Dishonored guide: 12 Essential Tips To Conquer Dunwall
11th Oct 2012 | 10:34
Dishonored gives you a giddying amount of freedom to achieve its objectives, and at first it can seem overwhelming. We didn't feel like we'd really got a handle on Corvo's abilities until we were over halfway through the campaign, and by then our sloppiness had resulted in numerous unnecessary deaths, including a dog.
Don't end up like us. Don't kill a dog. Read our essential tips guide so you can hit the ground running in your new life as a sneaky-stabby assassin...
1.Dark Vision 101
If you want to get through the game without being detected (or, at least, without being detected all the bloody time), you should make levelling up Corvo's Dark Vision skill a priority. In its most basic form, Dark Vision works a lot like Batman's Detective Vision, allowing you to see guards (and their cones of vision) through walls, albeit only from short range.
Throw a few extra runes onto the fire however and Dark Vision's true worth burns brighter still. When fully-maxed out, Dark Vision also highlights items of interest, and more importantly, allows you to trace electrical wires all the way back to their power source. This is useful when you're faced with a Wall of Light or an Ark Pylon...
2.Leveraging Walls of Light
Walls of Light are electrical barriers that instantly vapourise anyone who blunders into them. Anyone that is, except the guards - Walls of Light by default are calibrated to let them through unharmed.
There are several ways to slip past them. The most obvious (other than taking the long way round) is to locate their power source and remove it - although this will put the guards on high alert.
More ingeniously, you can use a Rewire tool (purchasable from Piero's workshop) to reverse the Wall of Light's polarity - meaning they zap the guards instead of your good self.
3. Leveraging Ark Pylons
The above trick also works with the Ark Pylons, who in their natural state will electrocute you on sight. Once rewired you can lure entire guard sentries towards them to their death, like a morbid Pied Piper. Don't get too greedy though, as enemies respawn after a while.
If you don't have a Rewire to hand, you can 'blink' past them without getting caught if you're quick on the draw.
Like everything else in Dishonored's world, Mana is at limited and resupplies come at a premium. Make what you have last longer by showing restraint and not spamming your attacks.
Indeed, lower-cost magic skills such as Blink or Dark Vision can be used indefinitely, so long as you give your meter time to recharge.
5. Possession is nine-tenths of the law (Part 1)
Possession is one of the most versatile powers in the game - although at first, it seems rather limited.
At its base level, Possession allows you to possess (duh) small animals, such as rats, fish and attack dogs. As a rat, you can slip past enemy guards unnoticed and even crawl through gutters to areas that Corvo otherwise wouldn't be able to access.
Being a fish obviously opens up new watery avenues that landlubbers wouldn't be able to reach. It's a good idea to assume a fishy identity whenever you find yourself in the wet stuff, as murderous masked men are surprising conspicuous when they're paddling in the middle of a river.
Small animals can't survive the possession process, so there's no cleaning up to do afterwards.
6.Possession is nine-tenths of the law (Part 2)
Level Possession to full capacity and you'll be able to temporarily assume control of any human in the game - this includes guards, Tallboys and even your target him/herself.
When in another person's skin, your movement is limited to a slow walk, but you can still interact with objects, meaning you can deactivate alarms and remove Wall of Light power sources without anyone being any the wiser.
If you have plenty of mana in reserve, you can chain together possessions, allowing you to cover great distances unmolested. It's important to time your exit when you're out of the line of sight of other guards or NPCs however, as they'll naturally find the sight of your soul bursting from another person's body to be disconcerting.
If you're in the body of someone who you'd rather wasn't alive much longer, you can dispose of them in several creative ways, such as steering them into a Wall of Light or by dropping them from a great height.
As a final good deed, their broken body will break your fall, allowing you to continue on your sneaking rampage uninjured.
The Devouring Swarm conjures a pack of carnivorous rats, who immediately begin nibbling on the ankles of anyone who happens to be lurking nearby. This is a deceptively useful power - as long as you use it properly, that is.
As an offensive force it's not all that - it only takes a couple of guards to overpower a swarm - but as a distraction technique, it's unparallelled.
Direct a swarm in the opposite direction from where you want to go, and you'll be able to slip by unseen while the world burns around you.
8.Any Means (un)necessary
As we alluded to in our review, it's possible to sneak your way through Dunwall without killing a single soul - including your assassination targets themselves.
This means that there is a non-lethal way to neutralise your main target(s) on each level - but they're well hidden.
It would be crude of us to spoil them all for you here, but here's our number one tip: hunt out all the NPCs you can find, and listen to what they have to say. Some will approach you directly with a solution (Lady Boyle's Last Party), others will attempt to strike up a bargain with you hunt them out (The Golden Cat).
Other times, you'll have to eavesdrop on conversations to uncover the non-murderous solutions. In Chief Overseer Campbell's dungeon, for example, it appears that the branding iron is more than a mere torture device - its mark has a symbolic meaning...
These are Dishonored's equivalent to Call of Duty's perks. You begin with three slots, but more can be purchased from Piero at the Hound Pits Pub.
They need to be hunted out with the Heart in the same manner you do Runes, but they're worth the legwork as they provide permanent stat upgrades. Unfortunately, bone charms are randomised within each game world, so you'll have to hunt out the best ones yourself.
But if we could give you just one tip to help you survive your stay in Dunwall, it would be this: wait. Headstrong players may be able to bludgeon themselves through guard patrols through blunt force, but playing this way is a terrible drain on your resources and will leave you significantly weaker for the path ahead.
Instead, don't be afraid to lurk in the shadows, observing enemy patterns and scouting your environment. You'll be amazed at the opportunities that will fall into your lap if you hide behind a bin and do a spot of people-watching. Two NPCs will meet and have a revealing conversation perhaps, or a fleet of rats will pass by, ripe for the possessing. In Dishonored, as in all walks of life, good things come to those who wait.
11. Respect the rat
Be careful where you leave unconscious bodies if you're trying for a clean playthrough. Drop 'em where passing rat packs can reach them and they'll scoff him or her whole while you're on the other side of the map, minding your own business.
12. Concerning Tallboys
Tallboys are, in a word, gits. But there's an easy way to polish them off in one hit - if you've got a steady aim. They're fueled by a canister of Whale Oil, which they lug around on their back. Target it with a well-placed arrow and the Tallboys will go explodi-bye. Obviously this isn't the stealthiest of options, but you might consider it a risk worth taking just to make the Tallboy disappear, as they're easily the most fearsome opponent you'll face in the game.