Dishonored: Dunwall City Trials Review

Dishonored was one of my favorite games of 2012 and it’s great to see its gametime getting an extension through downloadable content. Dunwall City Trials might not be exactly what you may be looking for when it comes to a game like Dishonored, due to its focus on score competition and leaderboards, but it does an admirable job of having you experiment with the myriad of options the core game might not have encouraged you to explore.

Dunwall City Trials offers four distinct types of score challenges spread out in ten missions that range from time trials to slower, more methodical, stealth-based thievery. The variety of levels in this DLC is plentiful and are not as straightforward as they sound. For instance, time trials don’t start out with a straight line. Instead, they have you using most of Corvo’s traversal skills in order to touch harder to reach checkpoints in a particular level. On another, you’re tasked with climbing down a huge hill by executing mid-air assassinations on unsuspecting guards, from different positions, by jumping off platforms.

The creative use of Corvo’s abilities is rewarded and thoroughly demanded. It might be possible to slip by in a particular mission by using a minimal amount of special skills, but that’s really the focus of this content pack. At the end of each stage, you are meticulously scored on your performance, at which point the game takes into account not only the time you took, but also your use of powers and overall precision. Precision is one of the paramount things to keep in mind in Dunwall City Trials, and is a constant throughout the game.

Don’t get to comfortable with the familiar settings, Dunwall City Trials loves to pull your carpet at the most unexpected moments.

The best aspect of this DLC is how it makes use of familiar locations only to throw you off your game. Although the knowledge of the main game’s levels is useful, it only gets you so far in ‘Trials – stages only share the look of buildings you explored throughout the campaign and offer completely different designs. Enemies are also put into creative use and sometimes behave differently than you might come to expect, especially on  higher difficulty settings.

Arkane doesn’t pulling any punches with Dunwall City Trials. While certain parts of  Dishonored might have seemed forgiving at times, Dunwall City Trials is punishing, even on the starting difficulty. In fact, I would recommend this content pack only if you have made it the entire way through Dishonored. Like I mentioned before, it demands the very best play and might prove to be too difficult if you are just starting out in Dishonored. That’s not to say it’s an inscrutable piece of content, it’s very much the opposite – it’s very approachable, but terribly unwelcoming once you start sinking your teeth into it.

While not what many people would expect to see as extended content for a single player, story-focused game like Dishonored, Dunwall City Trials offers plenty of content to keep you in the company of Corvo for quite a while longer , or at least until the upcoming side-story DLC is out later this year. Either way, Dunwall can sleep well, knowing that its guardian is keeping in shape and getting plenty of exercise.

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