Dishonored: The Brigmore Witches Review
Arkane's Dishonored wasn't only one of the best new games of 2012, it was also one of the best games period. When downloadable content was announced earlier this year, we were stoked for the chance to return to the world of Dunwall. The first chapter, The Knife of Dunwall, let us step into Daud's shoes to see what he was up to before his encounter with Corvo at the conclusion of the main story. We were left with plenty of questions, which The Brigmore Witches promised to answer. When all was said and done, did Arkane deliver, or was Daud's journey a pointless one?
Brigmore Witches picks up almost instantly after the conclusion of Knife of Dunwall. Daud has repelled the Overseers from the Flooded District, and now has a better idea of the mysterious Delilah's identity. The only issue he now faces is trying to find her lair at Brigmore Manor. On its own, Brigmore Witches' story doesn't really provide any pop, but combined with the wonderful mystery laid before us in Knife of Dunwall, the add-on is a solid narrative experience. Some of the loose ends are wrapped up a little too nicely after being given very little room to breathe, but all-in-all, the downloadable content doesn't disappoint when it comes to its final moments.
Much of the core gameplay remains the same, and you will of course be offered the requisite moral options for defeating bosses non-lethally or by killing them. Sneaking around is still a huge part of the game, if you want it to be, though there are definitely a few new wrinkles to stealth once you arrive at Brigmore Manor. Gravehounds are new demonic dogs constantly on the prowl. They sometimes spawn from a seemingly abandoned skull on the grounds, alerting the witches and other hounds to your presence. There are also some statues of Delilah erected which don't appear troublesome at first, but are magically enhanced to spot you whilst sneaking about. Longtime players shouldn't find these additional obstacles too difficult to overcome, but for someone who hasn't touched Dishonored since the fall of last year, the new twists can be a bit intimidating at first. It was nice to see a new challenge added, but these deterrents don't even surface until the final third of the game. Normally that wouldn't be a big issue, but much of Brigmore Witches is just more of the same, and having these elements added earlier would have been much more interesting.
There's definitely plenty of new supplemental material to pick up in the world, which only adds to the rich backstory Arkane crafted for Dishonored. The tertiary characters you'll encounter all have defined personalities, and it would have been great to spend more time with them. Unfortunately, with DLC, you just don't have as much time to expand on the minutiae. More new areas would have been nice, too. Brigmore Manor is the only area that feels truly fresh, with the add-on opening with a return to Coldridge Prison, and Draper's Ward feeling a bit too much like every other dilapidated part of the city you've already seen. Still, Dunwall is a visually striking place, and the aesthetic is appealing in spite of some ground being retread.
Arkane found a way to expand on the world of Dishonored without compromising the original game's story, and Brigmore Witches is a more than serviceable way to finally bring the adventure to a close. There was already a lot to like about Dishonored's play, and Daud's two pieces of DLC only serve to reinforce how brilliant Akane's efforts were. Now, we just have to bide our time for the sequel. It will definitely be worth the wait.
This review is based on a preview code for the Xbox 360 provided by the publisher.