Dishonored ‘Knife of Dunwall’ DLC Hands-On Preview: In Daud’s Shoes

Minor spoilers here about the beginning if the main Dishonored campaign. Also, check out our main Dishonored review.

We all know that The Knife of Dunwall, Dishonored‘s first DLC, will cast players as Daud, the assassin who killed the Empress at the beginning of the game. What we didn’t know was how Arkane Studios would approach the story, or what sort of character Daud would be. At PAX East last weekend, we got our first taste when I sat down to play through the first mission.

In the mission’s intro, Daud (voiced by Michael Madsen) explains how he knew the assassination of the Empress was different from his other kills. Shortly thereafter, the Outsider pops up, tells him it was different, and that he’ll need to hunt down “Delilah” if he wants to make things right. Just who or what “Delilah” is isn’t really clear.

Daud will visit parts of the city that Corvo didn’t. That means the urge to explore, take in the lore, and just see what Dunwall has to offer will definitely rear its head again. Not only can you check out the Legal District, but the very first mission will have you working your way through one of the whale slaughterhouses that power the city (If it also includes a whaling ship mission, Phil Hornshaw will be so happy).

Jumping into gameplay, Daud plays very similarly to Corvo, with a few fundamental differences. Not only does he have the ability summon one of his assassins to assist him, he can share powers with his fellow assassins (as was mentioned in Dishonored’s main story). There wasn’t any reason given in the story that I heard for this being possible, but perhaps that will be revealed later in the DLC.

Daud will also have access to devices that Corvo didn’t. He’ll use a wristbow instead of Corvo’s crossbow, and he’ll also have the new Arc Mine, which is sort of a cross between an Arc Pylon and Corvo’s Springrazor. Like the Arc Pylons, the mine will take out one enemy at a time until it runs out of charges. The Arc Mine can be attached to surfaces, but I was also able to place one on a dead body as a surprise for anyone investigating.

Another new item is Chokedust, which is basically a stun powder. You can use it to escape from a hairy situation, or just to gain the upper hand on a group of opponents. Using it causes enemies affected to go back into search mode, allowing you to quickly Blink away, or take them out, depending on your play style.

The biggest difference to note in this DLC is that Daud’s Blink ability is massively different than Corvo’s, and it will take some getting used to. Be prepared to fall often until you get the hang of it. You see, when Daud Blinks, time momentarily stops, and you actually teleport again before it restarts. You can use this to work your way around a corner, freeze and turn in midair, or any number of other ways.

Playing just the first mission of The Knife of Dunwall already has me itching for its release. Daud is familiar, but he isn’t exactly Corvo, and that means that the DLC will feel fresh while still making us remember the main game. That’s a balance that isn’t easy to strike, but based on what I saw at PAX East, Arkane Studios has hit it right on the head. The Knife of Dunwall DLC releases on April 16, with another DLC pack that will complete Daud’s story, The Brigmore Witches, coming later this year.

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