If the Dishonored series teaches gamers anything, it’s that it pays to be dishonored.
Sure, series protagonist Corvo Attano has gotten thrown in jail, maybe turned to stone, but that’s a small price to pay for the ability to teleport.
It’s certainly a small price to pay for being able to leap between rooftops, slicing throats and taking names before stealing into the night. That gameplay is what the series has built its brand on, and why the games are pretty fun.
That brand, though, has hit a rough patch in recent years. Dishonored 2 was a mediocre sequel, what with its high amount of bugs and its gameplay being pretty much identical to that of its 2012 predecessor.
Series developer Arkane Studios bore both of these problems in mind when it went back to the drawing board, deciding to make the next Dishonored adventure a standalone expansion instead of a bit of DLC. Dishonored: Death of the Outsider has been out for a few days now, and while it’s certainly not perfect, it might just be the most fun Dishonored title yet.
Death of the Outsider isn’t the most fun Dishonored game because it runs well on PC or because of its titular narrative about two assassins trying to slay a god. It’s the most fun game in the series because Arkane removed all the limiters. In games past, players would be constrained by relatively strict rationing of magical power.
Players could only use Corvo or Emily’s abilities so long as they could guzzle enough mana potions. Additionally, Dishonored and Dishonored 2 gave players an adverse ending if they were too good at being assassins, i.e. killing too many NPCs.
With Death of the Outsider, though, the gloves are off. Protagonist Billie Lurk’s magical power regenerates over time instead of only with mana potions, and players can kill as many people as they see fit without being punished by a bad narrative ending.
The result is a title that finally lets players feel like an all-powerful assassin. It’s a game that gives players much more flexibility in how and when they use the series’ trademark powers. That is what makes Dishonored: Death of the Outsider stand out from its peers.
Giving players limitless power and limitless agency in how they choose to reach the end of the story isn’t just a relief for them. Arkane level designer Cristophe Carrier described removing these limiters as “liberating”, and he’s right.
It’s liberating to have access to all of Death of the Outsider’s powers from the get-go. It’s liberating to be able to experiment with them as the player sees fit. It’s liberating to see a series that’s all about stealth finally reach its true potential. Dishonored: Death of the Outsider also packs the fun of a new game plus mode into its campaign, something that many series veterans are sure to appreciate.
Arkane has demonstrated that letting its own design off the leash is fun for everyone, and that’s what makes Dishonored: Death of the Outsider a title worth picking up. Get the game and experience the limitless powers of Dishonored’s Void firsthand. No potions, no narrative clutch locks; just fun.