The question that I am left wondering after completing The Knife of Dunwall, the first story based DLC for Dishonored is as follows. Is it worth you spending £7.99 to go back to the city of Dunwall for three missions? I’ll try my best to answer that question in this Verdict. Don’t even think about reading this unless you have finished Dishonored.
You take the role of Daud, the man who killed the Empress and in turn set up the hero of Dishonored, Corvo for her murder. You experience the assassination without taking control while Daud, voiced by Michael Madsen goes through the motions on your behalf with a narration eerily in feel to what came in the Thief games. It is a lovely little way to get you back into the world when you then come face to face with the Outsider once more. He is as cryptic as ever, but drops hints about someone known as Delilah.
Fast forward a few months with some great bits of monologue from Daud and you are ready to start the game. Before you get into the action in each mission you are able to buy any equipment you need and buy ‘Favours’ which might provide you with a Rune in a hidden place or lend you some assistance in the mission ahead. There isn’t a hub to explore in The Knife of Dunwall but that isn’t quite necessary for a short bit of DLC.
As you start the first mission you come across one of your fellow assassins, Billie Lurk. You don’t find out much about her until the last mission so at first I found her presence a bit confusing. I did try to kill her, but that led to the game ending. Don’t bother trying that.
She is a very strong character though despite the short time you are with her as she pops in and out of your presence during the game. Once she has divulged some more details on your mission you can take a gander at your Powers. Some are similar to what Corvo has, but the main differences are that Blink not stops time when you are targeting where to go and there isn’t a Heart. Corvo’s most mystical object is replaced by the Void Gaze ability in The Knife which allows Daud to spot Runes and Bone Charms and can be upgraded to spot enemies field of vision. Sadly it doesn’t have quite the same presence as the Heart as your ability doesn’t speak to you. The other major change is the power to call in your assassins to the fight, though I didn’t use this.
There is just enough variety with the Powers and some of the weapons, Choke Dust being especially interesting, to make Daud’s possible play style differ from Corvo’s. But some different abilities and gadgets wouldn’t be enough to set The Knife apart without some great missions. The first two levels I absolutely loved, they take place in the Rothwild Slaughterhouse and the Legal Distric and provide a striking contrast between the industrial and high class areas of Dunwall. Both are great missions with a variety of approaches to take, and being able to choose how you tackle levels is such a welcome relief after the rigidity of BioShock Infinite. I took about two hours on each mission and still didn’t find everything I wanted.
These two missions are a perfect example of why Dishonored is just so good, the various nooks and crannies to explore uncover small stories within the grander story of your mission. The artistic direction in both is wonderful. The numerous books and notes that you can read shed greater light on characters like Sokolov and the role whales play in Dunwall. It all adds immeasurably to the richness of the world created by Arkane. These two missions are without a doubt better than some you find in Corvo’s story. Things fall apart a bit with the last mission.
It takes place in the Flooded District once more. While I enjoyed this location in the base game (unlike many others) I really didn’t enjoy it here in The Knife. I won’t spoil why, but there is also a palpable feeling that you don’t have the freedom of choice in how you approach the mission that we have become so used to through Dishonored.
While the action in the final mission is very disappointing, some of the details you uncover here about Daud and the assassins are very interesting. At the culmination of the mission, I got the feeling that this was more a story about Billie Lurk than Daud and Delilah. I am sure though that the rest will be revealed in the second bit of story DLC when that is released later this year.
With The Knife then we find ourselves facing a DLC with two great missions and a lot of interesting developments about the city of Dunwall. Back to my original question, is it worth the £7.99 price (on the PC at least)? I’m going to give it a strong yes, the chance to get back to this amazing world and explore the levels is one not to be ignored. I wouldn’t say it is a must-purchase bit of DLC, but rather a (largely) very well crafted slice of content.
Verdict – Headshot
Platforms available – PC, 360, PS3
Platform Reviewed – PC
Review based on Steam key supplied by PR. Please read this post for details on our scoring system.