It took some time, but last year’s stealth-filled gem, Dishonored, finally received its first piece of promised story-based downloadable content this past April. Referred to in title cards as The Knife of Dunwall, the three to four hour-long expansion showed us a different side of the game’s world, as it focused solely on Daud, the assassin who framed the main campaign’s protagonist, by killing his guarded Empress and then vanishing into thin air. As the first part of a presumed two-part episode, it ended a tad abruptly, leaving questions in the minds of those of us who made the switch from the mask of a hero to the mask of a seemingly evil man.
Fast forward to the present, which just so happens to be about five months from when the aforementioned release occurred, and we now have the answers to our questions regarding Daud and his personal journey. The abrupt ending has received a continuation, which finds the murderous leader of a group of assassins continuing his quest to find a woman named Delilah, whose artistic passions and devious thought processes have led her to take up witchcraft as part of the Brigmore Witches’ coven. Said journey delves deeper into his mind, and sheds some light on an incredibly interesting and almost frightening sub-plot relating to one of the core game’s major players.
Saying too much about what happens would be rude, because the second part of the Whaler’s journey is easy to spoil. However, it’s important to note that this new, and presumably final DLC pack for Dishonored, dubbed The Brigmore Witches, contains three different missions, each with its own new favours. The first provides a chance to break into a prison, in order to rescue a needed ally, while the second pits players into the middle of a battle between rival gangs in what was once Dunwall’s affluent district. The third is a mansion, and that’s all I’ll say, other than the fact that it’s a beautifully decrepit spot in an otherwise Steampunk-inspired world.
What’s great is that this ten-dollar download is just about what the doctor ordered. It’s not perfect, and could have developed its storyline a bit better than it did prior to its grand finale, but its three unique stages are quite solid, and provide opportunities for some excellent Dishonored gameplay. As someone who prefers to take the action-oriented route in this game, I was put up against a good amount of challenge slash resistance from sword-wielding guards, gunning grunts and magic-wielding witches, the latter of which could use their arcane abilities to summon roots and reincarnate deceased Hell hounds. However, I didn’t really need to use blink to move around the environments as much this time around – not that there seemed to be as many opportunities in which to do so. Guards are copious within the Brigmore Witches’ narrative conclusion, and those who want to finish without causing a ruckus will have their work cut out for them.
Save files from the previous chapter can be brought into this one, allowing for statistical and item-based transference to occur. Your powers will remain unlocked, and you’ll find new stuff scattered around Daud’s hideout, but you’ll eventually notice that a new type of bone charm is available for collecting. Referred to as cursed bone charms, they mix positives with negatives, and are tough to find. You won’t get any help finding them with favours, either, so make sure to put on your detective cap if you plan to use at least one of them.
Another noteworthy new addition is Pull, which is a telekinesis-like ability that must be purchased before it can be used. Those who feel the need to use magic to lift and manipulate things will want to unlock this power, but it’s not a requirement. It’s simply another layer that has been added on to a game, which was already overflowing with alternate routes and rich replayability beforehand.
Other than the aforementioned changes that were made to its design, The Brigmore Witches plays much like all of the Dishonored content that came before it. You’re an assassin, who must make good use of either swords, guns, explosives and things like that, or stealth, power-ups and sneak attacks to complete your objectives. All of that works just as well as it has since launch time, so it’s tough to complain there.
As far as presentation goes, little has changed with this entry, but nothing really needed to. Like the main campaign, the Dunwall City Trials DLC and The Knife of Dunwall, The Brigmore Witches is a treat for the eyes. It’s stylishly presented, and is overflowing with detail, which helps to create a rich and memorable world. There is some slowdown that will hopefully be addressed, and I unfortunately had to replay the final boss battle due to my system locking up, but those were the only issues that marred my experience. Otherwise, it was beautiful to look at, great to play and realistic sounding. The voice acting is top notch again, and the writing is, of course, impressive. The same is true of the sound effects, but that’s no surprise.
Dishonored fans won’t want to miss out on what is a fitting, thoroughly interesting and well-priced conclusion to Daud’s storyline. As such, it’s easy to recommend The Brigmore Witches for purchase.
This review is based on the Xbox 360 version of the game, which was provided to us.
The Brigmore Witches concludes Daud's quest line with an immersive, well-made and interesting second act. Dishonored fans won't want to miss out on what is a very solid expansion to one of 2012's best games.