LNLT 5.0 Gameplay narrative

What’s Gus Playing: Dishonored – Death of the Outsider + A Special Bonus

Our stunted steampunker stalks scenery and solves stories ~

Lloyd Sabin, 13 August 2018

On occasion, I think.

And most of the time games take up most of my thoughts. Games, unlike movies, books or other forms of entertainment, are a higher form because they let us, the gamers, decide what the format will look like. Whether we are playing an RPG, an RTS, a strategy game or an FPS, our input drives events, whether it’s a historical battle, an entire sweeping campaign, or a fictional, totally made up story. Games are what we make them and are all the better because of that.

Who knows why, but every summer around August I get in a steampunk mood.

And the best games, regardless of genre, let us both explore and create. Who knows why, but every summer around August I get in a steampunk mood. And I have been blessed with some great steampunk-themed games over the years to satiate that storied, steampunk need.

The Thief games (all of them), Arcanum, Rise of Legends and to an extent the Fallout games (especially Fallout 4, which, to me, is very dieselpunk, even though it takes place in an uncertain future)…they all scratch that steampunk itch, they are all well put together and beloved, and they all let us tell our own stories.

The Dishonored games continue this tradition. I loved the first one, set in the grim city of Dunwall. I enjoyed Dishonored 2, set in Karnaca, another city with a more tropical setting, but still with tons of steampunk flavor. And now I have cracked open Dishonored 2 – Death of the Outsider, in which I play Billie Lurk, who is working to avenge the now elderly Daud, the protagonist from the first game.

At first I thought I would be underwhelmed – Dishonored 2 was good, but didn’t blow me away like the first game did. Then I started to explore the game. Divided in to five large levels, Death of the Outsider is built to explore and make you think. Rushing through each level would be counter-productive and a lot of the great moody detail of the game would be missed.

Once I remembered that, I began to enjoy Death of the Outsider a lot more, maybe even more than Dishonored 2. I should probably go back to that game and play through it again as slowly as I am playing this one – who knows what I missed.

The detail in Death of the Outsider really makes the game. Even though there are only five levels, each feels large and stocked with lore. The music along with the ambient sounds of the nearby ocean lull the player in to a steampunk-tinged haze.

Each of the levels can be completed however the player chooses, which is good because if you play like me, a lot of mistakes are going to be made. ‘Best laid plans’ and all that. During some sessions I played like a master sneak thief, totally unseen…and others I played through like a blundering idiot, loudly destroying everything and killing guards and civilians willy-nilly. For me, Death of the Outsider is much more interesting to play ‘properly’ – as a stealthy, unseen apparition…with a low amount of chaos registered at the end of each level. Doesn’t always work that way, however.

I am about 60% through Death of the Outsider at about 10 hours, but I am playing rather slowly. If you dash through the game and destroy everything, playing it like a shooter, you can be finished in the same amount of time. Peruse the below screenshots to see if it appeals to you and whether you want to take it on as a slow-paced, mysterious thriller or a rootin’-tootin’ steampunk shooter bloodfest. Ultimately, the Dishonored games are great because they give you the choice of what kind of story you want to star in. I can’t give the series a bigger compliment than that!

Gus Dishonored 1 1

Welcome back to Karnaca…it’s just as moody and atmospheric as you left it.

 

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Although there are only five levels here in Death of the Outsider, each level is sprawling and contains extra side missions that are optional. I found them pretty fun to play, even if they were not particularly easy to complete. And all of them added meat to the story.

 

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As in Dishonored 2, the player gets around the neighborhoods of Karnaca in small, trolley-like rail cars.

 

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My reputation precedes me.

 

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These are rats. One of your psi powers in Death of the Outsider is the ability to speak with them. They provide clues to your mission, but I often found their voices really grating and annoying…so I didn’t use the power much.

 

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This bathhouse is the first level – I probably played through it too quickly to really appreciate it, but I slowed down subsequently and enjoyed the game much more afterwards.

 

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Dishonored has never been a slouch in the graphics department and that quality continues here.

 

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Make no mistake, the game is on rails, but it often doesn’t feel like it. The limits of the levels feel organic often and some wide open spaces can be found.

 

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I’m sweating just looking at this shot. Tropical paradise or muggy metropolis? It’s all in your head.

 

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Bonecharms return and buff your avatar with a host of paranormal powers.

 

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Taxidermist’s office. The big reveal of this level was quite…grim.

 

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The lore is deep here. You can skip it all, but it really added to my enjoyment of the game. Sniff around!

 

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Come on now, that’s just beautiful. So much so that I use it as my desktop wallpaper. Only a certain caliber of game makes its way on to my desktop as art.

***

So, the moral of this week’s story is to stop and smell the blood when playing Death of the Outsider. These games are designed for slow enjoyment, even if they can be shredded through like a standard FPS.


Also, I would be remiss to not post the below shot as well.

As you may or may not know, the first alpha release for Iron Harvest 1920, from developers KING Art Games, was released this past week.

Set in an alternate post-WWI Europe, Iron Harvest features customizable infantry and mechs and will have a full campaign at final release. This first alpha, as you can see from the shot below, only has a handful of skirmishes and missions available to toy with, but a more steampunk/dieselpunk game idea, whether on a PC or on a board, does not exist.

If I have time this week I hope to fiddle around with it a bit more – I have super high hopes for this one!

Enjoy and thanks for reading.

Gus Dishonored Iron Harvest 1 14

Gus Dishonored Iron Harvest 1 14

 


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