Dishonored 2 can be played many ways, whether you prefer stealth, a mix of stealth and combat, or a purely aggressive path through the game. Within these greater choices, you also have a huge range of abilities and routes that influence how the game feels and challenges you. Here are a few suggestions that make it easier to adjust as you start playing the game.

Thinning Enemy Numbers

Dishonored 2 guide - Enemies

It’s easy to end up in a larger battle than you expect. You see a patroller wandering around and think, “Hey, let’s kill that guy.” It’s a perfectly fair idea, but you might not know about the two men in a side room who are within earshot. And then there is another patroller who might wander into the same room as you start to fight those three attackers. Things can get out of hand without much warning.

Even as a combative player, you need to think a bit like a stealther before you engage in a fight. Stay quiet when you’re outside of combat, and look around before you attack anyone. If you see enemies who are absolutely isolated, take them out immediately. If you use stealth assassinations, you can kill these enemies and still get the jump on other targets before the loud, chaotic battles begin. It’s easy to kill one or two people at once, so keep your options open by engaging in these stealth kills.

Combined Arms

Dishonored 2 guide - Weapons

It’s important to use more than your Sword in battle. Corvo and Emily have multiple weapons at their disposal, and these aren’t meant to be used exclusively. You don’t have enough Bullets to spam Pistol shots all day and night. You never have enough Bolts either. Instead of using one by itself, you’re best off if you combine all your weapons.

Here’s an example. Imagine a room with three enemies close together. You can’t take them out quietly (or don’t want to), so it’s going to be a fight. Charging into the group lets you automatically kill one foe with your Sword because they’re not ready to block. You kill this unaware target, and the other two draw blades. You shoot the first one who approaches with your Pistol. If you’re lucky, you score an instant kill, but even if they survive, you can attack while they’re staggered and finish them off. Block to stop the next attacker from injuring you, and then save your ammo, because a solo survivor has almost no hope against you in melee.

In this way, you take down three enemies with only one Bullet spent. But if you tried pure melee, you’d have to hold off two attackers at once, which is substantially trickier.

Stay Off the Expected Path

Dishonored 2 guide - Stealth

Most enemies patrol and watch major entrances and avenues through the area. They don’t spend much of their time looking at rooftops, abandoned buildings, and other non-traditional routes. Because of this, you can sneak easily and somewhat quickly by getting above your enemies or around them.

Explore to find these optional pathways. Save your game and explore without worrying about lethality, being spotted, etc. Just run around and look for anything useful. After finding a few interesting possibilities, load your game again and reach those spots quietly. Doing this can actually be faster than exploring quietly in the first place, and it’s kind of relaxing to spend a minute or two wandering around without being quiet and cautious.

Collecting and Crafting Bonecharms

Dishonored 2 guide - Bonecharms

Bonecharms grant your character minor bonuses. You benefit from these whenever you equip a Bonecharm. These items can include up to four positive effects, and a single negative effect if they’ve been corrupted. Corrupted Bonecharms are either found with a negative trait, or can be accidentally created that way if you use Bonecharm Crafting as one of your abilities.

Because the Bonecharm Crafting system is so strong, we recommend that every character look into this. You can sacrifice the Bonecharms you find, learn their traits for future crafting, and get Raw Whalebone in the process. This Raw Whalebone is then used when you make your own Bonecharms.

You’re allowed to stack the same positive effect up to four times on your character. Thus, for instance, an effect that gives you health whenever you do X can be applied up to four times (either on the same item or spread over multiple Bonecharms).

This is why crafting is so useful; you can heap on all your favorite bonuses and push them to the maximum. For example, on our stealth playthroughs, we get maximum speed for our crouched movement (Swift Shadow), have a major chance to recover Sleep Darts after they’re used (Lucky Needle), move faster when carrying a body (Undertaker), and choke people faster (Strong Arms).

A True Leader Can Be Merciful

Dishonored 2 guide - Merciful rating

To get a Merciful rating you cannot kill any person during your play. Bloodflies, Fish, Rats, Clockwork Soldiers, and Bloodbriars are still free game, because none of them are people. Save Bullets and Bolts for these enemies, and use abilities, non-lethal takedowns, and Sleep Darts to get through the rest of your work.

When faced with an important target, always look for a special solution. Each major NPC has a kill scenario as well as a way to defeat them without lethal violence. Spend the extra time to go through these cool alternatives.

You don’t have to be a pure stealth player to pull off Merciful. If you upgrade your Sleep Darts, you can use them very effectively in combat. With skilled parrying, you can also parry and then choke out targets without harming them. These techniques make it much easier to get a Merciful rating without having to avoid every single encounter in the game.