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3 Reviews

Review: Dishonored - The Brigmore Witches

By Andy Kelly on Friday 16th Aug 2013 at 9:56 AM UTC

Coldridge Prison hasn't been the same since Corvo broke out at the beginning of Dishonored. Security has tightened dramatically, and the guards who were on watch during his escape are being summarily executed in the courtyard. The Brigmore Witches continues the story of assassin Daud that begun in The Knife of Dunwall, and his first task is busting a smuggler, Lizzy Stride, out of her cell.

Coming back to Coldridge and hearing guards talk in hushed tones about Corvo's miraculous escape is a neat trick. A few areas are reused, but the grim penitentiary has been heavily remixed and expanded upon. We can now explore a large multi-level cell block, as well as a few other areas. There are dozens of ways to reach Lizzy's cell. Sneaking unseen through the guard-patrolled cell block using Daud's powers is hugely entertaining. Of course, you can just stab everyone, but Dishonored is at its best when you're using your imagination to outsmart enemies.

Favours return: optional paid-for bonuses that open up alternate routes through levels, or unlock supplies and runes. In Coldridge, the most useful favour is using an Overseer uniform to wander freely through a few areas of the prison, unchallenged by guards. This gives you some breathing space to case the joint and plan your next move, as long as you don't stray into a forbidden area. Or you could forego the disguise altogether and sneak in the old-fashioned way.

New to this DLC are corrupted bone charms. They grant passive buffs like regular charms, but come with a downside. Power Slash greatly increases your sword damage, but your swing is slower. Tank lets you take more of a beating, but you move much slower. Our favourite, though, has to be Statuesque. Equip it and enemies won't detect you, even if you're directly in their line of sight, if you stay still - but at the expense of mana regeneration.

After rescuing Lizzy, Daud heads to Drapers Ward - the biggest of the three levels on offer here. Once an affluent shopping district, the plague has swept through and left it in ruins. Two gangs have taken advantage of this, the Hatters and the Dead Eels, and fight in the streets for control of the area. Comprised of streets, factories, sewers, and rooftops, this is a large, detailed space to explore, and dotted with side-quests, secrets, and hidden loot.

Zoom

But the star of the DLC has to be Brigmore Manor. Daud faces a new type of enemy here - powerful witches who behave much like the masked assassins from the main game, but with the ability to immobilise you with plant-like tentacles. They can blink too, and they're the most formidable foe we've faced yet in Dishonored and its expansions. So while storming the manor is possible, a stealthy approach is heavily encouraged. You're here to finish off their leader, Delilah, whose trail you picked up at the beginning of the first DLC - which, naturally, can be done lethally or non-lethally.

Arkane's world-building and level design is exemplary, and The Brigmore Witches is no different. Drapers Ward is beautiful, with glints of its former glory shining through the grime. Some assets are reused from elsewhere in Dunwall, but more successfully than in The Knife of Dunwall's legal district. Brigmore Manor is beautiful; a dilapidated stately home, flooded and crumbling, surrounded by a hazy garden. Even Coldridge, a location we've visited before, feels fresh.

This is the end of Daud's story, and the ending is dictated by your chaos level. Story isn't the strongest element here, though: it's the world. We love this place, and it'll be a shame if Bethesda and Arkane don't continue the series. There's nothing radically new in The Brigmore Witches in terms of actual gameplay, so if you've played Dishonored to death, you'll know exactly what to expect. For around £8 you get three brilliantly-designed, beautiful-looking missions, and dozens of ways to complete them. This is, sadly, the last story-led DLC, so fingers crossed for a sequel.

The verdict

Three great missions filled with potential for creativity. If this is our last adventure in Dunwall, it's a fitting last hurrah.

  • Fantastic level design
  • Lots of optional content for completists
  • Reuses some assets from the main game
  • Could be our last trip to Dunwall
8
Format
PlayStation 3
Developer
Arkane Studios
Publisher
Bethesda Softworks
Genre
FPS, Adventure, RPG

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