Knife of Dunwall is the downloadable content for Dishonored that we’ve all been waiting for. Expanding Dishonored‘s story further, Knife of Dunwall tells the tale of Daud, the master assassin who took the Empress’ life and was part of the coupe d’état that put Corvo in jail and turned the city into further turmoil.
The DLC begins as Daud starts to regret his actions, as life in Dunwall soon turns even worse for his merry band of darkly dressed masked killers, with former allies turning coats. His only hope of redemption is cutting an even bigger hole into the conspiracy that took place within Dunwall by crippling vital supply lines and contacting a mysterious figure only known as Delilah.
As yet another man touched by the Outsider, Daud also has a few tricks of his own in terms of powers. Like Corvo, he can zip around the air in order to reach far and high, but he’s far more skilled at it, and through upgrades, you can have him stop time in midair and completely change directions. This change to the ‘Blink’ power not only makes the vertical climbing even more of an option, but it also opens up a whole new suite of options when it comes to disposing of enemies. Stopping time is as useful as it sounds, and Knife of Dunwall implements it perfectly.
In many ways, Daud plays like a much varied version of Corvo, not only in powers, but also in development. Once thought to be an ice cold killer, Daud has his regrets and has no qualms in sharing them, which makes the moral system that was already in place in Dishonored make more sense. Much like the main content in Dishonored, Knife of Dunwall offers you non-lethal options during its three missions, which are as satisfying, if not even more disturbing than what Corvo had in stock for his victims.
On the other hand, going mental and taking a violent path makes much more sense when playing in Daud’s shoes – he is an assassin, a gruffly voiced one at that, thanks to some excellent voice acting by Michael Madsen. Leaving aside the silent role of Corvo, who like Half-Life‘s Gordon Freeman, only served as an empty persona for us to decide his fate, Daud is an already fleshed out character from the very beginning, whose decisions make more sense in the grand scheme of things.
Filling in some backstory much like Bioshock 2‘s Minerva’s Den, The Knife of Dunwall makes incredible use of what was already established in the original game, in terms of story and gameplay. Most if not all of his equipment should be familiar to anyone who’s played through the original game, so the game wastes no time in teaching you how to use them or having you spending a lot of time upgrading those – a decision that plays well due to how long this piece of downloadable content is.
While the upgrade system leaves little to be discovered for Dishonored veterans, there are more uses for money that weren’t available in the core game. Thanks to his network of spies and assassins, Daud has access to ‘favors’ that work as purchasable bits of advantages that are used within the first two missions in the game, like combinations to safes and conveniently placed runes. These options feel a tad unnecessary within the game, but for those looking for alternative options to going through levels, they do add a little of replay.
The only real issue that can be brought up against Knife of Dunwall is its replayability. Aside from the host of options to finishing missions, there isn’t much to go back to in this DLC. Collecting runes and sigils isn’t as rewarding as during the core game because there isn’t a world to jump back to once your through with this content.
While it lasts, though, Knife of Dunwall is brilliant. If you were looking for a reason to pop Dishonored into your console or double click it on Steam, Daud’s quest is it. This is one of the best pieces of single player story-focused DLC – one that follows in a small group of post release downloadable packs that manages to rival their original game in many ways, not just rehashing content, but going up and beyond it.