Dishonored ‘The Brigmore Witches’ DLC Review: DLC Done Right
When developers look to create downloadable content for their games, there’s always a tightrope to be walked. The DLC can’t be too much the same, because then players won’t pay for it; but it can’t be too different, because it’s supposed to be an expansion of the original title. Lots of games slip off the tightrope and fall flailing through space, their DLC packs little more than content that probably should have been in the game to begin with.
Arkane Studios, on the other hand, ought to teach a class on the exact way to handle adding additional content to an already complete package. “The Brigmore Witches,” the third expansion to its game Dishonored and the second that adds to its overall story, wraps up the tale of assassin Daud that was begun in The Knife of Dunwall, and successfully adds color and context to the main game, while leaving both experiences as intact wholes. It’s a satisfying expansion to the universe that’s great for Dishonored fans, and the result is a deepening of the overall story of Dishonored without compromising it.
Where The Knife of Dunwall, the first half of this story, was a bit unsatisfying both in its narrative department and, to a lesser degree, in the diversity of levels from the main game, Brigmore Witches almost feels like it was designed to address the first half’s issues. The narrative is a lot more intriguing (largely because it’s the conclusion instead of the setup, but also because of a flood of great overheard moments), and combined with new enemies and areas, the DLC manages to make itself feel distinct from the main title. Brigmore Witches will make you want a Dishonored sequel all the more.
Dishonored: The Brigmore Witches
Platforms: PC (Reviewed), Xbox 360, Playstation 3
Developer: Arkane Studios
Publisher: Arkane Studioo
Released: Aug. 13, 2013
Picking up where The Knife of Dunwall left off, master assassin Daud, the leader of the Whalers assassin gang and the man who murdered the empress at the start of Dishonored, has been put on the trail of a woman named Delilah by the ever-cryptic pseudo-devil The Outsider. After spending the last DLC figuring out who Delilah was — only to briefly encounter her at the end of the DLC, with no answers forthcoming — Daud sets off to find Delilah and uncover whatever sinister plot she’s cooking up. It’s as much about settling a vendetta as it is an investigation at this point.
Like the previous chapter, Brigmore Witches consists of three missions, and each is pretty wildly different from the last. The first revisits Coldwater Prison, the same facility from which Dishonored protagonist Corvo had to escape at the beginning of the main game. This time, Daud is looking for a gang leader who can take him up river to Delilah’s hideout, which means he needs to bust the criminal out of lock-up.
Coldwater is a decent-enough level to check out again, and it’s made better by having Daud’s full range of powers, including his amped-up Blink ability, which allows for mid-air respositioning. It’s the only area that’s a double-back from Dishonored in this DLC, and that’s to the pack’s credit. Coldwater is the least interesting of the three missions, as well as the quickest and the easiest — but it’s not long before things amp up and Brigmore starts exploring new, more exciting territory.
Once Daud has freed gang leader Lizzy, it’s off to her territory, a formerly wealthy merchant district in which two gangs are at war. In order to get access to Lizzy’s smuggling ship, Daud needs to supplant the man who turned her in and replaced her as leader of her gang. The mission feels absolutely huge: there’s the neighborhood where bands of gangsters occasionally stir up trouble, the textile mill that one calls headquarters, the waterfront where the other headquarters can be found, the boat itself, the sewers beneath the area — and all are distinct and worth exploring. It’s also the largest multi-part level of the DLC, and one that offers a lot of options in terms of how players approach their objectives.