More suspenseful than horror and just as nerve-wracking as shooters, here are the 15 best stealth games of all time to test your sneakiness.
Swift as the wind, gentle as the forest, fierce as fire, and as unshakable as the mountain. If you made an educated guess that a Japan-created title with ninjas gave birth to stealth games, you’d almost be right. In 1979, it was actually Manbiki Shounen (Shoplifting Boy) became the first of its kind.
Thankfully, this didn’t spawn a genre of games themed around shoplifting. It’s the assassins, ninjas, and spies that became our heroes – ethically not much better we suppose, but absolutely cooler. The genre has grown by leaps and bounds with each new iteration.
Here are the 15 best stealth games ever released – keep in mind each title is listed in alphabetical order and each franchise only gets one entry (trust me, you don’t want to see Metal Gear pop up 15 times).
Although Among Us is marketed as a party game, this title has every element of the best stealth games. When playing as an impostor, you essentially become an assassin, ninja, and spy rolled into one.
As you’re killing your crewmates in cold blood, sneaking through vents, and sabotaging facilities as a supposed ally, it’s hard to say that Among Us isn’t a stealth game.
This 2020 crowdpleaser takes the stealth genre to the next level. After all, you get to lie and deceive real humans over the in-game chat. Best of all, Among Us is absolutely free on mobile device. The PC version of this space-themed stealth game is also available off Steam for $7.50.
The beauty of Assassin’s Creed is how each game blends history and fiction, boasting deep story-telling in addition to its action/stealth gameplay. Spawning countless spin-offs and adaptations, Assassin’s Creed has become one of Ubisoft’s flagship titles, with each new game building upon the established genre.
For instance, the latest game to join the franchise, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, makes full use of next-gen systems, adding even more action-adventure elements. The cinematics give off hints of Dark Souls or The Witcher 3, featuring epic boss battles within a beautiful open world.
Although the stealth aspect becomes more of a sub-genre, it’s always interesting seeing how flexible this series can be.
Speaking of mixing up the genres, it’s time for Dishonored. This entry blends stealth with the occult, giving players access to a handful of useful spells and tricks up their virtual sleeves.
The decision-making process affects both the gameplay and the story; by choosing who lives and who dies, you get to decide how dark or bright the game becomes. This non-linear progression has charmed fans with its high degree of immersion and freedom.
Hitting the scene in 2012, the Dishonored franchise continued its legacy in 2016 and 2017 with two sequels. Despite adding more supernatural elements, the games stay fairly true to their stealth-based origins – I guess having a bit of magic doesn’t make us any less of an assassin.
Ghost of Tsushima
Often compared to western knights, it’s worth noting that these samurai aren’t fully clad in armour. Why? Stealth and mobility, of course. Regarded as one of the best action-adventure games of 2020, many Ghost of Tsushima players often forget the stealth route in pursuit of the way of the samurai.
However, the game comes with ghost skills and sneaking abilities, allowing players to complete the game as an almost invisible, terror-inducing phantom.
Hello Neighbour 2
By Alison Lam
Hello Neighbour 2 was released in 2020, a hardcore strategy game that really puts your brain to the test as you attempt to outsmart your shotgun-wielding neighbour. What’s more, the neighbour has an AI behind its mechanics, so repeating the same tactics simply won’t work.
The AI feature is the main reason why the prequel to this title, Hello Neighbour, was revolutionary when the game first came out in 2017. Players had to strategically navigate the maze-like expanse of your neighbour’s home in order to uncover his secrets – all while trying to avoid the tenacious grips of its inhabitant.
He’s infamous for laying deadly bear-traps in an attempt to snare you – making him even more sus! Also, a cautious word of warning for all the jump scares, should you decide to play the game.
It’s time to replace hidden blades with some tech. Hitman is one of the pure stealth games, doing the genre a brilliant tribute to its roots. Playing as the perfect assassin, Agent 47 is given weapons and tools to kill, disguise, and distract.
Although the story can be a little one-dimensional, you’ve got to love how it dips into modern history and even replicates missions based off real hitmen.
Each mission forces the player to kill their target in a cool, classy manner. With high margins for error, one must calculate and execute their plan perfectly. Hitman doesn’t play like an action-shooter; it proves that the stealth genre alone is enough to draw in fans. Read our review on Hitman 3, the latest edition that graced PlayStation and Xbox consoles alike early 2021.
Little Nightmares 2
By Alison Lam
Little Nightmares 2 was released in 2021, and is a contender for being one of the most memorable games of the year… so far. This horror-based title still remains in our ranks despite the devastating fact that Tarsier Studios, the original developers behind both Little Nightmares and Little Nightmares 2, won’t continue working on the franchise.
For those unaware, Little Nightmares has audiences follow the perspective of Six, a young girl trying to survive and escape from the dreadful clutches of The Maw. It’s evolved into a whole universe as the sequel, Little Nightmares 2, expands on its lore by introducing a new character, Mono, who accompanies Six in another escapade.
Without giving away any spoilers, the stealth elements of the game are apparent throughout – it’s probably a good idea to tip-toe along the corridors so you don’t alert any enemies to your presence!
This is arguably the series that pioneered and defined the genre. It’s got a bit of sci-fi and there’s traces of some offbeat humour, but its revolutionary action-stealth gameplay and cinematics are what sucked fans in.
Mixing stealthy camouflage with combat, Metal Gear gave birth to one of the greatest categories in video gaming history. Each entry could be hailed as one of the best stealth games ever, by nothing but their own merit.
Metal Gear V: The Phantom Pain is the 2015 title that left the strongest impression, the final masterpiece by renowned director Hideki Kojima. Ever since the departure of their lead designer, it’s quite unlikely that we would ever get another title just as good as the old ones. We encourage anyone who wasn’t already to check out The Phantom Pain.
Phantom: Covert Ops
By Alison Lam
For those searching for the ultimate, immersive stealth experience, then look no further. Phantom: Covert Ops is a virtual reality game that’s been available for Oculus since 2020. As an elite covert operative known as a Phantom, players work hard to prevent an all-out war in just one night.
Especially since this game runs on Oculus, be prepared to actually become a Phantom, since the 1:1 ratio completely melding your senses in tune with the game. Its gameplay elements are also slightly reminiscent of Splinter Cell, which makes it all the better.
Check out the trailer below for a taste of what you’d face if you decided to test your stealth skills in Phantom: Covert Ops.
By Alison Lam
The original Prop Hunt was a multiplayer game that became all the rage back in 2012, when it was initially released. This sequel is based inside Garry’s Mod, more commonly known as just GMod, a first-person sandbox that lets users build basically anything.
Prop Hunt is essentially a virtual hide-and-seek game, where the players are split up into two teams; the props, or the hunters. The props have the ability to hide in any object within the map, though its size are determined by your health levels. Meanwhile, as their name suggests, the hunters seek out the props and eliminate them.
It’s a hilarious co-op game to pass the time, whether you play it yourself or watch others do so. This game is so popular that it’s also inspired several other titles to incorporate a Prop Hunt-inspired mode into their universes, including Among Us and Fortnite.
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell was Ubisoft’s answer to the stealth-shooter legacy created by Metal Gear. Whilst some may call it a rip-off, many would agree that the series that defined itself. After all, it did spawn its own Netflix series.
Similar to Metal Gear, the game puts heavy emphasis on military tactics and stealth kills. But beyond that, light and darkness play a key role, using shadows for concealment and night vision for sight.
With Assassin’s Creed and Splinter Cell on Ubisoft’s side, the flagship franchises made the studio an authoritative figure for the action-stealth genre, challenging the masterful works left by Kojima. Many veteran gamers will hold dear memories of nostalgic Splinter Cell series. If not, we encourage you to check it out.
By Alison Lam
As revealed by its name, Spy Party takes on the stealth genre with a light-hearted, almost comedic twist. Beta for this game started in 2011, and it officially became public in 2013. Don’t let its age deter you from its charm, though.
Instead of the usual flashy, action-fuelled plot, we are instead introduced to the more subtle side of espionage. Players take on the role of a sniper, with the main goal of assassinating the spy. Those assigned to be spies are often cleverly camouflaged in a large crowd, and it’s up to the player to maintain their stealth to stay alive another day. The same also applies to the sniper, since the spy will naturally move around to avoid being sniped at.
Oh, and did we mention that this is also a multiplayer game? If you’re looking for a non-intensive stealth game, don’t be shy to invite your pals to join a Spy Party session!
The Last of Us
This two-part, story-driven franchise took the world by storm with writers that put Hollywood dramas to shame. Touching upon sensitive social issues and jerking tears with A-grade voice acting, people flocked towards buying The Last of Us and The Last of Us Part II without even considering the gameplay.
Well, the gameplay is also pretty damn flawless. When fighting against cannibalistic clickers, being stealthy is your best bet. Unless you want to die – a lot.
Read our review of The Last of Us Part II here.
Untitled Goose Game
As if by complete contrast, Untitled Goose Game falls into a completely separate category of the stealth genre. Forget having a compelling storyline or spine-chilling gameplay, it’s time for a goofy puzzle game.
Inspired by the puzzles of Super Mario 64 and the stealth aspects of the Hitman series, this is a game about a cold, calculating goose set on terrorising humans.
Released in 2019 as a bit of a meme, this indie title soon topped the Steam and Nintendo Switch e-store charts. It’s more than just a joke – this is a polished stealth game we encourage everyone to at least check out.
A call-back to the retro, this is a stealth-based game that didn’t hit its stride until the peak of Metal Gear where the genre had gained popularity. The 1981 Castle Wolfenstein had an emphasis on avoiding detection in this ambitious (at the time) mix of stealth and action.
You could disguise yourself using uniforms or take out enemies with guns and explosives — this game had the basic components of a stealth-shooter before the genre even took off.
The Wolfenstein series has become more of a cult classic, transcending throughout the ages with countless developers and producers maintaining the Wolfenstein legacy.