Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Dishonored: The Brigmore Witches - Improvisation Run - Part 1 - Twitch VOD

And so we being the second of Dishonored's story-based DLCs: The Brigmore Witches.

Unlike the previous DLC, we weren't able to finish the whole thing in a single session. The plan will be to finish the last mission and then transition into Dishonored 2 if there is time remaining.

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What I find most interesting about the Brigmore Witches is the way it experimented with new gameplay concepts in Dishonored, and remixed a few old ones together.

The return to Coolridge is a intriguing from both a lore standpoint and a gameplay one. It's always fun to see how a game designer can reuse old assets in new ways, and this was no exception. Further, it's a complete inverse on the first mission in the base game. Where Corvo had to break out of prison, Daud needs to break in to rescue somebody. And as the stream audience pointed out, Dishonored is clever in the way it uses randomization to make sure that players still need to go through the motions, even on repeat runs. They can't have magical foreknowledge of safe combinations or objective locations.

On top of that, we even see an (optional) return of the social stealth mechanic from Lady Boyle's Last Party. It's limited, and there are a lot of ways to break cover, but it feels good to hide in plain sight as I did in this mission.

As for the next mission, the most obvious mechanic being toyed with is conflict between multiple warring factions. We'll see another twist on this core mechanic in Dishonored 2, but here it feels very much like they were testing the waters. They start with both factions hostile to Daud, but also each other. The player can use the tension between them to take care of guards without actually staining their own hands in blood. Then, once the Dead Eels become neutral to Daud, they feel the freedom of being able to navigate a space without being accosted by guards.

In terms of upgrades to the toolkit, this is where Corrupted Charms, that offer a positive and a negative effect, were first introduced. I have mixed feelings on them. While I like to make interesting trade-offs, Dishonored is a stealth game at its core. Therefore, it seems strange to take on effects that hinder the player's ability to sneak around. Meanwhile, since combat is to be avoided, most players will ignore any adverse conditions that effect fighting prowess. It's doesn't matter if I take more health damage per hit, I shouldn't even be getting hit in the first place.

The stun mines also start to finally give non-lethal players some utility in what they can do. They didn't go far enough in The Brigmore Witches, but just starting to experiment with more non-lethal options opened the door for Dishonored 2 to refine a lot of what was introduced in both Brigmore Witches and Knife of Dunwall. It'll be excited to speak more on that once we get to it.

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