10 Best Stealth Franchises
We made this list of best stealth franchises because stealth games are making a comeback. Square-Enix is rebooting the Thief franchise, Assassin's Creed is incredibly huge and Metal Gear is coming back on next generation platforms. Those are only a few of the cool stealth franchises out there. If you are into stealth action, check out the rest of our list of top stealth franchises to try out some more.
Manhunt may be needlessly violent, but it also has a handful of really phenomenal stealth concepts. The many and varied weapons you could use to take out your opponents were more than just grotesque displays of gore, they were a risk/reward system that challenged you to really stretch your stealth abilities. It’s an unlikely inclusion on the list of top stealth franchises, but worth a play by stealth fans nonetheless.
Dishonored is a pretty strange game for a stealth franchise. Sure, there is plenty of sneaking to go around in this game, but there are also tons of action elements, plenty of magic and some RPG elements as well. It’s also one of the few stealth franchises that is play from a first-person perspective. It’s not a traditional stealth game, but it’s a great play for stealth aficionados.
The Deus Ex franchise is another one of those franchises that isn’t necessarily completely focused on stealth. Instead, it’s focused on choice. You can go into a room guns blazing, or sneak around silently executing your foes. Even so, the Deus Ex series, especially Deus Ex: Human Revolution are some of the best examples of well-implemented stealth gameplay there is.
Hitman took an interesting approach to stealth. While there is your standard “hide in the shadows and duck under cover” stealth sections, there are also sections in which you have to disguise yourself and hide in plain sight. At that point, it’s not a matter of how hard you are to see, but how hard it is to pick you out of a crowd, which is a really innovative way to do stealth-based gameplay.
What’s better than a stealth-based action game? A stealth-based action game that lets you play as the Batman! Sure, Batman can best any man in martial arts and has a ton of gadgets ready to disable gods and superhuman mutant freaks, but enough thugs with rifles can always take him down. That’s why it’s always a good idea to stick to the shadows, taking down crime when they least expect it.
Metal Gear was one of the first stealth franchises to ever be created. Way back in the days of the NES, Snake was sneaking his way around boxes and disabling weapons of mass destruction. Now we have cloning projects, psychic viruses and Keifer Sutherland. Sure, the story might have gone off the deep end, but Metal Gear’s stealth gameplay is still tops.
Believe it or not, Assassin’s Creed wasn’t really meant to be the stealth franchise that we know and love today. It was actually originally planned to be a Prince of Persia sequel. However, the stealthy gameplay just didn’t seem like it fit our platforming protagonist, and so Ubisoft decided to give Altair and his family line their own game franchise instead. Strangely enough, that’s also why you don’t see a whole lot of Prince of Persia games being created anymore.
Splinter Cell was another one of the early stealth franchises, though this one was made during the PlayStation era. It was really hard, too! Getting spotted by any enemy would basically spell horrible death for Sam Fisher. Luckily, he has been given a number of new abilities since the first Splinter Cell game, including the ability to mark enemies and cinematically execute them. The latest game in the franchise, Splinter Cell: Blacklist, may become one of the best upcoming stealth games in this generation.
Who would have thought that one of the best stealth games ever would be a 2D platformer? Nevertheless, Mark of the ninja is a must play game for anyone who enjoys the stealth genre. The game actually makes you feel like a ninja, hiding in the shadows and waiting for your prey before striking them down with lightning speed. Sure, it may be cartoony, but this is a simplified version of what the stealth genre is all about.
Finally, we can’t talk about the best stealth franchises without talking about Thief, the granddaddy of modern stealth games. Whether it was line of sight, shadow-based stealth, enemy takedowns or hiding slain bodies, Thief did it first, or perfected it. Many of our current stealth games borrow from Thief’s original formula and still do. This is why the big Thief reboot by Eidos Montreal and Square-Enix is so exciting. Granted, they are reinventing the game that reinvented steath, but it’s about time that we got to see Garret sneak around medieval bastions once again.