The Brigmore Witches DLC may directly carry on from the previously released Knife Of Dunwall DLC, though there’s no need to worry if you haven’t played that as the gaps are filled in as you progress. This DLC feels different in tone to the core Dishonored game, even though the mechanics are the same. You see, with The Brigmore Witches, Arkane Studios have managed to offer a new enemy that you don’t always want to encounter.
The story follows Daud the Assassin, who you might remember as being responsible for the fate of the Empress in the main story, and it occurs parallel to Corvo’s tale, with references scattered throughout. However, Daud’s tale is just as important to the fate of the Empire and adds a new piece of lore to the world of Dishonored.
There are four main areas you’ll get to explore as Daud, ranging from his base, to Coleridge Prison, Draper’s Ward, and finally The Brigmore Manor. You’ll only spend a brief time in Daud’s base where you’re able to catch up on the events that happened prior to Brigmore, with the real meat of the action occurring in Draper’s Ward, though the other two areas also offer their own challenges.
Draper’s Ward doesn’t just act as build up to the final section of the DLC episode, but also adds to the lore of the game. Here you’ll encounter the warring street gangs named the Dead Eels and the Hatters, with many of your subsequent missions involving these two factions.
The missions themselves range from assassinations to fetch quests, leading you to explore the sewers and rooftops to find your own routes to your goals. Before a mission starts you can upgrade your items, buy new items and, due to Daud’s knowledge, buy favours. These can include the location of item caches, or information that will help to tackle an area. The favours are a nice addition, helping give a tactical advantage during encounters.
As I mentioned before, much of the core gameplay elements are the same as the main Dishonored title, with Daud having access to abilities such as Blink and Dark Void, though he also is equipped with different powers such as summoning Assassins. Runes and Bone Charms also return, scattered around levels, allowing you to equip different skills and upgrade abilities, which you’ll need to do if you want to stand a chance against the titular witches.
They’re headed by Delilah, who is working on a mysterious project that could bring the Empire down to its knees during this tumultuous period. Daud has learned that there is a threat and sets off to neutralise her, with the journey up to Brigmore Manor having you either flexing your muscles, or sneaking around. In Coleridge and Draper’s Ward this makes you feel powerful, but the Manor manages to achieve something that the other areas don’t: it makes you feel a sense of dread.
The witches aren’t your usual thugs that can be taken down with a few swipes of the sword – they’re much more powerful and if you’re caught by a group of them then the best thing to do is not to fight, but to run and hide. The witches have powers ranging from teleportation to summoning dead dogs, which will keep coming to life unless you destroy their skulls. The first time you hear one of those things howl sends a shiver up your spine.
While the atmosphere is brilliant, especially in Brigmore Manor, there were a couple of moments in the episode that managed to break immersion. First of all there was a visual glitch when I hid a body in a dumpster, where the head stuck out through the lid and moved about, and the second bug was when I went through a mission killing guards, completed the mission and found the exact same guards back in position like nothing had happened. These only occurred once, but still managed to break the immersion.
Another moment occurred with the AI during the Brigmore Manor segment. The place is full of traps set by the witches, but I watched one just stroll right into one – that took away some of the dread that the witches had instilled in me.
- Daud’s story is excellent.
- The Brigmore Witches are a great challenge.
- The gameplay remains top notch.
- Immersion is broken by glitches and buggy AI.
Overall, The Brigmore Witches DLC is a great addition to Dishonored. The new enemies provide formidable opposition that keep you on your toes, and the gameplay is Dishonored to its very core. If it hadn’t been for the few glitches this would have been near perfect. Priced at £7.99 on PS3/PC, and 800 MSP on Xbox Live you do get your money’s worth, with Brigmore providing a decent chunk of story.