Dishonored: Dunwall City Trials DLC Review

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Challenge maps change up the pace of this once methodical stealth ’em up

With DLC there must be a temptation to meddle – to try and add that extra plot point you couldn’t quite squeeze into the development window. Thankfully, Arkane Studios have left the self-contained campaign of critically acclaimed Dishonored alone for its first DLC instalment.

The Dunwall City Trials add-on consists of ten challenge maps. They come complete with online leaderboards so you can play against other players without actually having to, you know, engage in conversation with them.

Within the maps are four different challenge types: Mobility, Stealth, Combat and Creativity (read: ‘Puzzle’). Each one forces you to use the skills you’ve honed in the campaign to complete a unique scenario. There are also Expert maps to unlock if you can master the first set.

There are several standout moments, such as the puzzle challenge ‘Bend Time Massacre’. Here you have to kill a certain number of people in creative ways during bend time. Using only a few items and powers to maximise your speed and lethality, this is easily one of the most addictive challenges. Perfect for anyone with a slight masochistic streak.

  • Back Alley Brawl action is a let down as it feels like a forced combat section

Another memorable challenge sees you traverse an enemy-filled environment as you search out clues to help you identify your target. It feels like you’re playing a cross between Guess Who and reverse Cluedo.

Some challenges are better than others however, and the combat challenges don’t live up to the creativity on display in the rest of the DLC. There’s a rather lacklustre challenge in which you must clear a series of rooms quickly with only a crossbow. And the Back Alley Brawl action is a let down as it feels like a forced combat section, which is at odds with a game that delivers the greatest joy when you avoid direct scuffles and use stealth to take people out.

Although that isn’t to say it’s not fun. Bend Time Massacre is one of the most enjoyable of its kind and the drop assassination mobility challenge – where you have to swoop in and kill targets from a set location – is frantic and will have you constantly trying to topple your own (and others) high scores.

Overall, Dunwall City Trials reminds us of the challenges in Portal. They are both completely separate modes in non-multiplayer, story driven games. Despite, or because, of this, Dunwall City Trials works really well as a piece of DLC. It’s just the right length and packed with enough fun to warrant a look.