Article first published as Playstation 3 DLC Review: Dishonored: Dunwall City Trials on Blogcritics.
After the 2012 E3 Expo in Los Angeles, "Dishonored" was on my short list of most anticipated games for the rest of the year. Despite some technical issues, there was a lot to love about the game when it finally came out. The game was rich with a steampunk style, wrapped around a great little story from another age. Surprisingly, it wasn’t those technical issues that frustrated me the most, it was how my immersion in this rich world was interrupted with game tallies and scores and an arbitrary morality that determined the conclusion of the story.
Perhaps Arkane Studios realized that players felt punished for using the powers they had put their effort into unlocking. In Dunwall City Trials, players are finally able to let loose. This bit of downloadable content lets you see how your assassin skills stack up against the rest of the world. In "Dishonored’s" new DLC, your skills are tested across 10 challenge maps in four basic aptitudes. The challenges test your stealth, puzzle, combat, and mobility skills. For your efforts and five dollars, "Dunwall City Trials" does unlock 10 new Playstation trophies.
"Dunwall City Trials" are available directly from the game menu so, there is no need to find new locations in game. These trials will also not affect your chaos levels or the ending you are working towards. If you’re looking for some casual gameplay, the combat and mobility challenges are pretty good fun. The “Back Alley Brawl” is almost like "Dishonored’s" take on "Gears of War’s" “Horde mode” whereas “Bonfires” and “Train Runner” are basically time trials. At the end of each session, you can take a look at the leaderboards and see how you stack up or find some motivation for another go.
As a spiritual successor of "Thief," some will love the stealth and puzzle challenges. These are also the lengthiest of the trials but besides the bragging rights and trophies, there is little reward offered for your efforts. Each level does contain one of Emily’s dolls and your performance also unlocks pieces of concept art. It will take three stars on each challenge to get them all. "Dishonored" isn’t a terribly easy game and most of the trials will take multiple runs. Keep in mind, besides the additional gameplay, the payoffs are really just the scores and smack talking.
"Dunwall City Trials" are very much like the challenge maps in "Batman: Arkham Asylum" and not at all part of the narrative. Maybe it’s because the trials are not really part of the game that I didn’t mind having my performance scored or maybe, it’s just the lack of consequences. Regardless, it’s ironic that I enjoyed these opportunities to let loose and just go all out. As an additional purchase and with nothing to add to the story, only serious "Dishonored" fans are likely up for these ten challenges. However, additional story related DLC is on its way.
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