Before You Start… Tips For Playing Dishonored The Best Way

Revenge ain’t easy. While playing Dishonored, an excellent new stealth-action game that’s out on October 11 for consoles and PC, you might find yourself face-to-face with a pack of pistol-brandishing guards or surrounded by a swarm of hungry, plague-infested rats. Or maybe you just don’t know where to go next.

Whether you’re stuck in a tight spot or just wondering how to get the most out of your Dishonored experience, allow us to help. Here are some tips for playing Dishonored the best way:

Decide Your Approach In Advance

I won’t tell you whether to turn your Corvo into a lethal assassin or a sneaky pacifist. That’s totally up to you. But I do recommend that you pick one way from the outset and stick with it for as long as you can. Why? Because the game tracks your performance with a statistic it calls Chaos. When you murder lots of people, the stat raises. When you sneak around or use nonlethal methods to take out your opponents, it stays low.

The entire last mission plays out much differently based on whether you’re in High Chaos or Low Chaos mode, so if you switch approaches halfway through the game, you might not get the ending you want.

Play Around With All The Options

You might be the type of person who loads up a new game and ignores all of the options. Don’t do that. Dishonored has tons of sliders and switches you’ll want to spend time looking at. In addition to the difficulty level, which you’ll decide as you start a new game, there are all sorts of options to toggle and tweak. You might want to turn off mission markers and try to plot your own way to each new target, or you might want to play without any health bars or other interface obstructions. Your call.


Wander around. Find hidden passageways. Break into peoples’ apartments. This is a game you can play by barreling from target to target, trying to kill everyone as quickly as possible, but to do so would be missing the point. There are all sorts of creepy characters to meet and interesting things to see. Go find them.

Upgrade Blink ASAP

The blink spell will be your best friend and your staunchest ally as you use it to teleport through the dim alleys and dusty streets of Dishonored. As soon as you pick up a couple of runes — hidden treasures that you can use to select skills — I recommend you use them to upgrade blink, which extends your teleport distance and lets you travel even further. This is eternally helpful no matter how you want to play.

Don’t Be Afraid To Use Potions

RPG fans might be conditioned to hoard their resources, saving them only for difficult encounters. This is unnecessary in Dishonored. There are potions just about everywhere, so don’t be afraid to use them. (Plus, there are no boss battles to wait for.)

Look, Read, Listen

You’re exploring, right? While you’re scouring the hotels and brothels and government offices of Dishonored‘s main city, Dunwall, take the time to experience the art. Check out the posters on peoples’ walls. Read the book excerpts you’ll find in cabinets and desk drawers. By far the most impressive thing about Dishonored is the intricacy of its world design, so let yourself get wrapped up in everything it has to offer.

And if you’re not listening in on conversations everywhere you go, you’re missing out on some of the game’s best writing.

Think Vertically

If you’re ever stuck on a particularly tough area, know that there are always many ways to get past a problem. Often these are vertical solutions. Blink up to the rooftops and take down enemies from above, or climb down to the sewers and sneak into an enemy-infested building without making a sound. If you’re ever not sure where to go next, get high or get low.

Get Creative

Sneaking up behind an enemy guard and stabbing him in the neck is always satisfying, but there are so many ways to kill people, you’d be remiss not to try them all. Experiment with your spells and gadgets. There are a lot of combinations to discover. (For example: stop time as an enemy is firing his gun at you, then possess another enemy and move him in front of the frozen bullet. Unfreeze time. Bam, friendly fire.)

Be Prepared To Play Again

During an interview last week, Dishonored designer Harvey Smith told me that he thinks the second playthrough is even more satisfying than the first. Having spent a fair amount of time playing missions a second or third time, I think he’s spot on. Going back through the game again allows you to try new approaches to every challenge, find connections that you didn’t know were there before, and uncover cool little secrets and easter eggs that are hidden just about everywhere in Dishonored. This is a game worth experiencing multiple times.

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