September 10, 2013
The Brigmore Witches DLC
Dishonored was a shining hope of the year, in a time when we were plagued with modern rooty-tooty, pointy and shooties and their equivalent stand behind this wall to recover health while your two AI counterparts down the enemies by absorbing and returning the bullets, Dishonored gave you all the respect of a great game without compromising much as far as great games are concerned. And while it stood up to the test, it’s been interesting to see how the DLC faired out.
The Brigmore Witches picks up directly after the previous story-based DLC, The Knife of Dunwall, and quite literally your choices are immediately shown as it asks you to choose a high chaos or low chaos save and from there the stage is set depending on the save. And since it is a direct link to The Knife of Dunwall, the game provides you with all your items and spells from the previous save, warts and all. Alright, sounds good so far, but how does the gameplay fair out?
On a first play through I decided to play Low Chaos and go for Ghost, if possible; after beating it, I felt a little underwhelmed. Sure, there were a few areas that were tricky to navigate through, but normally it just came down to a mana race. I blinked across the area like a majestic murdering Mantis, only without the murder or the grace. So, naturally going into the second play through, I was ready for a lot of majestic murder and boy was I pleased! If I must make an immediate distinction between the two, it’s that the High Chaos path is much harder, as enemies use a wide variety of weapons on you and can spot you from a mile away, then fire with lethal accuracy. Just for chuckles and grins, I decided to start a High Chaos save and attempt to play Low Chaos which, to my great joy and bowel discomfort, was both challenging and teeth gridding frustrating. Seriously, I would recommend anyone who wants a unique experience to try this, because the harder you try to hide, the easier they seem to find you out of the blue.
But what about the new powers that were promised in the previous DLC? While I didn’t cover the previous story based DLC because I was waiting for the end, I did play through both and just felt they were tools more than fun murder accessories. And that’s where the game falls flat. In Dishonored, you had a variety of murder tools that were fun to use because they didn’t feel like tools, they felt like weapons.
Being able to summon a horde of rats was fun and a spectacle to watch as they distracted and devoured your enemies; summoning an assassin that shadow steps behind everyone and either assassinates them or takes a few hits and runs off like a schoolgirl just isn’t. Being able to possess someone and make them murder their friends before leaving their body and slitting their throat was fun. Being able to pull someone towards you was boring when it worked, but half the time was interrupted. I just don’t understand why they had to bring in new powers that were so bland. The predicate already explains where the powers come from and the human imagination is limitless, so why’d they pick the most boring powers? Why couldn’t we open a rift to the void trap them in there? Or hell, why not just drop the Outsider’s Orcan ass on them?
All critiques aside, it has been a great DLC. The story has been both interesting and engaging, and the side quests were just as engaging as the main story, if not more so. I won’t spoil the ending for anyone who hasn’t played, but I do think it was a bit predictable, if nothing else. Now the biggest question is whether Bethesda will go for broke with a second game, or if they will let the void claim it.
Image Credit: Bethesda