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Dishonored: Death of the Outsider’s new abilities turn it into a violent strategy game

Dishonored: Death of the Outsider

Billie Lurk is the star attraction of Dishonored’s upcoming Death of the Outsider DLC. So ditch your crush on the expansion’s titular edgelord and ready your blade; the equally well-dressed and probably as deadly Lurk should be your new obsession. You won’t be sparing many lives in this latest adventure through Karnaca, either. That’s not because Lurk is in any way tough to play stealthily, but rather because she’s so much fun to play loud, brash, and a little bit stupidly.

Thinking about buying Dishonored 2? Before you do, check out if you’d rather play as Emily or Corvo.

Lurk’s Displace ability is key to this, a movement ability with a devious twist that makes picking off guards a breeze. Unlike Corvo’s Blink or Emily’s Far Reach movement powers, Displace does far more than close large distances in an instant, it lets you choose whether to warp to a point or leave a spawner that you can return to in an instant. Of course, that initial placement phase means it takes a lot longer to scale buildings with Displace than it does with Corvo’s Blink, but being able to zip to a rooftop and back into obscurity after setting fire to an elite guard and gutting his mate never gets old. Much like those dead guards.

Dishonored: Death of the Outsider

It’s also an ability that’s spectacularly easy to get wrong, leading to memorable results as you spawn directly in front of a group of enemies rather than behind them as you had planned. Use it during combat as you would Corvo’s Blink and things get more comical as you drop a perfectly positioned spawn point only to forget to actually jump to it, leaving you flailing at the bottom of a wall as a group of baddies encircle you.

When you do use it properly it’s a thing of beauty, letting you assassinate a single target and phase back to safety. And while omnipotence is a hoot, it pales in comparison to omniscience, which is what Lurk’s Foresight ability gives you. This power lets you pause the action and scout ahead for enemies with total camera freedom – tag key enemies, people you’re following, and even in-the-way civvies. Foresight even lets you see each enemy’s cone of vision, letting you plan Displace moves with absolute accuracy.

Dishonored: Death of the Outsider

Billie Lurk’s abilities feel refreshing and liberating, even if they’re tricky to execute as intended. She’s fun to murder with, but she’s even more fun to experiment with, despite that occasionally leading to tactical missteps and catastrophic assassination attempts.

Another highlight of my all-too-brief hands-on time with Death of the Outsider was the new Contracts feature. Effectively bonus objectives, Contracts give you some additional targets to execute on your way to the major players. What sets these apart from standard kills is the range of conditions that need to be met in order for you to receive your stipend.

For example, one contract asks me to kill a troublesome performer near a local suicide hotspot. So, naturally, you have to make it look like an accident. I paid absolutely no attention to that last bit however, warping in and executing the poor chap before picking his body up and lobbing it off a cliff – having three witnesses somewhat breaks the illusion of it being an accident, so I failed the contract.

Dishonored: Death of the Outsider

Another contract tasks me with tailing a target, in the hope that they reveal whose employ they’re under, and then killing both of them. Keeping up with the target isn’t the hard bit, it’s avoiding the pockets of guards and workers along the way that raise her alarm. A combination of Foresight and Displace are especially effective here, allowing you to scout out either your next few seconds of play, or the bulk of the journey. With all the guards marked out, Displace is even more effective, letting you place spawn points ready for when a guard turns, or to retreat to safety should they change up their routine patrol route.

Eventually, the target sits down on a bench next to a man and starts chatting to him about her exploits, leaving me to simply swoop in and stab them both up. Immediately, I’m killed by two nearby guards I failed to register. A second attempt goes awry too, with me managing to kill both targets and the two guards just in time for an additional patrol to finish me off. Third time’s the proverbial charm, and all because I remember to leave a Displace over an awning, which allows me to kill everyone in the immediate radius, before escaping to the awning and then onto a rooftop.

Dishonored: Death of the Outsider

Lurk’s abilities encourage you to play more adventurously than before, and managing to execute painstakingly thought-out plans with her is a constant pleasure. The fact that she boasts a glut of wrist-mounted firearms and supernatural tricks to bust out of the bag when things don’t follow the programme only adds to the appeal, giving cause to mess things up every now and again. Lurk exemplifies Dishonored 2’s gameplay, letting you be as creative and stealthy as you want, but not punishing you for spreading some chaos along the way.

Death of the Outsider releases on on September 15, 2017.