Developer: Arkane Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Review Platform: Xbox 360
Review Copy Provided By: Bethesda Softworks
Release Date: April 16, 2013
Dishonored can be considered a sleeper hit. It brought a level of originality to the stealth genre not seen since the Thief series. Unfortunately that adventure was a bit short. Sure you could play through the game at least twice experiencing it low risk (stealthy) or high risk (balls to the wall slaughter) but us fans wanted more. The first DLC, Dunwall City Trials, didn’t scratch that itch because it was more like the time trials in Mirror’s Edge or the Protector Trials in BioShock 2 than it was like Dishonored. Arkane Studios took up the challenge and has released The Knife of Dunwall, the first of two story based DLCs planned for Dishonored.
The Knife of Dunwall features three chapters centered around Daud, the master assassin that killed the Empress in the beginning of the main game. Daud is tasked with seeking out how his story will end by the Outsider right after the assassination. He is given the name Delilah and six months later his protegé Billie Lurk brings word of a whaling vessel called The Delilah. Knowing he will die soon, Daud seeks out his redemption and the mystery behind the name Delilah. All of this of course is taking place in tandem with Corvo’s adventure in the main game.
Unlike Corvo, Daud is not a mute. Daud is voiced by the great Michael Madsen of top-notch movies like Reservoir Dogs. Despite having a Hollywood voice actor, Daud turns out to be neither a likeable or unlikeable character. Daud seems like he is just going through the motions and no amount of talent can rectify writing that leaves him so meh. The DLC is built around the concept of redemption but it is the antithesis to Daud’s murderous nature and content balanced for more aggressive high risk play due to the increased amount of enemies.
Low Risk gameplay is still available but just a bit harder to achieve and the non lethal approach is just down right brutal in difficulty. Knife of Dunwall was balanced for those that have mastered Dishonored but coming out over 7 months after the game’s release might leave some feeling inadequate especially with Daud not having a robust bag of tricks like Corvo. Though there are some overlapping in skill sets, Daud is missing some of the advantages that Corvo has but he has some new interesting skills that help Knife of Dunwall feel a bit more fresh. Daud can summon assassin buddies to fight for and with him if you decide to forgo the stealth approach. Daud can also freeze time. Skills like this keep Daud from feeling like just a reskinned Corvo.
Exploring all three chapters fully gives The Knife of Dunwall a playtime around five hours give or take. For the $10 price point, Knife provides a nice chunk of gameplay especially compared with other game’s offerings. Knife of Dunwall brings more Dishonored goodness despite any issues with the writing and Daud is different enough from Corvo to make the game feel fresh again. This DLC release can only mark good things for the upcoming second release titled The Brigmore Witches.