Clandestine sneaking is one of my favourite things to do in video games, and, with Dishonored 2 just around the corner, I figured it’d be as good a time as any to come up with a list of the best stealth games of all time.
5. Mark of the Ninja
Boasting a gorgeous 2D art-style, Klei Entertainment’s Mark of the Ninja has the triple honour of not only being one of the best stealth games of all time, but one of the best ninja games and 2D experiences as well. It’s a glorious blend of perfect aesthetics, simple-but-superbly designed mechanics, and some of the best level design around.
It’s telling that many of the guys who worked on the classic Thief titles ended up helping to create its fantastic spiritual successor – Dishonored. Corvo’s abilities and menacing array of weapons are fun enough, but match that with a phenomenally realised world, stuffed with shadowy opportunities, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for some seriously engrossing improvisation.
3. Hitman: Blood Money
Blood Money is still the best game in the brilliant Hitman series, simply because of the sheer number of weird and wonderful ways you can take out your targets without being noticed. From dressing up as a murderous chicken to booby trapping barbecues, assassination has rarely been this much fun.
2. Metal Gear Solid
Along with our winner, Metal Gear Solid remains one of the games to write the book on how to do stealth right. Along with its excellent story and amazing gadgetry, Metal Gear Solid was a truly challenging game that made successful sneaking feel incredibly satisfying. The original still manages to feel fresh and innovative to this day, and is arguably the greatest slice of espionage gaming ever created.
1. Thief II: The Metal Age
Unlike some of the protagonists who grace the games on this list, Thief’s shadowy antihero Garrett would nearly always come off second best in a straight fight. It’s good, then, that he never needs to. The original Thief ushered in a huge number of genre tropes that we take for granted today, and then Thief 2 managed to improve on its predecessor in nearly every conceivable way, no mean feat. Think of any stealth game in recent years, and I bet it’ll owe a huge debt to Garrett’s dark adventuring.