Daud is one of the more memorable antagonists in recent memory. His confrontations with Corvo made for some excellent exchanges in Dishonored, but also presented a lot of questions about his character.
In the Knife of Dunwall, we get to learn more about the Daud character; his motivations and aspirations, but most importantly for context of the story, the consequences of his actions.
Once again voiced by Michael Madsen, Daud offers unique perspective on the cloak/dagger steampunk world of Dishonored. Unlike Corvo, Daud is far from a mute. From the very beginning, we learn a lot about his tactics, and the cruel intentions that run through his mind.
However, something we only caught hints and traces of in Dishonored, we learn more about the remorse burning away inside Daud. He regrets some of his actions and from the opening sequence onward, they have fundamentally changed him.
Knife of Dunwall’s beginning almost mirrors Dishonored, only we observe it through the eyes of Daud. He executes the Empress in cold blood and we are perversly forced to watch her bleed out and die from his perspective. However, the constrast between stories is significant. Rather than seeing the protagonist rot out in a dungeon cell from an accusation, Daud begins to feel the weight of guilt. He quickly comes to question his actions and the events that have been set in motion because of them.
It’s from this point that The Outsider approaches and puts him on a quest for redemption.
This is just one of the many differences The Knife of Dunwall offers. Inherantly, the game plays the same way. Daud can Blink between locations, creep in the shadows and knife an enemy from behind and assign Runes and Bone Charms to enhance and enable abilities.
Daud has several new abilities, some of which are variations on a current theme, others are completely new. For instance, Daud can summon a group of assassins to fight for him. His version of Blink also differs from Corvo’s and can actually slow down time.
Daud also has new gadgets, such as Choke Gas and Arc Mines. Arc Mines can attach themselves to enemies, obliterating them into ashes. Meanwhile Choke Gas is disorientating and will temporarily daze foes.
Despite the changes, Daud and Corvo play almost exactly the same way. Daud’s narrative accompaniment definitely help carve out a distinct identity, but from a gameplay perspective these assassins are pretty much the same. Daud gets slightly more elevation on his jumps and seems a tad more resistant to punishment, but on the whole there’s not much of a difference.
The DLC even introduces a new ‘favours’ system. In-between missions, players are presented with a shop screen where they can increase capacity of ammunition, improve the range of weapons, but also accuracy and capability.
Attached to this is a favours tab which allows players to spend money and have assassins assist Daud in the mission. Pay a fee and they’ll leave Runes nearby. They’ll also write safe combinations down in secluded areas and even place destructive material near hordes of enemies, making it easy to wipe out a whole group in one swift motion.
The Favours system works perfectly in the Dishonored world and really does change the way a mission plays out.
There are also new enemies to fight against here, and the opening mission has a real Diablo esque feel to it as you creep and kill through a graphic slaughterhouse, fighting against spinsaw wielding goons, as well as henchmen with ill-intent.
The Knife of Dunwall offers three big missions for players to wade through, each one with a main target at the end of it. As with Dishonored, players can choose how they want to neutralise their target. In one mission, you can stash away the criminal in a crate, keep electrocuting him in a torture chair, or simply stab him through the neck.
The final mission, however, will play out depending on Daud’s Chaos level. This will certainly cause people to play the DLC in different ways and does encourage multiple playthroughs.
On the whole, Knife of Dunwall handles exceedingly well. It has an engaging narrative, there are lots of secrets to find, it expands the world even further and there are opportunities for multiple playthroughs. It’s also the first of a two part DLC, so we have more content to be excited about. The Brigmore Witches will conclude Daud’s story and releases later in the year.
- Engaging narrative
- Exciting new abilities
- Varied enough for multiple playthroughs
- Could be slightly longer
- Corvo and Daud almost play too similarly. Should have been slightly more differentiation
Rating: 4.5 /5
An astonishing achievement. Great value for money and interesting narrative twists and turns. A fine example of DLC done right.