Dishonored 2 tips and tricks: To stealth or not to stealth
Even more than its predecessor, Dishonored 2 is all about choice. It isn’t a sandbox game and the story progression is very much linear, even broken into individual chapters, but how you approach each mission is entirely up to you.
If you want to play the game like a magic-infused action-assault game, you can. There are traps to be laid, environments to destroy, and a robust combat system built around parrying enemy attacks and striking when the opportunity presents. That’s a valid way to play. Or you can be merciful, playing non-lethally, using stealth and attacking from the shadows. Or you can be a ghost, never alerting a guard and leaving no trace. You can (and should) mix and match – there is no wrong way to play.
There are consequences to how you play, but that is true regardless of your path. That also means there is the potential for multiple playthroughs where you’ll find something new each time you play. If you take anything from this guide, take this: Do not get trapped into a specific style. Enjoy the game and save the challenges for a second playthrough.
With that in mind, we have a few Dishonored 2 tips and tricks to offer suggestions in a general sense, but not all of them will apply to your specific style. Hopefully, there will be something that can help in the early going as you find your footing and in the later stages when the game requires all your skills to survive.
If you have any Dishonored 2 tips and tricks of your own, let us know in the comments below!
There are a handful of black markets located throughout the game and you can approach them multiple ways.
When you discover a new black market, the first thing you should do is speak to the shopkeeper – but don’t buy anything yet. Depending on the store, you may run into someone nearby with a mission or you may find a mission waiting in the market itself. Just listen to those nearby for clues.
If you accept and complete the side mission, return to the market and you will be offered something special like a unique blueprint. You will also receive a discount on all items.
Alternatively, you can rob the market and take everything – just do it after you’ve completed the side mission and earned the reward (but don’t buy anything). The method to this is different for each store, so you’ll need to speak to everyone nearby and listen for clues. It may be as simple as finding a key to the backdoor, or it might involve several steps. You will receive several items, but the rune is the most important item.
- Every store has a rune for sale. If you don’t want to rob the store or complete the side mission, just buy the rune.
If you decide to go assault, you will still need to plan your attacks carefully. Taking out one or two guards that are after you isn’t too difficult using parries and your secondary weapons, but you can quickly become overwhelmed and holding down the block won’t save you.
Know your environments and be ready to escape by going high up if you need to, then jump back down. Use drop down attacks as often as you can, and make sure you upgrade your powers – especially those that allow you to attack multiple enemies at once.
- You can use a sticky bomb to turn an enemy into a trap for others. Plant it and lure others nearby to them.
- Grenades take a while to cook. Plan accordingly.
- Crossbow bolts are a great tool, but until you upgrade the bolts and make them tougher, they are only good in a fight if you score a headshot or are close to the enemy.
- You can rewire a wall of light and wait for bloody hilarity to ensue when enemies walk through.
- Whale oil canisters are explosive. Use them to take out several enemies at once.
- Clockwork enemies track by sight and sound. Take out their head cameras and they will attack anyone they hear near them, including your enemies.
Corvo vs Emily
When you first begin, you are given the choice between Corvo, the protagonist of Dishonored, or Emily, the empress and Corvo’s daughter. Once you make a choice, you are stuck with it for the rest of the game, so be sure.
Each character has their own set of powers, but there is nothing in the game that one can do that the other can’t. The power differences make each character’s playthrough feel unique, but ultimately they allow you to do the same things, just in slightly different ways.
There are also a few differences in the story. The main plot remains the same, but there are some changes in how the NPCs interact with your protagonist. The ending is also slightly different, of course. More than anything though, it’s simply a matter of choosing the type of character you want to experience the game with.
If you liked the silent Corvo in the first game, Dishonored 2 will greatly expand on his personality. He speaks in this game, which is a significant change in itself. Most of the game takes place in Corvo’s original home, and he will comment on locations in a way only a native could, and it helps to expand on his backstory.
Playing as Emily offers a different type of character. You play the young empress, a survivor of the rat plague, and a young girl coming into her own. Where Corvo was a protector from modest beginnings, Emily is nobility, and in many ways has a rude awakening as to what that means when it is all stripped away.
Both characters are remarkably well balanced and they both tackle the same missions. Choose your character based on personal preference, as you can’t go wrong with either.
- If you play as Emily, keep the heart equipped as often as possible. The heart belongs to her long dead mother, so there are some random lines of dialogue that are specifically about their relationship. Corvo’s lines are also revealing but in a different way.
- Blink/Far Reach is potentially the power you will use most frequently, regardless of character or playstyle. Corvo’s Blink is instant and hidden, while Far Reach goes further but can be spotted. It will change the way you play, but only slightly.
- Playing through a second time with the other character feels like a new game. If you want to go for a perfect stealth playthough in your second playthrough, stick with the character you’re most familiar with. You’ll need every advantage you can get.
Dishonored 2 DLC
There hasn’t been any DLC announced yet, but the previous game had quite a bit, so it makes sense that Dishonored 2 will too. When the DLC is announced, we will update this section with details like price, availability, and story details.
- Although not technically new content, Arkane Studio released the “New Game Plus” mode. Once you complete the game as either Emily or Corvo, this new mode unlocks. Once you start the new game as either character, you can then mix and match the abilities of either character. You will also have access to all the Runes and Bonecharms you collected, which can be reassigned to gain new skills and abilities.
Immersing yourself in the story/Game length
The story of Dishonored 2 plays out in a straightforward fashion. You have a mission, and completing it leads to the next step on the path to your revenge. That’s only half the story though.
The game is filled with letters, audio recordings, notes, and more scattered around. You’ll have to actively seek them out and read/listen to them, but doing so helps to flesh out the world. You’ll learn about your targets, the empire, and the world around you.
Dishonored 2 is a big game – if you want it to be. If you choose to run through the game, you can do it in 10 hours or so – faster if you go out of your way to speed through it. If you ignore all optional missions, forget about the black markets, don’t bother with the supplemental materials, and go directly for the targets you can probably knock a few hours off that. Just make sure you collect runes to power up.
The length of the game will also be determined by your style. If you like to explore, there is plenty in Dishonored 2 for you to satiate your urges. You’ll frequently come across random buildings with multiple rooms and areas to wander through. These areas are generally a good source for items and collectibles, but unless there is a marker or a rune/bonecharm, you can skip them if you choose.
Stealth will take longer, naturally. It takes time to learn enemy patterns, but you’ll also need to learn the areas. A realistic time frame for a first playthrough mixing at least some stealth play is 15-20 hours. If you are exploring and reading/listening to the supplemental materials, 25 hours is realistic, possibly more.
- NPCs frequently have additional dialogue, so talk to important characters multiple times to learn more.
- Listen to guards and civilians that are in the middle of a conversation. They may just offer a slice of life, but sometimes they will clue you in to secret areas and optional missions (like robbing black markets).
Runes & Bonecharms
When it comes to Dishonored 2, collecting bonecharms and especially runes is vital, regardless of how you play.
While the bonecharms offer you some important augmentations, the runes are what unlocks the game. Technically, you can beat Dishonored 2 without using any powers, but it requires a shocking, almost inhuman amount of patience, along with a near absolute mastery over the maps. Whether you are playing assault or stealth, you need to unlock and upgrade powers and abilities, which means you need to collect runes.
When you enter a new area, start by equipping the heart and making a note of how many ruins and charms there are in a particular area and where they are. You can and should mark the closest rune or bonecharm, then go out of your way to collect all that you can.
In fact, you should treat rune/charm hunting like a secondary mission. It often takes a fair amount of time and effort to track them down. Some you will stumble upon during the normal course of the mission, but most require you to work for them. You’ll frequently come across a rune/charm using the heart that logic suggests should be right in your area, but it might be on a higher or lower level – and yet sometimes there won’t be a higher or lower level to travel to. If so, look for switches, hatches, or other ways to access secret areas.
Once you have a few runes, you’ll need to decide how you want to play. There are powers and abilities that are better for assault and those that are better for stealth. If you haven’t decided yet, stick to the powers that help no matter what – Blink/Far Reach, Dark Vision, and increased health will help no matter what.
- It may not always be practical to keep the heart equipped, but if you can, you’ll hear random asides about the world, the characters, and more whil eyou hunt down runes/charms.
- While you are looking for runes and bonecharms, keep an eye out for blueprints and paintings. They won’t show up using the heart, but if you are searching for items anyway you are more likely to come across them.
- When you have extra bonecharms, break down the ones you don’t use for crafting. There is no reason to hold on to one if you don’t plan to use it.
- Make it a point to find the ruins in each level, but if a bonecharm is proving extremely difficult to find, don’t hesitate to leave it.
- Look for the blueprint at black market shops that allow you to activate more bonecharms.
If you are playing through using stealth, you don’t necessarily need to remain non-lethal but the two really go hand in hand. If you are using deadly tactics, there are more creative and interesting ways to dispatch enemies that don’t require you to take the time that a stealth approach does. Besides, if you are trying to remain unseen but you are killing enemies, the odds are someone is going to notice missing guards or dead bodies at some point anyway.
If you are playing to not be seen, make sure you have your sound on and turned up. You won’t always see guards, but you can generally hear them coming. You should also keep to high ground as often as possible. Most guards don’t look up that often, so unless you are obviously exposed or something draws the guard’s attention to you, you can typically stay elevated and concealed, giving you time to survey the area before making any moves. If someone sees you, going up is also a good way to escape – although it is far from foolproof.
If you are trying for the achievement/trophy given for not being seen or killing anyone, make sure to save often and get used to reloading. If that isn’t your primary concern, however, don’t worry about getting spotted, or even killing the random guard. Sometimes if you are playing non-lethal and you take out enemies, they could still die regardless of your intentions. This is especially true when there are automated defenses that you rewire. Keep playing and see what happens. Don’t stress out too much about this. Enjoy the game and save the attempt at a perfect approach for a later playthrough. It can literally make the difference between enjoying the game and grinding through it.
- Enemies on the normal setting tend to follow the same, simple patterns. If you want more of a cat-and-mouse feel while playing stealth, play it on a harder difficulty setting.
- Leaning is one of the most important mechanics you have. Take cover and lean over or around a corner/object to see what is in front of you. As long as there isn’t someone directly in front of you, you are mostly invisible.
- Before you enter a room, peep through the keyhole.
- Listen to NPCs talk to potentially hear about new routes and areas that may not be easy to find.
- Each area has a map you can collect. That won’t make a huge difference if you are playing assault, but knowing the layout can make a help if you are playing stealth.
- Hide bodies, and hide them well. Someone may stumble upon them, even if you are long gone.
- Darkness does keep you hidden, but not completely.
- Enemies track you based on their cone of vision and sound, but they can also use low-level logic. If they find something broken that you through, they will look for where it may have been thrown from, which means their search patterns change.
- You can distract enemies by hitting your sword against a wall.
- There is a non-lethal way to take down every enemy, including bosses. It may take a few extra steps, however.
General Dishonored 2 tips and tricks
- Save often. Quick save frequently, and save normally to create multiple, backup files.
- As Emily, if you are falling you can create a doppleganger and drop kill it to break your fall.
- You can choose to play the game without powers. Just tell the Outsider you don’t want his help. It makes the game much, much tougher, so save this for a later playthrough.
- You can alter the difficulty at any time.
- Water can hide you, but the fish will bite – and kill.
- You can turn up the brightness if you like, but the game is deeply conencted to the art and it is meant to be viewed with partial darkness.
Do you have any Dishonored 2 tips and tricks?
Let us know in the comments below! We will update this article frequently with new tips and news about the game.