ByMichael Mitchell, writer at
Former Staff Writer for Now Loading. Currently tweeting things here:
Michael Mitchell

Dishonored 2 was recently released and it's already raised its fair share of questions. And while many of those pertain to ways players can fix some of the performance issues plaguing PC users, some of them come down to the game itself.

For example, if you're new to the series (as I am), you may have begun playing and noticed that your save files and mission-complete screens display a "Chaos level." You may then have wondered what the heck that even means. Thankfully, we have you covered!

Today, we'll be taking a look at what exactly your Chaos level means in Dishonored 2 and how you can raise or lower that level. Let's start with the basics.

For Starters, There Are Three Levels Of Chaos Awarded After Each Chapter

Let's get this out of the way. While playing, you'll receive one of three different Chaos ratings: Low Chaos, High Chaos, and Very High Chaos. In Dishonored 2's world, there is no such thing as Medium Chaos, apparently — which, as someone aiming to reap maximum Chaos, is totally fine with me. All or nothing, baby!

You gain Chaos by, shockingly enough, killing people rather than taking them out in a non-lethal manner. But the Chaos system is a bit more nuanced this time around — different enemies are allocated a different morality, and that morality directly affects the Chaos you earn for killing them.

What I mean by that is, enemies will vary from totally not-okay-to-kill all the way to "this person needs to die." Officially, these moralities are dubbed "sympathetic," "guilty," and "murderous," and the NPCs with these moralities will award respectively increasing Chaos if killed.

Your Chaos Level Affects More Than Just The Game's Ending

Speaking with Game Informer (seen in the video above), co-creative director Harvey Smith answered several questions about Dishonored 2's Chaos system and how it — and your other actions — affect the world around you. For starters, Chaos alone can change a number of things:

  • The number of blood fly infestations across the city.
  • How thick the Grand Guard is in some places.
  • A few specific voice lines throughout the games.
  • The tonal reaction of the protagonists.
  • How optimistic or cynical the different endings appear (more below).

As you can tell, there's a lot that goes into your Chaos level, some more subtle than others. But Chaos alone is not the only factor that determines the game's endings and the environment; if you support (or don't support) a particular character, kill (or spare) specific characters, and so on, you'll receive different endgames.

This is where the Chaos system and cynicism comes into play. Say you support and spare all the major characters possible — those characters will then factor into the endgame. But, if along the way you decide to kill every civilian and non-major character in sight, your ending will still feature those major characters, but will be tinted with cynicism galore.

You Can Theoretically Beat The Game Without Killing Anyone

Or, you know, take the opposite approach.
Or, you know, take the opposite approach.

One of the really interesting aspects of Dishonored 2 is that the Chaos system — along with the spare/kill options present throughout — means that you can make it through the entire game without actually killing anyone.

In a way, it reminds me a lot of Mass Effect — another game I went full Dark Side in — in that different players are going to approach the game in many different ways, and then they'll be able to discuss the different outcomes. The original Dishonored had three different endings based on Chaos level, but Dishonored 2 appears to have more nuance to it and more endings as a result.

Personally, I can't wait to see what sorts of Chaos I can bring upon the world of Dishonored 2!


What sort of playstyle do you prefer in 'Dishonored 2'?


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