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REVIEW: “Dishonored: Death of the Outsider” – An Honorable Performance

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“Dishonored: Death of the Outsider” is one of this generation’s finest stealth experiences. The video game manages to take elements that made the first two “Dishonored” games outstanding, and refreshes the franchise by adding a few new mechanics and twists.

Developed by Arkane Studios, “Dishonored: Death of the Outsider” is the third entry to the series, acting as a standalone game. The game centers around Billie Lurk, a notorious assassin that conspired with Daud in the death of Empress Kaldwin in the first game, who also aided the player’s endeavors in the second game. This time, the player takes control of Lurk, with one simple goal: find Daud and kill the Outsider – the mysterious specter that offers tempting magical powers to those he deems worthy. He is also to blame for all the turmoil happening in the world of “Dishonored.” For this, he must die.

“Dishonored” games have always been unique due to the sprawling level design and the freedom players are offered to approach each situation. This entry is no different — from a massive bank brimming with defense mechanisms that can mean instant death to a mysterious mountainside crawling with cultists, Arkane Studios’ signature level design is all here. The game’s design is gorgeous, and it is optimized well on PC. Players reported severe performance problems during “Dishonored 2’s” release, but Arkane made sure to release a polished product this time around.

As Billie Lurk, the player has the choice of three magical void abilities to utilize in their endeavor. The first ability, Displace, allows teleportation by placing a marker on a certain location and appearing on that spot. The ability Foresight can stop time and traverse in a spectral-like form; this allows the player to identify guards and mark them, and find collectible bone charms. The player can also place markers in spots that Displace cannot reach, which effectively extends the range of Displace, allowing Lurk to teleport through gates or blocked-off areas that are otherwise inaccessible.

The last ability, Semblance, works in theory but ultimately falls flat. It is arguably one of the most unique powers in the entire series, as it allows the Lurk to borrow a civilian or guard’s face and take their form for a time. However, it is overall ineffective because its uses are situational, and even then there are almost always better solutions to a problem than using this power.

The level design is a hit and a miss. On one hand, there are numerous approaches to each level. The standout level of the game involves a bank robbery, where Billie Lurk has to find a way break into an impenetrable vault. There were at least three different methods to breaking into the bank, and even more to rob the vault. This can be seen throughout the game’s five levels.

Players might find issues with the recycling of areas. Two missions take place within the same area; it acts as a hub. While some players may find this repeated aesthetic lazy, Arkane still managed to mix the area up enough so that it does not feel overly repetitive. Another mission takes place within an area featured in “Dishonored 2,” and the layout is similar, which might lead to more disappointment.

“Death of the Outsider” spices up the typical “Dishonored” formula with a few excellent quality of life changes. Mana regenerates this time, eliminating an overreliance on potions from the previous games. They also included contracts this time, which are side objectives with money rewards that often require the player to think outside the box to complete them. The New Game+ mode is also a fine addition that adds to replayability, giving the player three abilities found in “Dishonored 2,” replacing Semblance, Displace, and Foresight.

“Dishonored: Death of the Outsider” is not a long game. Players who are methodical and choose to be sneaky can finish it in eight to 12 hours; those who like a more in-your-face approach can complete it significantly faster. The game is also a hard sell for those who have yet to play the series, so it is suggested that they at least play the first game before this one.

Complaints aside, the game is a worthy third entry to the critically acclaimed franchise. From the intriguing story that expands on the mysterious “Dishonored” world to the slick gameplay and detailed level design, “Dishonored: Death of the Outsider” is a fine choice for fans of the franchise and the stealth genre in general.

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REVIEW: “Dishonored: Death of the Outsider” – An Honorable Performance