"Dishonored rewarded the stealthy approach with a rich and complex experience while pretty much giving the middle finger to those solely relying on guns and grenades."
How long did it take you to complete the original Dishonored? Five hours? Eight hours? Twenty hours? I personally spent an embarrassing amount of time sneaking through the campaign without killing a single soul. You see, Dishonored rewarded the stealthy approach with a rich and complex experience while pretty much giving the middle finger to those solely relying on guns and grenades. Dishonored redefined everyone’s expectations of the genre and gave players the necessary tools to shape their own path to victory without the kind of handholding that’s plagued this generation for years. The Knife of Dunwall continues this trend by introducing new environments, new gameplay mechanics, and a new protagonist with a rich and rewarding narrative at a mere ten bucks.
Meet Daud, the murderer of Empress Jessamine Kaldwin. The story begins with a flashback to the day the empress was assassinated. As he makes the kill, Daud is pulled into the Void where the mysterious Outsider confronts him. The Outsider tells him that “his story will soon end”…but how entirely depends on whether he finds Delilah. But who or what is Delilah? Six months later Daud learns of a whaling ship named Delilah docking at the Rothwild Slaughterhouse and he sets out to search for clues with his protégé Billie Lurk. Playing from Daud’s perspective feels familiar, but there are enough changes separating the experience from Corvo’s adventure. Unlike the quiet Corvo, Daud speaks and serves as the narrator between each chapter. Michael Madsen does a spectacular job voicing Daud and his internal dialogue ads a whole new layer of depth to the narrative.
"While the rest of the gameplay remains unchanged, the new levels offer plenty of opportunities for experimenting."
It wouldn’t be Dishonored without the spectacular magic skills and The Knife of Dunwall adds enough gameplay tweaks to spice up the already stellar stealth mechanics. The Blink ability has been modified to temporary freeze time and can be activated at will for quick directional changes. For example, you can jump, then hold Blink in mid air while rotating the camera, and quickly change directions to easily confuse alerted enemies. It may be a small change, but it allows for more strategic traversal through the environment. Daud can also summon an assassin to either distract guards or assist in battle. It’s an effective ability, but not very stealthy. Even if summoned behind an enemy, the assassin attacks head on and it would have been nice if you could command a stealthier approach.
While the rest of the gameplay remains unchanged, the new levels offer plenty of opportunities for experimenting. The slaughterhouse in particular is the most diverse in its design. Not only is the area expansive, you also meet new enemy types, like the butchers, who are particularly tricky to eliminate. If you thought the later levels of the original Dishonored were tricky, then make sure you’re ready for The Knife of Dunwall. Each block is swarming with patrolling guards and getting through unseen is much more difficult than before. Completing the DLC can take anywhere between two to five hours, depending on your playing style. Much like before, you would be missing out if you were to play with guns blazing. If you’re a fan of Dishonored, The Knife of Dunwall is a no-brainer, especially considering its affordable price tag. Playing from Daud’s perspective feels refreshing, especially considering the small gameplay tweaks, and some of the new levels rival the best sections of the original Dishonored.
Review by: Tin Salamunic | Reviewed on: Xbox 360