Dishonored: Death of the Outsider, the standalone expansion/mini-sequel to Dishonored 2, unlocked on Steam late last night. As is Bethesda’s wont these days, we got our hands on it the same time as anyone else—which, when you’re dealing with the PC version of a follow-up to Dishonored 2 is a bit of a risky proposition.
If you held off buying a copy to avoid any disastrous technical woes, let me assuage those fears: Death of the Outsider runs fine, which is to say it runs as well as Dishonored 2 did post-fixes. That’s still not stunning performance, and indeed I’ve seen my mostly steady 70 or 80 frames per second dip into the high 40s and low 50s at times—most noticeable when I’ve spun the camera quickly or am gazing out over a large town square from high on a rooftop.
But for the most part it’s holding up okay on my GeForce GTX 980 Ti, with all settings on Ultra at 1080p. One caveat: There are a small but notable number of Steam reviews (and Steam forum threads) complaining that the game won’t even launch on their machine. It's hard to tell what’s causing that particular issue at the moment, but it is an issue. Be warned there's a slim chance you might buy a copy and find it doesn’t run at all on your machine. In response to those reviews, the developers say they're "working right now to fix [the issue] as soon as possible."
Provided you get it running though, you should as I said see Dishonored 2-circa-late-December-2016 levels of performance. Not too surprising.
As for the game itself? I’ll save most of my thoughts for a review next week—I can’t imagine this add-on will take me longer than a day. Hell, if I weren’t so obsessed with doing a no-kill, no-alarm run I might be done already. It definitely seems to be in the vein of a BioShock 2: Minerva’s Den or thereabouts, compressing the scale of a full game’s powers and abilities into a few hours.
I will say the level design has been fairly rote so far, as I head into the third mission. That’s a bit of a shame, coming off Dishonored 2’s Clockwork Mansion, plus that one time travel level, and so on. Death of the Outsider had a lofty bar to match, and I haven’t seen anything that approaches those heights yet. It’s a lot of the usual—soldier-filled streets, alternate paths through pseudo-Victorian apartments, some industrial areas, some docks. I'm not saying it’s bad, but it definitely feels a bit been-there-done-that. Hopefully the game picks up a bit as it approaches the end.
There is one wrinkle, which comes in the form of optional “Contracts,” or what are essentially side missions. In the first area for instance you’re asked by some nameless benefactor to destroy a bootlegging operation en route to your final goal. The payouts for completing these contracts are pretty decent, and factor directly into your “Score” at the end of the mission.
My only complaint is that you need to be a bit flexible to take on every contract. Some missions outright ask you to kill a target, which for obvious reasons doesn’t really mesh with a no-kill run. Given how good Dishonored usually is about supporting stealth and combat options I’m a bit surprised there are no alternate means of taking out these targets sans-murder.
Anyway I’ll save most of my thoughts for a review proper, as I said. I’m finding Billie Lurk’s/Meagan Foster’s story pretty fascinating—more than Corvo’s storyline in Dishonored 2, at the very least. Now to see how it all plays out.
And hey, at least it (for most people) runs.