There are more than enough games dedicated to making players feel like unstoppable killing machines that can go in ‘guns blazing’ without much of a strategy. However, there are just as many methodical games that require you to carefully scan your surroundings for any threats, useful tools, or potential hiding places.
Traditionally referred to as stealth games, we’ve seen this niche penetrate just about every genre, resulting in new hybrids like stealth RPGs, stealth tactics, and stealth platformers. Here, we’ll be highlighting a collection of the best stealth experiences available in 2020 across all major platforms.
While some of these titles don’t require constant sneaking, they all support stealth-based approaches. Make sure to check back as we continue to update this list in the future. Lastly, if you would like to receive more gaming recommendations, consider reading through our other curated lists:
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A Plague Tale: Innocence
Developer: Asobo Studio – Platform: PC | PS4 | XB1
A Plague Tale: Innocence is an action-adventure stealth horror game set France, 1348, and sees a pair of siblings on the run from the English army after their countryside estate is raided. The game’s historical setting coincides with the existence of the Black Plague, and therefore, features both human enemies and hordes of diseased rats that players will have to sneak past.
Controlling both Amicia and her younger brother Hugo, players are tasked with navigating dark sewers, decaying city streets, and dense forests in hopes of making it out alive. While both siblings are pretty much defenseless for a majority of the game, basic tools like Amicia’s torch and Hugo’s slingshot prove useful for solving puzzles and distracting enemies. For a more thorough breakdown of A Plague Tale, check out our review, where we praise the game for its superb voice acting and engaging story.
Untitled Goose Game
Developer: House House – Platform: PC | PS4 | XB1 | Switch
Aside from generating some of the best goose-related memes to date, Untitled Goose Game manages to deliver a humorous, albeit simplified puzzle-stealth experience centered on one unruly fowl. In it, you control a maniacal goose tasked with wreaking havoc throughout a series of sandbox environments, frequently at the displeasure of any nearby humans.
Environments are densely packed with various items that can be combined in interesting ways to complete bonus objectives. The game has a charmingly minimalistic presentation that’s complemented by a playful soundtrack and writing. It’s a lot shorter than many of the entries on this list, but still sure to keep you entertained for a couple of hours.
Developer: Deqaf Studio – Platform: PC
Picklock is another stealth title that manages to leave a lasting impression despite its short campaign. In it, you play as a hot-shot thief looking to escape his life of crime and start fresh in retirement. Only to do so, you’ll first have to save up enough money by completing increasingly high-stakes jobs throughout the city that come recommended by a local pawn shop owner.
There’s a surprising amount of depth when it comes to gameplay systems and how you can approach each mission. The game includes 13 levels that see you looting local pizza joints, movie theaters, clothing stores, and nightclubs which introduce unique challenges and bonus objectives. As you increase your wealth, you have the option to hoard your riches until you can retire or spend it on fancy sports cars and luxurious new homes.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
Developer: Ubisoft – Platform: PC | PS4 | XB1
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is by far the best-looking entry in the historically-based action RPG, breathing new life into the now twelve-year-old franchise while telling an original story set in ancient Greece. The game blurs the line between realism and power fantasy even further by providing players with new combat options and continued support for more stealth-based approaches.
In terms of visuals, Odyssey is a carefully-blended mix of confident art design and technical wizardry, the result being an immersive open-world game whose magic and wonder could rival that of the gods of Olympus. The game boasts a strikingly realistic depiction of ancient Greece while offering an epic adventure filled with enough quests to keep you busy for upwards of 70 hours.
Developer: 4A Games – Platform: PC | PS4 | XB1
The Metro games have only gotten better with each new installment, and Metro Exodus is by far the most impressive entry in the series. Aside from upgraded current-gen graphics, the game features larger sandbox environments to explore as well as a more focused story and stealth-based gameplay.
You play as everyone’s favorite Russian post-apocalyptic scavenger Artyom, as he encounters new hazards and enemies in the wasteland of the former Russian Federation. With resources extremely scarce, you’ll have to make every bullet count and scour every nook and cranny for supplies to keep you in the fight.
Developer: IO Interactive – Platform: PC | PS4 | XB1
Hitman 2 builds upon the success of the previous game in a lot of ways, most notably in the size and scope of its sandbox environments. The sequel pushes the Glacier 2 engine to its full potential, rendering intricately designed levels such as a crowded racing event in Miami, Florida, and a shady mining operation located beneath the lush Colombian rainforest.
Levels are more detailed and offer additional opportunities to cause trouble as everyone’s favorite bald assassin by taking advantage of new disguises and the game’s hilariously-unpredictable AI as you stealthily eliminate targets. Additionally, replaying levels and experimenting to uncover all of the possible strategies for fulfilling a contract can become quite addictive.
Developer: Arkane Studios – Platform: PC | PS4 | XB1
Set after the events of the first game, Dishonored 2 sees the return of fan-favorite protagonist Corvo accompanied by his daughter Emily. Both characters are playable and come equipped with slightly different supernatural abilities. Corvo retains his arcane powers from the original Dishonored while Emily has a kit all her own.
The series is known for handing players a lot of freedom in how they choose to play the game, with every challenge supporting both lethal and non-lethal stealth-based approaches. However, in a controversial design choice, the game punishes players who do too much killing with an alternate “bad” ending. In contrast, pacifist playthroughs are rewarded with the true “good” ending instead.
Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun
Developer: Mimimi Games – Platform: PC | PS4 | XB1
Shadow Tactics utilizes a lot of core stealth mechanics you wouldn’t expect to find in a real-time strategy game. Set during the Japanese Edo period, where a new Shogun has risen to power and organized a group of specialists to deal with a rebellion, you assume control a team of deadly assassins that specialize in different fields.
Missions have you combining your team’s lethal long-range and close combat weaponry as well as distraction tools and traps to assassinate targets. You’ll get to know each member of your team as their different personalities come to light, and relationships evolve throughout the game’s story.
Developer: Creative Assembly – Platform: PC | PS4 | XB1 | Switch
If hiding in storage cabinets while a drooling Xenomorph tries to hunt you down sounds like a good time, you should probably seek counseling. But before you start contacting therapists, consider giving in to your twisted fantasy by revisiting one of the best stealth horror games of the last decade. Set within the Alien universe, Alien: Isolation offers a nail-biting experience whose enjoyment doesn’t require you to have watched any of the films.
Although you should probably bring an extra pair of pants since it contains some of the most heart-pounding chase sequences you’ll ever experience in a stealth game. If you thought being trapped in space with no oxygen was scary, just wait till you find yourself trapped in a medical lab with murderous androids and a blood-thirsty alien hot on your trail.
Developer: Lince Works – Platform: PC | PS4 | Switch
Aragami, not to be confused with Origami, is a stealth game that has less to do with folding paper and more to do with sneaking past deadly sword-wielding guards. The game has you taking on the role of Aragami, an assassin with awesome supernatural abilities that allow him to teleport between shadows, create alternate paths, summon shadow beasts, and basically do anything he wants as long as no one flips on a light switch.
Broken up into 13 chapters, the game has you attempting to navigate through environments filled with patrolling guards that can be killed or completely avoided, with both approaches requiring their own level of strategy. Along the way, you’ll manage “Shadow Essence,” which is consumed whenever a special ability is performed, or you’re too close to intense light sources like lanterns and can be replenished by returning to the shadows.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Developer: Konami – Platform: PC | PS4 | XB1
What Phantom Pain lacks in cohesive storytelling, it makes up for with solid stealth mechanics and entertaining gameplay. The game serves as the ninth installment in the Metal Gear series, and notably the last project to be developed by Kojima Productions. Set after the events of Ground Zeroes, the game has you playing as Big Boss, who, after waking up from a coma, enlists a group of mercenaries to help him exact revenge on those that put him in said coma.
Cutscenes can be ridiculously long, and characters aren’t compelling enough to make you feel invested, however, Phantom Pain’s saving grace is its open-ended mission design. While you’re more than welcome to approach every encounter with brute force, the game rewards you for taking non-lethal measures when infiltrating enemy bases and rescuing prisoners.
Sniper Elite 4
Developer: Rebellion – Platform: PC | PS4 | XB1
Sniper Elite 4 makes several refinements to a series that’s always placed a greater emphasis on stealth and tactics-based gameplay than other third-person shooters. The game takes place immediately after Sniper Elite 3 and has you play as Karl Fairburne, a sniper sent to infiltrate a Nazi-controlled island where a dangerous weapon is being created.
A majority of the game revolves around setting up traps and stealthily picking off soldiers with an array of sniper rifles and other guns at your disposal. Sniper Elite 4 marks a shift in more immersive gameplay and features larger maps for you to explore and sneak through as well as improvements to AI behavior, making enemies feel more realistic than in previous games.
Mark of the Ninja
Developer: Klei Ent. – Platform: PC | PS4 | XB1 | Switch
Mark of the Ninja remains to be one of the greatest stealth games ever created, featuring fluid combat and traversal mechanics along with gorgeous 2D visuals. You play as an unnamed ninja caught in the middle of a conflict between ancient ninja traditions and modern technology.
The game has you exploring 2D-platform environments, locating and choosing to eliminate or sneak past patrolling guards as you complete objectives and find collectibles. While aggressive playstyles are allowed, Mark of the Ninja gives you extra rewards for being as stealthy as you can and provides plenty of environmental tools for doing so, like narrow grates and ventilation shafts that can be crawled through to get the drop on enemies.
Styx: Shards of Darkness
Developer: Cyanide Studio – Platform: PC | PS4 | XB1
Both Styx games are painfully underrated for having some of the most interesting stealth mechanics to date. Set in the Of Orcs and Men universe, Shards of Darkness has you once again assuming control of the foul-mouthed, titular goblin assassin Styx, as he infiltrates the city of Körangar and uncovers a mysterious alliance between the dark elves and the dwarves.
Like the previous game, Styx has access to a myriad of abilities that assist with taking out or avoiding enemies, like creating a clone of himself, momentarily turning invisible, and crafting deadly traps on the fly. His naturally small build allows Styx to fit in barrels, drain covers, and anywhere else enemies would never hope to find a dagger-wielding goblin.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
Developer: Eidos Montreal – Platform: PC | PS4 | XB1
The Deus Ex games are known for masterfully blending elements found in first-person shooters, RPGs, and more traditional stealth games. Mankind Divided is the fourth game in the series and features a more contained story without sacrificing the series’ amazing gameplay, which has you augmenting your abilities to sneak past and disarm enemies in unique ways.
You play as series’ main protagonist Adam Jensen, a sunglasses-wearing tough-talking hero pulled straight out of an early 2000s game cover. Set two years after Human Revolution, the game has Jensen acting as a double agent for Juggernaut Collective, a hacker group looking to expose the Illuminati that’s secretly been carrying out a sinister plot behind the scenes.