After Arkane was purchased by Bethesda, they put out one of the most surprising and lauded games of the last decade. Dishonored reinvigorated, and reinvented stealth-action games wonderfully.
There are many ways a player can dive into this world, but, unless they’re an expert stealth player, a swordfight will be a strong possibility, somewhere along the way. If such an event is on the cards, it’s best to be prepared. Here’s our guide for making sure you go into a swordfight with the best chance of success.
Step One: Assess The Situation
Before heading into any battle in Dishonored you should really survey what’s up ahead. Of course, this tip is only useful if the fight hasn’t already started, but knowing enemy placement can help the player move, attack, and flee all at the right moment and in the right way.
There are powers that can make this easier, but primarily a ‘stop, look, listen’ attitude is ideal in most situations. The best way to start any melee encounter is with one of the enemies already down, so try and see if there are any stragglers or better routes for an attack.
Step Two: Pick Off The Enemy One By One
If you’ve assessed the situation then you probably have a good idea of guard placement and can pick off any guards far away from their buddies. This is really vital in Dishonored, especially if a swordfight is imminent, as getting surrounded can often mean death.
If the fight has already started, it is still a good tactic to guide enemies away from each other, separating the enemies and reducing the chance they can all swing their swords on you at once. It’s a good attitude for any melee-based encounter in any game, and especially important here.
Step Three: Use A Slide Attack
Sliding in any video game is extremely good fun, and Dishonored is no exception. But it isn’t just a fun move to pull, it also has a good application in-game. If you are running at an enemy and slide, it will stagger them, making them easy to attack.
Not only is this a good way to start off any encounter (unless a better option is available), it can also be used mid-battle. If there are a few too many enemies surrounding you, slide into one of them and stagger them. This is especially useful if you see someone lining up a shot against you.
Step Four: Use Your Powers
Dishonored has many powers that you can use and upgrade, adding exquisite RPG elements to this stealth-action game. They give the player different abilities that make much of the game easier and more exciting, the first and maybe the most versatile being the Blink power. But there are many more after that.
If the player is set on using Blink, a good tactic is to swiftly blink behind an enemy, confusing them. There’s also the massively powerful Bend Time, which once leveled up can actually stop time, making enemies easy pickings. It’s best to play around with all the powers on offer and see what fits.
Step Five: Keep Moving
A time-honored tactic, circle-strafing has been useful in countless video games, from Doom all the way to Dark Souls. It’s handy in many situations, and especially so here in Dishonored. Getting behind an enemy, while not foolproof, can be seriously handy.
The best way to do this is to sprint, which can feel a bit counterintuitive at first, but is the best way to go. While sprinting you can get behind the enemy so they can’t block, and at higher levels of play can put the enemy between them and a pistol shooter, using the enemy’s body as a shield. Combine it with the Whirlwind bone charm to make it even easier.
Step Six: Use Falling Kills
Making you feel like someone out of Assassin’s Creed, Dishonored also offers instant kills when the player falls upon them. This is all laid out pretty early and is really easy to learn, but it can be much more versatile than the game makes clear.
If you have upgraded your Agility, you can actually do a falling attack just by jumping in the air, which turns them into a leaping deathtrap. Just jump above the enemy and slash down and they’ll be dead. It takes a bit of practice, but it’ll clean enemies away incredibly quickly.
Step Seven: Use Other Weapons
While this is a guide to being better with the sword, Dishonored is most definitely a game about versatility. It wants you to utilize everything at your disposal. Of course, this game design also leads to no-kill runs, sword-only runs, and many other permutations, but if you aren’t set on doing one of these, then you should definitely mix things up.
If melee combat is proving too difficult, there is definitely no shame in whipping out a pistol to thin the crowd. While it has limited ammo it is much speedier than a sword. A crossbow, however, while not as strong, can be good for breaking down enemies’ guard, allowing you to slash away. There are definite benefits to not playing sword-only.
Step Eight: Retreat If Necessary
You aren’t really punished for dying in Dishonored, other than the time wasted trying, but it can still easily be avoided. If you are overwhelmed by a large number of enemies, or get lost in any way, then a retreat may be in order. Using Blink can make it even easier, too.
Beating the retreat is nothing to be ashamed of, either – it can often have a clear benefit. A good retreat can create whole new paths for a fresh attack, or bring a different objective into view. The design of this game means that no matter where the player looks, they’re likely to find something, making the next fight more manageable.
Step Nine: If At First You Don’t Succeed, Try Again
If playing on the most recent generation of consoles, you’ll find this tip much easier. However, while the load times can be hard work, it’s wise not to lose patience. Playing a level over and over again and be more than just helpful – it can be very rewarding.
Losing in a swordfight is annoying, but this game wants you to learn from it– to learn the different routes and the different enemy placements and patterns. This can lead to new ways of maneuvering a swordfight or initiating one. Just like anything that someone is learning, repetition can be a great boon, and often leads to new ways of seeing the world.
Step Ten: Experiment
Sure, the sword isn’t really versatile on its own, but unless you are pushing to use nothing but a sword, experimentation can be really great. The game has wonderful combat and movement systems surrounding every action. Playing around with them is often half the fun, especially when stealth isn’t the most rewarding route for many players.
If you are there to have fun first and foremost, then that is definitely the way to go. There are only so many tips that can be given until you just need to get stuck in and practice. It will be worth it in the end – they can take that skill into Dishonored 2!
NEXT: Dishonored: 10 Easter Eggs From The Series You May Have Missed
Ben Johnson is a big Nintendo fan, most likely playing too many JRPGs at once. Whether it’s big lovely lists or big opinions, he loves writing about everything to do with video games. You can follow him on Twitter @bwtjohnson for lots of nonsense.
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