Dishonored: Death of the Outsider is a standalone expansion and a ham-fisted sequel to the acclaimed Dishonored 2. Set in a time shortly after the events of Dishonored 2, players take on the role of Billie Lurk as she returns to Karnaca to reunite with her infamous mentor, Duad. Upon finding Duad, Billie is strung upon a “revenge” narrative that Duad has somehow just now getting around to caring about. Of course, he is old and feeble and can no longer do what he used to now with death at his door. This leaves you the only person now who can collectively find a way to do the impossible; you will be the one to kill the Outsider.
A SPIN-OFF NOT NECESSARILY NEEDED
The best thing that kept each Dishonored game feeling a semblance of differentiation was the narrative spin. Of course we’ve always had the elusive and mysterious Outsider to give powers to Emily and Corvo, and enrich the background lore but it was the mystery of the Outsider that held the universe together. With Dishonored, you had a tale based heavily on revenge. Dishonored 2 was very similar but expressed a more “taking back what is mine” feel. Death of The Outsider is going for a “the Outsider made me become a bad-man so kill him” approach which feels like one big oxymoron and just not as sell-able in any meaningful way.
The story feels like it was thrown together at the the last minute which is a shame. Billie Lurk feels like a forced protagonist where-as playing as Duad himself or even Corvo could have made for a better narrative if the Outsider “really has to die”. It kind of feels like Arkane Studios and Bethesda are “taking the piss” with the Dishonored franchise, which in case of the stories ending, doesn’t looks like we’ll get a true sequel any time soon anyway.
THE GAME-PLAY IS FUNSIZED – LIKE A CANDY BAR
While Death of The Outsider flushes its whole story down the toilet, the game-play is at least a nice little delight when its good. Truth be told, the entire game could be lower than 4 hours if you rush through it because it only consists of 5 different missions. Some locations are re-used from Dishonored 2 but to be fair, they are used in a right way that feels familiar but yet unfamiliar. One locale is used twice but can be overlooked as the later mission focuses more on a bank heist scenario and opens up to be bigger than before. Praised being sung, the end level disappointingly feels over-crowded with enemies for the sake of “padding the game”.
But we all expected good level design from Arkane (and indeed they mostly deliver). If you participate in the Black Market contracts (optional side-missions) you can extend the game up to 8+ hours in a single run. While at the Black Market, you can also upgrade different aspects of Billie from equipment to purchasing Bone Charms, Runes, (which alter game-play aspects) and other supplies like ammo and traps. You are afforded Void powers like other Dishonored games (which of course won’t make sense when it happens and they cannot be upgraded) but this time you are limited to three. These abilities include “Displace”, (a short range teleport that can explode enemies if teleport-ed upon) “Foresight”, (which allows you to disembody and mark people or certain items of interest nearby) and “Semblance” (which lets you steal a living person’s face and look like them for a short period). Billie also has the ability to gather intel from rats via a talisman but is not strictly a Void power.
AT LEAST ARKANE ATTEMPTS REPLAY-ABILITY
Death of The Outsider has a decent amount difficulty options with the ability to even customize it, but if you manage to complete the game you can unlock a New Game+ mode. With this new mode comes a change of Void powers. Displace becomes the normal “Blink” mechanic from Dishonored 2 while Foresight becomes “Dark Vision” and Semblance is replaced by “Domino”. Arkane should be commended for a nice little gift for completing the game and not strung out as a micro-transaction add-on. In some ways it could extend the playtime for some but will most likely not do it for most (as for personal opinion, Domino is the only worthwhile change for New Game+).
QUALITY ASSURANCE ON A RAIN-CHECK
Whether this “stand-alone” was rushed or just never passed off to internal testers, there are a lot of bugs that encompass Death of The Outsider. During both play-through sessions (Hard difficulty) there were shenanigans like guards jumping down a large flight of stairs and tumbling around like buffoons (easiest laugh in the game), civilians ignoring you killing someone a few feet from them, and people being eagle-eyed enough to see directly behind them (while you’re crouched w/ no negative rune effects) and even through some walls. I’d like to say this was the end of it but not when you have things like a precarious placement of flammable liquids that ignites a body that needs not die when you place them on the bed. You can kill almost everyone and some people will walk around and act like nothing happened or you can kill a key target standing beside an alarm… that won’t go off. These are just a few examples that range from annoying to broken and if you’ve played it for yourself, please leave your findings in the comments below!