What I'm Playing - No. 62
Welcome back to another weekly wrap-up of the games I’ve been playing over the past week!
Be warned, minor spoilers may be contained within. Generally, I do try to keep things spoiler-free but this isn’t always possible/practical! If you want to totally avoid all potential spoilers so you can play these games yourself in a blind run, you shouldn’t continue reading! Click a title to skip to that section. Games contained within this post:
Rune Factory 4 Special (Switch)
I completed a major milestone in the main quest this week. The credits rolled at this point, so I thought it was the end of the story…but according to the wiki, it was just the prologue/first arc! A second and third story arc still await me, so there’s substantially more story content than I thought. What I experienced so far was a simple but heartwarming story, and felt right at home in this fantasy farming sim!
Aside from the story, my farming operation is still going strong. I’m growing dozens of yams because the profit margin is pretty good on them. A while back I unlocked the ability to run a shop, so I’ve also using that to run a little french fry stall. You can sell any items you want by putting them in a special chest, and people in town will approach your storefront and offer to buy items. I took this opportunity to make several servings of french fries to sell, and it went over pretty well! I haven’t calculated the profit on each one, and the prices offered by the customers vary, but I was pretty amused that some townsfolk will pay 1002 gold for french fries.
There was also a town festival where we competed to see who could hit the most turnips in a ball throwing contest. This was a fun little mini-game. It started off calm and simple, but eventually turnips were flying everywhere and it was absolute chaos. I did pretty well and almost got first place, but I lost to Forte by just 200 points. Oh well, there’s always next year!
Rune Factory 4 Special remains a joy to play. At the very end of this week, I began the second major arc of the main story, and it nicely picks up some of the loose ends left by the first arc. I’m sorry to say that I expect I won’t be playing it for too many more weeks, since Animal Crossing: New Horizons comes out on the 20th, and Persona 5 Royal comes out on the 31st, and I’m sure those games will be taking up much of my attention on their release. But until that time, I plan to enjoy Rune Factory as much as I can!
Dishonored: Death of the Outsider (PC)
I played through Dishonored: Death of the Outsider this week. Based on the title, I was skeptical of the plot that I would find within it. It goes into more details about the Outsider’s backstory, and while I do miss the days when he was just a mysterious deity, the plot was executed well enough, and the gameplay was as fun as ever! I played on medium difficulty, and found myself dying a few times, but I feel like I made the right selection.
Death of the Outsider is basically DLC for Dishonored 2 that’s sold as a standalone game. For whatever reason, it’s not actually DLC, but it feels like it is due to its short length. Maybe it’s due to technical reasons that it’s a standalone game, or perhaps it was just a business decision and they thought it would sell better as a standalone product? I don’t honestly know, and it doesn’t really matter. I went into this game expecting an experience more like Dishonored 1’s DLC, and that’s exactly what I got.
This game follows Billie Lurk, former right-hand woman to Daud, the Knife of Dunwall. That was during the time of the first game though, and Death of the Outsider takes place in the aftermath of Dishonored 2, years after the events of Dishonored. Billie hasn’t heard from Daud in years, but begins pursuing rumors to track him down. I think her reasoning is she wants his forgiveness for how their partnership ended all those years ago? Anyway, during the first mission, you find him held captive by a cult known as the Eyeless. After he’s freed, Daud asks for Billie’s help one last time. There’s a target he wants killed. That target is the Outsider himself…!
From the very first mission, the gameplay and atmosphere had me hooked. I love the steampunk aesthetic of Dishonored’s technology, and the details in the environments really make the world feel alive. Of course, stealth in Death of the Outsider feels every bit as good as in the previous games. Planning my approach to avoid detection, climbing over rooftops and through windows…it’s just awesome! After a sort of rough start on the first mission, I played as stealthily and non-lethally as I could. That’s how I preferred to play the prior games as well, so it’s sort of a habit at this point. I find the game almost feels more like a puzzle game than anything else when played this way. Missions become all about carefully observing the environment and enemy positions and movements to find a way forward.
Level design was pretty stellar for most of the game too. The end of the last level I’m a little iffy on, but up until that point they were wonderful. Tall buildings and rooms provide excellent vertical exploration options, and open windows and vents are likewise carefully placed. Or, you can just go in through the front door and unleash chaos upon the enemies within. As with the previous Dishonored games, there’s a lot of freedom in how you approach situations.
Where Death of the Outsider really differs from its predecessors is its treatment of mana. In previous games, using void powers would drain mana, but it would regenerate a small amount if no additional powers were used for a few seconds. In Death of the Outsider, your mana can regenerate all the way from empty to full instead of just regenerating a small amount. This makes expensive powers much more viable, because you don’t need to rely on consumable elixirs to regain your mana after using them. This was a really nice change, and it will probably feel a little strange if I ever go back and play Dishonored 1 or 2 after this.
Speaking of void powers, another change Death of the Outsider makes is that all your void powers become available at once. In the previous games you collected runes and used these to unlock and upgrade powers, but in this game there are no runes. You simply start with all your powers unlocked, and as upgraded as they’re going to be. I think this worked really well for the shorter campaign. Billie’s powers themselves are pretty interesting too. Her teleport ability is “Displace,” which first has you place a marker, and then you can teleport back to your marker as long it is within eyesight and relatively close by. As a side note, if a person is standing within your Displace marker when you teleport to it, they’ll be ripped apart and you become staggered and take damage. I only did this once to test it out, and it was as intense as it sounds.
Complementing Displace is the Foresight ability, which steadily drains mana while active. Foresight stops time, and allows you to fly around outside your body to scout out the area. You can mark items and enemies when Foresight is active, and they stay highlighted after Foresight ends, allowing you to see them through walls and, for enemies, see field of vision and where they’re going to move next. You can also place your Displace marker while Foresight is active, allowing you to place it in areas you otherwise couldn’t read. For instance, you can’t aim your Displace marker through a window or bars. But if there’s a vent nearby, you may be able to fly through it while in Foresight, place your marker, and as long as you can get a visual on that marker, be it through a window or whatever, you can teleport to it. Used in tandem, Displace and Foresight are very cool, and really empowered my “plan ahead” style of playing.
I won’t spoil the plot more than the title of the game already does, but Death of the Outsider does seem to mark either an end or a turning point for the franchise. I hope more Dishonored games are made at some point, and I’m really curious as to what those might be like. One interesting option is the “Original Game+” you unlock after beating the game. This allows you to play the Campaign with classic powers from Dishonored 2, like Blink and Dark Vision. Anyway, Death of the Outsider was a lot of fun to play through, definitely worth a try if you’re a fan of the series.