Nocturnal Lives

Musings from the mind of Amanda S. Green – Mother, Writer, Possessed by Cats

Tag: Dishonored

Review: Dishonored – Death of the Outsider

Dishonored: Death of the Outsider is an add-on game, for lack of a better term, to the Dishonored franchise. More than DLC and less than a full game, it is still an excellent addition to the Dishonored family.

Death of the Outsider takes place several months after the conclusion of Dishonored 2. Because it can be viewed as a standalone, it doesn’t require you to have played either of the previous games. Nor do you need a game save to cue certain events/background for the game. It assumes certain things happened in Dishonored 2 and you go from there.

Unlike the first two games where you played as Corvo (or possibly as Emily in D2), your playable character in Death of the Outsider is Billie Lurk (Meaghan from D2). Also returning as an NPC is Daud. The events of the first two games have sent Billie on a mission, not necessarily of redemption but of finding closure. Part of that means finding Daud, whom she betrayed earlier, and making peace (or something). Once she does find him, he gives her one last mission — to kill the “black eyed bastard” he holds responsible for all the bad that’s happened: the Outsider.

Gameplay in Death of the Outsider is different in some ways from the previous two games. Billie isn’t given the Outsider’s mark. That means she doesn’t have any of the powers we’re familiar with from playing as Corvo or Emily. Billie can listen to the rats, which allows you to gather information that might help in the completion of missions. Her “displace” power is similar to “blink”. Her final power is “foresight” which stops time for a moment and allows her to check the surrounding area. It’s a bit more complicated than that but you get the general idea. She also gets later in the game Void Strike. That’s it. You have basically the same “arrows” or “darts” as well as a variation on the pistol.

The one real change from the previous games is you no longer have to look for elixirs to replenish your mana. Use a power and wait for the mana to recharge. That can change your gameplay some. Something else that’s changed is there is no longer a chaos system in play. So you can go charging through, killing everyone in sight or take a more stealthy approach without fear of how it will impact the overall game. The game feels more open than the previous games and you will recognize some of the settings. The final change is that you have bounty missions you can take on to earn more money.

As with Dishonored 2, there is replay value with the game because of the Game + mode. Death of the Outsider’s game + mode lets you play with several of the powers from D2. What is different, however, is you don’t get to stack these powers with the powers from the original play through. Instead, they substitute for the powers you just played with. It does let you change your playing style and your strategy.

I hope this isn’t the final title in the Dishonored universe. It is, however, an excellent end to the current story arc. If you enjoy stealth games or if you like causing havoc by running and stabbing and being a general bad ass, I recommend you give Dishonored: Death of the Outsider a try. You don’t have to have played the first two games but doing so will make a lot of the plot more understandable.

Dishonored: Death of the Outsider is published by Bethesda Games and is available on PC, PS4 and Xbox One.

The Question Has Been Answered

When I published Nocturnal Rebellion last week, I’d secretly wondered if there would be any more books. I had finished the story arc and, to be honest, I had no idea where the series might go from there. I think that’s one reason I’d been so busy making notes on other projects. Some of you told me you hoped there would be more books and that means more to me than you know. I love Mac and company and really didn’t want to think of not writing in that universe again. But I had no idea what to do next.

Then, BAM!, inspiration hit. It started subtly. Questions began to form in my mind that would need to be answered if I took the series any further. Before I knew it, I had something like three pages of notes and questions. But I still didn’t have a real plot, only things to keep in mind. I didn’t worry. The fact the questions were starting to hit meant my subconscious had been working on the issue without me realizing it.

So I kept making notes. Music played, coffee was had and, before I knew it, I had the bare threads of a plan. No, not an outline, but enough to let me know where the next book or two will go. It’s enough for me right now. I’ll finish up the basic notes today and then file them away. Next week, I’ll review the various projects I have waiting on my desk and pull together a more concise publishing schedule. For now, however, I am turning my attention to two things. The first is finishing up the special edition of Vengeance from Ashes. I am really excited about the additional material I’m adding to the original version. It doesn’t change the story but it does expand it. Once that is finished, I’ll pick back up with Victory from Ashes (and that title will change). I have the book drafted but set it aside for awhile. Now I can go back with fresh eyes and do a hard edit and rewrite what’s needed. In the meantime, I’ve been working on Light Magic, the next installment in the Eerie Side of the Tracks series..

For relaxation, I’ve been replaying the Dishonored games. I’ll admit, I owned Dishonored for probably a year before playing it the first time. My son recommended it. My initial hesitation about the game came from the stealth aspect. I’m not a big fan of games where stealth is the major component. So, the game sat on my hard drive until I needed something new to play. That’s when I realized it was so much more than a simple stealth game. This is my third play through of Dishonored and I’m enjoying it as much now as I did the first time.

When Dishonored 2 came out, I wasted no time buying it and playing it. I’m not sure the story was quite as compelling as the original, but I enjoyed being able to choose between Corvo (the playable character in the original game) and Emily (a grown-up version of an NPC in the original). The two characters had different powers and that helped give a different feel to the game depending on who you chose to play as.

The reason I’m replaying the games right now is because a third game, Dishonored: Death of the Insider, will be released next month. It takes another NPC from the first two games, Billie Lurke/Meagan Foster (sorry, spoiler there), and makes her the playable character. Also returning is Doud, the playable character from two of Dishonored’s dlc-s.

It is obvious, not only from the price of the game but from comments from the developers, that this isn’t a full-length game. However, it is supposedly more than a dlc campaign. We’ll see. I may regret paying full-price but the develops didn’t disappoint with the first two games, so I’m going to trust them this time.

Here’s a clip showing some of the gameplay.

I am looking forward to seeing if the game pans out. Now it’s time to get to work.

Later!

Dishonored 2 – Initial Impressions

I am a gamer. It is one way for me to blow off steam and to escape from the muse when she won’t leave me alone. One of the games I purchased based on a recommendation from my son was the original Dishonored. It took me a while to get into the game. Stealth games aren’t ones I usually do. I’m more of a kick down doors and shoot/stab everything in sight. But, once I finally sat down and got into the game, I found it to be every bit as great as my son had said. Since then I have replayed it several times, looking at the differences between the high chaos and low chaos gameplay/plot.

So, when Dishonored 2 Limited Edition – PlayStation 4 became available for pre-order, I didn’t hesitate. I placed my order and began to anxiously await the release date. That date is officially today but, because of the pre-order, I received my copy of the game yesterday.

Now, I ordered the physical copy instead of the digital download. Even so, as with so many games these days, there was still a huge download that had to be done before the game was playable. As I waited for the download to finish, I did a little research to see what the initial reactions to the game happened to be. (Note, even though the link above is for the PS4 version, I have the PC version.) What I found was that there were a number of PC users who were having problems with the game. Worried, I checked my stats against the minimum requirements and breathed a sigh of relief. Until others started saying they had rigs similar to mine but who were having problems with things like slow cursor movement, frame rate slowing to a crawl, etc.

But I wouldn’t panic. I kept reminding myself that this rig is less than a year old and has no problem playing any of my other games. Still, once the download was done and as I started the new game, I worried. I’ll even admit to holding my breath. Which might not have been a good thing since the load screen is longer than I anticipated. VBEG

From the beginning, it became clear that the devs wanted to make Dishonored 2 a good game. There is a tutorial with Corvo and Emily to reacquaint you with basic movement and combat controls. You can skip it if you want but I recommend you go through it because there are a few minor changes. Then you get into the story. I’m going to try to be spoiler-free, so I won’t comment too much on the story. I will say this, if you have not played the Doud DLCs for Dishonored, do so.

Also, it doesn’t matter which way you played Dishonored. Unlike Mass Effect, where you choices had an impact on the following games — except when it came to the end of ME3 — the devs and writers for Dishonored 2 have devised their own canon which appears to basically follow the low chaos version of the game. (At least, that is how is seems so far.)

For this first playthrough, I am playing as Emily. I am also trying to go low chaos — of course, that is hard to do in the first chapter, before she gets her powers. Besides, I can’t help being a bit pissed off for her. So if I killed a few of the bad guys, I felt they deserved it. (Okay, I’m a bloodthirsty bitch.)

I will admit that I’m having a hard time adjusting to the new voice actor for the Outsider. There was something sinister about the original Outsider’s voice that is missing in the new one. However, it isn’t more than a little distracting. I’m sure that by the time I’m further into the game, I’ll have adjusted to it.

The heart makes a return this time as well. It still helps you find bone charms, etc., and it still gives insight into your surroundings. But there is a twist where it is concerned. One that can be a bit creepy if you let yourself think about it, especially if you are playing as Emily. I won’t say anything more — yet.

As for having problems with the game on the tech side, I haven’t. At least not yet. Frame rate seems to be running steady. I will say, if your rig is at the low end of the recommended stats, you will need to do some tinkering with your settings. The game can be a resource hog. But it is well worth it. The visuals are stunning. The story, at least so far, is interesting and I can’t wait to finish the work day so I can get back to it.

I will say to take you time, even in the first chapter when you are doing your best to avoid the bad guys. Explore the area. As with the original game, there are multiple routes you can take to get to your destination. But, if you take the time to look around, to go into buildings, etc., you will get a more complete gaming experience and more of the holes in the backstory will be filled quicker.

Over all, after playing the game for a couple of hours, it is everything I had hoped for a more. I have to give it to Bethesda and Arkane Studios for not dropping the ball. Of course, they may do just that later in the game but I am more than optimistically hopeful that they haven’t.

One word of warning. If part of your pre-order includes the free soundtrack download from Amazon, there is apparently a problem on Amazon’s end. The email you should receive says to refer to the download code — except there is none. Some folks tried downloading it and wound up being charged. Amazon is aware of the problem and working to fix it. For those who were charged, they are refunding the payment and giving them the appropriate download code. I’m going to wait a couple of days and see if they have the problem fixed. I recommend everyone else do the same.

Now, time to get to work so I can get back to gaming sooner, rather than later.

I’m baaaack. . .

Maybe.

Yesterday was one of those days when, after too much stress, the mind and body simply got together and firmly said, “Nope, not gonna work, not gonna think, not gonna do anything.” It was one of those moments when I realized just how long it has been since I’ve had a real vacation — one where I don’t work, write or kill myself working around the house. I won’t go into the reasons behind my brain putting its foot down. Some of you know and, if you don’t, it isn’t anything of any real import now. It was just something that for a 24 hour period interrupted everything else going on and had me angrier than I have been in a very, very long time. That sort of anger is not only counter-productive but exhausting.

So I found myself yesterday unable to write or read for most of the day. Since daytime TV sucks eggs — it is ever worse that evening TV — I did some gaming. One of the things I did was play the demo for the new Doom. I was worried it wouldn’t live up to my memories of the original Doom, one of the first games I ever played on PC. The demo isn’t long, just the first mission of the game. But it was more than enough to show that the reviews I’ve seen aren’t lying. The game rocks.

If you are interested in trying out the demo, time is running out (if it hasn’t already). You can snag a copy from Steam or its equivalent if you are a console player. Try it out. I’d be interested in hearing what you think about it.

Since that didn’t take long (no more than an hour or so, if I remember correctly), I went back to playing Dishonored – PC. This is one of those games I both love and hate. I love it because it is challenging and there is no one “right” way to play the game. There are different paths you can take to reach your destination. You can choose to play a purely stealth game or you can go in gun and blade and powers blazing. The decisions you make impact how people respond to you and impacts the ending of the game.

I hate the game for much the same reasons. I tend to game to beat stress. Having to sneak around and kill as few enemy as possible is not good for lowering the stress level. In fact, at least for me, it raises it. But it is also a great mental game because you have to pay attention to everything going on around you. You need to look for patrol patterns, etc. and keep track of the number of kills you’ve made if you are working for a low chaos ending.

That also makes for replayability. That is a big consideration in my book. When you pay $50 or more for a game, I want more than a few hours of play time with little to no desire to replay the game. I am hoping when Dishonored 2 Limited Edition – PlayStation 4 comes out, it follows the same theme of your choices impacting the end of the game. I already like the fact you can choose to play the game as either Korvo or Emily and that they will have different powers and abilities. That was one of the things that made Assassin’s Creed Syndicate so much fun and gave it a replayability factor so many games don’t have.

Better yet, the gaming did give my brain enough time to process what had it demanding time off. By late afternoon, I was able to get a little bit of work done. Better yet, while I was gaming, the back brain had been working and it figured out why I was balking on the opening of the short story I’ve been working on. The story was drafted in very rough form but something just didn’t work and I couldn’t figure it out. Well, now I have and it won’t be that major a fix. Better yet, I should be able to get back on schedule in another day or two — assuming real life doesn’t blow up around me again.

Anyway, that was my day yesterday and the reason for no blogging. Now I need to get my butt in the desk chair and get to work. Back later. Have a great day!

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