Dunwall City Trials


One game many gamers were looking forward to this year was the new first-person steam punk-style release Dishonored.  It was accepted with open arms at events like PAX Prime in Seattle, and many were wondering if it would hold up to the hype on release day. It was an instant success, and many were wondering what would come next for Dishonored.  Rumors and announcements spread of two potential DLCs, one of which consisted of challenge modes, and another that would extend the story. Last week, Bethesda released the first of the DLC packs for Dishonored Dunwall City Trials.

Dishonored Dunwall City Trials has one goal in mind: to create a fun, competitive experience that will pass the time, and it is safe to say that they just barely accomplished their goal. Beyond this, the DLC has nothing more to offer.  After the DLC is loaded, players will notice that there are three key selections to choose from.  First are the challenges, second are the leader boards (which rank players among their friends and worldwide players), and third is the art gallery.  So let’s break these down and dive a little deeper into what these challenges and galleries are.

To begin, Dishonored Dunwall City Trials offers four separate styles of challenges, the first being for stealth. Simply put, in stealth challenges, it is your goal to either hunt down clues of an assailant that must be put to rest or sneak your way through mansions that are littered with trinkets and valuables that you must steal while unseen.  Speed and secrecy are very important, and the faster you travel while hidden, the more points you rack up. These are fun and usually take the longest of all of the challenges.

Survival/accuracy challenges are difficult from the get-go, and in my opinion, the most difficult of all of the trials. You are forced to not only survive an onslaught of barrels or characters, but must be accurate with any and all weapons that are thrown into their hands.  These challenges are usually quick and grow exponentially harder as the rounds press on.

Critical thinking challenges are by far the most fun and innovative of the Dishonored Dunwall City Trials experience.  The goal set forth is to simply kill as many characters as possible with the surrounding environment and tools you are given. This does not mean just rush in and kill as quickly as possible; this means using everything at your disposal – correctly – to dispatch of your foes.  These require a high level of consideration before any action is taken, and because of this, it is the most thrilling of the challenges.

The final challenge type is mobility. As would be expected by the title, these challenges focus solely on your speed as a player.  Reach point A and then B as fast as you can, sometimes while achieving small goals along the way – the typical speed challenges of who is the fastest.

During each of challenge in Dishonored Dunwall City Trials, you will earn points, and these will unlock stars and artwork in the gallery.  Each challenge will have three stars available, and after two total stars are earned, Expert mode is unlocked. In the simplest terms, Expert mode is for those who have fine-tuned their play style and can easily three-star every Normal mode challenge.  They are not for the faint of heart, and I found myself struggling just to scrape enough points by to pass the challenge. As they say, “practice makes perfect,” and yet, is the end goal worth it?  Many players will soon realize that Dishonored Dunwall City Trials has a point cap of 57580.  Therefore, after a player slaves away to achieve the perfect score, they will soon realize they are merely going to tie with every other player at the top of the leader board, and that seems to take away some of the competitive spirit this DLC was focusing on.  As for the artwork, I have to say this is solely for the completionist or die-hard Dishonored fans.  There are a total forty four pieces of art that can be collected and are only unlocked by achieving a certain point or star value.

Beyond the Dishonored Dunwall City Trials and challenges themselves, you will be greeted by a stunning and abstract environment.  Each trial is set as if it were in dream: buildings upside down, clocks that are suspended in time and air, and castles that seem to just float in the distance.  Bethesda took the dreamscape that they had created, and expanded upon it in this first DLC;,making a very diverse and stellar experience for players, but environments do not solely make a DLC great.

So is Dishonored Dunwall City Trials a DLC pack the average gamer should drop 400 MSP or five real dollars on?  Honestly, no. Dishonored Dunwall City Trials: it has some amazing environments, and the addition of the critical thinking trials and how they are played is a fun and innovative experience. Beyond this, the DLC is nothing more than something to pass the time when you have a good half hour or so of free time.  Most gamers will not want to compete worldwide, and even if they do, they will soon realize that with the point cap, their hard work will only lead them to one giant tie.  In the end, if you have another game you want to play, I recommend tackling that first and then coming back to Dunwall City Trials when you have nothing else to play.