I’ve been suffering with a heavy bout of gamer burnout in recent weeks (I know, woe is me) following the packed release schedule from the beginning of 2023. Luckily for me there isn’t a single game releasing in March or most of April that I’m the least bit interested in, allowing me to catch my gaming breath somewhat. This being the case I’ve decided to dedicate the month of March to replaying some of my old favourite games, so naturally this meant restarting the entire Dishonored franchise again!
I adore these games, and even this many years since one released, I still manage to find the gameplay ridiculously satisfying. I always play with a violent, high chaos, assassination heavy play style, and of course this occasion has been no different. As it has been an age since I wrote a good old fashioned list feature I want to return to them this week with my top five most satisfying things to do across the Dishonored franchise. Beginning as I mean to go on, let’s get violent!
Feeding Lord Pendleton to rats
Lord Pendleton is comfortably the most vexing of the Loyalist Conspiracy, and there isn’t much in the original Dishonored game which puts a smile on my face quite like feeding him to a swarm of ravenous rats.
I’ve only ever found him on Kingsparrow Island during a high chaos final mission in the first Dishonored, as they’re the only playthroughs I ever finish, so those of you who have also found him like this know time is against you from the off. Catching a bullet to the side fired by High Overseer Martin, the whimpering snobbery of the last remaining Lord Pendleton is cut short with him bleeding out his last in the besieged lighthouse. He is doomed to bleed to death slowly, protected only by guards he is paying, none of whom would show him a shred of loyalty were he not lining their pockets.
Fortunately for him, Corvo Attano is soon on hand to ensure he doesn’t bleed to death horribly. Instead he’s fed to rats, also horribly.
Summoning the rat swarm which finishes him off never ceases to feel incredible, and I only wish it was possible to do it sooner in the story, without the game crashing you to a game over for ending the Loyalists too early.
Blinking through blinds and windows
Nothing shouts ‘Surprise!’ quite like bursting through a window and unleashing a swarm of rats or a hail of gunfire on the previously unsuspecting occupants of the room. Another among the dozens of examples of superb sound design in the Dishonored games is just how crunchy and sharp the shattering of glass and disintegration of blinds is when your choice of protagonist crashes through them.
Enemies respond very much how you would hope, with startled gibbering and frantic fumbling for their weapons. It all amounts to naught for them unfortunately, as an assassin wielding powers from the Void itself is hardly going to suddenly burst into their space and wait for someone else to make the first move. Blood flows in every room while I’m playing Dishonored 2, and no matter how many times I play the games that will never change.
Cutting an enemy in half with the Twin-bladed Knife
It’s unfortunate this ability is locked into the back half of my least favourite Dishonored game, but I absolutely love the ability nonetheless. The best thing about it is how you don’t need to be attacking an enemy directly with the blade at the time, as if you hold down the physical attack trigger, Billie fires a brief yet powerful burst of light from the weapon, capable of separating anyone’s top from their lower half.
Due to the fact you don’t get as much time with this weapon / ability as I would like, you won’t be surprised to learn that this becomes the way I dispatch every foe for the remainder of the game. Of course, the Envisioned are the sole exception to this, because even this legendary blade cannot cut through stone.
Blinding a Clockwork Soldier
The Clockwork Soldiers represent the biggest difficulty spike ever in a Dishonored game for me, a strictly easy mode only player. The first time I experienced the Grand Inventor, Kirin Jindosh’s, mansion I had unlocked so many powers and weapon upgrades I thought I would make quick work of putting everyone inside to the sword.
Oh no no no, as it turned out I was the one put to the sword. Many times.
Imagine my sheer glee to discover (admittedly on a subsequent playthrough) that if you manage to drop attack or fire a hardened crossbow bolt at the head of a Clockwork Soldier, they start to attack whatever they can reach as opposed to exclusively you. I’ve used this to my advantage on all of my dozen (yes, literally 12) runs of Dishonored 2, and nothing in the game comes close to making me as happy as this ability. Well, except for..
Windblasting a group of enemies
It was only on my most recent playthrough of Dishonored 2 that I discovered there IS in fact a corrupt bonecharm that I can use! Void Winds! Boosting the power of Windblast, though also making it require a lot more mana to use; the gain greatly outweights the loss for my play style. This is especially so when complimented with the Shockwave ability added with upgraded Windblast, that fires damage out in a ring around you rather than exclusively where you are facing.
I’m using the power much more now than I usually would and, suffice to say, I already used it a lot!
Honourable mention: Completing a level without killing or being detected (or so I’m told!)
I admit I like the concept of this more than I enjoy my attempts at pulling it off. There’s only so many times I can catch a guard with their back to me without giving them the surprise gift of a quick death. I don’t find non-lethal ‘combat’ anywhere near as satisfying, but the couple of times I have finished a mission with zero deaths or alerts has felt pretty good in the past.
That’ll do it for my list! What is the most satisfying thing you like doing over and over in Dishonored games? Thanks for reading and I’ll catch you again next time.
Written, edited and images captured by Alexx.