It's about quarter past three on a crisp Tuesday afternoon, and I'm lying in a vat of cooling intestines directly below a slowly expiring whale on hooks, chugging elixirs while masked butchers equipped with huge oil-powered sawblades prowl nearby gantries. I'm here because (a) I just tried to Blink teleport right on top of said whale, which is rather slippery, and (b) I'm previewing Dishonored's Knife of Dunwall DLC pack, a story-driven epilogue out 16th April, for 800 MP. Whale offal notwithstanding, it looks rather decent.
The Knife of Dunwall stars the master assassin Daud, who you might remember as the guy who (very mild and unavoidable plot spoilers) slays the Empress at the beginning of the main game, thereby consigning Dishonored frontman Corvo to a prison cell and, six months later, a life of entertaining skulduggery. Unlike Corvo, Daud has a voice, but he's otherwise a reskin equipped with a mildly differentiated mix of lethal gadgets and paranormal abilities - and this is thus a pack you'll play for the new areas and backstory, rather than a trip beyond comfort zones in the vein of Assassin's Creed 3's Tyranny of King Washington DLC.
Daud's used to clean escapes, but as Dunwall's rogue deity The Outsider informs him during an introductory (hallucinatory) tutorial sequence, "this time you can't just fade away". Seems the poor man's story "is close to ending", and he must seek out an entity known only as "Delila" to lay unspecified prior sins to rest.
There are three new levels in The Knife of Dunwall, including a certain amount of recycled material from the main game - each vast, open-ended, awash with minor incidents and suggestive furniture, and filled with new characters. The first of these is a whale slaughterhouse owned by Bundy Rothschild, one of the city's many grubby little local despots. Reaching, interrogating and disposing of this unpleasant man is your initial objective, and much as with Corvo, there's the opportunity to be "merciful" providing you explore your options - removing Rothschild from the picture for good without actually murdering him.
Given that Daud is much less morally ambiguous than Corvo off the bat, it makes sense that the Slaughterhouse area puts more strain on the idea of behaving honourably. On rescuing a overseer named Abigail from Rothschild's clutches, who's privy to certain secrets about the mysterious Delila, I'm presented with the option of torturing her for info rather than playing along with her suggestion that we sabotage the facility together.
Mechanical tweaks also make it harder to plot a non-lethal route to the goal - Daud's "Void Gaze" is comparable to Corvo's Dark Vision, but you can't upgrade it to reveal view cones, making it harder to avoid guards. Thankfully, playing the part of a master assassin means you can summon minions to do your dirty work, conjuring them up in the manner of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood to snuff the unaware, or tie down attackers. Daud's also got a new grenade type to call on, filled with disabling Chokedust, and a mine which electrifies rather than shredding its unfortunate victim.
There are, however, some engagingly elaborate scenarios ahead if you're resolved on doing good. That whale, for instance - you can put it out of its misery with an electric shock if you're cunning, and assuming the beast's hideous fanged visage doesn't quash your kindlier instincts. To pick another example, there are at least two ways to infiltrate the slaughterhouse itself, having picked your way through the surrounding area. You might lug canisters of fuel to a motorised crane in order to move its chain near a rooftop access point, at the risk of bumping into a couple of those wandering butchers.