Dishonored: The Brigmore Witches is the second of Dishonored‘s two story-focused DLCs, starting off where The Knife of Dunwall ended and completing the story of Daud and Delilah. As with Knife, Brigmore runs parallel to the main game’s story, leading up to the inexorable confrontation between Daud and Corvo.
An absence of Billie
Billie Lurk is missing from this half of the story for reasons that are obvious if you’ve finished The Knife of Dunwall, and her absence is one of several reasons why I feel that The Brigmore Witches is the weaker DLC of the two. While you have assassins who show up and help out every so often, they’re generic and lacking individual personalities to such a degree that you never get attached to them.
Eavesdropping and repetition
When you’re hovering over an unaware group of enemies, sometimes you’ll hear them talking about something interesting. This was true of Dishonored and The Knife of Dunwall, as well, and there are some great moments you can overhear, but there’s also some incredibly generic question-and-answer stuff that will end up driving you crazy. It goes like this: someone asks a question, and someone else responds with a cut-and-pasted “indeed, I believe so” or equally-generic “no” response. This never really becomes irritating until the last level when you’re dealing with conversations between witches; it’s suddenly incredibly game-y to hear one witch ask if the other is going to watch Delilah paint, only to have the other respond with an obviously-random, “Please, I’m sick of hearing about it.”
The locations are less memorable
The Knife of Dunwall had some great locations. Nothing quite as memorable as the Boyle household in the main game, mind you, but you got to see a whale, jump around a small city area reminiscent of the main game, and revisit Daud’s base. The locations in The Brigmore Witches, on the other hand, are lacking in many ways. While the first mission sends you back inside Coldridge Prison and is great fun, the second and third missions feel lacking in comparison.
Everything is locked
The second mission is a city area, but it feels very empty, and a problem that the DLC in general faces becomes readily apparent: locked doors are everywhere. It starts to feel like a chore finding the keys to doors, and while there’s always another way around them, the locked doors seem less like something organic to the world than an obvious roadblock to pad things out a bit and force you in another direction. That aside, the second mission at least has an interesting sewer section that’s worthwhile.
The third mission, however, is a mess of locked doors and uncomfortable gameplay moments. While the final confrontation feels very true to the original game, the level leading up to it is a labyrinthine mess of locked doors and strange new gameplay additions that feel shoehorned in at the end. For example, there are undead hounds who will come back to life unless you crush their skulls after beating them. Throwing in something new at the very end like that just feels sloppy, honestly.
Speaking of new gameplay additions…
While basically everything is the same as it was in Knife of Dunwall, from arc mines/stun mines to chokedust and the ability to summon assassins, they’ve added “corrupted bone charms” to the mix. Where normal bone charms offer you a certain kind of small benefit (like carrying bodies faster or increased movement speed), corrupted bone charms require something in return. For example, one increases Daud’s movement speed, but it also increases the damage he takes. While this is interesting in theory, there’s one corrupted charm so overpowered that it basically breaks the entire game.
I’m speaking, of course, about the “statuesque” charm (which is pictured in the screenshots). This charm makes you invisible to enemies outside of combat so long as you don’t move, at the cost of your mana not regenerating. If you think about it, that’s not really that big of a trade-off. I found that stealth from then on was as easy as wearing the charm, hitting my blade against something to lure in an enemy, then running up and choking them out when they walk away. Had I not been playing stealthily, it would have been even easier. Being able to stand right in front of enemies and shoot them one by one with sleep darts (or something more lethal) completely unbalances the game.
Chaos still affects the ending
You never actually get to fight the real Corvo (though there’s a dream sequence where you fight him), with the result of your confrontation determined by your overall chaos level. Same as always, playing stealthily will net you the good “low chaos” ending while being more destructive will net you the less fulfilling ending.
Visually: a little good, a little bad
Same as the base game and The Knife of Dunwall, the graphics are vaguely cartoony and exaggerated, though the witches do look particularly dark and menacing (and a bit like Poison Ivy from Rocksteady’s Batman games). The locations are a little bland, though the last level, for all its flaws, does have a really good atmosphere to it that the graphics help drive home.
There’s still no memorable music
I couldn’t recall any music in the game after finishing, just like the base game and The Knife of Dunwall. Music ranges from atmospheric to barely-there, and it really won’t make an impression on you. Still, it works for what it is.
Here’s what you should do: