Gamer’s Guide To Dishonored Full Stealth
Ghost. Invisible. Shadow. Wind. All those words can describe the feeling I had when I finished my full stealth playthrough of Dishonored. I was admittedly nervous in the beginning when I decided to do all this on my first run-through of the game, but when I saw the multitude of achievements I could get if I went full stealth, I just held my breath and went for it. Some people called me crazy because they only had the courage to do it on their second and even third playthrough because you need to understand the various intricacies that come with being a sneaky bastard. But I pulled it off.
Just to get the details out of the way, this is what I was aiming for: I could kill absolutely nobody in the game be it guards or key targets. Nobody could have an “Alert” status which means they can not be hostile towards me whatsoever. I couldn’t use any enhancements with regards to my magical abilities, but could still upgrade my weapons (which were useless for the most part because I couldn’t use them, except for sleep darts) and I could still use the first level of Blink.
Like I said earlier I was nervous in the beginning. I have next to no experience with regards to stealth except for doing full stealth in Deus Ex: Human Revolution (which, quite curiously, I was being reminded of as I made my way through the game) and I never really chose the “stealth option” unless I was forced to in other games. So there I was, bright eyed and ready to not be seen whatsoever and not lifting a finger to anyone. The prologue went swimmingly and I only had to think really hard on one part, but for the most part I was okay. That illusion got fucked the second I started the second mission.
I regard the second mission of Dishonored to be the hardest of them all. I’m not even kidding when I say this. I had a real tough time figuring out how not to be seen by enemies that just littered the play area. If I had to take a guess at the amount of hours I spent I on that second mission it would have to be about six. I was still pretty new to the game and didn’t yet grasp the options I had available to me because I wasn’t thinking outside of the box as much as I should have. This is a real big part in surviving this stealth playthrough. Thinking way outside of the box. Usually I wouldn’t think that I could teleport onto lampposts and avoid a whole street of guards in ten seconds or that I could stash a body outside a small window so that patrols couldn’t reach it and set off an alarm. Once I figured out how to be creative with the environment things went rather smoothly from there.
I was becoming quite literally a shadow. I would Blink on top of beams and learn guard patrols in a few seconds flat and then make my move. There were quite a lot of instances where I kept on being caught no matter how hard I tried. As a stress reliever I would save my game, upgrade all the skills I could and then just kill everyone in sight, but after I got off that high I would go back to figuring out what I need to do. Sometimes it was as simple as an object I could use to get to higher ground and other times I had to backtrack and eventually find a secret passage that I could use.
This may sound like I didn’t have any fun, but that’s far from it. I had a marvellous time. I was always thinking and being creative rather than just slitting everyone’s throat around me. I had to invent ways to get past a tricky spot filled with a mountain of guards. I had to be quick and responsive at all times to avoid being seen. It was an experience, plain and simple. One I haven’t yet had in my gaming lifetime. I’m grateful that this game taught me how to be creative and use my brain for a change rather than just shooting MilitaryMan Number Eight-Hundred-And-Fifty-Billion.
And by God did I save and load a lot. You have no idea.
Now it’s time for the fun part kiddies. I will now give you tips on how to do it yourself:
- Blink. It’s the only thing you have and it’s the only thing you ever need. Experiment with your surroundings a little and you will be surprised at how much stuff you can actually climb up on. Be it lampposts, sewer pipes, beams, chandeliers, ledges or rooftops, almost nothing is out of your reach. Sometimes your Blink trajectory won’t show the place you want to go, but if that’s the case then keep on trying and you will eventually get it. Blink is an integral part of the stealth involved in this game and it’s up to you to use it effectively.
- There is always an easier way. If you keep that mantra throughout your playthrough then you will have almost no trouble whatsoever. If an area you need to traverse seems almost impossible due to there being enemies everywhere then it’s time to get creative. I’ll give one example and you will know what I’m talking about. In one mission I had to get to a certain room inside a heavily guarded building. I first went the hard route by dodging and tricking enemies inside the building and slowly, but painfully making progress. As I went through the motions I climbed out of a window onto a ledge and discovered that I could have used that ledge to traverse the entire building with no enemies in sight. Better yet the ledge in question could have been accessed at the starting point of the area. You need to take advantage of things like that.
- Lean. Lean helps a lot because you do not have access to the Dark Vision power that lets you see through walls. If you’re unsure whether or not a guard might see you if you pop out of the corner then use lean. While leaning, an enemy can not spot you even if they are right in your face. You can even go a step further and shoot enemies with sleeping darts while leaning. It takes some creative use of your controller, but it can be pulled off and enemies won’t spot you. As long as your body is in full cover, it’s impossible for an enemy to see you. I still won’t question the logic behind it.
- Hide your bodies. If an enemy stumbles upon a body you left an hour earlier in the same area then they will alert nearby guards, making it difficult to go undetected if you have to go back that way. Always try to put them in a spot you know nobody will walk past. That can be dark corners, highly elevated areas (you can still Blink while you have a body on your shoulder) or dumpsters and other objects with efficient hiding potential.
- If push comes to shove then choking out your enemies has to be done strategically. If you can’t for the life of you get past an enemy infested area then you will have no choice but to silently take them out one by one. Whilst choking an enemy, you can pick them up when they are knocked out and like I mentioned earlier you can still Blink if you have a body on your shoulder. Just be quick and put them in an isolated place. Always make sure your enemy is not facing your future choke victim and you should be fine. Using this technique you can take out an entire room without anyone noticing if you’re quick enough.
- Avoid confrontation. Sounds simple enough, but you have to make sacrifices if you wish to be unseen. Sometimes a side-quest will require you to be compromised and that’s a no go. It’s hard (especially for me because I’m a completionist), but you have to skip a few things if you want to remain undetected. Be it side-quests, random events or just someone pissing you off, just take a chill pill and leave it be while you balance on a ledge.
- Invest in your non-lethal weapons and skills. Most notably the sleep darts. If you can upgrade your crossbow to instantly reload after a shot then it will make things a bit easier for you. Sleep darts are great of you have 2-3 enemies that you need to take care of. If you’re a decent shot you can take all of them out in no time at all. Also invest in your stealth boots and mask optics, they really help you with sneaking and recon respectively.
- High ground is the best ground. Don’t waste your time Blinking from one box to another on ground level, just seek the higher ground. Train yourself to always look up and find ways to get to the highest spot possible. You will be surprised at how quickly and easily you can progress through a stage if you just stick to high places and away from enemy eyes.
- Don’t lose your temper. It can sometimes be frustrating if you try for how long to cross a single level knowing that you can just kill a bunch of guys and just walk through the front door. Don’t fall into that trap because you will just end up doing stupid things. Rather follow the things I have mentioned. Blink to better locations, seek an easier way through and if you can’t then quickly dispatch all your foes.
Dishonored really is a one-of-a-kind game that you won’t easily experience again. A game that challenges your mental capacity as well as your skill as a gamer deserves some merit. Now go be Sneaky McSneaky pants. You will have fun.
Do not slice his throat with a rusty cleaver.