Jeremy enjoys gaming when not helping manage the college he graduated from.
Why Should I Use Stealth in Dishonored 2?
Action-adventure game Dishonored 2 gives you several different ways to experience its content. Near the start, you'll choose to play as either original Dishonored hero Corvo Attano or Empress Emily Kaldwin, each with a few variations in their magical powers (see below). Regardless of which character you pick, you can rush through the game, guns and sword blazing as you slaughter all enemies, or you can stealthily (and perhaps nonlethally) stalk and sneak past foes.
Discretion not only decreases the amount of guns pointed your way, it impacts the story by leaving your character less jaded (assuming you opt for the non-lethal approach), and you'll probably feel more heroic if you avoid massacring the inhabitants of Dunwall. If you remain undetected for an entire level, it also earns the "Ghost" accomplishments in each mission's performance summary. To help you gracefully slip past foes, or eliminate them without raising the alarm, here's a comprehensive stealth guide on how to stay undetected in Dishonored 2!
Should I Pick Corvo or Emily to Play As?
First things first, you'll need to choose a character, and the game doesn't really tell you their (admittedly minor) differences. Emily's better-suited for chaotic area-of-effect players, and her Far Reach movement power has some whiplash upon arrival. Corvo's Blink is more precise, and (unlike Far Reach) can't be seen as he moves, so he's generally the better stealth choice.
However, both can tackle either style competently, and Emily may eventually obtain a bonecharm that makes her Far Reach invisible while moving, so don't fret over the choice too much; pick whoever interests you more. Narratively, Corvo's an older, more seasoned warrior, a good choice for fans wanting to continue their original adventures, while Emily's royalty and gender (she's the first playable female protagonist in the series) offer a refreshing change of pace for those inclined.
Consoles for Dishonored 2
1. Use Crouch
This one's pretty obvious, but it's worth remembering. While crouched, your footsteps are silent, and you're less visible, though returning players will note enemies have better vision this time around, so you'll need to hide behind more encompassing cover when sneaking.
If you approach a table or other object, crouching will let you crawl under it, offering useful hiding and ambush spots. Crouching reduces your movement speed slightly, but it's not much slower than your default walk, and you can increase your crouch speed after obtaining the bone charm "Swift Shadow." You can even stack this effect by crafting a bonecharm with four Swift Shadow traits, letting you move remarkably quick in stealth mode.
2. Exercise Caution When Leaning
Veterans of the first adventure will remember the lean ability, which lets you peek around corners while remaining hidden. This feature returns in the sequel, but it's much more risky (and realistic). Now, even if you're initially behind cover, if you lean too far from your barricade, enemies can still see you.
Thus, if you use lean, adjust your position so that you can just barely see around the corner, which should hide your body from onlookers. Also remember that the farther you are and the darker the environment, the less likely foes will spot you.
3. Unlock Dark Vision
Once again, veterans of the first adventure should remember Dark Vision, a supernatural ability you can soon unlock by spending runes after accepting the Outsider's mark (this happens early on). Dark Vision's received a few nerfs from its original form, so it may take some getting used to if you're accustomed to its initial appearance. Instead of constantly revealing enemies through walls, Dark Vision periodically sends out a pulse-like wave in all directions, which briefly reveals enemy location and their field of view.
The pulse is both less revealing and shorter-ranged than before, so Dark Vision isn't the godlike stealth aid it once was, but it's still an important tool for sneaking and maintaining visuals on foes. If you upgrade it with more runes, you can also see the pathways and destinations unaware enemies intend to travel to, further letting you plan your strikes.
4. Strike From Above
Here's another one that may seem obvious, but remains a helpful tip. One of the best ways to pick foes off (choking them if nonlethal or assassinating if lethal) involves perching in a vantage point above them. Enemies generally don't look up unless prompted by noise, so you should be fairly safe, and you can keep an eye on them to plan your ambush. You an either drop down behind them and silently choke or assassinate your target, or use the falling knockout/assassination for instant (but noisier) results.
Luckily, it's pretty easy to scale walls; you can simply climb up, use the Agility rune upgrade to increase your jumping abilities, or harness Blink/Far Reach to quickly teleport to an overhead location.
5. Distract Enemies With Noise
If you're going for the stealthy Ghost accomplishment, note that enemies don't count as having seen you when the white portion of their alertness bar fills up. When this occurs, they'll come to investigate the point they glimpsed you, but as long as you move to another location without revealing yourself, you haven't actually been spotted yet.
Enemies only enter combat (and count as having seen you) once the red portion of their meter completely fills, and you can lead them to certain areas by purposefully letting them glimpse you or distracting them with broken glass (the game is littered with bottles to throw for this purpose). You can also swing your sword at objects to create a thunk they'll come investigate, just be sure to quickly warp away. This tactic is particularly useful for breaking up groups of enemies whose visions cover each other (and prevent targeted strikes), as they'll often split up when searching for you. Emily's Mesmerize and Shadow Walk power are also great stealth tools, but you'll need to ration them as they drain your mana.
6. Use Stun Mines/Sleep Darts (Especially on Wolfhounds)
Crossbow bolts are useful for stealth-oriented killers, but nonlethal players have fewer noiseless options. In addition to your default choke ability, Stun Mines are handy knockouts that can be placed in advance, letting you purposefully trick enemies into searching a mined area. This works especially well when you upgrade your mines to provide two and eventually three charges with each unit, meaning even if the initial radius doesn't reach every enemy in the area, foes who come investigate the unconscious bodies will also be nonlethally zapped.
Normal crossbow bolts will kill foes, but Sleep Darts offer a nonlethal and silent alternative. Save these when you can, as they're much rarer than regular ammunition, but they can be upgraded to provide instant sleep, and they're great at disabling the wolfhound dog enemies (who can't be choked). Near the end of the game, you can obtain the Lucky Needle bonecharm, with provides a chance to recover tranquilizer darts once used; if you're willing to cheat the system, you can simply shoot enemies and reload saves until the chance triggers, effectively providing unlimited stealth darts. Once an enemy is unconscious, they won't wake up for the rest of the level, so there's no time limit when incapacitating without killing.
7. Hide/Eliminate Bodies
Even if an enemy spots an ally's unconscious or dead body, it doesn't count as finding you, so it won't ruin your Ghost checkmark. However, it does make the enemy more suspicious and start to search the area, and eventually, enough found bodies will start to lower your stealth rating (even if you aren't seen).
To prevent this, either hide the bodies in hidden locations or (if you're adopting a lethal playthrough) dissipate them entirely with the Shadow Kill ability, which vanishes the corpses of enemies killed silently. The Greater Shadow Kill upgrade vanishes all bodies, even if murdered in more noticeable fashions, sparing you the trouble of constantly lugging enemies to secluded locations.
8. Obtain the Folded Galvani Resin Blueprint
The bad news is that Dishonored 2 strangely places the useful Folded Galvani Resin blueprint all the way in mission 8, the second-last level of the game. This critical upgrade reduces the noise your boots make when walking or sprinting, letting you more stealthily approach targets even without crouching.
Still, better late than never, and if you utilize the New Game+ feature, you can start anew with your collectibles intact, letting you replay older levels with the boon. You'll need to be observant (or use a guide) when hunting blueprints, as unlike runes and bonecharms, the Heart item you possess can't detect them. Also remember that you can't use blueprint bonuses immediately; after finding the schematics, you'll need to buy the upgrade from a black market.
To locate this upgrade, follow the stairway in the Grand Palace to the bottom, then move forward until you reach a room with a guard and storage boxes. Use Dark Vision to help you locate a lever which opens a door that reveals a hidden passageway, leading down into a room with the blueprints resting on a table.
9. Avoid Enemies
Yes, yes, this one's also pretty obvious, but there's no real need to defeat every enemy in the game. Sure, rendering them unconscious lets you search areas more leisurely, but you can often simply move around most foes, especially since the game offers multiple paths to almost every objective.
Also remember you can pickpocket any loot that adversaries may be carrying, so your gold supply doesn't have to dwindle even if you leave an enemy unscathed. Avoiding foes saves you the trouble of having to take them out, prevents the discovering of bodies, and saves ammunition for threats you can't sidestep.
10. Save Often
Despite the AI's increased perception and your reduced Dark Vision making stealth more challenging compared to the original, Dishonored 2 retains its handy ability to save at any point (and thankfully adopts a blessedly-fast quicksave in the pause menu). Thus, as long as you're diligent with your saves, you only really need to correctly perform each stealth strike once, as you can record your progress after a successful attack.
Now, it's smart to periodically create a backup save in case something goes wrong; you might save your game after choking an enemy, thinking you got away with it, only to realize someone's about to round the corner and spot you. In these cases, it's nice to have a point of return before your initial attempt, and manually saving in two locations will offer a more-reliable backup then the game's auto-saves. If something goes wrong and you've already saved with no backups, you can always restart the mission, but you'll be losing progress.
Dishonored 2 Review
As a sequel, as I'm content with Dishonored 2. It offers the choice between two characters and (for better or worse) doesn't heavily deviate from the original gameplay while offering a few appreciated tweaks. If you liked the original, you'll definitely enjoy this adventure too, just be prepared for the dampened prowess of leaning and Dark Vision (which admittedly had made stealth pretty easy before).
The graphics are also much improved over the original, the New Game+ mode offers replay value, and the story nicely incorporates Delilah, the villain of Daud's sections in the original's DLC. While not a must-play, Dishonored 2 still a fun game that tailors to both action and stealth fans, and you can obtain it for very reasonable prices, usually costing under $30. Whether you're a fan of the original or a series newcomer, I'd definitely recommend trying this engaging stealth/action adventure.
© 2018 Jeremy Gill