Challenge Selection Paralysis

I have gradually been getting started on Dishonored (yes), and the achievements for the game are giving me ideas of how I might go about playing. Several amount to challenge modes like “play it as a pure stealth game,” “don’t kill anyone but your target,” and “don’t kill anyone” (I presume you can defeat the bosses without killing them yourself). But I have been finding myself somewhat paralyzed by wondering what closes doors and which achievements are mutually exclusive in ways you will not find out until half-way through.

Some are obviously mutually exclusive. “Don’t kill anyone” does not work with “kill lots of people quickly” or “kill people in a variety of ways.” Some are less so. It is not a priori obvious whether you can go through the whole game without (1) alerting or (2) killing anyone or (3) learning the magical powers. For example, maybe going undetected in some area requires killing a guard or possessing a rat or something. And then most games have non-obvious ways of failing challenges, so presumably keep lots of save files.

I am trying to plan ahead to economize, because it would be disappointing to learn that I could have passed a challenge if I had done one thing slightly differently 10 hours earlier. Dishonored is gratifyingly non-spoileriffic with respect to that, having big ticket challenge achievements (“play the whole game this way”) rather than highly specific things you would need to read in advance to know about (“acquire the herring before chopping down the mightiest tree in the forest but do not use the herring to chop down the tree”). This is also an virtue of Dishonored’s reportedly short (~20 hours) playtime, because playthroughs are not epic commitments. Dishonored has the downside that you can repeat missions but cannot retroactively un-fail challenges by not killing anyone on a second try.

Or maybe you can now? Probably not, but researching a bit has led me to many questions whose answers changed over time. For example, it seems that killing the assassins in the tutorial prologue used to count against “don’t kill anyone,” but now it doesn’t, and there are several other places where players found challenge-failing triggers the developers decided should not count against you. So researching turns up answers that may be outdated or inconsistent, and for best fun find a discussion between people who played different versions of the game where the rules changed, so we have experiences and maybe even videos verifying inconsistent answers.

I could alleviate some of this by not badge-hunting, but I like badge-hunting, and “challenge mode” is a special sort of badge-hunting that I think most of us can endorse. Now if only I could set the game to recognize which challenges I was trying for, indicate when they have failed for some reason, and give me the chance to rewind back through auto-save points to fix that. That would be a nice little feature.

: Zubon

3 thoughts on “Challenge Selection Paralysis”

  1. You can also try the “fuck stealth, I just wanna blast through everything/everyone” way.
    It works quite well too, which I found quite impressive as the game as supposedly stealth oriented.

  2. Don’t kill anyone also means don’t kill 3 assassins during tutorial part when queen gets killed.

    Getting all those hardest ghost, don’t kill, and don’t level up achievement is extremely gratifying because you really can keep everyone alive even targets to eliminate and behavior of npc will be really different if your are a good guy

    But then you also must play second time and kill EVERYONE, just for couple of phrases people say to you.

    Amazing game

  3. I know I’m a few days late on this, but yes, you can do all the stealth and no powers and collections and stuff in one playthrough. And maybe this was just me being stupid, but: alerting people means making the little lightning bolts turn red (I think). I did not realize this, and thought that it just meant getting three white lightning bolts, which is when they start wandering around looking for something.

    But I guess that lets me add: in fact, you can beat the entire game without any enemies even getting three white lightning bolts.

    And I, too, really liked how the achievements tell you (without spoilers) that you can play the game a certain way (in my case, the pure stealth, no upgrades way, which is how I like to play games anyway). But I didn’t do any research in advance, and didn’t realize that there were odd ways to fail challenges. Maybe they’d been patched out by the time I picked up the game?

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