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Dishonored: The Brigmore Witches Hands-On Preview

Joshua Vanderwall | 5 Aug 2013 18:10
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I'll level with you: I haven't actually played The Knife of Dunwall yet, and, while I'm familiar with the first Dishonored DLC, I was a little reluctant to sit down with The Brigmore Witches, the second and final story DLC, which continues with a focus on the assassin, Daud. I was given assurances that as long as I had a working knowledge of the game, however, that it would still be an enjoyable experience, and I was surprised to learn that they were absolutely correct.

I got to play through around one third of The Brigmore Witches, which I'm told will last your average player around four hours. It starts off in Daud's hideout, waking up from a dream encounter with Corvo, where you're immediately sent on a mission to free Lizzy Stride, the leader of the Dead Eels, from Coldridge Prison. You need her ship to sneak past a blockade and, naturally, you'll need her to captain said ship. Your ultimate goal is to infiltrate a coven of witches which seems intent on destroying you and take out the leader, Delilah.

Thanks to a complete lack of talent at sneaking on my part, this DLC struck me as rather difficult, but I expect that a more seasoned stealther would find things to be much more easygoing. The combat situations never really seemed unfair, but I'm just not a sneaky person, so I found myself in a lot of tough combat situations and quaffing a ton of potions in every mission. If you're a compulsive explorer and like to search every inch of every area, then you'll discover blueprints which unlock upgrades in the pre-mission vendor screen such as increasing the effectiveness of your sleep darts, making them work in combat. Thanks to Daud's underworld connections, you'll have access to Favors as well, such as having a contact leave a crate of supplies waiting for you on the next mission, so all you have to do is find and collect it.

Despite the fact that I knew it was coming, having never played The Knife of Dunwall, Michael Madsen voicing Daud was a shock to me. I can't seem to associate his voice with anything except Reservoir Dogs, so Mr. Blonde was doing all of Daud's talking for him. It was admittedly strange, but not entirely out of character, so I went with it.

The story is encapsulated in this DLC, so even without much knowledge of the ongoing Daud story arc, it was easy to pick up what was going on and why, excepting the motivation of the coven, which might have come earlier, or will eventually be explained later in the DLC. Daud's character seemed to be pretty rigidly defined already, and every action he took only served to further the notions you likely have about him. There's not a lot of character development so much as rehashing what we already take for granted. That's not necessarily a bad thing, though, as at least Daud was well characterized through his interactions with the people and world around him.

Suffice to say, if you're at all invested in Daud's storyline, or if you've finished Dishonored and can't wait for a sequel, it's probably going to be well worth the investment. Even with my limited talents, I had a blast Blink-stabbing Dead Eels and Hatters, summoning Assassins to do my dirty work, and even, on rare occasion, successfully executing someone without raising an alarm.

The Brigmore Witches is scheduled for release on August 13 on Xbox 360, PS3, and PC for $9.99 or 800 Microsoft Points.

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