‘Deus Ex: Human Revolution’ Non-Lethal Playthrough Guide (Pacifist Achievement/Trophy)

Yesterday I reviewed “Deus Ex: Human Revolution.” You can read that review if you want, but, long story short, the game’s really damn good and you should pick it up. One of the unique features of “DXHR” is that you can play through the entire game without killing anyone (save for the bosses, who totally deserve to die anyway). If you actually manage to make it to the end of the game without killing anyone, you’ll be rewarded with the Pacifist achievement/trophy, a true accomplishment.

Because I’m a crazy person, I decided to go for this achievement on my first time through the whole game. And I succeeded! Now I’m here to share with you some pointers on how you too can succeed in the ways of non-lethality. This guide won’t have any spoilers, but it will have tips on which augmentations to pick up and which weapons you should have in your inventory.

Note: You’ll still get all the story elements from playing through the game non-lethally, but if stealth isn’t your usual style, I’d suggest playing through the game once however you want. Stealthy players should feel right at home playing non-lethally, though.

TIP #1 – Select The Hardest Difficulty

If you’re planning on going non-lethal, you may as well select the hardest difficulty. Not only will this net you an achievement at the end of the game, it won’t make the game much harder, as the difficulty only affects the amount of damage you take and enemies can still be knocked unconscious with one hit. If you follow this guide, the only time you’ll take damage is when you fight the bosses, and those sequences are pretty manageable compared to the rest of the game. By playing this way, you should also be able to finish the game without setting off any alarms, which will earn you yet another achievement.

TIP #2 – Don’t Kill Anyone In The Prologue

I’m not 100% sure if kills during the prologue count against you, but you’re better off not risking it. You won’t have any augmentations at the beginning, so it’ll be a matter of mastering your ability to move from cover to cover without being spotted. This skill will be mandatory later on in the game.

TIP #3 – Keep Multiple Saves, Hide Bodies

Don’t rely on the game to auto-save for you. I’d suggest keeping multiple saves going so you can reload to a safe spot if things get too hairy. If you accidentally kill someone, reloading a save to a point beforehand will allow you to keep going for the achievement. Also, hide bodies carefully, as an unconscious body spotted by a guard or camera will sound the alarm and make your life a lot harder.


’Deus Ex: Human Revolution’ Non-Lethal Playthrough Guide Part 2


There are three crucial augmentations you’re going to want to max out as soon as possible.

Buying additional batteries early on in the game is not nearly as useful as having a faster recharge rate of your initial battery, which recharges without needing to use an item. Having that battery full grants you a free takedown of an enemy or, if you have cloaking maxed out, seven seconds of free invisibility.

Getting your hacking software to level 5 early in the game (like when you’re still in Detroit) will make your life a lot easier later on. You’ll be able to access secret rooms with bonus ammo, and every device you hack nets you quite a bit of experience. If you find yourself failing a lot while hacking, get the first two levels of Hacking stealth. This will decrease your chances of discovery by 30%. With these augs, I was able to hack every device in the game.

The first level of cloaking is not super useful, as it grants just 3 seconds of invisibility. Basically it allows you to move from one cover point to another without being spotted, but you won’t get much else out of it. By spending two more points in cloaking, you’ll get 7 seconds of invisibility off a single battery, which is enough to make it through some of the more crowded rooms (assuming you let it recharge while behind cover).


Once you manage to max out the augmentations listed above, you can move on to some of these other augmentations, which will make your non-lethal playthrough even easier.

STRENGTH (Lift Heavy Items)
You won’t be using this offensively. In “Human Revolution,” many secret paths are blocked by large boxes or vending machines. Accessing these paths (usually vents) will let you skip large sections of the map, so you wont have to deal with the guards. Minimizing guard interaction is crucial for a non-lethal playthrough.

Similar to Strength, increased jump height will let you access secret areas and skip dangerous sections. Just be careful about the noise you make while jumping, as it can draw the attention of patrolling guards.

Lets you fall from any distance without taking damage. Basically works like an electromagnetic parachute which activates just before you hit the ground. Not only will this allow you to access secret areas, but you’ll also be able to skip large portions of vertical maps. If you’re feeling risky, you can knock enemies unconscious if you land on them with this augmentation, but I wouldn’t recommend it for a non-lethal playthrough, as there’s a chance they’ll merely be stunned.

This augmentation lets you take down two guys at once, so long as they’re standing next to each other. It only costs a single battery and nets you bonus experience for the double-takedown, so it’s definitely a nice-to-have.


’Deus Ex: Human Revolution’ Non-Lethal Playthrough Guide Part 3


Yes, even though you’re attempting a non-lethal playthrough, you’re still going to need weapons. Here’s what you should be packing at all times.

In the first mission after the prologue, you’ll be asked if you want to do things lethal or non-lethal and at close or long range. Selecting non-lethal at close range will grant you a stun gun, which is far more useful than the tranquilizer rifle you’d get for long range. The stun gun can knock a guy instantly unconscious in a single shot. Its range isn’t great, only about 8 feet, but if you find yourself without the battery life to do a takedown, this is a great alternative. You can also take two guys out by shooting one with a stun gun, racing over and using a takedown on the second guy before he has time to react.

Note: Stun gun ammo is tough to find and expensive to buy. If you have the option of using a takedown instead of using the stun gun, do it. Takedowns are free and unlimited, so long you have the energy.

Even if you don’t get it in the first mission, you can purchase a tranquilizer rifle at the first store you find in Detroit. Using the tranquilizer rifle is risky as you’re likely using it against an enemy that is a long way away from you. If that enemy happens to have friends around him, they’ll notice him getting knocked out and sound the alarm. The only time to use the tranq rifle is when you know for sure that a guard is alone and there’s no easy way to get to him on your own. For example: a sniper up in a tower.

Note: Like the stun gun, tranquilizer darts are rare and expensive to buy, so make sure you’re only using them as a last resort.

Yes, you’re doing a non-lethal playthrough, but you still need an actual gun. Why? Because you’ll have to kill the bosses when they come around. The combat rifle is great for taking down the bosses, and any weapon upgrade mods you find should be used on the combat rifle until its maxed out. The target tracking system is especially handy for keeping your shots on target. Combat rifle ammo isn’t insanely rare, but its not nearly as common as some of the other guns, so make sure you only use it for the bosses.

Keeping two or three EMP grenades or mines with you at all times is super handy, especially against bosses. They can also be used to take down even the largest combat robots with a single blast. (Robots don’t count as kills.) Just make sure those robots aren’t surrounded by guards.

If you find yourself up against a crowd of three or more enemies with no way to get past them, a gas grenade is a good option. It’s able to knock a group of enemies unconcious in a single gas cloud. Gas grenades are incredlibly rare, though, so make sure you use them only when you need them.


Completing “Deus Ex: Human Revolution” without killing anyone is a definite challenge, but an extremely satisfying one if you manage to make it to the end. Just remain patient, stick to the shadows and remember, paramilitary guards are people too!