Dishonored is another game that claims that the choices that you make in the game can change the world and affect the outcome. It comes closer than some, and there are at least three endings that I’ve seen, based on your choices.
Low chaos is how the game describes the state when you kill few to no people. High chaos is how the game describes a lot of deaths. I’m not sure where the ‘midpoint’ is. I’ve just finished a ‘High Chaos’ playthrough, straight after a ‘no deaths’ playthrough. The two are certainly very different in terms of feel, and as you get towards the end, the tone of the two stories definitely changes. Since I’m going to discuss some details, you can probably guess there will be spoilers.
The first time I noticed a difference was in the first real level (after you escape ColdRidge and have met the Loyalists). Towards the end you are moving through what is essentially a barracks area. If you sneak into the actual barracks you’ll come across two men in conversation. One has the plague.
In the Low Chaos version, the man acknowledges that he has the plague and begs his friend to kill him before it really takes hold. His friend has to be convinced.
In the High Chaos version the man tries to convince the other that he’s fine, really, and he’s then killed violently.
It’s a small scene, and yet it gives a hint of how things can change and play out differently.
The most obvious change from low to high chaos is the number of rat swarms around. These are in areas that they weren’t in previously, and require a change of tactics to complete many objectives. The second change is the number of “weepers’ (plague affected, zombie like people). In one area, for example, there are merely displaced people in low chaos, but with high chaos they’re all weepers. Again, this requires a change of tactics, and makes playing that area very different.
There’s really not a huge change in the way the various characters react to you until you get to the point where your Loyalist “allies” betray you. At that point they begin arguing in high chaos, wheras they all seemed quite affable to each other in low chaos. Samuel also becomes distinctly more snarky and disapproving.
Things change even more when you go to assassinate the Lord Regent. In low chaos he’s fairly easy to access in his bedroom. In high chaos he’s retreated to a well guarded room on top of Dunwall Castle. That makes the entire task much more challenging.
This theme continues at Kingsparrow island. Not only will Samuel alert the island to your presence (by firing his gun as he leaves), but instead of finding all three “allies” together in the lighthouse, you’ll find two of them shooting at each other down in the fort surrounding the lighthouse. There is also far more damage to some buildings in high chaos, giving you other paths to use.
Really, the whole tone of the endgame changes from low chaos to high chaos, making it feel and play very differently.
To an extent the challenges change as well. While things are “easier” on high chaos, as you really don’t care if you’re killing people, or if alarms are raised, often the difficulty of getting to your target is increased.
Really, I think the way they’ve handled the whole “world changes depending on your choices” is quite well done. It gives enough scope to play the game again with different tactics, making is a slightly different game.