Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Developer: Arkane Studios
Release Date: Oct. 9, 2012 (US), Oct. 12, 2012 (EU)

About Brian Dumlao

After spending several years doing QA for games, I took the next logical step: critiquing them. Even though the Xbox One is my preferred weapon of choice, I'll play and review just about any game from any genre on any system.


Xbox 360 Review - 'Dishonored' The Brigmore Witches DLC

by Brian Dumlao on Oct. 7, 2013 @ 1:00 a.m. PDT

Dishonored is an immersive first-person action game that casts you as a supernatural assassin driven by revenge. Creatively eliminate your targets with the flexible combat system as you combine the numerous supernatural abilities, weapons and unusual gadgets at your disposal.

Buy Dishonored

Dishonored successfully wove together a great story and an open sense of gameplay to construct a title that was enjoyable from multiple perspectives. While the first DLC, Dunwall City Trials, was decent from a gameplay perspective, it didn't capitalize on the story aspect that most players enjoyed. The Knife of Dunwall, on the other hand, introduced new powers and brought a new side-story to the main quest by using a character that was already familiar to players. The conclusion to this arc, The Brigmore Witches, is significant because it's as an example of how to end a game's post-release offerings on a high note.

When we last left the assassin Daud at the conclusion of The Knife of Dunwall, he felt guilty about his involvement of the assassination of the Empress and kidnapping of her daughter. His band of assassins was nearly decimated by the Overseers, a traitor in his own ranks, and the leader of the Brigmore Witches, Delilah. Yearning for atonement but also desiring revenge, Daud sets out to kill Delilah.

Even though this is the second half of Daud's arc, The Brigmore Witches throws in a few new toys and tricks. Stun Mines can shock the enemy just enough to knock them out, and they last a few charges before fizzling out. They act just like Arc Mines, so placing them on mobile creatures and enemies is good for a laugh. Baffle Dust acts like Choke Dust but adds disorientation to its abilities, so it's useful against large groups. On the supernatural side, you have a pull ability that can pull objects and enemies closer to you. Then there's the introduction of Corrupted Bone Charms, which add some benefits to the regular Bone Charms — in addition to some detriments to maintain the balance. The new powers and gadgets add some variety to the gameplay, but you can get through the game without using them at all. Though you'll likely be playing this after finishing The Knife of Dunwall DLC, it helps to mention that the progress in that DLC does carry over to this one.

The DLC starts off with a fight against Corvo in what amounts to a preview of things to come. Once you wake from this dream, your informants let you know that they've found Delilah's location and have also tracked down a smuggler who can get you closer to her. Unfortunately, that smuggler is locked up in Coldridge Prison, the same maximum-security facility from which Corvo had escaped. The prison has increased its security as a result of that incident, and it's up to you to break her out of there.

The novel thing about this stage is that while the location is covered in the original game, you're approaching it from a new angle since you're entering the prison instead of trying to leave it. The areas of the prison you'll be visiting are also different, so it becomes a whole new level. Unfortunately, the guards are exactly the same, so the only new things you'll experience are prisoners who call you out if you aren't being stealthy. The stage is quite small, so there are only a few sections, including some small exterior areas, a tower with a locking mechanism, and a section of the prison block. It would be fair to call this more of a training level than an actual stage due to the straightforward objective and the small size of the map. Though it may pose some problems if you're just getting back into the flow of Dishonored, expect to get through this one quickly.

The second stage is set in the new area of Draper's Ward, a shopping district for the rich that's now contested territory for two different gangs. While the gang war is of no concern to you, you need a boat from the smuggler you just rescued. With both sides ready to cut you down, you need to reclaim the boat and get it in working order if you want to continue your trip for revenge.

Of all the areas in the DLC pack, this is the largest and most diverse environment. You have a few different areas: the market, nearby docks, sewers, and the interior and exterior of the textile factory. While each area isn't very cavernous, it is collectively big enough to get lost in. There's a lot of documentation that deals with more world lore and history, and the enemies are pretty varied. Both gangs provide a decent amount of opposition, though they can also be helpful when they squabble among themselves. There are also some acid spitting plants to deal with. With all that and the presence of a merchant in the level, it is one of the better level layouts. As for the missions, half of the quests in this stage are fetch quests in conjunction with finding and murdering your targets. While that sounds bad, the fetch quests don't really require extensive travel. They're still fun, but be warned that the missions aren't as straightforward as expected.

Halfway through the stage, you'll finally encounter the titular Brigmore Witches, one of two new enemies in the DLC pack and one of the tougher adversaries. Up close, they have swords and a scream effect that doesn't inflict damage but pushes back enemies. From a distance, they shoot multiple bolts and can use Blink to warp around. It is the Blink ability that makes them very formidable because they can even use it outside of combat, so it's difficult to sneak up behind them to execute a stealth kill unless you use Blink often. This is a fun enemy type since you must completely rethink your combat and stealth strategies.

The final stage is another new location set in Brigmore Manor, home base to the witches. It isn't a large stage, at roughly the same size as the prison, and the environments aren't too varied, but the individual pieces are larger than expected. The front yard and backyard both contain swampland and separate pieces while the interior is more labyrinth-like. You'll see the dilapidated state of the house, which has broken floors and caved-in halls blocking many passages.

Aside from the abundance of witches on the property, you'll face demonic spirit dogs that can only be permanently killed when you crush their skulls. Unlike the humans in the world, sneaking up to kill them is much more difficult due to their heightened senses. Getting anywhere near them makes them aware of your presence, and the same applies when you find their skulls lying on the ground. In this case, avoidance is the only way to avoid a battle with them.

The final level either forces you to dramatically change your stealth tactics or abandon them for combat sessions. The hyper-aware dogs and blinking witches mean it becomes much more difficult to thin the number of adversaries, and the statues acting as cameras mean fewer places to hide. It isn't impossible to go for full stealth, but it is much more difficult. The only issue is that it makes the necessary changes too briefly, leaving this the only opportunity for the game to mix up things for the player. The change is appreciated, but it would've been nice to have this shift occur often through the DLC.

Dishonored: The Brigmore Witches is a good way for the first game to end properly while still providing enough hints for players to crave a second entry in the world. While the opening stage isn't much, the latter two stages are more indicative of the scope of the previous DLCs. The new enemies are a good challenge, and even if you never use the new powers and gadgets, their inclusion is nice. I'd definitely recommended this to anyone who wants to wrap up the story in Dishonored and wants a few hints about how the world could work in a possible sequel.

Score: 8.0/10

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