Tuesday, November 14, 2017

We didn't need the details

Dishonored 1 and 2 do not explain who or what the outsider is. He just shows up and offers the player a devil's bargain: power at a price. He is more prevalent is the second game as more characters than just Corvo have his mark, but still, there is no back story, no history. Death of the Outsider fills in the gaps but I do not think that the outsider character is any better for it or even deserved the effort.

The outsider's purpose in Dishonored was simple: give Corvo cool powers and then tempt him to use them for evil. He is literally the devil. And that worked. The devil's back story is pretty well know (rebelled against God, recruited angels and went to war, got his ass kicked and was tossed out of heaven) so the outsider didn't get any, and that was fine. He was, at best, evil-ish.

Now? Eh, I suppose I should put up a spoiler warning.

The outsider has a tragic back story. *yawn*

A long, long time ago, when he was human, he was kidnapped and murdered by a cult investigating the void. The blade they used to kill him turned him into the outsider, essentially the god of the void, and in the process he lost his name (which was important for some reason). For thousands of years he has reached out from the void, offering power to those he deemed required it, and then dragging them to the void when they die.

So not evil. Not even that bad. It was people who were the problem as they used the powers he gave them for evil. The outsider is a benevolent arms dealer, if there is such a thing. This made the character even less interesting than he was in the first place. Instead of a cliched stand in for Satan he was a cliched tragic nemesis who wasn't actually bad, just misunderstood.

Given the option I save him (by returning his name, again, I do not understand the significance) or kill I chose to save him. There was no boss fight, no final confrontation. Billie meets Doud, her mentor who died in the third chapter, and convinces him that the outsider deserves forgiveness (even though he never really did anything wrong) because he once forgave her for betraying him. It was boring.


Of the five levels only the third, the bank heist, felt like a good, open, Dishonored level. There were three or four different ways into the bank, valid stealth and combat approaches once inside, safes to open, clockwork soldiers to avoid, everything good about the best parts of the first two games. I drugged the entire building by dropping chemicals in the ventilation system and tried to be stealthy until I had to wake up one person to open a door. He had to die because I couldn't figure out what else to do. There was also the option to pay through the game a second time with powers from Dishonored 2. Tempting, but not worth it. Much like dealing with the outsider in the first place.

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