Since everyone else on the staff seems to be making lists these days, I decided that I would jump on the bandwagon and join the party. So here we go, drum roll please…. presenting my…Top Ten category, where I’ll be composing lists of my favourite games in certain genres, and ranking them. And with Hitman: Absolution right around the corner, what better way to kick off the series than with: My Top Ten Stealth games… Enjoy.
Assassin's Creed II (PS3/Xbox 360/PC)
Far more ground-breaking than its overhyped predecessor. Moving amongst the medieval crowds and grabbing your unlucky victims from the rooftop was thrilling and pulsating gameplay. Weapons were new and varied, with cool enemies and an incredibly rendered, open world environment.
Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven (PS2, Xbox)
Although the original Tenchu was the first title in the series, Wrath of Heaven gave it the necessary polish and big console status to showcase its talents. Hiding on rooftops and loitering in shadows was the name of the game here, throw in some ninja vision and grappling hooks, and we have the icing on the cake. An engrossing title for stealth purists and ninja lovers.
Batman: Arkham City (PS3/Xbox 360/PC)
Now, you’re probably thinking, that Bats is more adept at swooping down on his victims and dishing out some good old fashioned justice, with an extra helping of batarang thrown in (or at) for good measure. Wrong! Not only was Arkham city an exceptional game and action title, the majority of the gameplay involved hanging on, (or off) statues, gargoyles or rooftops, and picking of your prey one by one. As a big percentage of the thugs in Arkham where armed, evasion was the best tactic. Jumping from the shadows and waiting patiently to strike with a silent takedown was great fun, and you can even dangle from aforementioned gargoyle, swoop upside down like a real Bat, pull an enemy from below and hang them up!
Deus Ex (PS2/PC)
The free-lance style of Deus Ex was a perfect environment for stealth. While it was possible to enter every encounter with guns blazing, it was often easier and more fruitful to sneak around the enemy. The game's biomods allowed JC Denton to lay claim to a variety of abilities that would be the envy of any thief, including silent footsteps and invisibility. The game's innovative style allowed for a truly sneaky game experience.
Thief 2: The Metal Age (PC)
The pinnacle of stealth gameplay. Thief II largely eliminated the early stages of the first thief, allowing the player to face off against more guards and the more easily handled robots of the evil fanatic Kerras. The guard and civilian AI was improved, and the whole game felt more streamlined than before. The story was fantastic, as was the gameplay. As the best instalment of the best stealth series, Thief II is an obvious choice for the list
Splinter Cell (Xbox/PS2/PC/Gamecube/PSN)
The original Splinter Cell was, and still is, a benchmark for pure stealth games. Hiding in the shadows and doing splits in corridors was your bread and butter. However the initial quirks of hiding in shadows for an hour so that you can hold an enemy hostage, then have the mission cancelled by your superiors after setting off too many alarms, made the game a bit tedious.
Hitman 2: Silent Assassin (PS2/Xbox/Gamecube/PC)
The Hitman series has always been synonymous with sweaty palmed stealth and nail biting action sequences, ever since the original Hitman: codename 47. From the opening perfection of Anathema to the dry heat of India. This game is expertly paced, and absorbing until the very end, varied, ingenious and intriguing. A classic in every sense. A must buy.
Metal Gear Solid (PS1/Gamecube/PSN)
One of the best games for the original Playstation 1 was also one of its stealthiest. Metal Gear Solid allowed players to immerse themselves in a enjoyable, cinematic experience as they snuck, climbed, and shot their way around their enemies as Snake. The game's plot helped out the cinematic feeling by twisting and turning just enough to keep you interested while still remaining coherent. MGS was the beginning of the console awakening of stealth games, and it remains one of the best stealth games ever made.
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (PS2/PS3/Xbox360/PSN)
Quite simply, incredible, one of the most eagerly awaited games to ever be released, Snake Eater never disappointed. Eating snakes, hiding under trees, and leaping from tall grass to “silence” your enemies was all exceptionally executed, and with the sublime sound, breath-taking graphics and immense level design, it really is one of the greatest stealth games of all time.
Mark of the Ninja (Xbox 360)Hold your breath and slow your heart. You can't make a sound. You can feel your pulse racing. You're a ninja. From the shadow of a deep doorway, you hear footsteps echoing in the alley, your time is now…Mark of the Ninja is quite simply, majestic, original, exceptional and incredibly refreshing. The stealth is beautifully orchestrated; the gameplay perfect and it trumps every stealth game in its wake. Simply the best in the genre.
Article by Jon Hall