These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Alternative Character Interpretation: Some fans joke that Corvo kills Daud in the High Chaos Brigmore Witches ending because Daud did Corvo's job (Protecting the Empress, in this case Emily) better than Corvo himself.
In the low chaos version of Light at the End, Havelock will just stand there saying he refuses to fight you. Although he will attack when you pick up the key to Emily's room (but only after he's offered it to you - if you grab it quickly enough, he'll go through his speech and not attack. Attacking is probably a bug), he can very easily be taken out non-lethally with a sleep dart or stop time plus choke.
Delilah in the Low Chaos final battle of the Brigmore Witches DLC can be taken out easily by anyone with Void Gaze and Blink. However, if you take her on directly, she will be an utter pain and a challenge one on one for Daud.
Daud can actually be this in the Low Chaos form. He only has one guard, and through use of Stop Time, the tranq darts, and Blink, you can zap his one guard and choke him into unconsciousness without him even knowing you were in the room.
In The Brigmore Witches, Corvo himself. He has Outsider powers, of course, but no NPC can begin to do justice to what you would have pulled off in the game proper.
On a similar note the Dream battle with Corvo Attano from The Brigmore Witches is awesome.
Best Level Ever: Dishonored is a great game overall, but most will say that "Lady Boyle's Last Party" (where you blend into an elegant party), "Return to the Tower" (where you infiltrate the 1st Lord Regent's fortress so you can finally kill/neutralize the bastard), "The Flooded District" (where you face-off against Daud and his army of assassins), and the High Chaos version of "The Light at the End" are the game's highlights.
Mission eight, The Loyalists. After escaping Daud, and the Flooded District, and right before the final mission to deal with Havelock and his fellow conspirators Lord Pendleton and High Overseer Martin, this mission just has you sneaking back into the Hound Pits Pub to find out where they've taken Emily. It's not an especially taxing mission, given that you can very easily incapacitate or kill all of the guards on the map in one go if you activate Piero and Sokolov's new Arc Pylon.
Lady Boyle's Last Party, arguably. Especially with level 1 possession, getting into the party is very easy, and you don't even have to hide in most of the mission area—nowhere else in the game can you walk right up to the guards and casually chat with them. And the best part is, you're not even in disguise—everyone just assumes that your assassin-wear is a costume. Bonus points for walking in and out through the front door, with an invitation, having neutralized the target without anyone even noticing, and signing your real name into the Guest Ledger before leaving (which completely freaks out the Lord Regent when he reads the investigation report).
Broken Base: The fandom is bitterly divided over who the better protagonist is between Corvo Attano (More powers, has the cooler sword and mask, is the "Face" of the game), or Daud (Low Chaos Daud has a character arc and Michael Madsen turns in a great performance- also some feel the DLC missions to be of higher quality than the main missions).
The River Krusts. They launch rapid-fire acid at you that will make sure you have to start chugging down Elixirs, they come in groups, and in order to damage them with anything except an explosive, you need to wait for them to start attacking you or possess them. Also, they tend to be placed in the most annoying locations possible.
The Whalers, who make frequent use of their Blink ability while patrolling and move around often, making it more difficult to count how many of them there are, to keep an eye on their patrols, and to sneak up on them to stab them in the jugular or choke them unconscious. They also use Blink constantly in a fight. On top of that, they make stealth runs considerably more difficult by having the annoying habit of popping up right beside you while you're creeping around on rooftops. On top of that, when they call for reinforcements, said reinforcements appear instantaneously. And on top ofthat, they're not too shabby with a blade. But in particular, their Blink has considerably more range than even yours does at level 2, and they're not even directly marked by The Outsider.
The Butchers from The Knife of Dunwall. Their butcher's saws do massive damage, deflect most frontal attacks, and can fire smaller saws so you can't just move out of reach. The only way to take them down without losing a lot of health is stealth.
The last leg of the game is kicked off by your betrayal. What follows are some very dull, linear sections in which you're missing most of your equipment, and the level design doesn't let magic be useful. Case in point: you recover your stuff from a building that has no alternate entrances, even for a rat or a fish, though you can manage to get in using some creative use of blinking.
"The Surge", the final mission of The Knife of Dunwall. While the previous two missions had wide open environments with interesting quirks and multiple ways to deal with enemies and obstacles, "The Surge" is the Whaler Base area from the original game's "The Flooded District", except with Overseers instead of assassins. There is very little in this mission that distinguishes it from the original game. The mission feels like it only exists to provide a place to split the two Daud DLCs.
Callista and Slackjaw are both very popular with fans despite their limited roles. Curiously, Granny Rags, who seems set up to be one, has gotten far less attention. Might have something to do with how Callista's being voiced by CerseiLannister and that Slackjaw is an expy of Bill'The Butcher'Cutting.
Wiles Roland is well liked for being a disgraced high class man that go out of his way to make sure that Daud's Target would be punished but his servants would not. Adding his cool mask and that he even gives a fair warning to Daud about the Flooded District, he is quite well liked for a one mission only (from a DLC at that) quest giver.
A popular theory is Corvo is the lover of the Empress and possibly even the father of Emily. It's a fairly popular theory in-universe as well. Pretty much confirmed in the good ending where the Outsider notes that after you die of old age Emily has you interred in the same tomb as the late Empress "because you were more to [Emily] than just a protector..." Explicitly confirmed by the drawing Emily makes for you, which shows you with the word "Daddy" written in big letters above it. The Empress' private messages to Corvo and Emily also heavily imply this, so it's as close to confirmed as it can be without being outright, clearly, and bluntly stating it by the Empress herself.
Daud/Martin has gained a following. Nobody's quite sure how that happened.
Game Breaker: Almost all of your spells are this in one way or another.
Blink in particular basically makes avoiding guards almost not an issue once you upgrade it. Although there are definitely moments where it's obvious the level designed anticipated your Blink strategy and moved to stop it.
Possession II is this, especially in the Flooded District level. Taking out every single one of the Whalers on the rooftops leading into Daud's hideout takes patience, but it's essentially cakewalk. Possess someone, walk the body out of their buddies' lines of sight, choke unconscious, repeat.
Two of the Bone Charms, "Water of Life"note When equipped, health is restored by drinking from fountains and "Spirit Water"note When equipped, mana is restored by drinking from fountains, can easily turn into this if the player is familiar with the locations of drinking fountains. At that point, Bend/Stop Time and Possession I/II — two of the most useful and expensive powers in the game — can usually be used without regard for mana consumption, as it can just be replenished for free. The only time you'll really need to consume elixirs or remedies will be in battle, and if you're doing a Stealth Run, chances are you'll rarely (if ever) end up in combat.
There is a known bug where, occasionally, getting the Shadow Kill upgrade will remove the ability to gain chaos. Yup, the game's entire point and purpose removed with one bug. Enjoy your lack of responsibility, you cheating asshole.
Loading a save can make the nearest whale oil tanks explode with no reason.
Guide Dang It: Enough Coin To Slip Away, a Brigmore Witches Achievement that requires the player to finish a Low Chaos playthrough with over 10,000 coins... when all of the DLC's levels only have about 7,500 coins between them all. The Guide Dang It part comes more from how you're supposed to do it- going back through Knife of Dunwall and taking as much money as possible, and then importing that save into Brigmore Witches and continuing from there.
Those very unpleasant-sounding violin chords that start playing whenever a Swarm of Rats begin to attack.
"The Drunken Whaler" song seems to have been intentionally composed to be as unsettling as possible. It's sung by a choir of Creepy Children, the background music is played with some very heavily-distorted guitar riffs, and the tempo is eerily slow. To say nothing about the macabre lyrics.
The clicking sound of River Krusts opening their shells. The second you hear it, find cover.
Part of the game's worldbuilding mentions something known as "The Fugue Feast," in which all rule of law is abandoned for an extended period of time and all crime is legal. Not even a year later, The Purge came out.
Although The Fugue Feast was based on a popular cultural phenomenon of 'inverted time' when the social roles and customs were reversed or in other way changed. The most common example is the Venetian Carnival and Ancient Roman Bacchanalia. The 'time outside time' concept is also present in various cultures.
Ho Yay: The Outsider makes it very clear that he considers Corvo — especially a non-lethal Corvo — the most interesting person he's seen for a long time.
The Ousider: You fascinate me. The Ousider: He's not special like you are.
Hype Backlash: With some people declaring it game of the year material before it even came out, there was some backlash before it even came out.
The Reveal, or at least the heavy implications (if Pendleton's comments, Emily's drawing, and Havlock's last journal entry are anything to go by), that the Empress was Corvo's Love Interest and that Emily is Corvo's daughter.
You knew someone on the team was going to betray you. The candidates were either the slimy noble Pendleton, the Well-Intentioned Extremist overseer Martin, or the ruthless Admiral Havelock who kept expressing concerns about the future. Who guessed it would be all three at once, though?
It's Short, so It Sucks : One of the major criticisms is that the base game is rather short- most critics had it beat between six and ten hours, depending on which Chaos path they took and how much time they spent looking at the world. The Game of The Year Edition had numerous people saying that Daud's campaign and the City Trials added enough content to make it worth it.
If your Chaos rating is high enough, Samuel will call you out for your actions and will grab his flare gun to warn the guards during the final level. You're ultimately forced to either fight against every last guard who patrol the station or kill the man who saved your life and respected your work the most out of all the Loyalists. And while you canTake a Third Option and knock him out before he fires sometimes the game considers him "killed" anyway and it is still a chance that he can fall into the water afterward.
Even the "Medium Chaos" version of the final level has it, with Samuel accusing you of going out of your way to be as violent as possible, and saying that he never wants to see you again. Considering how friendly and loyal he's been up to that point, those words sure sting.
The betrayal of the Loyalist Conspiracy is a sucker punch to the gut if there ever was one in this game. You knew that someone was going to betray you. Chances are you didn't expect it to be everyone. The Outsider's words when you grab the rune from the last Shrine really hit hard.
The Outsider: Strange how there's always a little more innocence left to lose.
In Dunwall City Trials, Kill Cascade sure is fun, isn't it? Up until the end, where you drop-assassinate Empress Jessamine right in front of Emily.
The last mission of The Knife of Dunwall where Billie, the person that has had your back throughout the game, turns out to be The Mole to the Big Bad. Softened considerably in a Low Chaos run, as Billie comes right out and admits her betrayal with obvious guilt, refuses to actually go through with said betrayal, defies the uber-powerful Delilah to her face, and then calmly puts her life in Daud's hands, fully expecting Daud to kill her because she deserves it. If you spare her, she thanks you and spreads your legend in the new life she lives abroad. The whole sequence has the distinct feel of a sincere apology.
All of the differences in the events of the game in a High Chaos run (as opposed to Low Chaos) can feel this way. From refugee shelters now appearing as a room full of weepers to Samuel flat-out telling Corvo that he's probably worse than the people he's going to kill.
Wallace, the butler of Lord Pendleton. Pendleton is a snob, but he doesn't take it to quite the same extremes as his butler. Wallace can often be found berating Lydia or Cecilia for their less-than-stellar performance by aristocratic standards, even though they're doing the best they can with horrible conditions in a time when basic safety marked one as lucky. In short: Lydia keeps the Pub clean in the middle of an abandoned, plague-ridden, flooded district, Wallace berates her for not knowing how to do a proper curtsey. He also mentions he doesn't care about the Weepers, stating they're 'only' poor people.
Lord Pendleton himself seems deliberately this, though he is remarkably hated less than his butler. He's usually quite nice and polite to Corvo, although there is an undercurrent of sliminess to his character that makes him unpleasant to deal with.
Scrappy Mechanic: See all these cool weapons, neat abilities, and interesting combat system? You'd better not use them at all, otherwise the story takes a drastic turn into Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy, with every character telling you that you're a monster. In other words, the Low/High Chaos mechanic (or just how strictly and unfairly it's implemented) effectively removes most of the gameplay mechanics if you don't want everything turning Grim Dark and nothing but constant Player Punch.
The Draper's Ward mission in the DLC with multiple warring street-gangs in period clothing is as close as it gets to a Gangs of New York videogame.
Squick: If you listen to the Mad Survivor outside his shrine in the Kaldwin's Bridge level, at one point he will exclaim how the shrine has "taken his water, taken his blood, and taken his seed". Still want to pick up that rune, Corvo?
The Woobie: Cecilia comes off as this, getting chewed out for her work by both Lydia and Wallace. Then she thinks she's the only survivor of the Hounds Pit Pub being massacred. If chaos is high, it's implied that she has caught the plague, too. The way she flat out expects to be the first one to go in case of trouble with a tired acceptance is pretty sad, but the fact that she tells you about her safehouse filled with loot and gives you a key for it right afterwards (because she admits, with some surprise, that she can actually trust you) cements it.