The best stealth games aren’t very good. They’re clever. They hide in the dark. They sometimes talk in code. Other times, they don’t say a word. Shhhh. Take it easy. Don’t move, please. I’m ready. Some of the best stealth games have a lot of high-tech gadgets. Others say they have more primitive ways to get around detection. We can play as James Bond, Shinobi, or any other sneaky jerk in our minds when we play the best stealth games, so we can live out our best power fantasies. The best stealth games will be out in 2022. You can do it, but for the love of God keep it secret. Now, we can’t let you get caught.
Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time
It’s good that Sly Cooper is there to teach the PG-13 crowd about the value of sneaking and subterfuge before they get into the more adult-friendly stealth games out there. The best Ratchet and Clank games aren’t even close to Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, which is one of the best games made by Insomniac.
The fourth major adventure uses great platforming, mechanical variety, and constant charm to make an adventure that’s as fun as the raccoon who stars in it. The depth of stealth itself is limited, but Sly 4 makes up for it with a lot of fun in other parts of the game. Come for the silly jokes and stay for almost everything else.
Splinter Cell: Blacklist
It has been a long time since the first Splinter Cell came out in 2002. Sam Fisher has come a long way. Sure, there have been some bumps in the road. But Splinter Cell: Blacklist is proof that Fisher has a bright future ahead of him. Ubisoft could make a new game in the series, but only if they want to.
Blacklist is on this list because of the steps it takes to move the franchise forward. It gives Fisher a new sense of mobility while still adhering to the stealth-focused rules of Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory. Fisher is able to act like a veteran field agent thanks to the freeform controls. The presentation, which is based on a 24-style action thriller, fits Fisher like a sneaky pair of shoes. Blacklist is one of the last big games to come out for PS3 and Xbox 360, so Ubisoft needs to hurry up and bring Sam to PS5 and Xbox Series X/S.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
Deus Ex was supposed to be a three-part series, but now it looks like it won’t happen. At least the rebooted version went out on a high note. As good as Human Revolution was, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided took huge augmented leaps forward. It was able to do sci-fi stealth on a level its predecessor couldn’t match.
Adam Jensen, who likes to walk around as a gruff-bag, can fight in the open. But in Mankind Divided, sticking to the vents and other pieces of cover is still the best way to move forward. Hack into someone’s office, find the password for their colleague on a sticky note, then log on and wire their money to buy a new tranquillizer gun to kill that person. If that doesn’t make you excited as a fan of stealth games, you’re dead inside.
Mark of the Ninja: Remastered
There are some great 3-D stealth games out there, but Klei Entertainment made a side-scrolling game that feels just as good and exciting as those. Hell, the beauty of Mark of the Ninja isn’t because it’s made in 2D. It’s because of it.
Players are forced to think in new ways when they see things from a different angle. Puzzles and platforming become an important part of the experience. The animation is also “slap-you-in-the-face” beautiful. These dense, painterly textures and dark backdrops are truly a sight for the most stealthy of eyes to see.
Thief 2: The Metal Age
Let us forget about the bad Thief remake that came out in 2014. Instead, let us play the best Thief game ever made! Thief 2: The Metal Age is the best game in the series. As one of the first stealth games to offer open-ended levels, responsive first-person controls and genuinely emergent forms of gameplay, it paved the way for future titles. On this list, there is one that is the runner-up.
The appeal of Thief 2 hasn’t changed even though it’s been around for a long time. The impeccable sound and visual work preserve Thief’s world, ensuring the atmosphere is as captivating as it was seventeen years ago. All these years later, the game’s freeform design has kept its replay value alive and well even though it hasn’t changed much at all.
The Last of Us Part 2
The PS4 game that makes you cry the most is also one of the best stealth games ever made. It builds on Naughty Dog’s original apocalyptic game. The Last of Us 2 makes the original’s stealth elements even better so that it’s both terrifying and encouraging. Even though this is a quick, spoiler-free tip, try your best to not see the faces of all the people Ellie kills.
Strength of the game is that it balances on a knife-edge between being able to help and not being able to. With the weapons you have, Ellie could be an unarmed, scared girl hiding from a bloodthirsty German Shepherd, or a well-equipped badass who could quietly kill a half-dozen enemies with a very satisfying bow and arrow. Even if you don’t like the game’s heartwarming or controversial story, the meat and potatoes stealth in The Last of Us 2 is great.
To us, stealth games are a lot like puzzles, and that’s how we think about them. Every move is carefully thought out and needs a little thought. If Gunpoint is so exciting, then it makes sense that it’s so interesting. This stealth game puts you in the shoes of a detective who is being blamed for a crime he didn’t commit but was there to see.
The trenchcoat problem solver doesn’t like to fight, so you’re not one of them. That’s why each level has you hack things like light switches and door panels, as well as CCTV systems and trap doors, so you can get to your goal.
Okay, if you want to cheat and whip a henchman with a pistol, you can do that. However, if you set off an alarm, a timer starts. If you can finish the goal in time, you’ll be pushed toward the exit. There will be a shooter at the exit if you don’t do this, It makes it more difficult for you to play the stealth-based game Gunpoint wants.
Whenever you finish a level and fade into the night, you feel like a real spy.
Turn-based: Even games that aren’t Invisible, Inc. can feel like they’re stealth games, even if they aren’t. They are the ones that make you think about where you want to go, how to get there, and how to solve problems before you get out of the cloak and start the action. As a bonus, the Dishonored series is the best example of that kind of gameplay.
It doesn’t stop there: Arkane’s games are a ghoster’s dream, with mission stats screens that show not only how many civilians you’ve killed, but also how many alarms you’ve set off. Dishonored 2’s ability to give you magical powers is one of the most appealing things to stealth game fans. They can turn them down and play the game as a modern Thief sequel instead. Only a good one.
It’s even better if you’ve already played the first and second Dishonored games and still want to play more of the best stealth games out there. You can read our Dishonored: Death of the Outsider review to see why.