Outside of being a remarkable and quality series of games, the most notable thing about Dishonored is that each of its playable characters manage to feel completely distinct while maintaining the core of what the franchise is about. With Death of the Outsider, a standalone expansion built atop Dishonored 2, that same evolutionary vision continues through Billie Lurk.
Billie is reuniting with Daud to take on the Outsider, the same mysterious and supernatural entity that gave Corvo et al. their powers from the Void. You’ll take on the role of Billie, who is playable for the first time in the series and brings with her a host of new abilities. She has her own Blink variant called Displace, an impersonation technique called Semblance, and a scouting ability called Foresight.
Foresight is easily the best seeing as how it should have been a staple part of the series since, like, forever ago. When you activate it, time freezes and you enter a disembodied point of view. Your power bar will continue to drain, but as long as you have something in the tank, you can freely float around the world and see vision cones, patrol routes, and items (collectible and otherwise), and anything you see, you can mark for easy tracking outside of Foresight.
It completely changes the way you play Dishonored. Whereas before there was some amount of leaping before looking and then careful, painstaking observation from under a table or up in some rafters, Foresight gives you the chance to be wholly cautious. You can more fully prepare athletic routes around enemies and obstacles or set more elaborate traps with your weapons and powers. It’s an enhancement you’ll need since Billie isn’t as powerful as Corvo or Emily.
That’s not to say Billie’s other abilities aren’t cool, though, but they are rather familiar. Displace, for instance, is another traversal technique, though with some interesting differences. Displacing into an enemy, for instance, blows them up real nice. And Semblance lets you sneak up behind people and steal their fucking face, which is brutal and awesome but does require you to think ahead about where you’re leaving this unconscious body. If it’s found, that person won’t be fooled by your disguise.
During the demo, we were placed in the second level of Death of the Outsider. The main objective was to infiltrate a vault to get a knife that is supposedly able to kill the Outsider, but we were also given free rein to explore the level, which is what I opted to do. I wanted to find all the side objectives and optional bits of information I could to see what was available.
As it turns out, there’s a lot. The initial obstacle of the main objective turned out to be gaining entrance into a locked parlor called the Red Camellia, but through a bit of exploration, you learn that there is a florist you should investigate, a club full of Eyeless members, and more. But you can also just freely pick up completely unrelated missions.
There’s a job board you can check, but there are also some people out in the world that you can find to chat up, too. A newspaper editor, for example, wants Billie to find some dirt on a local politician. And then there’s the little village’s resident taxidermist who, well, you’ll see.
To that end, after an hour’s worth of demo, I only managed to finish perhaps half of the main mission. This is as full of distractions and possibilities as either of the main Dishonored entries. And honestly, I wasn’t at full hype levels going into it, but after finding out just how game-changing Billie and her powers are (and, perhaps, how mythos-shattering the story ends up being), I’m looking forward to the Death of the Outsider‘s September 15, 2017, release date. Look for it on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.