added to the mix. Back Alley Brawl is the best of the three, allowing for the most freeform and interesting gameplay.

Dishonored: Dunwall City Trials Screenshot

Two puzzle challenges introduce interesting twists to the gameplay. Bend Time puts assassination targets in buildings behind glass windows. The player must watch their configuration, then break the glass in order to start a frozen time period during which a given number of targets must be killed before time flows again. This mode is quite fun, but would work better if time stopped while choosing offhand powers and weapons. Kill Chain tasks the player with killing all the enemies on a level with only four seconds between each kill. There is time to plan out the kills before the chain begins, and oddly enough, in Kill Chain time does stop when choosing offhand powers. Both of these modes are interesting and successful deviations from the way the main Dishonored game works.

Dishonored: Dunwall City Trials Screenshot

The three speed challenges feel antithetical to the deliberate way Dishonored is played and were the weakest part of this set of challenges. Bonfire presents a series of speed blinking and jumping challenges, in which the player must rush from one randomly-placed red fire to another before time runs out. Train Runner is a simple timed footrace across broken terrain made frustrating by the game's imperfect mobility system, which was not built for speed. Kill Cascade challenges the player with a series of drop assassinations and is probably the most fun of the speed challenges, but it has limited replayability.

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