Review | Dishonored: Brigmore Witches DLC
The world of Dishonored takes the open-world feeling of The Elder Scrolls universe and the stealth of Metal Gear Solid and mashes in the fast-paced blood-fueled frenzy of Assassin’s Creed at its best to make a game that’s feels exciting and fresh. Almost a year later, Bethesda wraps up the Dishonored story by using flashback to come full-circle and finish the story of Daud, the assassin responsible for killing the Empress and kidnapping her daughter in the main campaign. With great storytelling, exciting action, and breathtaking locales, The Brigmore Witches is an exceptionally-well done piece of DLC that ends up being one of the highlights of the Dishonored franchise.
The three-mission long DLC shows Daud in pursuit of the witch Delilah, a woman with devious intent and a host of dark powers with which to get her way. As Daud, you’ll leave the assassin headquarters and break a friend out of prison, stop a gang war, and pick off witches in a Poison Ivy-style estate overrun by killer wildlife. If none of those things sound fun to you, then by all means pass on The Brigmore Witches and find some paint to watch dry. Through it all, Daud remains his cool, calm, collected self as you would expect a professional master assassin to take care of such situations. It’s playing as Daud that makes Brigmore engrossing in ways the main game doesn’t; from his set of powers to the very presence of his dialog, Daud sticks out far beyond the reach of Corvo, the main game’s protagonist.
To put it simply, Daud is just more fun to play that Corvo. There, I said it. (Whew, I feel so much better now that I got that off of my chest.) For one, Daud’s power set, while similar to Corvo’s, is more exciting to use. You can summon a ghosting, sword-wielding assassin at will to do killing for you, and Daud jumps higher and runs faster than Corvo. But aside from the physical differences, one of Daud’s biggest attractions is that he actually speaks; unlike the mute protagonist oof the main game, you’ll hear your player engaging in real conversation with both allies and villains as the story travels on, offering depth and emotion to the story that just doesn’t come across in very many silent-protagonist games.
Aside from Daud himself, who you can also play in the Knife of Dunwall DLC, Brigmore Witches works because of its design. Each level gives you the option to buy new gear (including a mine that turns enemies to ash), upgrade powers, and even purchase perks which can change the way you proceed through the level. I spend some money to purchase an Overseer’s costume in the first level, allowing me to blend in with the enemy and sneak around to find the control room that freed Daud’s imprisoned ally, Lizzie. I also enjoyed that the interface felt cleaner when I played the DLC as compared to the main game; markers for nearby power-ups like bone charms and runes only appeared when using the Void Gaze power, keeping my focus on the gorgeous environments which felt more colorful and full of life than many locations in the main game. This is only enhanced by the new enemies like poison-spitting plants, howling ghost-hounds, and menacing witches that try to seal Daud’s doom along the way.
That’s not to say that Brigmore Witches isn’t without some catches, though. Many times two or three guards would stand near each other and bottleneck pathways through the game, forcing me into combat at inopportune moments. The game seems to make up for that with a high chaos tolerance; in one mission I had 21 kills and still came out with low chaos, pushing me closer to the “good ending.” Also, there were an almost frustrating number of doors locked by random, missing keys; far too often I simply wandered around the environment trying to find the right key for the right door to progress forward. That being said, in many cases there were also opportunities to find alternative routes; I only wish that the objective maker was more precise in some locations. But considering the great gameplay and fantastic story, these are forgivable offenses.
Overall, the Brigmore Witches episode is a great conclusion to the Dishonored DLC and a fantastic ending to Daud’s story as well. Like the recurring theme in DIshonored, nothing turns out as it seems by the end of Witches, but it does make for some quality plotline resolution and a full-circle effect that any storyline fans will have to check out and experience. For the 3-5 hours of content it offers, Brigmore Witches packs a lot of content, fun, and heart into a small package. Check it out on PC, Xbox 360, and PS3.
Final Score: 4.5 out of 5