Billie Lurk returns in DISHONORED: Death of the Outsider

DEATH OF THE OUTSIDER is the latest game in the Dishonored franchise, developed by Arkane Studios, published by Bethesda Softworks, and released September 15, 2017, for PC, PS4 and Xbox One.

In this installment, former assassin Billie Lurk rescues her mentor Daud, who asks her to kill the Outsider — a supernatural being who spreads chaos throughout the Empire. But is the Outsider really to blame for evil? Or is he just a convenient scapegoat for the dark urges within us all?

I concluded the story in eleven livestreaming sessions, which are available for viewing on my Youtube channel.

I was really stoked to see Daud and Billie again in DEATH OF THE OUTSIDER. When I played the original Dishonored and its expansions, Knife of Dunwall and Brigmore Witches, I liked Daud more than Corvo, and I liked Billie more than Emily in Dishonored 2.

DEATH OF THE OUTSIDER did not disappoint me. I enjoyed it more than I enjoyed Dishonored 2. The levels were well-designed, challenging and engaging, and the writing exceptional. I cared not only about Billy and Daud, but about the minor characters, too. I listened to every recording, and read every note and every book I could find. Mad props to Hazel Monforton and Anna Megill.

Game review: Dishonored aka What Thief Should Have Been
Game review: Dishonored DLC shines like a rune in the void
Game review: DISHONORED 2 as Emily Kaldwin in High Chaos

Farewell, Daud.

~ J.L. Hilton

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Try-It Tuesday: JOB SIMULATOR

For this weeks’ Try-It Tuesday, I not only tried a new game, I tried the PSVR for the very first time with JOB SIMULATOR by Owlchemy Labs.

In JOB SIMULATOR, it’s 2050 and robots are fascinated by the lives of the humans they’ve replaced. Players can experience amusing “re-enactments” of what it’s like to be a chef, office worker, convenience store clerk, and auto mechanic. I couldn’t use the PSVR for very long without feeling nauseous, but I still had fun.

~ J.L. Hilton

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Try-It Tuesday: THE CREW

Starfish central gaming joined me from the UK via PS4 party chat for this week’s Try-It Tuesday livestream of THE CREW, an action-driving game developed by Ivory Tower and published by Ubisoft in December 2014.

I barely scratched the surface, but THE CREW seems to be a fun combination of story, mini-games, vehicle customization, and open world exploration from coast to coast across the US, with landscapes and landmarks that offer a vivid road trip simulation.

The game can be played alone or with a crew of friends. And, unlike other MMOs, there doesn’t seem to be much of a chance for players to harass or grief each other.

THE CREW 2 is scheduled for release in March 2018.

~ J.L. Hilton

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Try-It Tuesday: UNRAVEL

This week I tried UNRAVEL, a side-scrolling puzzle platformer made by the Swedish company Coldwood Interactive and published by Electronic Arts in February 2016 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows. As of this writing, it’s on sale for $9.99, or $7.99 for Playstation Plus members.

This is a very sweet game with a soothing soundtrack that reminded me of Journey and Flower. Similar to Little Big Planet, you play as a little doll. This one is made of yarn, aptly named “Yarny,” who unravels as you travel through the world. Yarny’s yarn is an important part of the experience, used to lasso, climb, pull weeds, swing, and build bridges.

My 13-year-old fell in love with it right away and we are planning to livestream the entire game in the future.

~ J.L. Hilton

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Try-It Tuesday: Disney’s FROZEN Free Fall: Snowball Fight

My youngest daughter joined me for Try-It Tuesday on my Youtube channel this week. We played Disney’s FROZEN Free Fall: Snowball Fight, a two-player puzzle game available for PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC, that promised to turn our living room into an “epic puzzle matching battle.”

Think head-to-head Bejeweled or competitive Candy Crush, with each player’s game board taking up about 1/2 of the TV screen. After you make crystal combos, characters throw snowballs at each other — or water balloons if you choose the summer environment instead of winter — and additional combos can result in a block or a dodge.

The game is free to play, so long as you only want to be either young Anna or young Kristoff. Grown Anna, Elsa, Olaf, Marshmallow or any other characters, require in-game purchases. Single-player mode also available, with 195 free levels.

~ J.L. Hilton

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Game review: DISHONORED 2 as Emily Kaldwin in High Chaos

* * * SPOILER WARNING* * *

In August, I finally played DISHONORED 2, the 2016 sequel to the 2012 title, developed by Arkane Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks. I live-streamed my entire playthrough, which is archived on my Youtube channel.

I chose to play as Empress Emily Kaldwin, rather than her father, Royal Protector Corvo Attano, the protagonist of the first Dishonored. High chaos, all the way, which meant less stealth, more killing, and many, many more bloodflies.

I enjoyed the original game and absolutely loved add-ons Knife of Dunwall and Brigmore Witches. Which, c’mon, given the return of Delilah as Emily’s antagonist (or aunt-agonist?), and the upcoming return of Billie Lurk and Daud in the standalone Death of the Outsider, those “add-ons” should have been considered the sequel, and DISHONORED 2 should really be Dishonored 3.

Game review: DISHONORED aka What Thief Should Have Been
Game review: Dishonored DLC shines like a rune in the void

I love the Dishonored franchise and DISHONORED 2 is not a bad video game, in general, but for me it fell a little flat.

I imagine it’s incredibly difficult to design a game that may be played with — or without — a plethora of possible power combinations, so my hat is off to the folks at Arkane Studios for their hard work. But I had a really tough time getting into this game and almost ditched it after the second level (or third level, if you count the tutorial), if not for my viewers promising it would improve.

It did get better, though the levels still felt uneven and lacked a sense of progression from “engaging and instructive” to “intense and challenging.” DISHONORED 2 was all over the place. Too short, too long, too difficult, too boring, too little, too much.

There’s an awful sense of urgency yet so many sidetracks. The empire’s fallen! Emily’s “WANTED!” posters are plastered everywhere! Guards attack her on sight! Now… stop to collect useless bonecharms, recover a body for a tattooed gangster, rob black markets, loot a sculptor’s flat, visit dad’s birthplace, and steal bath salts.

Lots and lots of bath salts. It became such a running joke that I did a bath salts giveaway for my viewers.

I’d been kinda meh about her father in Dishonored, but I downright disliked grown Emily. So disappointing, after all she’d been through as a child, to see her become an indifferent ruler, smoking a hookah with her secret lover, self-absorbed as any other noble in Dunwall or Karnaca. Her desire to retake the throne seemed, to me, to have nothing to do with concern for her subjects and everything to do with entitlement. Abuse of power is one of the main themes of the franchise, after all, but it might have been nice to see more growth, as a person and as an empress, throughout the course of the game.

Favorite mission: “A Crack in the Slab.” Returning to the present, after altering time, to see Stilton Manor, Meagan with her arm again, and the Dust District a better place for the miners.

Least favorite mission: “Death to the Empress.” After learning so much about Delilah, I didn’t want to kill her, but the nonlethal option seemed to be glitched, so I had to kill her to end the game.

In spite of my beefs, I don’t regret playing DISHONORED 2. I’m looking forward to the next game, Death of the Outsider, and I would watch the hell out of a movie version like this:

~ J.L. Hilton

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Try-It Tuesday: NO MAN’S SKY

This week, I tried out the epic 2016 space exploration game that disappointed everyone.

Honest trailer
Angry Joe review
No Man’s Sky trailer vs reality

~ J.L. Hilton

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Try-It Tuesday: PREY

I played the free demo of PREY, the first-person shooter and sci-fi survival horror game developed by Arkane Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks. The game was released in May 2017 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and I recently downloaded the free demo on my PS4.

I’m not usually a fan of horror games, but I enjoyed PREY. It seemed more creepy than horrifying, more atmospheric than outright gory, but it may ramp up with further play, I don’t know.

PREY delivers jump scares disguised as loot (my weakness) via alien “mimics” who can take the form of innocuous items like coffee cups and trash cans. There’s also an element of crafting, breaking down various bits of trash to create new items, though I didn’t explore this much in the demo.

The controls and game mechanics are similar to the Dishonored games (also by Arkane Studios), which involve a lot of stealth, climbing, jumping, reading in-game content, and somewhat clunky first-person combat.

I might consider playing the full game, after I finish Dishonored: Death of the Outsider, and if I ever stop playing Fallout 4.

~ J.L. Hilton

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Try-It Tuesday: inFAMOUS Second Son

This week we meet Delsin Rowe in inFAMOUS Second Son, the 2014 action-adventure game by Sucker Punch.

While I’m not usually a fan of cutscenes, third-person perspective or games that rely heavily on climbing/jumping mechanics, for some reason it works for me in the inFAMOUS franchise. I might just continue playing this one, after I’ve finished Dishonored 2, my second playthrough of Fallout 4, and Death of the Outsider (coming in September).

~ J.L. Hilton

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Dishonored 2 begins August 2

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Next month, I return to Dunwall with Dishonored 2, streamed via Youtube and Playstation Network.

I’m giving away an official Bethesda Softworks Dishonored 78-card tarot deck during my first stream August 2, 2017. This is the original promotional deck, offered with pre-orders of the first Dishonored game in 2012.

Subscribe to my channel JEWELSMITH and click the bell icon to be notified when I begin the stream, or you can follow me on Twitter and Facebook for updates.

Viewers who comment “A Game of Nancy” in the chatroom during the Wednesday livestream will be entered in a random drawing. The winner will be announced in the comments section of the Youtube video after the end of the livestream and must contact me within 48 hours to claim the prize or another winner will be chosen. No purchase necessary, free shipping to anywhere in the world.

Only one entry per person, regardless of how many times you say “A Game of Nancy” during the livestream.

Click here for how to play an actual Game of Nancy. 

~ J.L. Hilton

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