Dishonored was one of the nice surprises this year. It’s a new franchise and it has some really nice fluid, dynamic gameplay. One of the disservices to the title though was its single player. The levels could be long, they’re always tied to the story, and you were never quite sure how you were affecting your chaos rating. So while the gameplay was ripe for replayability, it wasn’t always ripe to be played. The first piece of downloadable content for Dishonored aims to rectify that.
Dunwall City Trials is a collection of four different types of challenges that capitalize on the replayability nature of the gameplay in Dishonored. The first type is stealth. One of the more interesting missions in this mode has you sneaking around and collecting clues as to who your assassination target is and then killing them. The cool thing here is that the target is always random and you can try to assassinate them at anytime. Of course, if you get it wrong, you have to start over but it makes it more than sneaking. You have to observe. See who fits the clues and take out the target. The next type is combat. This main challenge is obvious, waved content. One of the more unique ones harkens back to Duck Hunt with trains launchings whale oil at you that you have to shoot. Different colored ones can have different affects. The biggest difference is that in Duck Hunt the ducks didn’t kill you, the whale oil can and will. The third type is puzzle. The collection here makes you think. You’ll be presented with a goal and have to try to attain it. For example, you’ll see a room with a dozen people in it and you’ll have only a couple seconds to kill them all. You have to see what the game has given you as well as the environment to figure out how you can pull that off. It’s really neat application of the gameplay that’s not always readily apparent. And finally the last type is mobility. One of the challenges in this one almost feels like Mirror’s Edge. It’s a race to the end with the use of agility and blink. There are several ways to get to the end. It has everything that made Dishonored great but in a purely race scenario.
Each of the 10 challenges score you at the conclusion and you’re given a star rating out of three. If you attain at least two stars, you can unlock an Expert version of some of them. These versions add some additional kinks into the challenge to up the ante and they all have their own leaderboards. The biggest issue with this content is in the rating system though. So while it is nice to take into account health and mana in some modes like combat, other ones like a race one it might not make so much sense. Therefore if you look to see what time you have to beat, you will only see a score. The factoring at the end does not indicate how it is factored so you can’t even back calculate. This can pose a problem for those who want to see how others did in comparison to them. The other issue is that it would’ve been nice to be able to watch ghost playthroughs of the top players or even yourself. To see how others did the challenges as well as scrutinize your own technique. But that would be major icing on the cake. Overall, the addition of leaderboards and the challenges finally help the gameplay shine in the competitive arena.
So while this downloadable content doesn’t continue the story, it packages the gameplay in fun replayable scenarios which the main game screamed for but lacked. The leaderboards show how competitive you are on the challenges. And while the developers may not like it, there aren’t that many people out there yet which means even if you have no friends, you can feel like you’re truly competing for the top. Other games where may place in the tens of thousands. Here you’ll be placed in the hundreds. Run it a couple times and you’ll be in the low hundreds. Do better and you may even be challenging for the top. That’s something this content can provide that feels refreshing. Dunwall City Trials is a great piece of content for those who want more Dishonored and at the price of only $5, it’s definitely nice on the pocketbook.