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Stealth and Sneak Games FAQ
What are stealth games?
Stealth games are games in which the player will have to sneak around and remain unseen to defeat opponents and complete missions. This will require the player to hide, sneak, use powers to cloak themselves, set off distractions, or wear a disguise.
Generally speaking, direct combat is to be avoided in stealth genre games. Depending on the game, the goal could be to remain undetected as much as possible, even avoiding any form of contact or combat with enemy AI. This could be assisted by the level design, where the player can move through levels by keeping to the shadows that are cast by in-game lighting; or by hiding beneath bulky objects, or by climbing over or under the levels completely; or by causing distractions that will take the attention away from their current position.
Enemies usually take the form of a guard, and will patrol areas, enabling the player to select paths based on the timing of their patrols. It’s not unusual for the player to be able to see where the guard’s vision cone is (a cone projected from the guard’s head that shows the limits of their viewpoint), along with the vision cone of security cameras. This could be done on a minimap or displayed within the game world.
Stealth games will have some leeway when it comes to being spotted. A guard who spots a player typically won’t react immediately, with the game warning the player that the guard is suspicious. This usually gives the player time to react to the situation, either by hiding or sneaking off or preparing for combat, which is the last resort of a sneaky person.
But being stealthy doesn’t always make players vulnerable. It could create a feeling of power by placing the player in a position of strength. It depends on the goals of the game and on the skills and powers of the players, but there are games that allow the player to swiftly strike out from the darkness.
How can I get better at stealth games?
Patience and planning are key elements of stealth games. Planning ahead in the mission selection phase, where players can inspect maps and choose equipment, is just as important as hiding beneath a table. The right tools are the ones that let them move without being seen or followed, or that let them quickly deal with threats should they need to fight.
The most critical rule is to not rush in. Stealth games will almost universally give players the opportunity to observe what’s going on in the level. They’re usually vulnerable, so taking the time to plan is preferable to getting in a fight.
Are there realistic stealth PC games?
That depends. Most stealth games are consistent in their reactions to a player’s presence, which is preferable to being 100 percent realistic. But realism is definitely a part of a stealth game’s make-up. Reflecting how light and noise work in the real world is usually an underlying part of a stealth game’s systems, so a player will have a reasonable idea of how they work in-game even before playing.
What makes a good stealth game?
Stealth games might have a goal in a level or mission, but a good one will give the player a lot of latitude in how they approach the game. Helping the player to plan ahead is one of the more vital elements of a good stealth game. Tools that could assist this, like a map, marking guards so they can track them, multiple vision modes that provide the ability to see through walls or place cameras, all these have been used successfully by stealth games.
Enabling the player to react to being spotted is also very important. Letting them be aware of a guard’s interest, rather than having the guard immediately call out and attack, is better than the alternatives, where the player is swarmed with guards, or the game simply ends the mission upon the player being spotted.
Strong audio cues can help with this. Good stealth games will usually let the player keep track of guards and their movement with directional sound and chatter.
A lot of stealth games will track the player’s overall stealthiness during a mission (how often they were spotted, did they leave anything behind to be discovered) and give a score. This can be a fun way for a player to improve, as most will allow them to complete a level even if the stealth score is low. If they’re playing the game to be stealthy, knowing they could have done it a lot better is a good challenge to beat. Open levels are important in this. Stealth games require some lateral thinking by the player, and having multiple routes, and hiding spots will let the player experiment.
What are the different types of stealth games?
Stealth games can be in a number of genres and styles. First-person fantasy games, where the player was a thief, were some of the first stealth games to focus on sneaking and hiding. Even with the setting, it still had gadgets, like water arrows and ropes, to aid in sneaking.
Third-person games, where the player is a spy or a soldier, have been popular. These have shifted from being sneaky and avoiding combat to giving the player the tools to swiftly resolve any conflicts.
Games where the player is a hired assassin have been very popular. These have elaborate levels filled with hundreds of people, multiple routes, costumes, and traps to set.
Who would enjoy a stealth game?
Stealth games are perfect for people who like to take their time to prepare and execute, but who are willing to improvise a solution when things go wrong. There’s often an expectation that a player in a stealth game won’t simply follow the rules, but will take their initiative when it comes to completing the mission.