What Makes Good Stealth Games

RiffRaff

Human Person, Maybe
Robot
May 11, 2020
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I think I'm around 75% complete with TLoU2 and I'm really enjoying my time with the game. Easily ND's best stealth gameplay work to date. Sure you could argue if it's really a stealth game since guns blazing is always a perfectly viable option (on normal at least, haven't tried other difficulties yet), but whatever. You can focus on lurking in the shadows getting all neck stabby and the tools the game gives you are primarily geared to remaining unseen (if not exactly unheard).

So my questions to you all are: What gameplay elements make for a great stealth experience? What are some nitpicks you have? What are some stealth focused games you love? Do you prefer playing pacifist or predator?

For me, any gameplay that allows me to move around in the shadows easier makes for a great stealth experience. The Dishonored series and the Rocksteady Batman series do this great imo. I'm not a fan of sitting and waiting for the guards to patrol to that sweet spot so I can make a smidgen of progress and then have to wait again. I like it when the stealth gameplay is very active always keeping me in movement zipping from shadow to shadow. Bonus points for lots of verticality and AI that even uses the verticality themselves.

On the flip-side, I just started finally playing Shadow Tactics and I'm loving it to bits. In that game there is a good amount of waiting in a spot for that perfect moment to move or strike. However, in the time I'm spent waiting I'm constantly active studying the situation, checking the guards cones of view, looking for different routes, and basically trying to solve the puzzle. It's not fast paced gameplay like the above mentioned games, but there's not a moment when my mind isn't active.

I do enjoy a good pacifist run, especially in the Dishonored series, but my true joy is playing the silent predator. It's just so cathartic. Especially when there's a 'shank that motherfucker' option.

My favorite stealth-based games would be: the Dishonored series, The Last of Us series, Mark of the Ninja, Tenchu series, Rocksteady's Batman games, Splinter Cell series (dammit Ubi, bring this series back!), and even though I just started it you can toss in Shadow Tactics since it really made such a positive first impression on me and is a really unique take.
 

Nekro

Potential Magical Girl
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Feb 14, 2020
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For me, the best part of a good stealth game is the level design.

Basically, a good stealth level to me is one where each encounter or scenario is laid out like its own miniature puzzle — but one with multiple possible, and equally valid, solutions. You should be as totally ridiculous or as careful and precise as you want, so long as you can achieve your desired end goal.

Likewise, areas should have just enough breadth to be able to achieve your goal through whatever solution you devise, however it should still give you a clear understanding of your objective and where it is. Or at least make clues to lead you to your goal accessible. Basically, there should be a good sense of forward momentum in terms of gameplay.

But really, stealth games are like a sort of puzzle to me. Enemies should react in a way that’s totally understandable. Or if they have some more intelligent AI, it should give you multiple ways to deal with whatever situation comes your way, so long as you’re quick-witted and clever.

The Dishonored series does this really well, incidentally. You have so, so many tools at your disposal, which leads to some really dynamic and fun gameplay. Levels also have a good amount of verticality, with plenty of ways to achieve your goal. There’s also a good amount of collectables for those who wish to be thorough, as well as plenty of side-objectives.

Likewise, allowing you to go completely pacifist is just awesome, since it falls into the idea of player choice and having multiple, valid, solutions to each puzzle.

Seriously, though. Games that allow people to be really creative with the mechanics? Always more fun. And stealth games can make for some really engaging toy boxes if done right.
 

Dango

Member
May 11, 2020
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Queen Anne's Revenge
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The option to dress up like a flamingo and throw cocaine bricks at people.

Serious answer: Dynamic guard AI, lots of tools and inventive level design. All of these are crucial. The newer Hitman games nail all of them extremely well, and are incredibly addictive as a result. On the other hand, something like Metal Gear Solid V only nails the first two, but falls on its face when it comes to level design, making the game less fun.

I hope stealth games don't stop coming. Metal Gear and Splinter Cell both seem to be super dead, but I'd love to see a spiritual successor to both.
 
May 14, 2020
27
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3
For me Mark of the Ninja is the best example were you feel fragile but at the same time all powerful and as you get better you can understand why guards would become terrified of you. Pus everything is so seemless and quick. Stealth can be more complicated then slow crouch throw item knock out guards rinse and repeat.

Its like how Doom I imagine makes you feel weak but all powerful at the same time but for stealth. Not played Doom games though.

One of the most important things is though is good AI somethig that makes it so you actualy have to plan how your going to approach enemies instead of okay guard throw knock out. Oh and level design being ablr to get around quick and hide in plain sight.

Also while I have a few issues with the new Hitman games(mainly the stuff outside of the game always online and so on)I will say its a great change for a stealth game where you hide in plain sight is very fun and rewarding snd lends to the level design.
 
May 14, 2020
27
14
3
The option to dress up like a flamingo and throw cocaine bricks at people.

Serious answer: Dynamic guard AI, lots of tools and inventive level design. All of these are crucial. The newer Hitman games nail all of them extremely well, and are incredibly addictive as a result. On the other hand, something like Metal Gear Solid V only nails the first two, but falls on its face when it comes to level design, making the game less fun.

I hope stealth games don't stop coming. Metal Gear and Splinter Cell both seem to be super dead, but I'd love to see a spiritual successor to both.
I didn't believe all the praise of the level design until I tried Paris. Man just the fact that I can litresly see my target within a few seconds go back in a corner shoot the chandelir and quickly kill the other felt very fun and was suprinsingly managable.

Now that I played a bit more I do feel the game is most fun when you just turn all the UI off and just avoid challenges most of them I feel just spell out what to do and a big chunk seem to be very restrictive or repetive.

I wouldn't even call it making the game super more diffcult just makes it feel more natural imo and makes it less obvious if the game is leading you a load by the nose.
 
May 14, 2020
27
14
3
The option to dress up like a flamingo and throw cocaine bricks at people.

Serious answer: Dynamic guard AI, lots of tools and inventive level design. All of these are crucial. The newer Hitman games nail all of them extremely well, and are incredibly addictive as a result. On the other hand, something like Metal Gear Solid V only nails the first two, but falls on its face when it comes to level design, making the game less fun.

I hope stealth games don't stop coming. Metal Gear and Splinter Cell both seem to be super dead, but I'd love to see a spiritual successor to both.
Also how are the Splinter Cell games to play nowadays ? Loved Metal Gear and they looked pretty good but never tried them. Seems most of the Splinter games are on Pc and get cheap sales.


The option to dress up like a flamingo and throw cocaine bricks at people.

Serious answer: Dynamic guard AI, lots of tools and inventive level design. All of these are crucial. The newer Hitman games nail all of them extremely well, and are incredibly addictive as a result. On the other hand, something like Metal Gear Solid V only nails the first two, but falls on its face when it comes to level design, making the game less fun.

I hope stealth games don't stop coming. Metal Gear and Splinter Cell both seem to be super dead, but I'd love to see a spiritual successor to both.
 
May 14, 2020
27
14
3
For me, the best part of a good stealth game is the level design.

Basically, a good stealth level to me is one where each encounter or scenario is laid out like its own miniature puzzle — but one with multiple possible, and equally valid, solutions. You should be as totally ridiculous or as careful and precise as you want, so long as you can achieve your desired end goal.

Likewise, areas should have just enough breadth to be able to achieve your goal through whatever solution you devise, however it should still give you a clear understanding of your objective and where it is. Or at least make clues to lead you to your goal accessible. Basically, there should be a good sense of forward momentum in terms of gameplay.

But really, stealth games are like a sort of puzzle to me. Enemies should react in a way that’s totally understandable. Or if they have some more intelligent AI, it should give you multiple ways to deal with whatever situation comes your way, so long as you’re quick-witted and clever.

The Dishonored series does this really well, incidentally. You have so, so many tools at your disposal, which leads to some really dynamic and fun gameplay. Levels also have a good amount of verticality, with plenty of ways to achieve your goal. There’s also a good amount of collectables for those who wish to be thorough, as well as plenty of side-objectives.

Likewise, allowing you to go completely pacifist is just awesome, since it falls into the idea of player choice and having multiple, valid, solutions to each puzzle.

Seriously, though. Games that allow people to be really creative with the mechanics? Always more fun. And stealth games can make for some really engaging toy boxes if done right.
I did quiet like the Dishonored series and I played them all mostly stealth but I do feel its enemy AI really lets the game down and hurts its stealth aspects. I still enjoyed stealth though from the tools but mostly from the level design. They really should give you way more tools for stealth and non lethal enemy knockouts it is very annoying how little tools with how little ammunition you get for trying to do that.
 

Dango

Member
May 11, 2020
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Queen Anne's Revenge
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Slimybearreturnsv866.5 said:
Now that I played a bit more I do feel the game is most fun when you just turn all the UI off and just avoid challenges most of them I feel just spell out what to do and a big chunk seem to be very restrictive or repetive.

I wouldn't even call it making the game super more diffcult just makes it feel more natural imo and makes it less obvious if the game is leading you a load by the nose.
Oh, I completely recommend that everyone who plays Hitman turns off the full mission story guides and especially the instinct vision. Instinct is overpowered, ugly and constantly takes me out of the experience. I genuinely prefer pausing the game and looking at the map, just because it feels more organic.

Slimybearreturnsv866.5 said:
Also how are the Splinter Cell games to play nowadays ? Loved Metal Gear and they looked pretty good but never tried them. Seems most of the Splinter games are on Pc and get cheap sales.
Blacklist has pretty modern controls, and I think Conviction does too. Chaos Theory is a much more "pure" stealth game, even though it might take a while to get used to. I personally think it's worth the effort, but it depends on your patience for older button layouts and mechanics.
 

Dreggsao

New member
May 11, 2020
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Berlin
The most important thing in a stealth game is that enemies don't suddenly turn around with no warning. Especially not if you are supposed to press a button for several seconds while being close to their backs I AM LOOKING AT YOU MANHUNT 2!
 
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Roager

Rogue Ogre
May 11, 2020
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Clear communication of mechanics. It's super frustrating to get caught and not immediately know why.

Mark of the Ninja and Hitman do a great job of this. Enemy AI states are directly shown to the player, and in Ninja's case so is every detectable sight and sound. Part of the thrill in stealth games is making risky moves, and this kind of information is key to the player knowing what the risks and rewards are. Trial-and-error isn't always an awful thing, but it should be minimized here as much as possible. The more informed my decisions are, the less mad I'll be if/when things go wrong, because I'll know what went wrong and why. That makes it feel fair.

Also check out GMTK's miniseries about stealth game design. It's good.
 

Turbokill

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May 12, 2020
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The biggest thing for me is a sense of freedom in accomplishing the objective. My favorite stealth games will let me do things however I want. Hitman has so many possibilities jampacked into their environments and it really makes me feel creative. Other games like Dishonored let me plot out ways to never even be seen by enemies, let alone have to kill any.

Alien Isolation, in a way is also a stealth game, and I particularly love how you're facing off against multiple enemies. You can even use the alien against human enemies and it just feels brilliant. (Until you accidentally lead it to you as well)

It goes for any genre, but I easily get turned of on a game when it feels like there's only one solution or you're pushed towards playing one type of way. That's why I like DMC 5, but hate similar games. They throw all these mechanics at you and demand you handle them how it says you're supposed to. Final Fantasy VII Remake was a little guilty of this too. It made the combat feel like a chore to me much of the time. I think this is also why I find myself preferring Doom 2016 over Eternal.
 
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May 14, 2020
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Clear communication of mechanics. It's super frustrating to get caught and not immediately know why.

Mark of the Ninja and Hitman do a great job of this. Enemy AI states are directly shown to the player, and in Ninja's case so is every detectable sight and sound. Part of the thrill in stealth games is making risky moves, and this kind of information is key to the player knowing what the risks and rewards are. Trial-and-error isn't always an awful thing, but it should be minimized here as much as possible. The more informed my decisions are, the less mad I'll be if/when things go wrong, because I'll know what went wrong and why. That makes it feel fair.

Also check out GMTK's miniseries about stealth game design. It's good.
Just check out that you tube channel in genreal their great usualy make nice intresting videos. Last one I watched he interviewed some people who made Hitman 1 and 2 about its level design process good stuff. One all about "clockwork games" as in Groundhog day time loop like games was good too.[/QUOTE]
 
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modern_moron

Gold Standard in Stupidity
Jun 11, 2020
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Idk what makes a good stealth game. I tend to suck at them.

Real bad.

LOVE Mark of the Ninja, Invisible Inc, Tenchu Z, and Hitman to some extent

But I've never been able to enjoy, or progress very far in anything like Splinter Cell or the Metal Gear games.

I tend to lose patience with watching guard movement patterns. I can only wait so long before I end up rushing and screwing up.
 
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RiffRaff

Human Person, Maybe
Robot
May 11, 2020
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Idk what makes a good stealth game. I tend to suck at them.

Real bad.

LOVE Mark of the Ninja, Invisible Inc, Tenchu Z, and Hitman to some extent

But I've never been able to enjoy, or progress very far in anything like Splinter Cell or the Metal Gear games.

I tend to lose patience with watching guard movement patterns. I can only wait so long before I end up rushing and screwing up.
Give Shadow Tactics a shot. Seems like something you might enjoy :)
 
May 14, 2020
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Really?
Give Shadow Tactics a shot. Seems like something you might enjoy :)
Really? Not played the game but isn't it made up of very long big levels that requires tons of patience in terms of clearing them out, not being good at all with dealing with enemies if caught, and so on. Not thats a bad thing or a bad game just seems like a slow game that you need patience for less in a annoying way and just more in a game way.