A lot of games are centered on making you feel like an invincible hero that can go in ‘guns blazing’ and get the job done any way they see fit. However, some games require careful planning and a more stealthy approach in order to get that heavily guarded sacred treasure you’re looking to steal.
So here we’ve highlighted the best stealth games available to play in 2020. While some of these titles don’t absolutely require you to sneak around, it’s usually the best option for keeping your character alive. As always, make sure to check back as we’ll be updating this list in the future.
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Dishonored 2 takes place after the events of the first game and has you playing as either Empress Emily Kaldwin or her royal protector and father Corvo Attano as they attempt to reclaim the throne in the city of Karnaca. Both characters have access to a unique arsenal of supernatural abilities, though the game can be played completely without any powers.
The Dishonored games are known for their flexibility, allowing players to complete missions in a variety of different ways whether lethal, non-lethal, stealthy, or a ‘guns blazing’ approach. However, the stealth option is usually the most challenging and lets players combine each character’s special powers in interesting ways.
Intruder is a stealth multiplayer game that describes itself as a “spy-vs-guards simulator”. In it, two teams of five players face off in PvP-based scenarios where they’re assigned opposing objectives. The “Intruders” are tasked with infiltrating the enemy’s base, retrieving a specific item, and then making a beeline for an escape route while the “Guards” attempt to thwart their efforts at every turn.
While still in Early Access, the game shows a lot of promise thanks to a bevy of neat and surprising features you wouldn’t expect. For example, maps contain interactive objects that players can use to their advantage, such as live security cameras, spotlights, sliding windows, ventilation shafts, elevators, etc. Additionally, Intruder allows players to use real-life SWAT hand signals in order to communicate when enemies are nearby, adding some immersion to the gameplay experience.
Splinter Cell: Blacklist
What would a best stealth game list be without at least one Splinter Cell title? Incomplete! 2013’s Blacklist is the most recent entry in the series and has you controlling Sam Fisher, a spymaster working for the Fourth Echelon on a mission to stop a group of terrorists called the Engineers from carrying out an evil military conspiracy.
Although the game is a continuation of the “aggressive stealth” gameplay introduced in Conviction and can be played with a run-n-gun approach, Fisher’s wide variety of useful anti-detection tools and abilities make stealthy, non-lethal playstyles feel more satisfying. Aside from his iconic night-vision goggles, Fisher can use a drone to spy on enemies and create distractions as well as environmental objects such as zip-lines to traverse levels.
Hitman 2 offers some slight improvements on the first game without ever straying too far from the original’s addictive gameplay. In it, you play as one of the most dangerous bald men ever, Agent 47, as he makes his way across the globe assassinating targets in carefully orchestrated murder scenarios.
See, Agent 47 has the unique ability of being able to blend-in and gain access to nearly any location through his many disguises, such as sushi chef, security guard, and children’s birthday party clown. By learning your target’s habits and weaknesses, you’ll be one step closer to finding a ridiculous way to insert yourself into their routine and trigger their untimely demise.
Alien: Isolation is a survival horror game based on the classic Alien sci-fi films. The game has you playing as Amanda Ripley, daughter of series’ main protagonist Ellen Ripley, who’s given a chance to investigate the disappearance of her mother’s ship after its flight recorder is found by the crew of a space salvage vessel.
Things quickly take a turn for the worse when you learn that the crew and androids aboard the Sevastopol remote space station have been corrupted and a terrifying Xenomorph has climbed aboard. With limited supplies and a constant alien threat, you’ll have to pick your battles wisely. Knowing when to stand your ground and when to hide in a supply cabinet is crucial for survival.
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 take on the role of Aragami, an assassin with 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 be managing your “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
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 definitely welcome to approach every encounter with brute force, the game rewards you for taking non-lethal measures when infiltrating enemy bases and rescuing prisoners.
Mark of the Ninja
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 in order to get the drop on enemies.
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.
Styx: Shards of Darkness
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 expect to find a dagger-wielding goblin.
Volume is a stealth game that’s somewhat of an indie gem, delivering a modern take on the classic Robin Hood legend. The game comes from Mike Bithell, the designer behind Thomas Was Alone, and has players controlling Robert Locksley, a petty thief who comes across a device that allows the user to simulate heists part of an actual secret military coup.
Played from a top-down, third-person perspective, Volume has you planning your route through courses filled with military guards, attack dogs, and automated security turrets as you tackle mission-based objectives. The game allows for user-generated levels to be shared online, adding to the bulk of the 100 levels included with the base game.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
The Deus Ex games are known for masterfully blending together 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 in order 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.
Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun
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 rose 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 in order to assassinate targets. You’ll get to know each member of your team as their diverse personalities come to light and relationships evolve over the course of the game’s story.
Sniper Elite 4
Sniper Elite 4 makes a number of 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.
Invisible, Inc. is a turn-based Roguelike with an emphasis on stealth and tactics. The game has you take on the role of a remote operator for an espionage agency that has come under attack and only has three days to prepare for their final mission.
As operator, you’ll be guiding agents through missions across the globe in an effort to retrieve as much intel, resources, and equipment as possible before your time is up. Since objectives and map layouts are procedurally generated prior to the start of a new run, each playthrough feels slightly different and excitingly unpredictable.