Dishonored is a game set in a dystopian city called Dunwall, in which you play a man who was the bodyguard to the Empress until he was framed for her murder. The Empress’ daughter has been kidnapped, and so you set off to find her and right the wrongs done to you.
To help with that, you’re given a varied selection of weapons and supernatural abilities with which to take out each of your main targets and anyone who gets in your way.
Or, you can achieve your end goals without killing or even being spotted by any of your enemies. It sounds hard to believe, but some might say this is how the game is meant to be played.
Although you’re given weapons that kill, you’re also given ways to avoid conflict – you can, for example, possess a rat and scurry through the sewers beneath your enemy’s feet – and there is an emphasis on stealth.
There are even achievements for playing this way – the ‘ghost’ achievement for never raising an enemy’s awareness level to capacity, and the ‘clean hands’ achievement for never spilling blood – but how to get them?
Play it through the murderous way first
If you tried to play it the stealthy way on your first go, you’d likely get frustrated. Sneaking around an enemy rather than just taking him out takes far longer, and is far more likely to fail.
To avoid the temptation to whip out your crossbow and shoot obstacles in the head, get all that out of your system by playing the game without trying to get either of these achievements first. It won’t take too long, and you’ll be able to see the different end to the story.
As mentioned above, playing the game so stealthily that you are not spotted can take much longer than the alternative, especially since if you want to get ‘clean hands’ you can’t just take enemies out from a distance before they’ve seen you.
So if you’re feeling stressed, play something else instead; you’ll only be able to get these achievements if you’ve got a lot of patience. But you will be rewarded; there’s a lot to discover in Dunwall if you take the time to sneak around it and explore.
Getting spotted even once will prevent you from getting the ‘ghost’ achievement, and the same is true for ‘clean hands’ if you accidentally drop an unconscious body in the sea (where its owner will inevitably drown) or – like I did – leave one in a closed dumpster.
So make sure you save regularly throughout each mission so that if you get to that end screen to discover you’ve been spotted or killed once, you don’t have to go all the way back to the start.
Finally, when it comes to your main targets, those big baddies you’re sent out to kill, remember that there is always another way to get rid of them. The best way to find this alternate method of disposal is to take your time exploring the level, talk to people if they’re friendly and eavesdrop on their conversations if they aren’t.
The game is designed so that you should easily pick up the information you need to complete the mission non-lethally. And when you’ve managed it, you’ll probably find that it was a lot more satisfying than sticking a sword through their chest.