Dishonored 2 is a game filled with supernatural abilities. Along with your weapons and equipment, these abilities form the backbone of Dishonored 2’s old school approach to stealth and combat scenarios regardless of the character you end up playing. That said, both Emily Kaldwin and Corvo Attano have a unique set of abilities tied to their character that give you a few different ways of handling the missions present in-game.
When you first start a new playthrough as either Emily or Corvo, you won’t have access to any of their supernatural abilities or enhancements, which are unlocked with Runes. You’ll receive a few to get started from the Outsider, but the rest of them must be found throughout the game using the Heart item and exploring the world around you. These Runes are essential to progressing your abilities and come in limited amounts.
During a single playthrough, you wont be able to unlock all your character’s supernatural abilities and enhancements — meaning every Rune you collect has inherent value compared to the rest of your equipment. This is how Dishonored 2 was designed though; encouraging you to experiment with different powers on multiple playthroughs. But if you’re looking for some help picking which abilities and enhancements are the most fun to play around with? We’re got you covered. Here’s some of our favorites for both Emily and Corvo.
Domino is easily my favorite ability for Emily, namely because it works so well when used in unison with her other abilities like Shadow Walk or equipment like the Pistol. Essentially, Domino allows you to link human targets together so that they share the same fate while the power is active. Originally, Domino costs four Runes to unlock and can link together two different human targets. By spending an additional six runes, you can upgrade it to link three and four targets respectively.
With Domino, you must think creatively when approaching different combat scenarios. On non-lethal playthroughs you can link together four guards actively patrolling a room and then sleep dart one of them to knock them all out. Or, you can also link together those same guards and then kill one to spread his fate to the rest. If you don’t even want to tangle with enemies you can combine Domino with a power like Doppleganger, which summons a copy of yourself that distracts enemies. Since your clone is a human target, you can then link her to three other humans and then knock her out from a safe distance — sending them all to the ground immobilized with a headache. Not bad, right?
Shadow Walk is the best way of dealing with enemies up close while remaining undetected once upgraded, especially if you’re looking to do a non-lethal playthrough as Emily. This ability allows Emily to shapeshift into a small, smoky cloud of shadows to stalk her enemies, sneaking around them and then taking them down with brute force. When you first acquire Shadow Walk it costs four Runes and allows you to take down one target before returning to human form, but you can upgrade it with four more Runes to stay active until you take down three different targets.
What’s great about Shadow Walk is that it allows you to choose whether you want to take down enemies with a lethal or non-lethal attack, killing them quickly or knocking them out silently over a few seconds. While Shadow Walk doesn’t make you entirely invisible, it can be used to skip through entire areas of the game provided you’ve picked up the Rat Shadows upgrade for one Rune. This upgrade opens new pathways through rat tunnels in the game, leading you to otherwise unattainable loot rooms and allowing you to skirt past guards with ease. Shadow Walk can also be used in tandem with abilities like Domino to quickly eliminate entire rooms of enemies with a few takedowns, but that starts to become a little mana-heavy unfortunately.
Possession was one of the abilities that many players seemed to have skipped over in the first Dishonored in favor of the more direct ones such as Bend Time or Devouring Swarm. This time around, Arkane Studios has put a few great upgrades into it which help it become one of the best abilities Corvo has at his disposal, provided you use it wisely. Possession allows you to merge physically with an animal (usually rats or fish) provided you have an unobstructed path to your target. If the Human Possession upgrade is taken for four more Runes, you’ll also be able to merge with humans and be granted limited control over them for a brief amount of time.
Like Emily’s Domino ability, Possession is one that needs to be used creatively to be truly useful. Physically merging with animals doesnt provide much of a benefit, but if you get the Chain Host upgrade for three Runes you can jump between hosts multiple times to sneak through areas without being detected. If you have all the Possession upgrades — animals, humans, and corpses — you’ll never run out of places to hide provided you manage your mana properly. In combat, Possession can also be used along with abilities like Bend Time to walk your enemies straight into their own bullets, right off cliff edges, or even pile a bunch of guards onto a single trap.
The most expensive and mana-intensive ability, Bend Time is built to give you an unrivaled advantage in nearly every single situation Dishonored 2 drops at your feet. Initially this ability allows you to slow down the passage of time around you for a short duration to execute impossible feats of both stealth and combat, navigating your way through packs of enemies like a shadow or killing them all before they can even stand up from their chairs. Bend Time will cost you a hefty five Runes to unlock at first and another six Runes to reach its full potential with the Stop Time upgrade.
Bend Time is one of those abilities that truly makes you feel like a human augmented with supernatural abilities provided you use it properly and manage your mana consumption. Once upgraded with Stop Time, Relativity, and Lasting Bend Time, this ability allows you to clear entire buildings of enemies before any of them even know what is happening. You can also manually stop and advance the flow of time to set up ridiculous feats that even your enemies will be blown away by, provided they survive. It may not have the instantaneous results that Domino has, but boy does it feel satisfying when you manage to stop time for a minute and line up six perfect headshots on the guards chasing you.