5 Reasons Why I Love Stealth
I’m what you would call a late bloomer in the stealth genre. In my early years of gaming I never gave stealth the opportunity to impress me and would always prefer to go in guns blazing. I would actively steer clear of any games that promised a full on stealth experience or any sort of variation of sneaking. But then something happened. I played Deus Ex: Human Revolution full stealth. I did my first playthrough doing my usual thing where I would shoot enemies in the face and sprint through hallways, but on my second playthrough, thanks to the wonderful magic of achievements, I did it full on stealth. What resulted was one of the most fun and frustrating experiences I’ve had in my life and I dot it down as a memorable experience in my history of gaming.
Since then I played other games such as Dishonored and Hitman: Absolution. Dishonored I did full stealth on my first playthrough, once again thanks to the majesty of achievements, and found the experience even surpassing that of Deus Ex: HR. You can read about my whole experience in this article I wrote a while back explaining why I think it should be something to be proud of. Hitman, on the other hand, was an eye-opening experience for me. I went full stealth on this one as well where nobody could spot me and each level had to be finished with Silent Assassin. But I didn’t do it for achievements. Firstly, there weren’t even achievements for doing full stealth and secondly because I thought that it was how I was supposed to play the game. In one level I shot a few guards to progress and after a few minutes I couldn’t stand it and restarted the entire mission over again. I wanted to be stealthy. And it was amazing.
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Geez that was a long intro and without further babbling from me, here are the reasons why I love stealth.
1. The Challenge
This one is almost a no brainer. Part of the fundamentals of stealth games is to challenge you to find a path where nobody could see you or even know that you were there. It’s almost like the game is going: “Here is A, here is B, along the way you will encounter countless foes and objects that want to make your life hell. And they cannot see you.” It’s a powerful thing to behold and one where you can go: “I can do that,” and accept the challenge. It’s almost burned into our gamer mentalities to attempt that which is difficult or requires a tremendous amount of skill and stealth gives you both of those things.
Stealth is also the purest of challenges. In games that challenge you to survive unfair odds with limited health and resources it all comes down to trial and error and luck. With stealth you are challenged to use your mind and come up with creative means to reach your objective and not just hide behind a wall and pick off random enemies at a pace so slow that a snail will laugh at you.
2. The Thinking
There are three guards standing by the door you need to go through. Not one of them wants to move and they just stand there staring dead straight into the direction you are supposed to be taking. What in the hell are you supposed to do? Well, there was that one alarm system you passed through on your way. There is also that vase you picked up a while ago that can be thrown. Oh look there’s a chandelier with a loose chain that you can shoot that’s just around the corner of those blundering idiots. Wait, what about that gas tank you saw in the kitchen. It can go quite well with that remote explosive you have on you, but that might make too much noise. You might actually need that explosive later on as well. The quieter approach might be the best option here seeing as you can be right next to the door without them spotting you and can just slip by once all their backs are turned.
That basically sums it up. A little bit of mental challenge is always welcome.
3. The Commitment
When I started my various stealth playthroughs, I always had this craving in the back of my mind to just say screw it and shoot everyone in the face. Especially on those sections where everything you do gets you spotted by some douche in the corner of the balcony. But I always had that committed feeling inside of me as well. I wanted to see this through no matter how many restarts and frustrations it would take. In some of the games I’ve played on hard difficulties, I just flat out gave up when I couldn’t for the life of me progress, but with stealth games, that was not the case at all. I wanted to finish this adventure. I had to finish this mission I set out for myself.
Playing stealth is not something you would do casually and for mindless fun. It’s a challenge and something you don’t do lightly. It requires tremendous patience and persistence. And that’s just the way I like it.
4. The Feeling
This is a more base instinct than anything else. It’s the same way you feel when you play a full on action game and find yourself feeling like a total badass after playing it for a long while. Once you reach that destination unseen and unheard, then you get that overwhelming feeling of relief and also badassedness (that’s a word now). It’s a feeling you can’t quite explain because it has to be experienced first hand. Sneaking through an entire battlefield of gun toting assclowns and looking back before you enter that final door always puts a smile on my face. Especially if they are just screwing around and had absolutely no idea that some entity crept by them all.
It can only be described with one word. I’m not particularly fond of this word because of its overuse, but this seems appropriate. That word is awesome.
5. The Satisfaction
Another no brainer. Once you’re finally done with that almost impossible mission where the guards seemed to have multiplied like bunnies in a Viagra factory and you’re recollecting the memories of frustration and creative thinking and just thinking: “Man, that was the shit,” then you get what I’m saying here. You just don’t get that same satisfaction when you mow down another hallway of dickmagnets with your Massive Machine Gun Of Anal Bleeding. This is the same type of satisfaction you get after a long day’s work where you feel like you have accomplished something that has made the day worth it.
It’s a type of satisfaction that’s also rare. Not a lot of people would have the patience or persistence you had and would rather just walk through the game not doing anything spectacular. It’s your accomplishment and your achievement. And that feels good.
As you can see from the list, stealth is the shit. I implore all gamers that have not given stealth its fair chance to give it a go and see if they start loving it. I also thought stealth was boring and pointless, but when I tried it for myself it became one of my most favourite things in gaming. Never before has being a sneaky bastard felt so good.