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A Beginner's Guide To Dishonored

by Joe Juba on Oct 08, 2012 at 11:00 AM

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Players can take a variety of paths through Dishonored, but some choices are better than others. Before you embark with Corvo on his quest for revenge, these spoiler-free tips can help you focus your efforts and make the most of your time in the city of Dunwall.

Spend your first rune on Dark Vision
Shortly after Corvo learns his first magical power, Blink, he acquires a rune that can be spent on a new ability. Your options are limited; only a couple powers can be purchased for a single rune, but Dark Vision is the way to go. For all of the benefits the power gives you – like seeing enemies and their vision cones through walls – the cost of a single rune is hilariously low. You can always get that extra health boost from Vitality later.

Don’t forget about the heart
The heart helps you find bone charms and runes hidden throughout the world. Those aren’t just collectible knick-knacks; they are two of the major ways that you increase Corvo’s powers and abilities. That means you should be using it every time you enter a new area to hunt down the treasures. Also, don’t forget to use the heart with each visit to the Hound Pits Pub; even though the area is the same, new runes and charms become accessible as the game goes on.

Chaos shouldn’t guide you
At the end-of-mission stats screen, you see a value for chaos. It’s either low or high, and is a cumulative score influenced primarily by how many people you kill. Even though high chaos will result in the darker ending, don’t let that stop you from playing however you want. If you want to kill a group of guards with a springrazor, go for it. Dishonored shines when you’re doing things your way, not worrying about whether or not to use your awesome (and usually lethal) weapons and powers.

Stop Time is worth it
At a cost of eight runes, Stop Time is the most expensive upgrade you can get (it becomes available after you purchase Bend Time). Thankfully, the effort in saving your runes pays off. Whether you favor stealth or aggression, Stop Time is a great ability that will help you out of some tight spots. The high mana cost keeps it from being a solution to every problem, but as a last resort when you simply need to succeed, Stop Time is a valuable asset.

Save pure stealth for a second playthrough
If you want to try a no-kill approach to Dishonored, I’d advise you to save that experience for a second runthrough. The stealth mechanics are not the game’s strongest suit, and reloading every time you accidentally tip off a guard gets tedious. Plus, non-lethal play severely limits your options, because not all of Corvo’s cool abilities and weapons have no-kill counterparts. Your bag of tricks is just smaller, and it’s more fun to see all of the possibilities in a bloodier playthrough before restricting yourself.

Pick up junk
Dishonored isn’t like Skyrim, with a bunch of useless stuff lying around. If there’s something you can pick up in Dishonored, odds are good that you want it. In most cases, this involves items that are worth money, but you can also find upgrade blueprints, health and mana potions, and ammo. Opening the cupboards in the pantry or thoroughly searching a bedroom usually pays off.

Use what you have
Hoarding your rewire tools, sleep darts, and potions might seem like a good idea. After all, you never know when you might need them, right? Wrong. Dishonored gives you so many options to deal with encounters that you’ll never run into a situation where you need a specific item to progress. The most fun way to play is to use all of your weapons and gadgets when the mood strikes you. If you run out of bullets, switch to crossbow bolts. If you run out of those, throw grenades. Even if all of your resources are depleted, you always have your sword to help “solve” (i.e. “kill”) problems. Don’t be afraid to use your full arsenal, since you can always pay money to replenish your stocks between missions at the pub.

Read the notes
Books, notes, and letters are all over the place in Dunwall. Don’t just ignore them; even some of the most inconsequential writing (like a book of whaling songs) adds depth to the fiction of the compelling universe Arkane Studios has crafted. The world is fascinating, and reading the notes scattered around helps to give you a clearer picture of the people of Dunwall, their struggles, and how the city operates.