At long last the continuation of the story that started with The Knife of Dunwall is here. We've been wait to wait four months for the conclusion of Dishonored's story-DLC. I find myself having to dig deep into the memory banks to pick up the threads since my last adventures as Daud, the man who murdered the Empress in the beginning of the full game.
As I noted when playing The Knife of Dunwall this side-story fits very neatly alongside Corvo's story in the main game. It adds and explains a lot of the events as fleshes out the already very rich world of Dunwall and Dishonored. Daud is a somewhat different character who is able to summon assassins and use pull, it makes for perhaps a little less stealth eventhough this is still at the core of the experience. Playing ruthlessly aggressive I noticed how some areas just didn't make sense, you're killing minions to reach the room of their leader, strike a deal with him, only to kill your way through his minions to do his bidding. A bit strange, but then again that's not really how the game is meant to be played. Hide in the shadows, blink your way past trouble, and search out those indirect ways of taking care of an objective.
The Brigmore Witches offers three major areas to explore and toy with. You get to visit Coldridge Prison after Corvo's escape, you'll visit a gang war infested area called Drapers Ward, and finally you'll visit the manor in which the lovely Delilah resides with her witches. Overall, I'd say the prison is my least favourite area of the DLC, but there are some inspired locations to visit, even if they may not be quite as rich on detail as some of the areas found in the main story.
I was going to say neither of the story DLC's featured characters as great as the main story, but that's not true. There are some fine specimens to get to know in The Brigmore Witches. Not just Delilah, but there's a dressmaker, the leader of the Hatters, and more that stand out as great additions to the cast.
The witches provide you with more variation in combat if you opt to engage. They can teleport, push you away and offer up a little more spice. They are also accompanied by some kind of weird undead dogs (Gravehounds) that you'll have to crush the skull in order to kill and additionally they can spawn/turn tentacle plants against you. I'm not going to spoil the plot, but needless to say there are some meaningful truths to be discovered here.
My main complaint with The Brigmore Witches is that we were made to wait this long for it. From a gameplay perspective it's a direct continuation of The Knife of Dunwall and if you haven't played the first part you'll certainly feel a bit lost when thrust into the conclusion. Somehow I get the feeling that dividing the DLC in two pieces had more to do with commercial reasons than logical reasons. I don't mind episodic releases, but when released four months apart you can't help but feel a bit disconnected.
Technically there were also some smaller issues and when a DLC weighs in at 2 gigs you don't expect texture quality to vary as much as is the case here. There's that hard to define sense that it's lacking that extra level of polish.
Taken as a whole the The Knife of Dunwall and The Brigmore Witches is something as rare as a DLC that adds and builds on the experience in the main game, while still providing a storyline that works on its own. There's good value and even if I feel the main game is more enjoyable, this is not a watered down cash-in, but a well thought out supplement. If you enjoyed Dishonored this is definitely a sidestory you need to experience. A new perspective on the always corrupt Dunwall.