Dishonored ‘The Brigmore Witches’ DLC Review: DLC Done Right

Almost better is the last mission, in which players actually take on the full coven of witches at Brigmore Manor. Much like the Whalers in Dishonored, the witches have supernatural powers and are pretty formidable in a fight, and they have a few other tricks up their sleeves that make them tougher to sneak past. They add a level of challenge and variety that’s great for the DLC, as does one other new element: collectible corrupted bone charms. These items can be equipped to give major ability boosts to Daud, but which also come with equally large costs. For example, you might seriously increase your ability to absorb damage with one charm, at the trade-off of a big reduction in movement speed. Especially on higher difficulties, the corrupted bone charms offer some compelling choices about how you want to upgrade your capabilities, but they’re also optional.

Where Dishonored is mostly about political guile and throne-stealing, Brigmore is much more a supernatural story, and in fact, this might be the DLC’s best feature. It’s a shift in tone and subject matter that makes Brigmore a great compliment to Dishonored, precisely because they accomplish different things — and yet still tell similar, interlocking stories. By the end of the DLC, you’re getting a much deeper look into the world of Dishonored, and the possibilities it hides.

Where The Knife of Dunwall was a little thin on storytelling, The Brigmore Witches offers a lot more in terms of overheard dialog, which illuminates both the main plot itself and the world of Dunwall a little more. The second mission in particular offers a wealth of interesting things to learn about, if players take their time to listen while sneaking. The snapshots of the different sides of the gang war are interesting in and of themselves, and there are elements that play with Dishonored’s already shades-of-gray morality, such that it’s hard to say whether any of the mission’s lethal or nonlethal options are more or less merciful than one another.

The one major issue with the additional cool storytelling, both delivered in plot points and discovered organically throughout the world, is that so much of it is easy to miss because of the nature of Dishonored. My playthrough of the second mission was, admittedly, a mess: That level has a distinct progression that I screwed up in a number of important ways, and that’s a shame.

The first part of the mission is about eliminating the leader of Lizzy’s gang; the second sends players to the other gang to retrieve an item. It’s possible to also take a detour into the underground sewers, which itself operates as a fairly big plot point, but I ventured in that direction simply because it was there, and wound up accomplishing objectives I didn’t have and with no context. The same thing happened in the second gang hideout, where the threat of noxious gas can be undone by finding the recipe for and synthesizing an antidote. Except I found and made the antidote on my own just because I discovered the various bits along the way, and that stole a lot of the plot’s impact for me. There also were two assassinations in which alternatives to murder weren’t clearly spelled out, and I ended up choosing the paths opposite of what I’d been hoping to accomplish, because I wasn’t sure what to do otherwise.

Those out-of-order, context-less instances are more major bummer than gamebreaking issue, however, and such is the price one pays for choosing to go exploring in a fairly open game like Dishonored, instead of following instructions. That Brigmore Witches, like the rest of Dishonored, gives you that option is what makes the game so much fun.

Like The Knife of Dunwall, there’s also the issue that Daud voice actor Michael Madsen (Kill Bill Vol. 2, Reservoir Dogs) seems a bit bored with his subject matter. Ultimately, the plot around Daud is more charismatic than Daud himself, so for a story that’s supposed to be about redemption, Brigmore doesn’t quite stick the landing. It’s hard to be really tied into the events with Daud, even by the end of the DLC. Luckily, the gameplay and strong plotting are more than enough to keep things moving forward, even if Daud might not be.

When you take The Knife of Dunwall and The Brigmore Witches together, you get $20 of content that winds up being an extensive expansion of Dishonored at a pretty good value. What’s more, the story of the overall whole of Dishonored becomes a lot deeper and more interesting for the additions. Dishonored is better for its DLC, but the story works both ways.

In an industry that values selling content in an effort to keep game discs rooted in their trays despite the constant ebb and flow of novelty, Brigmore Witches shows how developers can really get expansion content right, making the extra expense worth it and increasing the value of the experience delivered from the original title. There’s no reason not to play Brigmore (and, of course, The Knife of Dunwall) if you like Dishonored.

Pros:

  • Remixes Dishonored’s gameplay to make it feel fresh and exciting
  • Three new missions that have plenty to find and do within them; well-designed, interesting levels
  • Conclusion of the Dishonored DLC story is an interesting take on the material
  • Explores more of the Dishonored world, which is already great, while distinguishing itself in tone and subject matter from the main game
  • New enemies offer unique challenges; players get the end boss fight missing from the main game

Cons:

  • Easy to miss context for story, objectives and actions by wandering off the beaten path
  • Daud’s story comes off underplayed, as is his character
  • Still easy to sprint through the game, murder everyone, and be done extremely quickly

Final Score: 85/100


Game Front employs a 100-point scale when reviewing games to be as accurate about the experience as possible. Read the full rundown of what our review scores mean.


Read more of Phil Hornshaw’s work here, and follow him and Game Front on Twitter: @philhornshaw and @gamefrontcom.

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2 Comments on Dishonored ‘The Brigmore Witches’ DLC Review: DLC Done Right

malek

On August 15, 2013 at 4:02 am

HELP, in “manage downloadable content” i find “brigmore witches”

however when i enter into “missions” i only see the 2 DLC i downloaded before, but i dont see brigmore witches

this is on a PS3 btw

i would like to know what the solution is ? because uninstalling and re installing will take forever with my internet connection

dudewtf

On October 17, 2013 at 11:37 pm

Coldridge prison….not Coldwater