Thursday, May 23, 2024

5 Video Game Franchises with Awesome Stealth Gameplay.

( When it comes to gaming, there are four elements that will keep me locked into the game for the long haul: an open-world environment, a non-linear approach, a skill tree, and good stealth mechanics.

If a game has at least two of those, I’ll stick around to see how it pans out. It might not hit all four but that doesn’t eliminate it from being a fun experience, after all. We’re going to get into five video game franchises with truly satisfying stealth mechanics.

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and Shadow of War

We mention this game every now and then on AfroGamers but the Middle-earth really encourages a stealthy approach to dispatching enemies as opposed to just berserking on hordes. Mind you, if you’re armed and geared up enough, you could very well go berserk take out a small group of orcs.

However, the wise thing is to target lone or small groups of them away from larger groups or encampments. A stealthy approach is best for this kind of long game and Shadow of Mordor’s spin on stealth gameplay works perfectly with its setting and combat mechanics.

What really bolsters the stealth in Middle-earth—and the game as a whole—is the Nemesis System. Having enemies who remember their encounters with the player and actually improve if left alone was next-level AI—really years ahead.

It adds to the stealth by having the player stalk the movements of their main prey. That comes in the form of just following them if you’re close enough to remember their last location or interrogating other enemy commanders and either forcing them to serve you or getting info.

I’d love to see this in more games with stealth gameplay.

Middle-earth - Shadow of Mordor and Shadow of War.

Elder Scrolls

I would’ve put Elder Scrolls and Fallout since their stealth mechanics are similar but Elder Scrolls’ setting makes stealth much more rewarding and fun. Sneaking around and lockpicking is more practical in Fallout. It’s something you should be doing because of how dangerous everything seems to be in the wasteland.

In the Elder Scrolls games, the danger—even at high settings—was never such that it was utterly impossible to avoid or overcome. That’s also in part because while looting, there’s not much to load up worth keeping in your inventory. You can always ditch something.

Meanwhile in Fallout 4, a glass bottle or tin can is worth keeping up until a point if you’re focusing on base building and crafting a lot. In Elder Scrolls, it’s more like you’re keeping the most value things for trading or salvaging skills.

Obtaining those valuable things by delving into dungeons, rummaging houses, and spelunking in caves requires a lot of sneaking, lockpicking, and trap avoidance. Well, at least to do it with a degree of caution.

Elder Scrolls’ stealth game is ridiculously solid for this kind of approach. Plus, doing it regularly actually shows some improvement while using stealth class skills. Locks become easier to pick, traps can be run over without triggering them, and you can sneak up on enemies and secure stealth kills. Love it.


Marvel’s Spider-Man is a game with a good stealth mechanic that has a flaw of enemies always reaching a point where they’re aware of the player’s presence. The mechanics are actually good enough that you should be able to clear a room without alerting the remaining force.

Part of the stealth mechanic in games is enemy AI—particularly, their awareness that an enemy is nearby. Most of the enemy’s you’re clapping—and the same is the case with the Arkham games—are goons. Sure, some ninjas and cybersuit super soldiers might pop up but you’re mostly dealing with robbers and street toughs.

They shouldn’t be as quick as they are in spotting the player for some reason. I don’t know. Regardless, the swinging around rooms with conveniently placed bars, rafters, levels, platforms, and ledges makes for an awesome experience while sneaking around.

Also, Spidey’s combat of webbing enemies up and quick melee attacks makes dispatching enemies quickly and quietly very rewarding.

Metal Gear Solid

A stealth list wouldn’t be complete without Metal Gear Solid. Depending on the game, you might either really love the stealth and combat or really dislike one or both. I enjoyed MGS 3 and MGS 4’s stealth and combat but the first two games—eh, the stealth just wasn’t as fun for me.

It could be that I discovered stealth games during the PS2 with Tenchu and missed out on the initial PS1 run of Metal Gear Solid. Revisiting it after playing something more fluid in MGS 3 when analog movement wasn’t an addition might have impacted my view of the first two MGS games.

However, by the time we reach MGS 3, it’s an eye-opener for people new to stealth gameplay. Trying not to make noise, taking enemies out with knife attacks or sleeper holds, having to move bodies to avoid detection—it’s all presented extremely well in MGS 3 and it only got better with MGS 4 as consoles and PC power improved to where increasingly complex enemy AI and level design made the stealth pop.

Splinter Cell

The fifth one was a difficult pick but it just means we’ll have to do a second list down the line. Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell was probably my second experience with stealth gameplay and it was more complex than MGS 3. I sum this up to a preference in approaches. While MGS action/sci-fi/stealth mix is extremely fun, I liked the more rooted stealth/action approach of Splinter Cell more.

Both games—as well as Hitman—require some clean up in the sense of hiding bodies to avoid detection but Splinter Cell made heavy use of tighter quarters/smaller rooms to discourage using firearms inside. Another thing that the three games focus on is paying attention to enemy movements.

I can’t say that one game does it better than the other. However, MGS often gave you more room to groove as far as level design. As the franchise went on, you were given more and more space to explore in your missions. Splinter Cell gave players more to explore as well but exploration never really became a focus of the games. This was more like practical space with better development technology. Think of it more like the early and mid-console Hitman games where knowing enemy location and a lot of navigating rooms and floors are necessary. That’s Splinter Cell’s stealth approach. There’s rarely a lot of places to hide if enemies are detected without backtracking a bit.

Let’s say this was part one of our stealth series. Did any of your franchise picks make the list? Also, what games do you think will make part two? Let us know down below!

Staff Writer; M. Swift

This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.

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