Dishonored Best Levels (Ranked)

Dishonored might have no bad levels, but some levels are better than other

Ask anyone what makes Dishonored unique and there will be one answer. Levels. It’s the masterful level design of this game that makes it stand out. But what is so special about them? Let’s take a quick look at what good levels are, and where Dishonored gets it right.

Level design is definitely an art. You don’t need any technical skills to appreciate it. When you enter a space that’s well constructed, you just know it. Details and clutter are an important part of it. A lot of well-placed objects can tell a story without needing any explanations.

In Dishonored, every level is designed with intent. They tell us stories, but they’re also open-ended. This nonlinearity lets players choose how they want to play. This is pretty much Arkane’s core philosophy when it comes to this game.

Every single level is created in a way that makes replaying them very fun. You can always find new details and new paths that you didn’t take. That being said, not all levels were created equally. So without further ado, let’s get into it, from worst to best.


15. Loyalists

"Your usefulness is spent. They long for news of your death!"

The eighth level of Dishonored is short. You’ve clawed your back to The Hound Pits Pub. The Loyalists have betrayed you! Worse, they took Emily and you have no idea where they took her! 

This is basically a recon level. You have to find information regarding Emily’s whereabouts. The problem? The tiny pub is crawling with enemies. The outside area has three tallboys. All of this makes movement pretty difficult.

Being such a small space, there’s no way to start a fight without drawing everyone in. It’s the same problem if you are discovered. Thankfully there are plenty of entrances and exits. And the side-quest in this level does make it easier to deal with things afterwards.

Regardless of your Chaos level, things begin unraveling here. Wallace and Lydia have already been executed. Samuel and Cecelia are in hiding, Callista too if she lives. Fear and hiding seems to be the theme of this level.

I wouldn’t say this level is bad. It’s just that it pales in comparison to the other great levels. Dishonored is best at open spaces with great heights. That being said, this level is there to break up the monotony, so it’s understandable.


14. The Surge

The Surge is the last level of The Knife Of Dunwall DLC. It’s the climax to the ruin in Daud’s house and the poison in Billy’s heart. At the same time, it establishes Delilah as the threat that she is. Here, you go up against Overseers as they lay siege to your hideout.

Nothing about the layout has changed from your last visit (as Corvo.) It’s a functioning hideout in a decaying part of town. This mission is like a cropped version of Flooded District.

This level can be a little tricky. Part of this is because there are Music Box Overseers crawling everywhere. Taking them out while fighting all the other enemies can get overwhelming.

Everything about the DLC is the perspective of the other side. And being back at this location but on a different team is very much in line with this theme. It’s interesting to navigate the same space while saving Assassins instead of killing them or knocking them out.

While this level gives you gloriously open spaces and amazing verticality, there’s one problem. It’s literally the same place as Flooded District. Seeing the level from different eyes is cool. But there are lots of other levels on the list that are just better.


13. Dishonored

The first level of Dishonored begins with us rotting away in prison. We’ve been framed for the murder of Empress Kaldwin. All that’s left is for us to be executed. Except things don’t go that way, because someone sneaks us a key.

The prison is divided into several sections that seems to make sense. You go through the cell-blocks, past the yard and into the offices to get the explosives. Then you have to get through gate control before you can escape. 

Although narrowed in scope, the game shows its root in player freedom. You can kill or spare your enemies. Speedrunning is an option, but you will miss out on all the loot. And my personal favorite, you can bypass the gate control by being observant and climbing some pipes!

This level is basically a tutorial. You get a quick guide on takedowns and then you’re on your own. And by this point you’ve already learned how sneaking works. It’s a great way to get comfortable with the game’s core mechanisms. And then the sewers section is also equally impressive!

This might be an awesome tutorial level, but that might be what holds it back. It’s incredibly enclosed and linear design keeps it from greatness. It serves its purpose, but that’s all.


12. The Royal Physician

"Many seek the Bridge for solace. Ruined men, abandoned women, and plague victims have all leapt from here."

The fourth level changes some things up. The mission has you go to the Kaldwin Bridge. And the view from there is breathtaking! The architecture of the bridge and then Sokolov’s manor are very beautiful.

This level is broken into three big sections. You get dropped off on the south side, because there are floodlights on the bridge. The second zone is the bridge itself, where you have to turn off the lights. Otherwise Samuel can’t come. Then on the north side, you have Sokolov’s house.

This time, you’re capturing someone, not eliminating them. This limits your options, but it’s a break I enjoyed. Like most of the other levels, you can see improved quality of houses as you get closer to the rich people. Notably, many of the houses here are just wrecked and decaying.

The first section is pretty straightforward and you don’t have too many options. It’s when you get to the bridge that things become fun. You can walk in like a force of nature, or you can quietly swim there. Sokolov’s House is a beautiful spectacle. And my favorite way of entering is Blinking onto the rooftop.

There are two things that are bad, and one of them is horrible. The first is a minor one. The only way you can get past where you land is through a door. This itself would be fine. But the game has invisible walls around the water body which prevents you from trying other ways. You can’t even use Blink! 


11. The Dead Eels

You’ve rescued Lizzy stride, but there’s one problem. You now need to rescue her ship and restore her position as the leader of her own gang. The second level of The Brigmore Witches takes you to the Drapers Ward. Like all other locations, this place looks absolutely stunning.

This level has four sections. First up is the Drapers Ward, a location with beautiful foliage and a very believable Drapers Market. The Riverfront is where you’ll find your first objective, the ship Undine. Eventually you’ll find yourself in the Mills and the Sewers underneath.

You enter right in the middle of a conflict, so your options are clear. You can watch or intervene, and further kill or spare them. This is basic Dishonored design and applies to everything else. I really love the beautiful market style textures and colorful leaves.

Conflict seems to be the name of the game here. Daud’s job is to end conflict by retaking the Eels. The first thing you’ll see is a gang war between the Hatters and the Dead Eels. Both of these groups can be formidable, but we also have Brigmore Witches lurking around.

That being said, this level restricts you in one big way. You can’t go to the Mills until you finish the first objective. This is a huge blow, forcing you into linearity. Otherwise I’d rank this much higher.


10. Light At The End

"They left in great haste. Scattering like insects, eager to bore into the nests you made for them."

The climactic level of Dishonored is in one of the drabbest locations I can think of. Everything here is bleak and gray, no fun or joy. It’s on this remote island/lighthouse where Havelock and gang have run away after betraying you.

Despite this oppressive gray palette, the mission layout is actually pretty cool. You have the Beach, the Fortress and the Lighthouse. Even though it doesn’t look that great, the towering structure is something to behold. It’s always cool when your target is looming in the background all the time.

After you’re dropped off on the beach, you have several ways to tackle your objectives. If you’re observant, you’ll find the hidden path into the courtyard. It gets tricky after that, what with the heavy patrols. The fortress architecture, however, makes it great for getting around.

I might not be a fan of the colors, but it makes sense. The fate of the Empire and Empress is at stake. This bleakness can be felt through conversations overheard. If you’re on High Chaos, things get really bad. Like, you can actually fail to save Emily!

There isn’t much that I think is wrong with this mission. It’s kind of underwhelming as the climax, especially on Low Chaos. There is only one way into the lighthouse - the elevator. But it makes a lot of sense narratively, so I wouldn’t call it bad. It actually gives you a good challenge.


9. Delilah’s Masterwork

Dishonored takes us to a lot of dilapidated places. But none of them are nearly as beautiful as Brigmore Manor. Scratch that, they can’t even hold a candle. Part of that might be because this place isn’t all that abandoned. This is the final destination of Daud’s arc, taking on Delilah and her coven.

The manor itself has two sections, but the third one can be found at the climax of the level. Things are pretty flat until you get to the manor walls. After that, verticality exists but it’s a little trickier. The inside of the manor is a flooded and rotting wreck that’s filled with traps.

You’ll be on your foot, for the most part until you get to the manor. There are a few witches and gravehounds who can be troublesome. The game gives you several ways into the manor. You will eventually need a key to get into the West Wing, but even then you can find a few copies of it.

Now, the bad. Both the journal and lantern, required to complete the mission, can be found at the same place. The game could’ve added some randomization to make it more interesting and investigative. And the ending was a little underwhelming.


8. Eminent Domain

The 2nd level of The Knife of Dunwall takes you to the Legal District. This area was originally supposed to be visited in the base game, but it was eventually cut out. The location is pretty close to Holger square, which is where the second level of the base game takes place. At its heart, it’s a heist mission.

The layout is similar to the main game’s 2nd level as well. You start at the Waterfront, pass through a semi-inhabited area and move to your goal. In this case, we have the Legal Plaza. And this is where we find the highlight of this level. The Timsh Estate.

This is an opulent mansion that was designed to be broken into. The open balconies mean and cramped roads mean you can actually jump in from any side. The location of your objective is also randomized, forcing you to pay attention. Outside the Legal Plaza, there is an awesome section that has a City Watch Outpost. The rooftops in this part are one of my favorites.

You can easily see the common theme of corruption here. The contrast of color between The Timsh Estate and every other building is telling. Considering Timsh has been forcing other wealthy individuals out and raising the price of the area, it’s pretty fitting. 

But there is a reason why this one is down here. The only way to get into the Legal Plaza is through a gate, and you’ll need a key for that. The sad part is there is an alternate route, but that can only be used after you’ve entered the Legal Plaza.


7. The Flooded District

"These waters are greedy. They will never give back what they have taken."

This level shows us the worst of Dunwall. After being betrayed and poisoned, Samuel brings you to the outskirts of civilization. Once known as the great financial district called Rudshore, before the barriers broke and it became unlivable. This is kind-of like a living hell, a real trial by fire.

This feels like the longest level, and has some great variation. There’s the very flooded and abandoned Waterfront, and equally destitute Refinery. Central Rudshore is a shadow of its former self and is home to the Whalers. Old Mosley Canal departs from the green to Dunwall’s familiar dark gray, but no less depressing. And finally we end up at the sewers. 

You begin with no weapons. You have the choice of retrieving your gear or just heading directly to Daud. The door to Central Rudshore is locked but there are several ways of getting the way. Once you’re past that, you can pretty much ignore the confrontation with Daud. But that kinda takes away from the importance of that moment.

Most of Dishonored created contrast by placing rich zones and poor zones nearby. Here, everything has gone to hell. The contrast is with the livable city in the background. As you pass through the Old Mosley Canal, you get a glimpse of how bad the plague has hit the city. It really is Dunwall’s darkest side.


6. A Stay Of Execution For Lizzy

In the first level of The Brigmore Witches we return to a familiar place. Like Surge, but we’re back at the Coldridge Prison. And this time, we’re breaking someone out of this hellhole!

The layout is exactly the same, with one added area. One cell block that was locked before is now your objective. Even though you’re returning to the same place, security is much tighter! Makes sense, considering the last breakout.

Right off the bat, we have two ways to enter. We can climb up the rocks and break in, or we can impersonate an Overseer. The approaches have their merits and downsides, both being very fun. The new areas connect the old zones, making navigation more fun. 

Again, we’re seeing things from the other side. We have a new challenge. We’re breaking in instead of out, contrasting Corvo’s perspective. 

There is nothing bad about this level! The only thing restrictive is that you can’t use your powers outside. They’re Overseer Music Box playing from a loudspeaker. But it’s a good thing in this case, because it makes sense and forces you to improvise. 


5. Return To The Tower

"Dunwall Tower is not so tall that it can rise above the stench of death."

The same place where Corvo was Dishonored at the start of the game. Now he can finally have his revenge. Maybe even clear his name. It’s almost full-circle, but not really. And Dunwall Tower definitely looks different compared to the prologue.

This time the game only divides the level in two areas. The exterior has the shaft that you must climb. The courtyard has essentially become a heavily fortified fortress. The same can be said for the interior. But the spacious rooms, high ceilings and lavish decorations make exploration a treat.

The only way up the shaft is to use Blink. It’s unfortunately restrictive, but after that you have plenty of options. In typical Dishonored fashion, there’s plenty of verticality to allow you to Blink all the way to the Tower. You can enter through the vents, by possessing hagfishes, or through the main entrance.

The theme here seems to be something like ‘same place, different time.’ The difference in time of day is the first indicator. The changes in the courtyard, from artistic to militant, also further proves this.

The only thing about this level is how it forces you to use Blink. Until this point, you could potentially play the game without the Gift of the Outsider. Still, it’s a minor point for me    . 


4. High Overseer Campbell

"Such corruption! Such hypocrisy. Make me look on it no more!"

The second level of Dishonored makes you eliminate the High Overseer Campbell. It’s the first step to your revenge. At the same time, you might say that it’s the first real mission. Escaping the prison was basically an extended tutorial.

This time, we get five areas to explore. The Distillery District itself has the Waterfront, Clavering Boulevard and the side streets that give us plenty of access. We also have the actual Distillery and Dr. Galvani’s Office. Bonus but enjoyable areas.

The Overseer’s Office is located in Holger Square, and that is a great open space. Lots of windows, doorways, vents and pipes to explore. The Backyard’s design is a lot more pragmatic, nothing fancy there. And then there’s the cramped but fascinating Kennels. All of these areas give plenty of ways to infiltrate, making the level very replayable.

Campbell is the equivalent of a high priest or something. Which makes this level an exploration of corruption in the institution of faith. The Heart shows us a lot of insight, saying, “The Overseers always find the guilt they seek.” If that doesn’t scream out the theme, I don’t know what will.


3. A Captain of Industry

Just look at the picture and tell me you don’t think it’s striking. I dare you! The Knife of Dunwall begins with one of the most visually appealing and horrifying levels. That glorious sunset! And then there’s the whale.

Despite the short length, this level really makes the most out of it. Slaughterhouse Row has one road and several rooftop paths that lead to the Yard. This area has several warehouses and cranes. You know what that means? Openness and verticality! And if you’re read this far, you know how I feel about that.

There are several ways into the Rothwild Slaughterhouse. You can steal a time card to use the main entrance, climb up to a side entrance or get your boots dirty and go through the sewers. The last one is the most memorable. You will literally see the guts dripping from a whale as oil is extracted from its blubber. 

And the whale is alive! I don’t think I’m reading too much into it when I say that this level is about greed and cruelty. Alongside the haunting and painful whimpers of the whale, the slaughterhouse workers are on a strike. And Rothwild is about to use a torture machine on the head of his workforce.

I had a hard time choosing between this one and High Overseer Campbell. I ended up veering towards this because A Captain of Industry is exemplary! It shows that even a short but brilliantly designed level can easily hold its own. 


2. House of Pleasure

"The plague swept through here. There are rooms they have yet to clean."

The Golden Cat is what you could call a ‘fine establishment.’ Somewhere between an inn, bathhouse and a brothel, it’s unsurprising that it only caters to the rich. You have two objectives in this mission. Elimination of two of the Regent’s backers, and rescuing Emily.

The layout for the level is mostly the same as High Overseer Campbell. The same areas of the Distillery District are available. On top of that, you get to visit the Art Dealer’s Apartment in Clavering Boulevard. And then of course, the Golden Cat.

And let me tell you, this establishment is intricately designed. The amount of work that went into detailing the architecture outside and the decor inside is nothing short of impressive. And using these pieces to create such a vast level is masterful! You can find many ways of infiltration if you look.

The interior of the brothel itself is closed off in some ways. This means you can’t just jump in and get it done, you have to plan a little. The locations of the Pendleton Twins will be randomized, so you’ll have to investigate a little. And this level also has some very fun side quests. 

There’s a feeling of helplessness and being trapped when you think of the girls working at The Golden Cat. Just like Emily, most of them were brought there against their will. The Heart tells that they were brought here under false pretenses. Unlike Emily, however, they have no way out.


1. Lady Boyle's Last Party

"Tonight the nobles try to conceal their indiscretions behind masks and costumes."

Others have ranked this level at the same position, and I’m not about to change it. Because they did it for the right reasons. If you’re looking for one level that embodies what Dishonored is about, this is it.

Like a few other levels, this one only has two areas. Though it might be better to divide it into three. The Estate District is gloomy, depressing and downright haunting. Fireworks going off at the party almost sound scary. Seems like no one told the rat plague that this is a wealthy neighborhood. 

The Boyle Mansion itself is a marvel of level design. You can hop the fence in multiple locations or swim in through the sewers. The interior of the house provides a nice challenge. This is the only time in the game when you’re not immediately viewed as hostile, which opens up the possibilities. 

Part of the investigation is discovering the identity of the right Lady Boyle. This makes you avoid guards, sneak around a lot and investigate a fair bit. And then there’s the question of eliminating her. This is probably the only choice where everyone agrees on the lethal solution being better.

And finally, the theme. Nothing in Dishonored nails class disparity the same way this level does. Both the inside and outside of the mansion is decked out with lavish decorations. Wealthy men and women partying away, pretending that the rest of the town isn’t dying a slow death.


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A prolific and published author with a fervor for gaming, I have decided to dedicate myself to these two bring in a way that inspire passion and desires to learn and explore in others.
Gamer Since: 2000
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Dishonored
Top 3 Favorite Games:The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dragonborn, Assassin's Creed 2 , Dishonored

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