Can Stealth Games Make A Comeback?

Note: [All opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect that of GamerXChange]

For the past couple of months I have been reminiscing about the days when sneaking up behind an unsuspecting guard and subduing him was one of the greatest gaming pleasures I could have. Or even silently making my way past dozens of cameras, lights, and laser to infiltrate a top security military base. There was nothing more satisfying than successfully stealing from or eliminating a target, without being seen or heard. And yet when I go back to these games like, Splinter Cell and Hitman, I find myself disturbingly unsatisfied. Obviously the games haven’t changed, so what has?

I believe that as a gamer, and as a human being, things must progress and change as time moves on. Games are expected, at least now, to have pretty much flawless controls and a seamless interface. In the past, a game was expected of the same thing, but the technology limited them from being perfect. And going back to these stealth games like Splinter Cell and Hitman, I find that the controls are clunky or the interfaces are, for lack of a better explanation, odd. The more I look deeper into these games, the more I find problems with them. This is the main reason I find myself being frustrated when attempting to play these old titles.

But for games of old it is acceptable for them to be somewhat clunky and odd feeling because at the time, they did not feel like this. They were enjoyable games and everyone who has played them most likely has fond memories of their adventures. My real “beef” is with the lack of stealth games now. Sure, they are out there, but how many are there really? Batman: Arkham Asylum, Batman: Arkham City, Assassin’s Creed, and even Skyrim all have stealth elements. But that’s just it, they have stealth elements, and often approaching these games with pure stealth is much more difficult than just heading right into the action. The most recent pure stealth game I can think of is Deus Ex: Human Revolution, which was a fantastic game and absolutely rewarded its’ players for sneaking through, and exploring, the many levels. Metal Gear Solid 4 is another great stealth game that, if sneaked through, is very rewarding and leaves the player with an accomplished feeling that only a stealth game can provide. But other than the select few, pure stealth games are really missing from today’s gaming environment.

Now, what about the future of the stealth genre? So far this year a couple of games have been announced that appear to be very stealthy. Dishonored is a big one that is set to hit shelves, and consumer hands, very soon. This game looks very promising in the area of stealth considering that players can complete the game without killing, or being seen by, a single person. Another game that looks extremely stealth based, and has several prequels to back that up, is the next entry in the Hitman series, Absolution. Like previous Hitman games, this one boasts multiple sandbox levels in which the player is tasked with taking out specific targets in the most sneaky manner possible. Stealth seems to be the main focus for both of these titles and here’s hoping that they both live up to expectations.

People crave the new. That is the same for gamers who enjoy playing stealth games or any other type of game. My excitement for new titles, like Dishonored, is almost more than I can bear. And I can’t wait to hunt my targets unmercifully as Agent 47 in his next adventure.  I love the stealth genre. I wish that there was a larger selection of developers that made this type of game. And when I sit down with a great stealth game in my hands, I get lost in its’ world for hours upon hours. Knowing, that if I was half as cunning as the characters I play as, that I could sneak my way into their world for a little while longer.


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