Billie Lurk has quite the resumé, as she's part of the band of supernaturally enhanced assassins responsible for killing Jessamine Kaldwin, Empress of the Isles, love interest of Dishonored protagonist Corvo Attano and mother to the heiress apparent turned Empress turned assassin Emily Kaldwin. Lurk makes her return to the series under her real name once again.
The series' first DLC installment, Knife of Dunwall, had players stealthily stabbing away as mentor Daud while being briefed and protected by his skilled apprentice, Lurk. At the end of the expansion, however, Lurk was led astray by Delilah Copperspoon, the evil witch in charge of the powerful Brigmore Witches coven who would later come to be the sequel's main antagonist. The manipulated apprentice was tasked with taking down her mentor and take his place as the leader of The Whalers but, as one might have guessed when playing Dishonored 2, failed to do so in the end.
Over a decade later Billie Lurk is revealed to have gone undercover as whaling trawler captain Meagan Foster, after having helped the player (as either Emily Kaldwin or her father and royal protector Corvo Attano) get around, as well as take down the targets necessary to reclaim the throne and, with that, saving the player's last living family member who's been turned to stone in the lost empire's throne room. Lurk leaves the player with the bomb that is her real name, and even though you can technically kill her for her involvement in the assassination of the former empress, canon assumes you're a better person than you actually are and keeps the poor woman alive - Lurk's story hasn't come to an end just yet.
So when does this multi-layered character get to rest? What's next for our one-armed assassin? It turns out she has a God to kill, which is a tough objective in itself, even more so considering they have died before and seems to enjoy manipulating both surroundings and its inhabitants in more ways than one. Dishonored: Death of the Outsider looks as though it'll be giving its players the, in theory, hardest mission yet, and ending the Dishonored saga as we know it on a difficult but satisfying note. So how does one kill a God? With the very blade that slit the Outsider's throat and ripped his mortal being into the void, of course.
The demo Bethesda had us play at Gamescom put us straight into a cutscene, filling us in on what exactly it was we were doing. Billie Lurk got back with her long lost former friend Daud after leaving the Dreadful Whale and considering she betrayed him, joined an evil coven of witches, and tried to assassinate him in their name, Daud seems to be treating her quite well. Our first mission is to acquire the ceremonial twin-bladed knife used to kill the Outsider from a gang called The Eyeless, and here we learn that the gang leaders have ties to the owner of a beauty parlor called The Red Camelia, so off to said beauty parlor we go.
To get to our objective we needed to either get through a locked gate or get over an even larger canyon. Luckily our assassin protagonist has some supernatural powers at her disposal, some similar to powers we've seen before, and some brand new ones, all of which can help us out in a number of ways.
A power we've seen before in various forms is "displace", Billie's version of the "blink" ability. Instead of instantly teleporting to the target location, however, Billie spawns a marker which she can either swap places with immediately or walk away from and teleport to later as long as she's within range and sight. The non-timed teleport is extremely useful for tactical positioning before and in combat, and while we're on the topic of the use of displace in combat, the player can also use the ability to kill enemies. If the player uses displace on an actual individual, Billie will switch places with that individual and the target will explode, although Billie will also take some damage from this action.
The "foresight" ability is Billie's version of Corvo's "dark vision" and grants her the possibility to move around in spirit form. The ability stops time completely, highlights humans (both enemies and civilians), animals and items, and lets the player tag all of the mentioned highlighted markers. When you tag someone or something, whatever you tag will be visible through walls when you cancel foresight. Apart from marking people and objects, you can also use the displace ability to set markers while in spirit form to teleport to later.
Billie's last original power is "semblance", a power that lets her steal someone else's identity and render them unconscious. The ability can be used on any living human, unconscious or not, and opens up unique possibilities when moving around in enemy territory. If the original body is found, however, Billie's cover is blown.
Other than new powers, Billie also sports some new weaponry such as an instantly incapacitating electrical burst and a mine that drags enemies towards it. Having not gotten her powers from the Outsider himself, but rather from Daud transferring his, this also gives her perks regarding the use of said powers. For example, she doesn't have to rely on mana and mana-boosting Sokolov elixirs, as her powers exclusively use cooldowns. Billie can use all of these fancy weapons and her equally fancy powers to either kill everyone (she can even take on assassination contracts for some quick cash) or take the targets down in a non-lethal fashion - and yes, that includes the all mighty Outsider. This time, how you choose to play the game won't affect the story's outcome, so if you want to stab away - stab away.
As per usual, this Dishonored standalone expansion is visually stunning, feels fantastic to play, gives the player plenty of possibilities as to how they want to play the game - and with Michael Madsen to reprise his role as the cold hearted but regretful master assassin Daud and Rosario Dawson to, once again, lend her voice to the sidekick turned protagonist Lurk, it's safe to say that the voice acting portion will stay above the high bar set for the series in the past.
It's clear that Dishonored: Death of the Outsider is simply more Dishonored but with a twist this time, and considering how great the previous adventures on the stylised Isles have been, we're looking forward to exploring the streets of Karnaca once again.
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