by Jed Pressgrove
With Death of the Outsider, the Dishonored series finally gives up its charade about morality. In the first two games, players could either kill or not kill on their stealthy journeys, but killing would bring about more inconveniences, such as an increase of deadly bloodflies, in addition to impacting the (emotionally vapid) story. Killing an enemy in Death of the Outsider, however, can be consequence-free if you avoid detection. Developer Arkane Studios even tosses in self-recharging superpowers so audiences can more comfortably lap up Dishonored’s newfound juvenile honesty.
But Death of the Outsider still has story elements to choke down or ignore, including poorly illustrated comic-book scenes, incessant collectible notes, and voice acting that sounds like a rushed second reading of a script. Between missions you still have to walk about a lair and get into a carriage before any action can start. Even worse, protagonist Billie Lurk is both dull and laughable with lines like “You want to kill a god?” and “I’m ready to rob the bank.” It’s as if the writers don’t realize that video games have pushed godless and wannabe-badass junk for decades.
Although using the superpowers, like the out-of-body experience that allows you to scope out areas that you want to infiltrate, and setting foe-snatching hook mines can be entertaining, Death of the Outsider is largely a seen-it-all-before affair. Clunky and unimaginative melee combat keeps it from being a good action game, while the stealth comes with all the usual baggage, whether it’s the dumb one-liners of enemies, the disposal of limp bodies, or the pop-up meters that let you know whether you’re about to get caught. Death of the Outsider isn’t drearily moral like its predecessors, but it’s just as emotionless, sticking to commercial formula with the faith of a child.