Game Pile: The Knife of Dunwall

Man, some of these reviews can be insubstantial. Alright, did you enjoy Dishonored? Did you like Daud? If you answered yes to both of these, congratulations, you probably want to get The Knife of Dunwall.

Dishonored’s level design was impressive, with its twelve or so maps spread out over huge, sprawling areas, full of half-way objectives and partially completed needs. Sometimes you’d be playing out a map and identify your need to do thing X to get to Y to get to Z, all without being told – more or less – to do it. Even then, people complained that Dishonored was short, since its missions could be overcome in as little as four or five hours if you were really booking it and taking the Murder McStabby path of the game. I did not, in fact, take Murder McStabby – and even I found the core game of Dishonored vaporised in about ten hours. Ten amazing, glorious, fun, rewarding hours, mind you!

I tell you this because The Knife of Dunwall has four levels, and if you’re trying to speedrun it, I think you can probably pull off the whole thing in maybe twenty minutes. They’re short, it’s fast, and if you’re interested in finishing the plot, quickly, you will … well, you won’t get your fifteen dollars’ worth.

On the other hand, if your idea of Dishonored is to take your time, to be a ghost, to never kill and to, as Laurel-Li says, Choke Arse, then you’ll find hours of fun in this game, easily enough to be worth a few replays and reattempts.

The narrative isn’t particularly deep, and in four missions you don’t have a lot of time to establish appreciation or fondness for characters, but they get by. I was impressed with how Dishonored did such a good job, Leverage-like, of making sure you disliked your targets when you met them. They were corrupt churchmen, cruel dictators, snooty aristocrats and the obliviously evil, and they were usually shown as such in their establishing shots. The same is true here in Knife, but in Knife there’s a character you’re probably meant to like, and it hurts the game that the writers clearly aren’t as good at establishing positive character with the ease and familiarity with which they establish negative character.

Verdict

Buy it if:

  • You liked Dishonored for its slow pace and puzzley levels.

Avoid it if:

  • You’re tight on money.
  • You’re more direct and found Dishonored short.

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