Dishonored DLC – Brigmore Witches EP6: Kill the Cheese

By Shamus
on Mar 24, 2017
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning


Link (YouTube)

So that’s the end of Dishonored 1.

I wanted to comment on how they handled the non-lethal ending for Delilah, but I’m stumped. Maybe I could branch off and talk about how this goes against the grain of the ideas they planted for Dishonored 2, but that rings hollow and it’s probably better to just leaf it alone. In my defense: Rutskarn lost connection before the end, and if I hadn’t made all these shitty tree puns, he certainly wood have.

Despite my unrepentant sloth and apathy, the show will go on. The next season of Spoiler Warning is going to be…

LIFE IS STRANGLE

LIFE IS STRANGLE

This is a favorite of Rachel’s, so she’s going to be joining us.

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  1. Daemian Lucifer says:

    This is a favorite of Rachel’s, so she’s going to be joining us.

    “And now you will learn a valuable lesson,honey.Whenever you love something,nerds of the internet will swarm and try to make you hate it.”

  2. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Wow,that charm is RIDICULOUSLY powerful.You shouldve used it earlier.

  3. Christopher says:

    I don’t think there’s a way to make floating platforms inside a painting and not make a generation of gamers think about Super Mario 64. It was bad enough when Dark Souls did it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9TY_MA_gCQ

  4. Christopher says:

    So that’s that. I’m not sure if I’m a big fan of this way of establishing villains for the next game. Through DLC, I mean. Dragon Age 2 did the same with Dragon Age Inquisition’s villain, Corypheus, and all signs are pointing to Inquisition doing the same for the next game. Although in that case, the villain in question also has a big presence in the main game, so it’s a bit better. But still. It’s like getting a small taste of the bad guy rather than outright fighting them, to a degree. “Hope you like this character, see you in a year for the actual solution to this conflict!”

    Chris is on point with the analysis on the end. The most excited I’ve ever been for Dishonored has been videos of highlevel play, with skilled dudes utilizing everything in their arsenal to murder in as funny and cool a way as possible, like they were a slightly more methodic Bayonetta. Or even in this video, how the sudden use of stun mines make everything more fun. But if you pick it up and stick to just choking people out, I can’t imagine it would be any fun at all, for the whole playthrough.

    Personally, as my explanation for why I’m not that into it, is that the story is also kinda dry and dark. I don’t really feel afraid of Delilah or think she’s a fun bad guy. I don’t feel that much empathy for the heroes, despite Daud being more interesting than Corvo. Everyone else you run into is way past the moral horizon, so there’s nobody nice to root for. Some of the nonlethal story choices involve “worse than death”-style choices where you sell a woman into sexual slavery and stuff like that. The shades of gray go from very dark grey to pitch black. On top of that, you talk to people Skyrim-style, static views of guys just standing with their arms crossed at best. It’s not exactly juicy.

    I really enjoyed this season, still. Dishonored is a game that improves with Josh’s antics, and he knew it well enough to get around quickly. And while I’m not that big a fan of the story, it’s still much more exciting than Corvo’s part. It’s a good background for all the hijinks, and more likeable characters like Daud and Billie Lurk make me hopeful for Dishonored 2. Your commentary was on point too, but you oughta look into the quitting/disconnect sounds from your voicechat. That loud KADUNKADUNK is a real weird sound to have over gameplay.

    I’m happy you went for Life is Strange. I remember it being up for consideration after SOMA or something, and I thought it was dropped for sure when you did Fallout 4, Dishonored DLC and Until Dawn instead. I like it, but it’s got some major issues story wise, both on the plot/lore level and the character writing, especially for the antagonists. It also suffers from choices that don’t actually matter in the same ways all these choice games do(play Max as disinterested in Chloe and interested in Warren for the most ruinous effect). There are also some serious subjects in that game, and some of them are weirdly handled, especially the not-really-but-totally-subbing-in-for rape. But it’s got a unique look, a great atmosphere, rare production values for a game of its type, the neat half-meta time rewind powers, a few agonizing moral choices and some wonderful, flawed main characters too. I don’t think they’re Persona 4-level teens, but they’re close, and Chloe especially feels very realistic to me. It should be a season with a ton to comment on, and I look forward to everyone explaining which annoying kid they most recognize themselves in.

    • Thomas says:

      It’s always feels pretty lame for the people who didn’t play the DLC. I’ve felt that about Corypheus and about The Arrival DLC. I’m playing the next game and the game seems to be making a big deal about plot threads and people I’ve never seen.

      Didn’t feel that way about the DA:O DLC with Anders though. Maybe it’s because he’s (apparently) so different anyway

      • Christopher says:

        The Arrival DLC is the most bizarre to me, because of how Mass Effect 3 opened. They can’t reference it, but they can’t ignore it, so it was this weird Schrödinger’s cat kinda opening scene where I had no idea what happened, why I was on Earth and who some of these people were. Corypheus I’m kinda alright with, I didn’t get the impression I missed very much, but they also really don’t build him up well. You have one quick conversation with after the first act is done and that’s basically it for him in terms of dialogue. It’s possible his DA2 DLC characterized him more, but it doesn’t matter that much when he’s such a brute in Inquisition.

        • IFS says:

          Corypheus is a really weird case because he was honestly portrayed much more interestingly in the DA2 dlc which in the brief time it had with him effectively made him appear powerful, ambitious and tragic. His subsequent portrayal in Inquisition was disappointing after that to say the least.

          • Vermander says:

            I kind of wished that Corypheus wasn’t so monstrous and grotesque looking, given his false prophet/dark messiah type role. It’s hard to believe a gigantic hunchback with rotting flesh could attract so may human followers and seduce powerful people into following him. He should have at least had some kind of alternate form or human avatar to fool people.

        • Writiosity says:

          lol, Arrival was just a really bad joke. In effect, Arrival WAS Mass Effect 2, it’s the only part of the game that has any real impact, resolution, or conflict relating to what happens in 3. The rest of the game was just a pointless side show.

          Though at least 2 had decent squadmates to care about and enjoy spending time with, more than can be said for 3.

      • Elemental Alchemist says:

        Didn’t feel that way about the DA:O DLC with Anders though. Maybe it’s because he’s (apparently) so different anyway

        Awakening was an expansion pack rather than a DLC (the last full fat expansion Bioware ever did – and presumably will ever do), so there was a lot more characterisation than in something like Legacy where Corypheus got 5 minutes of screen time (although he barely got more than that in DAI anyway, so….). DA2’s version of Anders was a completely different character, to the point where I don’t even know what the point of calling him Anders was. They could have just had any random mage be possessed by Justice and it would have been better given that his non-possessed behaviour bore nothing in common with Awakening’s Anders.

    • guy says:

      I think it kinda works here; Delilah just shows up and does her thing in Dishonored 2 and gets enough of her backstory filled in as the characters discover it. My main objection is that the DLC has her gotten rid of in such a definitive fashion, with her soul sealed in a painting in another dimension, that if you have played the DLC having her just walk in the door at the start of the game feels like a cheat. I honestly suspect they hadn’t planned to bring her back when they made the DLC but they decided the Duke wouldn’t be a compelling enough villain late enough in the writing process no one could think of a new villain that wasn’t obviously a reprise of Delilah.

    • Volvagia says:

      Well, Persona 4 is hard to top. (BTW: Really looking forward to cracking into Persona 5.) But, yeah, Life is Strange. Overall, that game is really good and it leaves me interested how Vampyr turns out.

      • Christopher says:

        I agree on all accounts.

        I think the quality of the teens in Persona 4 might be indicative of the Japanese anime and video game industry in general. Their intended audience is often based in high school, for one thing. Obviously there are lots of works aimed at other audiences or with much broader appeal, but I think that when you make thosands of high school shows or shows with young protagonists, your standard for good teens is gonna be a bit higher than everyone else’s. Western games often write teens as children first, or stereotypical social groups first.

        You can’t say that about Sakamoto Desu Ga?, KonoSuba, Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun, Death Note, Bakemonogatari, Azumanga Daioh, Nichijou, Ouran High School Host Club, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Welcome to the NHK, Beck, Onani Master Kurosawa, Free!, K-on!, Full Metal Panic, Ranma 1/2, Prison School or Ping Pong the animation. Or even shonen action series with teen protagonists like Fullmetal Alchemist, One Piece, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, Attack on Titan or Hajime no Ippo. They write young people as people first, or characters first, rather. Is there any western game teen protagonist that’s more Monkey D. Luffy(17), Ranma Saotome(16), Edward Elric(15), Light Yagami(17) or Jotaro Kujo(17) and less (Batman and )Robin? I can barely think of any in the first place, they’re all teenage daughter sidekicks of grizzly old men. You can also see this in every JRPG with teen protagonists. Persona is a bit more focused on “teen issues” than most of these, but most of the characters still basically act as regular adults rather than speaking in a teen way or slang(And unless they’re Noctis or Squall, aren’t big on teen issues). I think that’s a bit more appealing than the old teen drama tropes personally. It’s not that there aren’t tropey characters in the shows/manga/games I listed, but they don’t follow the same high school clique cliches that the western ones tend to do, and as a nature of language they aren’t loaded with the same attempts at TEEN SLANG.

        But Life is Strange did them mostly well, so I’m hella fine with that in the end. I hope Persona 5 blows it out of the water though.

  5. Daemian Lucifer says:

    If the chaos system is all about rats,then how would killing delilah increase chaos when she is not in a place with rats?

  6. Ilseroth says:

    Alright, so while I am kinda sad about not playing the Dishonored DLC, now that I have seen it it does help a bit regarding Delilah. I mean, DH2 does explain her, but she’s still a major character that sorta pops up out of nowhere. Seems fun, though honestly at this point with DH2 out I think I’d just play more of that instead.

    Re: Life is Strange: I was not a huge fan of the game, in fact I found it kinda dull for the first large section of it. I recognize it wanted to solidify all the characters before going off the deep end, but it really does make that first couple episodes kinda a drag. Worse is that they start to ramp up to some interesting ideas… then give up on the interesting stuff to fall back into the boring stuff again. Should make for some interesting commentary though.

  7. Tizzy says:

    The story is so clearly only there in service of the gameplay, it’s hard to get any satisfaction from it. Even the setting, which I appreciate and find interesting, is not truly gripping or that immersive.

    I enjoy Dishonored a lot (I’m playing D2 right now), but it also leaves me vaguely unsatisfied.

    The structure of the game in successive stages is very stifling. In a game like Deus Ex, where you have hubs and side quests, you get a lot of chance for player expression simply in the order in which you tackle missions. And there’s enough diversity in objectives and dialogue-based solutions to offer flavors of gameplay and agency to the player.

    The choices in Dishonored are starkly limited in contrast: you have two main playstyles, stealth vs violence, with very little room to mix them. And most of the agency consists in the order in which you pick your upgrades and choosing the path you take through the level. Instead of having side quests, all you can do is stray off the main path for loot.

    The fact that almost all levels have a designated target, that each level will have some bogus nonlethal takedown of that target… it all makes it very samey and predictable, and the varied environments and the strong efforts in the art direction struggle to make up for that.

    But I’m sure the skilled played must be fun (I wouldn’t know myself!). I was impressed that the sequel even offers the option of playing with no powers at all.

  8. MrGuy says:

    Why don’t you make like a tree and stop making terrible puns?

  9. Thomas says:

    Oh man I really love Life Is Strange, I’m both nervous and excited – hope you don’t end up taking it apart too much!

    • MrGuy says:

      Welcome to Spoiler Warning! You’re clearly new here. :)

      • Ander says:

        I…I really want to sit this one out. I’d play again, but not sure I could watch an LP. I am under no delusion that LiS is perfect, but I was thoroughly immersed, and it wouldn’t be the same without the controller and with the bile.
        Until Episode 5…Yeah, I could watch them tear up Polarized.

    • Zekiel says:

      Mmmmmm. I’m kind of apprehensive about SW LiS. I kind of fell heads over heels for that game about a year ago, and it’s probably emotionally effected me more than any game. Enough so that I can’t even bring myself to replay it (since it would never be the same as my first playthrough) and I approach comments sections on articles about the game with a mixture of excitement (I love talking about games I love) and fear (it’s clearly not a flawless game but it means a lot to me and its a bit painful hearing people badmouthing Max, Chloe et al).

      So um yeah. I wonder if I have the self-control to sit this one out, or whether I’m going to end up upset about some (probably perfectly reasonable) criticisms of the story and characters. (N.B. Critics say of the gameplay are a given and don’t bother me)

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Well,you should keep in mind that your max is not the same max Josh is going to play.So it should be easy for you to separate the two.If they say something you dont like,just remember that they are not talking about your max,the one you connected with.

  10. MrGuy says:

    I wonder how much better Dishonored would have been if Doud had been the main character all along….

    • Phantos says:

      I would not be surprised if everyone at Arkane had this exact thought, but way too late in development to go back and change stuff.

      Just a collective: “…Aww, damn it.”

      • Sleeping Dragon says:

        The themes are clearly there. While it is more explored in the DLC even in the base game we can see Daud is having a sort of crisis shifting from just thinking of himself as a blade for hire to considering that his actions affect lives and can even change history and considering what other things he could do with his powers. Being an assassin for hire he is also “dishonored”, if we assume he can be considered to have honor in the first place.

        • Tizzy says:

          The problem is that Daud is indeed a character already in the original game. Meanwhile, they made a conscious decision to have Corvo be a cypher. A mistake, clearly.

  11. Ninety-Three says:

    Shamus asked “Why aren’t I excited about Dishonored 2?” and I have the exact same problem. I’m big into stealth games, and for some reason I haven’t even really considered buying D2, it has just failed to excite me.

    In my case, I’m pretty sure it was Mankind Divided’s fault. I bought that game, played for maybe six hours and was left cold, I think some of that ennui transferred to the other big stealth game released around the same time.

    Hearing Shamus’ disinterest makes me think there might just be something wrong with the game’s marketing though. I wonder, has anyone else had this disinterest in Dishonored 2: Even Less Honored?

    • DeathbyDysentery says:

      I ended up buying and loving Dishonored 2, but I see what you mean. I wasn’t too excited about it either. I would say that the problem is that the marketing focuses entirely on the worldbuilding, storytelling, and narrative, and that while the worldbuilding is okay and the other stuff is passable, they aren’t the reason that people buy and play these games. Dishonored is loved pretty much exclusively for the design of its levels and mechanics. People like playing a level multiple times and doing it differently each time. They love choosing different routes and finding hidden ways to get ahead and accomplish their goals. Probably the best marketing move for Dishonored 1 was that Golden Cat trailer which showed off two different ways to play a level (I remember it’s one of the few advertisements that got excitedly brought up by the Spoiler Warning crew at some point). But the main marketing barrage for both games has been in the form of broody, “Guh, look at the corruption, I have to assassinate this guy, my girl is dead guh!” narrative schlock trailers. They sort of show the cool mechanics in the game, but they don’t highlight them. It’s like the new HITMAN game advertising itself primarily based on its weird conspiracy theory story rather than its replayability and such.

      For comparison, go to the Steam pages for HITMAN and Dishonored 2. HITMAN’s first trailers basically say: “Look at our pretty levels and all the different ways you can kill people in them! Critics like our game!” and Dishonored’s trailers say, “Delilah stole your crown! I’m the outsider! Look at the corruption! Look at how gritty our world is!” They barely touch upon the gameplay at all, which seems really backwards. Even the game’s tagline is poorly chosen. ‘Take back what’s yours’ ??? Who gives a rats ass about ‘Taking back what’s mine?’ We’re not here for a revenge narrative, we’re here for the extreme-sports approach to assassination!

  12. Yummychickenblue says:

    Is Mumbles also going to be in the next season? She hasn’t been here since the end of Fallout 4 seems like.

    • Viktor says:

      Mumbles left after one too many asshole fans went after her and she decided the show/podcast weren’t fun anymore.

      • Writiosity says:

        … seriously? Ugh, some people really are the worst. Not the first time either, RedLetterMedia had the same issue with uh, Jessie I think her name was? She was around early on for their Half in the Bag episodes but eventually stopped bothering because of slimy comments and the like.

        Some people really are disgusting examples of humanity :/

    • Phantos says:

      She hasn’t been around since the Until Dawn season, which is also around the time the comments here reached peak levels of toxicity.

      Keep in mind that she came back after the comments here weirdly psycho-analyzed her as a “textbook sadist” during the Soma season. She gave us another chance after that, and we somehow made Spoiler Warning and Shamus’ website LESS welcoming.

      And I only see it getting worse once the Life is Strange episodes start up. Since that stars many more teenage girls who are not perfect than in Until Dawn, and that opens the floodgates for THOSE kinds of comments. You know the ones…

      Oh jesus. Shamus, are you sure you guys wanna do Life is Strange?

      Seriously, it’s not too late to turn back!

      • Shamus says:

        I think we’ll be fine. If things surprise me and it gets bad, I’m planning to be a little quicker to delete comments than I was before.

      • TheJungerLudendorff says:

        I never noticed that the comment sections were getting that toxic. Probably because I stopped reading them halfway through Until Dawn, but most of the time it seems quite friendly. Or is that thanks to the moderators?

        It’s a real shame that things got that bad though. I always quite liked Mumbles.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Phantos is grossly exaggerating.There were a few people who crossed the line,and many more people who jumped in to defend Mumbles.Aside from maybe one or two persons involved in those incidents,they werent toxic assholes like some here like to paint them,they just werent thinking about how their comments would be received by her.Once they realized,they did apologize.The problem is,intentional or not,their comments already hurt Mumbles’s feeling and their apologies simply were not enough to undo her tears.

          So yeah,a few careless people and a couple of actual assholes caused Mumbles to be hurt and leave.It sucks,but its not as dreary as some here like to portray it.

    • Andy_Panthro says:

      She’s been playing through Dragon Age 2 on her own youtube channel though, which I’ve really enjoyed, so if you miss her comments you should head over there!

  13. silver Harloe says:

    “this art looks like the last void area in DH2, that can’t be intentional”
    why can’t it? could they really not have started planning/concepting/outlining DH2 while also working on the DLC for DH1?

    “josh really ended this on a down note”
    more like a brown note, amirite?

  14. Ninety-Three says:

    So Shamus, does Life Is Strange start next week, or is Spoiler Warning taking a break between seasons like you sometimes do?

  15. Cybron says:

    With regards to the statue in the crypt – she does her little jump scare even if you use pull to take the charm without ever going close. I think it’s just a triggered event when you take the charm.

    If you sneak up on her and backstab her,, she vanishes and 4 or so dopplegangers spawn. She never summons that weird root thing. Once you kill all of those, she starts cowering in front of her painting just like she did in this playthrough. From there you can kill her normally.

    You can also nonlethally beat her without talking to her. You just grab the painting, wait for her to start the ritual, then put it in the place of the regular painting. It’s trivially easy if you have time stop.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Or if you find that broken charm like Josh did.

    • Ringwraith says:

      It’s actually quite funny if you swap the paintings without her noticing, as she does the incantation where her back turned to it, then she turns around as she finishes, only then realising what’s happening.
      I did it without stopping time, as I do like seeing what’s possible without that.

  16. Warclam says:

    I am feeling a strange mixture of conflicting emotions. One one hand, this episode was truly glorious. On the other, Life is Strange. I could have sworn you’d already done it, but I guess that one was called Until Dawn? So it’s like, the same thing but it’s cold outside.

    Maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised?

    • Christopher says:

      I remember Until Dawn wasn’t entirely to your taste, but it’s not horror this time, so maybe that helps. Life is Strange is less horror movie and more Sweet Valley High. It’s also more of a point & click adventure game and less a David Cage QTE game.

      Your mileage may vary on whether you hate the teens, though. I like ’em, but I have friends who can’t stand them, too.

      • Warclam says:

        I’ll give it a try at least, yeah. Part of the problem is I know the ending, and while it’s a clever bit of writing, it’s a terrible end to a game.

        • Christopher says:

          I was quite frustrated by it while playing. I think one of the choices work fine, but it’s still annoying because the reason you have to make that choice is vague and supernatural. But we’re literally talking ending spoilers here, so let’s save it for the finale.

    • Phill says:

      I had a vague feeling that they’d already done “Life is Strange”, but that might just be because they discussed it a lot on the Diecast when most of them were playing it back when it came out. The amount of discussion it got probably amounted to several spoiler warning episodes woolen.

  17. TmanEd says:

    I think a big reason as to why Dishonored’s gameplay feels a bit flat is people’s natural inclination toward the path of least resistance (plus non-lethal just having less fun options overall). There are a lot of fun ways to go about disposing of a guard, but the blink into shank/forceful snuggle combo never ceases to work in almost any case where you need to get rid of someone.

    See: Metal Gear Solid and the tranquilizer gun/sniper.

  18. Gruhunchously says:

    Well I can say that I’m hella looking forward to the next season.

  19. SpaceSjut says:

    *GLEEFUL SQUEAL*
    Oh dear. I loved the living shit out of Life is Strange and I cannot wait for you guys to ruin it forever <3

    • Munkki says:

      “So for Spoiler Warning we usually play just the vanilla game, no mods, but after some extensive discussion among the team we’ve decided that it’s OK if they’re just small quality of life improvements”
      “Yeah I mean I think it’s really important that games have a jump button. For versimilitude.”

  20. Fizban says:

    Having just finished LRR’s run through and watching MATN play it mostly as it came out, not sure if I’m up for another viewing of Life is Strange. Give it a shot though.

  21. SpaceSjut says:

    Also, I just understood while EP6 felt like something was missing.
    EP5 is still unwatched in the watch later-playlist.
    Duh.

  22. Sleeping Dragon says:

    Some additional thoughts. The only way the “sneaky” way of dealing with Delilah was more of a love letter to the first Thief would be if a dev avatar showed up and screamed something to the effect “I want to rub the first Thief game all over my naked body”. Oh, and I liked Delilah’s spell, it was pretty atmospheric.

  23. DeathbyDysentery says:

    I think the Dishonored games suffer a lot for having such a strong focus on what I like to call “procedural” content; not procedurally generated content, but content which is experienced via some procedure. That is to say, they really encourage you to spend a lot of time doing things which are, in effect, basically just chores that play out the same way each and every time. I spent the majority of my time during my first playthrough scavenging for resources, chasing side-quest pathways for non-lethal solutions, doing the quicksave/quickload song and dance to comb the strongholds for all their secrets and collect everything of use, and navigating through dangerous tunnels filled with rats, bloodflies, and weepers. I suspect that this is what it is like for most people: they want to be as powerful as possible, so they spend as much time as they have to scrounging and doing bullshit. The problem with this is that while I assume some people find scrounging for resources to be fun, there’s really only one way to paw through an abandoned building for coins and cans of whale meat. There’s also only one way to find a combination that opens a safe with a rune in it, or to do most of the quests for Granny Evil in return for rewards. I guess there are multiple ways to clear a bloodfly nest or kill some rats, but they aren’t that difference in practice, and they’re also all very boring. The bottom line is that none of this content

    Pretty much all of the real fun comes from tackling the enemy strongholds themselves, killing the target, and getting out. All of good design lies in the many game mechanics and how the player can use them to interact with the world to achieve their goals. Even in Dishonored 1, where the mechanics were less refined and the lethal/nonlethal barrier was more sharp, there were many different ways to accomplish any given goal, and all of them felt very different from each other. A nonlethal player could go up and over the garrison, or possess a guard to get through, or crouch past them, or just sprint past recklessly, for instance. And there were dozens of different ways to kill all the guards in an area too. Dishonored 2 only made it better by giving the player more tools which effectively made it viable to nonlethally assault a map head-on. Combine all these mechanical possibilities with the fact that the maps were so open and so well-designed (with randomized target locations to boot) makes for outstanding replayability.

    I’ve come to play Dishonored somewhat similarly to games like MGSV and the new HITMAN game. I speed past all the procedural content like the looting, scrounging, talking, and vermin-killing and spend about 95% of my playtime tackling the challenge of penetrating the enemy strongholds, assassinating my targets, and then escaping. I only end up looting the stuff that happens to fall into my lap, and even then, I have more than enough than I need (I have never watched nor played a run of Dishonored where the player did not have 9 or 10 of both kinds of potions for pretty much the entire run).

    If anyone is in a position where they feel like something is missing from their Dishonored experience, I encourage you to do the same: ignore most of the loot, skip past the dialogue and cutscenes, and get right to the infiltration/assault. Your playthrough will be much shorter, but that just means you can replay the game that much sooner. You’re skipping all the chores that have no replay value anyway, why not play the game again and again, doing the levels differently each time?

    As a side note, these games would have really benefited from a system that makes replaying missions easy and rewarding, like the ones MGSV and HITMAN have. As it stands, your playthroughs are basically locked into linear ‘runs’ with a save system like a Bethesda RPG. Dishonored 1 gave some rudimentary level select, but Dishonored 2 forced you to draw from your own selection of saves if you wanted to go back, and neither system really allowed you to forgo exposition, setup, and dialogue and just get to the action. It seems strange that it’s missing a good system like this, considering the levels are designed to be very replayable.

    As far as I can see it, playing this game the ‘normal’ way is like playing a version of HITMAN where you have to swipe things from every room of every level to earn Blood Bucks™ in order to pay for all your tools. The game is no longer about assassination; rather, assassination is just something you do after you’re done scrounging around for coins and bone charms. You don’t infiltrate, kill and exfiltrate; you go to every single room and ‘conquer’ it, and exploit it for all its worth, and then you finish up and leave. I would compare the scrounging in Dishonored to the tower climbing and feather finding in Ubisoft open world games; it doesn’t engage with the mechanics and it doesn’t have anything to do with the main goal; it is just a chore to do for a feeling of thorough accomplishment.

    A common defense of all this might be, ‘If you don’t like it, then don’t do it!’ I never find this very convincing, because a game experience can be ruined just as easily by putting the wrong things in (even if they are optional) as by leaving important things out. The scrounging here should not be considered a secondary activity which only the players who like scrounging will undertake; rather, it should be considered the norm. Many players optimize their playstyle to maximize effectiveness, and very few of them optimize it to maximize enjoyment, so if scrounging is beneficial and available, then it should be assumed that most people will do it, even if it is boring and even if it isn’t even really necessary to succeed in the game. It took me a long time to recognize how boring it was, and even then I had to actively force myself to stop doing it; I didn’t spend so much time scrounging because I really wanted to, but out of fear for not having enough resources later on. Even in a game like this one, which is so focused on player choice and freedom, giving the player really bad or boring choices can hurt their experience in the end.

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