The poster child for underwhelming DLC
To see how much I like Dishonored, check the website on Christmas day for my top games of the year. Needless to say, it placed high. I love the open-ended gameplay, the ability to adapt my own playstyle, and approach situations from a multitude of angles. Therefore, I was psyched when I heard DLC would be available so quickly after the game’s release. But, alas, Dunwall City Trials isn’t what I had in mind.
This DLC comes with 10 challenge maps, split into four categories: stealth, puzzle, mobility, and combat. And therein lies the problem—since each map accents a certain skill, the DLC seems to betray everything that makes Dishonored so great. That’s not to say the challenge maps are bad; they certainly aren’t. The ones that focus on stealth are particularly fun, Dunwall City Trials only offers two of those, and they end far too quickly.
Burglar is my favorite of the challenges; you must break into a mansion and retrieve six Faberge–style eggs. Sneak and search without getting caught—and, if you happen to pilfer a little extra along the way, more’s the better.
The best of the nonstealth missions is the Bend Time Massacre puzzle. You must plot a mass murder and execute it (so to speak) with one long Time Bend. It’s a chance to practice this particularly amusing skill, and it’s fun figuring out which path to take for the most efficient skill streak. This adds to the replayability, particularly on the higher difficulty settings.
On the other end of the spectrum lies “Oil Drop.” Shoot falling whale-oil barrels with a pistol before they fall on you. That’s it. Just shooting barrels—yawn. I found this challenge banal and out of place, and I only ended up trying it once. And though it falls into the combat category, there’s nothing particularly “combative” about it. The rest of the challenges fall between these three—most of them fun for a while but nothing that’ll draw me back repeatedly. I’m much more likely to start the game again to see what I can do differently during the story.
What the package does having going for it is the price. Dishonored: Dunwall City Trials will set you back only 5 bucks (or 400 Microsoft points), which is reasonable for what it offers. If you’ve got an extra five spot burning a hole in your pocket, this DLC will help hold you over until some additional story-based content drops. As for me, I think I’m going to see if I can play through the main game without using any special powers at all.
- THE GOOD: Some of the missions provide hours of fun.
- THE BAD: Surely they should have come up with a better third combat mission than Oil Drop…
- THE UGLY: The difficulty borders on insane…and that’s before you crank it up on the missions that allow it. The sadists at Arkane Studios take the world “challenge” too seriously.
Dishonored: Dunwall City Trials is available on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC. Version reviewed was on the Xbox 360.