5 stealth games you have to play

stealth games feature header

Discretion is the better part of valour, they say – and who is “they”, exactly? You wouldn’t know, because you didn’t see them coming and, oh look at you, there’s a poison dart in your neck and you’re already dead. Or maybe just incapacitated. It depends on the achievements, really.

Like everybody else, I’ve been clocking time in the dark with Arkane’s sneak-‘em-up Dishonored – but the stealth genre crawls through the ducts all the way back to 1981, when Muse Software launched Castle Wolfenstein, a game that had players impersonating Nazi soldiers and snaffling secret war plans, bottles of schnapps, and bratwurst from the Third Reich’s war machine.

True to its nature, the stealth genre has maintained a low profile in the gaming industry, registering only occasional blips on the radar like Metal Gear and Metal Gear Solid, Hitman, and Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell series over the last 30 years or so. Now that I’ve slyly dropped the names of those games I haven’t actually played so I don’t have to include them in the list, here are five stealth-oriented games you totally have to play:

Batman: Arkham Asylum

The World’s Greatest Detective is also an accomplished lurker-in-corners, and Batman: Arkham Asylum’s sneaky bits were also the best bits of the whole game. They don’t call Batman the Hangs Out On Gargoyles Waiting For a Cheap Takedown Guy for nothing, you know. They don’t call him that? They do now.

Gone batty.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Although it’s technically not a stealth game, Deus Ex: Human Revolution’s cybernetically-enhanced super-protagonist can augment his skill-set with some seriously stealthy abilities. To maximise the experience, finish this game with no kills, no enemy alerts, and on the hardest difficulty. And then forget to pick up a single collectible so that you’re missing just the one achievement when the credits roll. True story *sniff*.

“All this technology, and they still don’t have a time-travel augmentation? The future sucks.”

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (Multiplayer)

Anybody can hide in a cupboard, but it takes a real master assassin to hide in plain sight. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood introduced stealthy multiplayer to the series (and the world) with unprecedented originality and consummate elegance, tasking players with taking out targets in densely crowded locations not by remaining entirely unseen, but simply being as inconspicuous as possible and misdirecting would-be pursuers. This is much easier said than done.

There are 428 assassins in this picture.

The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay

When you’re a convicted psychopath and multiple murderer, and you’ve managed to break out of your cell in a maximum security prison, you basically have two options – be very, very, very, very, very quiet or get shot instantly.

Fortunately, off-world prison budget cuts have forced the warden to replace all the lights with those cheap, low consumption bulbs that don’t work properly.

Thief II: The Metal Age

Arguably the definitive first-person stealth game, Looking Glass Studios’ Thief II: The Metal Age was also the company’s last game before they went out of business, which automatically makes it a cult classic. It’s only a matter of time before somebody decides to do an HD remake and adds rocket launchers and Facebook integration, and you don’t want to be that guy who didn’t play it when it was still cool.

Or I’ll cut you.

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  • The Rich

    What, where is Splinter Cell? Other than that, good read :) But please add Splinter cell in!

  • Guest

    So you put Dishonored as the caption picture but you don’t include Dishonored as one of the games we HAVE to play?

    Um…

  • Alex

    And the image under Thief II is actually from Thief 3

  • Tarryn van der Byl

    The article was actually inspired by Dishonored, and I did mention it in the intro. When I do lists like this, I usually don’t use an image from one of the featured games in the header because it’s a spoiler.

  • Tarryn van der Byl

    I wanted an image of Garrett. ;)

  • SairenSA

    Make sure it’s Chaos Theory and Double Agent. Both are excellent!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000462350241 Dylan Heunis

    Chaos Theory is the best in the series for me. One of the best stealth games one can play. It is just sad that since the development of Conviction our beloved stealth game franchise has turned out to be not so stealthy anymore.

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