Hit series ends in an honorable way

by Shane Dillon
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DISHONORED – no ‘u’ – has quietly carved out a name for itself in the small but crowded stealth-action genre in recent years, marrying snooping, spying and sudden flurries of intense violence together with memorably striking effect.
The series has featured here in The Gazette before – despite being something of a cult classic, the Dishonored games have always enjoyed great critical acclaim, and have been well worth reviewing.
However, with Dishonored – Death of The Outsider (PS4, XBO, PC; c. €30; Cert 18) we’ve reached the end for the short but memorable franchise with this spin-off tale, pitched somewhere between a full game and standalone content (hence the lower price).
Here, a minor series character – Billie Lurk – gets elevated to star status as a master assassin, either silently flitting through the gloom and shadows of a decrepit cityscape, or rampaging about with a flashing blade and all guns blazing, depending on your play style.
The end result is the same – Billie’s on a mission to avenge her former mentor while also attempting to kill The Outsider, an ambiguous supernatural being and series stalwart – but, in classic Dishonored style, the way you do so is entirely up to you.
There’s little else to say about Dishonored that hasn’t been said before, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
While the game has a new protaganist with slightly tweaked supernatural powers and abilities, the end result is the same – a largely stealth-driven title that forever teeters on the edge of sudden bouts of bloody violence, set in one of gaming’s most detailed worlds.
I don’t just mean the elaborate lore and snippets of info scattered all around to find and read or eavesdrop on, but the world itself – just look at how striking it all looks!
It’s a lived-in, worn-out world that’s full of dusty woods, polished brass, smooth leather, damp tiles and gleaming metal; surfaces that creak and crack, glisten and shatter, giving it all a visual weight and sheen that’s still rare in gaming.
Add in a series of characters that continue the games’ striking art direction of ‘ugly-beautiful’ – full of character and brute strength, as though inspired by Francis Bacon’s art – and it’s a game that Dishonored fans will revel in.
It’s not a very large game, with just a few levels to follow the plot through which, at first, could seem a little underwhelming.
However, once you begin to understand the multitude of ways through these levels, explore secret trails and go off the beaten path, and start tinkering with different game styles – and that’s before you unlock New Game Plus to really let you tinker with the core gameplay – you’ll find an awful lot to enjoy.
As a way to round off the Dishonored franchise, Billie’s adventure is a brief but brilliant swansong, and a very honourable – ‘u’ included – way to wrap things up.

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