Evasion of the bodysnatcher in Dishonored: Death Of The Outsider


Here you will find the curious case of the politician who broke his neck then went for a nice walk as if nothing had happened.

I’ll be along early next week with full thoughts in our Dishonored: Death Of The Outsider review [official site], but seeing as it’s out right now I want to bend your ear about the most interesting of its new sneak-o-magicky powers: the ability to temporarily assume of the appearance of almost any other character in the game. ‘Semblance’, as it’s called, puts a little Hitman into Dishonored’s whalepunk fantasy – only instead of borrowing someone’s clothes, you take their face. It’s a new tool in the series’ stealth armoury, but more importantly it’s another gonzo way of solving problems.

Semblance works like this: you sneak up on someone, and rather than killing or choking them, activate the power, which does something horrific involving converting their face into some kind of magical tar, and then your entire appearance into theirs. You can maintain the disguise indefinitely so long as you stand still and don’t do anything threatening or unusual, but start moving and your magical Energy drains as rapidly as Friday night’s first beer. Once your energy hits nada, you revert to your usual appearance – and woe betide you if that happens while anyone else is watching.

Basically, you’ve got about ten seconds of movement before the jig’s up, and on top of that you can only steal each face once, so no returning to your snoozing victim and pulling another catfish – you’ll need to find someone else. So, Semblance is a fundamentally different prospect to Hitman’s clothes theft despite the similarities – each time you pull an Arya Stark, think of it as a single shot at getting into or out of somewhere.

I suspect I’m going to uncover a ton of alternatives ways to use the power as I play on, but for now the below scenario has been the clear highlight.


What I’m trying to do is rummage through a politician’s office in order to find information on whether or not he’s part of a creepy death cult that’s been putting the frighteners on everyone in town, but inevitably the guy has the only key. And unfortunately for me, he’s spending his day practicing an upcoming (and creepy) speech on a stage in a town square, watched by a half dozen guards all the while. Getting him alone is impossible, and even if I identified a certain split second in which I could snag the key unobserved, getting back out again is a whole new headache.

Unless I take his face too. I call this one The Prestige. (If you’ve seen the film/read the book, you’ll know why; if you haven’t I’m not telling):

What I like about this:

1) SURPRISE TRAP DOOR ATTACK! (Also, as this isn’t obvious from the video, I had to run underneath him as he fell to make sure he landed on soft-ish sacks rather than a hard stone floor – that way he’s unconscious rather than dead. You can’t steal the face of a dead person in Death of the Outsider, because reasons).
2) he’s unconscious before I ever reach him, so no key theft risks here
3) As far as the onlookers are concerned, their boss took a comic-but-deadly tumble into a gloomy basement, then just strolled right on out of there like nothing had ever happened. They say politicians will never admit to a mistake, and this takes that to a chucklesome extreme.

What I don’t like about this:

1) tragically, the game’s dialogue is not reactive enough to the situation. I’d have loved an “er, you OK boss? Boss?” line or two in here. But so it goes.

I’m a few hours into Death Of The Outsider, and so far I’m digging it more than I did Dishonored 2 itself – as well as the use and abuse of body-snatching, it’s got a more interesting amoral and murky tone, a more nuanced protagonist and the missions to date feel a little bit more like playgrounds, where D2’s sometimes could feel like work. Also I really dislike The Outsider as a character, so I’m praying the game makes good on its title.

But we’ll see how it all shakes out later, which I’ll tell you all about that early next week.

Dishonored: Death of the Outsider is available now for Windows, and is available via Steam for £19.99.


  1. baqueta says:

    Really been looking forward to this one. It sounds like it will be the send-off for the Dishono(u)red series, and while I’m sad we won’t see more, I’m glad they have been given the opportunity to do something of a conclusion.

  2. wombat191 says:

    in Dishonoured 2 I found the first play through work but the NG+ was great fun mixing and matching powers

  3. Crusoe says:

    Alec. Semblance is more reactive than you might think. In just a couple of hours I’ve had guards salute me when disguised as an officer, and even had an NPC start talking to me as I strolled past disguised as their friend-gone-missing.

    That’s all I’ve noticed so far though, and yeah lines for the target would’ve been great.

  4. renner says:

    I can appreciate The Outsider’s role as a spooky G-man/Devil meta being, but he’s just such a wiener in practice. Of all the characters in Dishonored, why did he end up with the most boring and generic design/voice actor?

  5. Banks says:

    I recently gave Dishonored 2 another opportunity and absolutely loved it. It’s everything I wanted the original to be: bigger and better level design, many more tools and options, a more engaging stealth and non lethal playstyle, better pacing, better missions…

    I couldn’t love the first but I adore this one. Dishonored 2 is probably the best Looking Glass style game there is.

    I am absolutely getting this one now. Lurk’s abilities seem really interesting.

    • wombat191 says:

      Same, I was stunned when i played D2 a second time and accidentally discovered you can alter the time line haha

  6. Peppergomez says:

    I must be one of the only ones who doesn’t like the way this game handles. Movement and combat just don’t feel hefty or right. It kind of reminds me of Bioshock Infinite in terms of how floaty and underwhelming both movement and combat feel, for a first-person perspective game.

    • Baseplate says:

      I feel the same. I’ve tried numerous changes to the settings, Vsync on/off, configuration file tweaks, etc., and it just feels sluggish. I’m getting 60 FPS with a 1080 but it still doesn’t feel right.

      Gonna chalk it up to the Rage engine (ID Tech 5) Arkane chose to use. I drool when I think of how it would have turned out if they used ID Tech 6, the same as DOOM.

      It’s been a while since I tried it though. Has the performance improved with patches in the last few months?

      • Daymare says:

        It has for me (2500k, 970), but that was already about 1-2 months after release, when they fixed cursor speed being tied to FPS. Frames also became much more stable after that.

        I adored DH2, but I also loved nuDOOM’s demon-infested cyberheart to bleeding giblets.

        Very happy that there’s more of the former. Hope there’ll be story DLC for the latter.

  7. Chris S says:

    It feels floaty, but everything feels smaller than the first one – as in minituarised.

    I’m not sure what causes it. If you play D1 again it is quite noticeable. It must be how the characters are scaled relative to the environment.

    I think D2 is on the way out as an infiltration game, and they’ve signalled that with this expansion. It’s clearly driven to close range encounters and power use to blow your way through them.

    It’s very dissapointing, and must be a reaction to the sales. I don’t think we’ll see a similar title anytime soon.

    Shame they stuffed up the technical execution, as that hurt them.

    The 2nd level is great, nice use of height, but it’s more of a hub for the indoor missions.

    The bank would have been good, but they put an option to let you gas everyone unconscious. Which is bizarre as the mission has no challenge when you do that. Looking at the setup of the mission itself, it appears again to encourage chaos power use, with the tight corridors etc.

    After that the retread of Royal Observatory was lazy, and the last mission was crap, played out as an action game.

    Royal Observatory was probably the best mission of the sequel for mine. Just a flat out Dishonored style level with no gimmick hooks. It played really well as a result.

    If the entire game had been like that, and had a story that actually made sense or was compelling, I expect it would’ve sold much better,

    You can’t underestimate the compulsion a strong narrative introduces to a game, and in this aspect D2 and DO are rubbish. D2 flat out didn’t make any sense a lot of the time, in regards to why you were doing things.

    As a side note, Rosario Dawson clearly took this as a quick cash job. From her diction, I expect she voiced the script cold. It’s a lazy effort and little else. She probably just didn’t give a stuff. The script was bad, but it still stands out. The other ‘lesser’ actors were much more convincing, simply because they could be bothered rehearsing their lines.

    Anyway it’s a 7 at best, and it’s a shame none of the reviews mention the direction the series has taken with it.

    I expect now Arkane will drop or retool the franchise to make a sandboxy game that is less punishing.

    I hope they try and do something new instead, as I feel they’ve exhausted themselves creatively in regard to this.

    It would be great if they just tried to make D1 again, with a sensible narrative, but they seem to feel compelled to dilute the formula to meet wider appeal.

  8. Premium User Badge

    Drib says:

    I sorta like the Outsider. He’s a weirdo trickster… god? Spirit? Something.

    I like him because he’s a jerk and he’s toying around with the already-kinda-crapsack world just to make everything worse, or maybe better.

    Who doesn’t like someone like that?