Calling absolutely anything the ‘definitive edition’ is risky, no matter the context. Still, in an age where many gaming corporations are risk averse and would prefer to repackage previous hits than gamble on completely new and untested games, re-releasing the BAFTA-winning Arkane Studios’ and Bethseda Softworks’ hit of 2012 with the added promise of calling it the definitive edition is a grand promise indeed. What have they done to this already hugely popular, successful and critically acclaimed game? And, one feels the need to ask, why could they not have added these things on first time around?
The original version, then, of 2012, was a first-person stealth action adventure game which was released for Microsoft Windows, PS3 and Xbox 360. It followed the story of Corvo Attano, a bodyguard to the Empress of the Isles. It was set in the fictional setting of Dunwall, and loosely based itself upon nineteenth century London and Edinburgh. There was an emphasis on player choice in the completion of the various missions and so there were various paths and alternatives on offer for achieving your goals.
The Definitive Edition brings with it a natural increase in the quality of graphics; this is to be expected given the length of time between this release and the original, together with the fact it’s released on newer, better platforms. There are more than a few disgruntled gamers who feel aggrieved that the current version has remain fixed at 30 FPS, but I don’t think this should be a deal breaker. So, what else? Some would have you believe that there is very little to celebrate, here, but surely the developers haven’t been that cynical, have they?
Well, on the PS4 version, you have the benefit of feeling the game’s speaking ‘heart’ talking to the player through the controller’s speaker – cool. It’s the DLCs, however, where I feel the decision to buy or not to buy will be made. This new edition includes The Knife of Dunwall and The Brigmore Witches, which form a single tale, told in parallel with Corvo’s quest. There’s also the Dunwall City Trials, which give you bite-size challenges in the realms of stealth, movement and bloodshed. They’re nice wee expansions, and that’s just about all you can say.
There may not be a huge amount of new content here, so existing owners of the original may want to think, and then think briefly again, if they’re going to double-purchase, but that’s not to say that you’d be buying an exact replica of the 2012 release. Definitive edition, and all that. Opinion is always going to be split when developers re-release a game in this fashion, and so it’s really down to personal opinion and desire as to whether you re-purchase this game. If you’re new to it all, however, I’d definitely recommend you make your purchase as the praise for the original still applies here, and then some. Oh, and to answer the second question in my first paragraph, I really don’t think they have done a massive amount that they didn’t do in the first release. There, I’ve had my say. You can have yours through the power of your wallets.