Dishonored: The Brigmore Witches Review

The Brigmore Witches is a haunting end to the Dishonored story arc.

If The Knife of Dunwall downloadable content allowed us to step into the shoes of Daud, the assassin responsible for making Corvo's life such a mess in Dishonored proper, then The Brigmore Witches allows us to slip into his soul. There are witches here, yes, but this new chapter is just as much about a conflicted killer's path toward possible redemption. Arkane Studios sticks with its winning formula, delivering masterful moments of character growth and memorable settings that will make you relish this final trek through Dunwall.

If you're new to Dishonored's DLC, it's best that you know that The Brigmore Witches is officially a sequel to The Knife of Dunwall rather than a stand-alone addition, although fortunately you're free to skip the previous episode completely if you so wish. Completing The Knife of Dunwall brings its own benefits, though, such as the opportunity to hop in with all of your items and upgrades intact, which could yield a significantly different playthrough experience. While Daud receives a decent stash of cash to spend on upgrades and so-called favors between each chapter here, you'll still have an easier time attempting a full stealth playthrough if you've brought along the goodies from Knife.

However you approach it, you'll find that The Brigmore Witches strays much further into Dunwall's supernatural subculture than Corvo's comparatively mundane tale of revenge and political orchestration. It works in part because the switch emphasizes the ways in which Daud stands as the flip side to Corvo's coin, as it were, and Dishonored's narrative thus takes the duo down wildly different paths toward the final meeting.

Even the recycled map of Coldridge Prison in the first chapter stresses this theme of opposing directions: whereas Corvo escaped from Coldridge in Dishonored, here we find Daud sneaking into the compound through the same corridor Corvo took to escape. Daud's network of assassins helps distinguish his incursion even further through the availability of the aforementioned purchasable favors, which offer opportunities to waltz in through the front door while disguised as an Overseer, or sneak through a hole in the fence that an associate cut in advance.

And with that, Daud is free to determine which way his future will swing. The DLC sprinkles his path with numerous opportunities to atone for his crimes--he can intervene in the execution of one of the guards who let Corvo escape, for instance--although he could just as easily succumb to the temptation to kill 'em all. The key difference from The Knife of Dunwall is that Daud's spoken lines and interactions allow us to relate more with his struggle this time around, which marks a strong contrast with his cardboard characterization in the previous expansion. Indeed, in his best moments, he comes off as infinitely more interesting than Corvo.

After the tidy (or bloody) completion of Coldridge, Daud strikes out into new territory and finds himself wandering the shabby thoroughfares of Drapers Ward. In some ways, regrettably, the Drapers Ward sequence serves as a mere distraction from the final act, because Daud spends much of his time hunting down a necessary item that will get him to the last stage. Fortunately, Daud finds his path littered with run-ins with a dapper band of thugs called the Hatters and numerous opportunities to build up enough resources to handle the dreaded witches more effectively. All the while, passersby mumble intriguing snippets of Dunwall's lore, substantially enriching the game's already strong sense of verisimilitude.

But it's that final act that entrances the most--a nightmarish trek through a dilapidated (though hauntingly beautiful) mansion filled with shrieking hostile witches with powers that can make even a hardened man like Daud shudder. It's a testament to developer Arkane Studios that this strange journey into a stifling hell feels every bit as connected to the lore as your occasional encounters with the mysterious Outsider in Dishonored, and Daud's own unique powers feed into that same mix of magic and gritty dystopianism. There's his ability to call upon an extra assassin from the shadows that we saw in Knife, for instance, as well as a fun new ability called "pull" that (of course) pulls enemies toward Daud, whereupon he squeezes the life out of them. Even charms come in corrupted forms in keeping with the corruption of the titular witches, offering perks such as improved damage absorption at the cost of moving like a confident tortoise, although they're not so good that you'll feel compelled to switch out most of the normal ones.

Naturally it all culminates in the meeting with Corvo, and The Brigmore Witches wisely bases the outcome on whether you played Daud as a murderous beast or a furtive shadow who's had more than his fill of death. Alas, the handling of this meeting isn't fully satisfying. This may be Dunwall through Daud's eyes, but it's also very much Daud's world, which means that Corvo's ultimate actions depend on how Daud conducted himself in the two DLC campaigns. As for whatever decision you made with Corvo in Dishonored proper? That might as well have been another universe.

Dishonored: The Brigmore Witches may not mark a massive departure from Dishonored's appealing blend of stealth and stabbing despite the focus on a different character, but it introduces enough new elements to render its five or six hours of game time as alluring as Corvo's epic odyssey. Taken together with The Knife of Dunwall, The Brigmore Witches affords us a rare chance to see the other side of the story in gaming, with the result that you may briefly find yourself wondering who was in the right after all. This may be the end of Dunwall's story arc, but it's a fitting and quietly triumphant addition that adds true meaning to Corvo's tale rather than a few extra hours of playtime. This is DLC as it should be done.

'

The Good
New abilities provide variety over Corvo's campaign
Memorable new settings
Substantially better characterization for Daud
The witches are actually scary
The Bad
The final meeting doesn't fully satisfy
8
Great
About GameSpot's Reviews
Other Platform Reviews for Dishonored

About the Author

Leif Johnson is a prolific freelancer from Chicago who confuses people by speaking with an East Texas accent. Somehow a childhood of herding cattle and raising emus prepared him for researching medieval texts for several years, but these days he fills his free time by smashing bad guys with big swords. In RPGs, of course.

Discussion

58 comments
flax174
flax174

(POSSIBLE-SPOILER) great game and good dlc! i even loved dunwall city trials. But both high and low chaos endings are very similar to the main campaign just in terms of them slow paced still images with a voice over very superficial and unfulfilling endings. espcecially when you have paid £60 for the full game with dlc.

wizardboyus
wizardboyus

jeez fighting those witches is so intense! in dishonored, i liked fighting the assassins but the mansion section really showed off how innovative this game is. the way all the powers work together is great, like when a witch uses the pull power on you i was able to blink out and counter with other powers/gadgets. i was playin on the hardest difficulty (since games tend to be too easy these days) and i thoroughly enjoyed this dlc. i really love how there are these two completely different story threads, and the culmination at the end...oh man and that prologue was epic! 

all in all an amazing dlc, i'll be going back through knife of dunwall & brigmore witches for a second playthrough on low chaos....though it's soooo tempting to murder everyone XD

all future dlc's should look to brigmore witches and knife of dunwall as the new high standard....man and i was tryin to trick myself into thinkin that DMC dlc was good.,

evil_m3nace
evil_m3nace

Such a amazing DLC, played it on Elite and it was tough but not bullet sponge. Any other developer who makes DLC now, should hold this as the standard of which others should be compared to.

themc_7
themc_7

this game has 3 DLC, why not have a season pass?

Garm31
Garm31

Something about Dishonored I don't like, and I can quiet tell what it is. As a person who played the thief series in my youth. It just doesn't have that feeling of dread, knowing that if you get caught, your fucked. Maybe that's it?

ank000
ank000

An awesome game along with awesome soundtracks..

Looking forward to play this DLC , which is going to be awesome without a doubt.

Arkane I hope you've started making Dishonored 2. I can't even imagine how awesome it will be on Next Gen consoles.

Simplythebest12
Simplythebest12

ΕA is thinking of buying Arcane Studios...

I hope Dishonored 2 has a better AI....

kachal
kachal

SPOILER 

original Dishonored ending was great , first I expected a huge fight at the end , but I faced with some desperate drunk people  who regretted what they have done , that was really clever . And I am looking forward to play this one as well .

Darkhol0w
Darkhol0w

I really enjoyed this DLC story arc with Daud.

Since this is their final DLC I'm really looking forward to see if they will continue to develop a Dishonored 2 or perhaps Dark Messiah 2? Here's hoping. 

There are rumours that they are working on Prey 2, but I'll take that as well!

adward22
adward22

now thats more like it i played a free download in my jittaged xbox it was fun and awesome dlc from dishonored :)

ColdstoneX3
ColdstoneX3

I really have to say, i was impressed by the quality of the DLC, tbh for the value that you get with them, id be more willing to liken them to a full fledged expansion pack, good story, good gameplay and more of what made dishonored great. hope to see more such games from these people

lindallison
lindallison

Arkane is good people, they should go make Arx 2 now.

foxrock66
foxrock66

Patiently waiting for the GOTY edition or whatever with all the DLC included

iomor27
iomor27

I haven't played this DLC yet, but it's very encouraging to hear the great reviews. This game, overall, was just stellar.

slayerSS-3
slayerSS-3

the dlc was actually very good, looks like a full game on itself and it is pretty long.

If you put this dlc with the previus one you get like 8 hours of gameplay, the last dlc that was this good and long was artorias of the abyss of darksouls

robbiejones
robbiejones

I applaud arkane with releasing such great DLC...kudos

Evanduil
Evanduil

Arkane really did a great job with this game and it's DLC. It took me by surprise how engrossed and well done the game's atmosphere and lore is worked into the game's narrative and gameplay.

PostNothing
PostNothing

I hope they re-release the game in a "Game of the Year" edition or whatever, including all DLCs. 

wizardboyus
wizardboyus

@Garm31 it's actually a lot like thief, especially if you crank up the difficulty to hardest. i'm an old school gamer and was a big fan of thief, with the difficulty all the way up, there is a pretty big sense of dread, especially in this brigmore witches expansion when you start to fight forces that have similar powers as you. they are actually pretty scary, and the pc-esque save system makes it seem even more like thief as you can reload and try different routes/techniques as you learn the levels/layouts of enemies. i really do think dishonored has taken the genre to a whole new level...but i'm lookin forward to next-gen thief as it may trump dishonored..MAYBE

Zevvion
Zevvion

@Garm31 In Dishonored defense, that's kind of great though. Stealth games where you have to reload the last checkpoint if someone spots you are tedious as hell.

Garm31
Garm31

@Simplythebest12 Pretty soon EA will own it all, eliminating competition. Thank god for Valve. 

Zevvion
Zevvion

@kachal Also SPOILER, 

Depending on what you did, they won't be drunk and regretting their actions in the end. 

Jawad2007
Jawad2007

@foxrock66 I got the whole game with all dlc's without the last one for 13$ at steam sales and got the witchers for 9.9 , 13+9= 22$ I dont think GOTY gonna be less than 39$ if its not more !

erMonezza
erMonezza

@foxrock66 My thoughts exactly. I don't mind waiting a couple months more, for everything to be included.

cheers

max-hit
max-hit

@jonsono2 100%. They went back to fix the mistakes they made with that character or maybe it was just a coincident.

themc_7
themc_7

@evil_m3nace @themc_7 exactly. sell  DLCs as a bundle. I'm not gonna buy all individual DLCs for a total of 2,000 MS points, but I'd buy a bundle for say...1,500

Zevvion
Zevvion

@19James89 @ColdstoneX3 Games like these couldn't be made without some giant corporation backing them. That what you fear is also that what is needed. 

There are publishers out there who are extremely good I think. 2K is one such publisher. 

PostNothing
PostNothing

@marcheegsr @PostNothing Great! Thank you for letting me know and for the link.

VivaRevolucion
VivaRevolucion

@marcheegsr @PostNothing 

has there been any say about them releasing one with just DLC? No main game included, not in an ideal area to Download, or really be on the internet at all. So a hard copy of anything is just what I gotta do. 

Zevvion
Zevvion

@Geertvdheide Not true. DLC is something gamers wanted. 'Small expansions via download. Imagaine a prequel additional chapter to your game to set up the sequel'. I believe that was the official pitch, and people loved the sound of that. 

As you know, it didn't quite happen that way. But in recent years some devs have done it right. Mass Effect 2 had great DLC. Mass Effect 3's Citadel was the best DLC I've ever played so far. 

But yeah, overall devs are doing a poor job of making DLC worth the money and fair (fair in the sense that they hide the 'true ending' behind DLC). 

Expansions aren't always the answer though. Many people rather pay 10 bucks for something relatively short, but great than 30-40 bucks for a full on expansion that barely doubles original game time. 

themc_7
themc_7

@AMCope @Geertvdheide the GOTY edition sort of sucks because you have to wait a long time for it. At the end of the day it's just a business and they want your money. 

AMCope
AMCope

@Geertvdheide With a little patience most people can get a great deal by waiting for a GOTY edition. While I don't really like the idea of overpriced DLC for games I did buy the DLC for dishonored because it really did seem like a great deal. Not regretting it either.

Geertvdheide
Geertvdheide

@themc_7 @evil_m3nace The whole concept of DLC was never something gamers wanted. We were more than happy with the occasional expansion pack for a game. Those had a lot more to offer for less money, and it came bundled. But I guess the publishers know what we want better than we do, right?

Anyway, Dishonored does make the best of the DLC situation by at least offering decent quality. Still, a sizable expansion pack would have been preferable imo.

VivaRevolucion
VivaRevolucion

@marcheegsr @VivaRevolucion 

I mean a straight up DLC one, kind of like Skyrim's and RDR's expansions. Already got the main game of Dishonored. Just wondering if anyone heard or read anything for a hard copy of DLC only. 

Dishonored More Info

Follow
  • First Released
    • PC
    • PS3
    • Xbox 360
    Dishonored places players in the role an infamous assassin who was the once-trusted bodyguard of the beloved Empress until he was framed for murder. Using supernatural powers and deadly weapons, you must sneak, shoot, and stab your way through a dystopian city in order to depose a cruel tyrant.
    8.4
    Average User RatingOut of 4062 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Dishonored
    Developed by:
    Arkane Studios
    Published by:
    Bethesda Softworks
    Genres:
    Action, 3D, Open-World, Adventure
    Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
    Mature
    All Platforms
    Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, Strong Language