The beauty of Dishonored lies in how much freedom you're given to approach your objectives. You're a supernatural assassin, but you don't have to kill a single soul throughout the game's 12 or so hours. Every target you're sent to dispose of can be neutralised non-lethally – although, arguably, these are all fates worse than death. It's a stealth game, but sneaking can be anything from short-range teleportation through to possessing a guard and using his body as a vehicle to forbidden areas. You can murder people with a pistol, or summon up a swarm of rats to nibble them down to the bones.
It's hide and seek, played by your own rules, and those rules have a knock-on effect on the world around you. Violent actions are rewarded by arguably more difficult environments as you progress, with more plague-infected Weepers and vicious rats, not to mention disgusted reactions from NPCs. Play nice, however, and everything is comparatively sweetness and light. Or as much as is possible in such a murky, devastated city, at least.
It is, however, a round of hide-and-seek we first played on Xbox 360 back in late 2012. Three years is an awkward amount of time for a re-release - it's long enough that you might fancy another playthrough of one of last-gen's best stealth offerings, but by no means enough time for a new-gen graphical spit-and-polish to have a radical effect, a la Gears of War: Ultimate Edition. So what is it that makes this edition 'Definitive'?
In addition to the main game, this package includes the three main pieces of DLC released on last-gen. The Knife of Dunwall and The Brigmore Witches are narrative chunks that place you in the bloody shoes of Empress Kaldwin's killer, Daud. There's some overlap between his power's and Corvo's, but enough difference that things feel suitably mixed up.
Dunwall City Trials introduces bite-sized challenges that test your mettle at stealth, movement, bloodshed and so on. It's a neat way of expanding on a game that, at its core, is about the interaction of these satisfying systems – especially if you're a perfectionist who considers themselves more of a Corvo Attain-o.
So is Dishonored: Definitive Edition worth strapping the hideous mask back on for? At £30/$40 for the main game plus hours of DLC, it's certainly an attractive package for those who've yet to dip into the dark delights of Dunwall. What's more, if you bought the original game digitally on Xbox 360 – and seeing as it was on Games with Gold last August, you've really no excuse – you can pick this up for half price on Xbox One, which is roughly about as much as you'd spend on buying the DLC. For newbie wetworkers, then, a definite must; for old hands who've already bled Dunwall dry, I'd advise a more cautious approach.
A version of this review appears in Official Xbox Magazine.