Arkane Studios really knows how to handle DLC. After the stellar Knife of Dunwall campaign, I was immediately sold on the follow-up Brigmore Witches, not only to find out how Daud’s tale ends, but to experience even more scenarios that were superior to the original game.
Well, I wasn’t disappointed. Once again I find myself enjoying the company of Daud more than Corvo, as Brigmore Witches pretty much gives me everything Knife of Dunwall provided, and a touch more.
The Brigmore Witches picks up right after the conclusion of Knife, sending Daud after the witch Delilah, thirsty for the revenge of his fallen clan-mate. Daud’s performance may not be Michael Madsen’s best work, but the character itself is very gripping — or at the very least, more interesting than Corvo ever was.
Daud can employ the services of his clan once again, allowing him to enter each stage with a handicap or two. Like the first DLC, this feature could have been lazily implemented, but this isn’t the case at all, as it attempts to fit these “favor” enhancements into the story as much as possible. The first mission arguably offers up the most significant favor, giving Daud access to an Overseer uniform to sneak into a heavily guarded area. It really is a subtle concept that just works, and I hope it returns in a potential sequel to Dishonored.
The missions themselves are extremely varied — so much so that the final area feels like a completely different game. Your first stop is Coldridge Prison — an area many fans of the core game will remember quite well. While it ultimately features a very simple goal — get in, rescue the target, and get out — it’s compelling enough to really feel like a true stealth mission. There are a number of areas that Daud can’t go (even with a disguise), and sneaking in and out (as well as figuring out where to go next) is not easy.
Your next stop is Drapers Ward, a derelict-esque setting that shows off the lower class struggles of the world of Dishonored like never before. Two gangs — the Hatters and the Dead Eels — are clashing, and you find yourself right in the middle of it. While the streets are reminiscent of a few levels in the original game, the characters and scenarios feel completely different, and as a result, the mission works.
The crux of the pronounced feel of Draper’s Ward is conflict — here, the Hatters and the Eels engage in the occasional skirmish, which brings about a more human feel to the world of Dishonored — rather than simply feeling like a giant sandbox with digital people in it. It also houses some of the more interesting side quests, of which there are a ton. I don’t want to spoil too much, but the ultimate conflict legitimately surprised me, and I’d easily consider it one of the more interesting missions in the game.
But it’s the final mission at Brigmore Manor itself that really brings the DLC together. Set on the grounds and inside the mansion, the final level feels decidedly survival horror in nature, much to my delight. It’s harrowing, full of secrets, and gigantic — bringing forth a unique feel that no other level in the entire game has before it. Sneaking around in a dilapidated mansion immediately brought back (good) memories of Resident Evil, and the Witches themselves are such formidable enemies that it all just worked. It was so good in fact, that I immediately went back and replayed it, just to explore every single nook and cranny it had to offer.
My favorite part of the level is the interesting injection of the occult — demon dogs that rush you down in an instant, and must be killed by shattering their bones — the mysterious “watchers,” statues that call forth reinforcements upon spotting you — and the Witches themselves. It sounds ridiculous, but given the nature of your Blink powers and the overall feel of the game, it works at a level I’d never expect it to. In short, it single-highhandedly managed to culminate Dishonored with a pretty big finish.
Brigmore Witches brings about a satisfying conclusion to the Dishonored narrative, and like Knife of Dunwall before it, not only augments the over-arching story, but stands on its own. If you can pick up a copy of the game at some point with all the DLC in tow, I’d highly recommend it for Daud’s two DLC tales alone.
This review is based on a digital copy of the PC game Dishonored: The Brigmore Witches.