Below you will find the 25 best stealth games ever released on PC. There are sneaking missions, grand thefts, assassinations, escapes and infiltrations. Stay low, keep quiet and we’ll make it to the end.
RPS Feature Our favourite places to hide.
Murder is a right lark, I’m sure we can all agree, but there’s little better murder than murder where no one sees their murder coming and their murder goes undetected. Stealth, I’m talking about. 2014 fantasy sneak ‘em up Styx: Master of Shadows was fairly typical for for developers Cyanide – interesting and ambitious but flawed enough to end up frustrating, as our Graham noted in his review. Still, the goblin’s sneaky adventure was promising enough that Cyanide are having another crack.
Today the French studio announced sequel Styx: Shards of Darkness [official site], slated to launch in 2016.
RPS Feature Hit Me With Your Rhythm, Styx
Development company Cyanide have long been purveyors of interesting-but-guff fantasy games. Styx: Master of Shadows turns out to be their least-interesting-but-most-good. It’s a stealth game in which you play a goblin – the Styx of the title – sneaking around the Tower of Akenash, a medieval city built so high among the branches of “the World-Tree” that ledges stretch down into a cloudy abyss.
It’s also a strict stealth game: one in which triggering combat means almost certain death, and where you’ll spend your time mastering the shadows by hiding in them rather than pouncing from them.
I – and based on the number of posts about it, the rest of RPS as well – have been quietly hopeful that Styx: Master of Shadows will be a surprise gem in this, the Month Of Games. I worry we’ve used up our stealth bastard luck on the excellent Shadow of Mordor, but maybe there’s some magic left. The goblin main character is delightfully non-standard in his short stature and murderous ways while the rest of the world seems a grimy parody of middle ages Britain. Graham’s working away on a review in the run up to the release, but here’s a launch trailer that expands on some of the plot.
Styx: Master Of Shadows is a stealth spin-off, framed as a prequel to Of Orcs and Men. While orcs and men blunder about biffing one another, sneaky little Styx the goblin sticks to the shadows, robbing and stabbing as he goes. The game is out on the 7th of October and to prepare perfidious pickpockets around the world, Cyanide have released a video with a developer talkthrough. It’s an instant contender for best video because it contains the statement, “In terms of the mechanics of infiltration, we tried to never lose sight of the fact we were playing a goblin”.
Styx: Master of Shadows is a spin-off of Of Orcs & Men, but instead of mixing its action and stealth together, Styx is focused solely on the latter. As a magical goblin chap, you pad, leap and stab around an open-level shaped by spawling castles and vertical drops. It’s clearly designed to evoke yer Arkham Asylums, Dishonoreds and Dark Messiahs, but heck, it works. I watched the trailer below and those games were evoked all up in here. The video explains the game’s clone powers, whereby Styx can create variously powered doppelgängers of himself to distract or trap unwitting guards.
We’ve cast our shared eye over Styx: Master of Shadows before (I’m scheduled for another five minutes with the eye before Adam takes it to look at a football), our collective mouth muttering that an open-level stealth game sounds nice but its heritage makes us sceptical (I’ve got 15 minutes with the mouth before Graham needs to “holler at a lad”). See, it’s a spin-off from Of Orcs & Men, a game which paired stealth bits with action stuff, only our Jim found the stealth “terrible.”
But that was then, this is now, and this game isn’t trying to do two things at once. What happens when Cyanide Studio focus on stealth? Have a gander in 13 of minutes of gameplay footage.
Hey everyone, it’s Styx! You remember Styx, don’t you? You know, from the party that one time? And when he found your lost cat, nursed it back to health, replaced its missing foot with a tinker toy, and returned it to you safe and sound? Oh wait, no, I’m thinking of someone else. This guy. Styx: Master of Shadows, you’ll remember, is a stealth-heavy RPG about a thieving goblin who was conceived while his parents listened to “Come Sail Away” on repeat or something. On one hand, a stealth role-player with a focus on vertical level design sounds interesting, but on the other, the last time Cyanide dabbled in stealth was in Of Orcs And Men’s abysmal sneaking sections. But hey, at least Styx’s first trailer looks pretty solid.
Credit where credit’s due: Cyanide is a deceptively productive studio, not to mention a rather ambitious one considering the constraints it works under. It might not be the biggest-budget operation, but the French wearer of many hats and waver of many national flags has recently produced a not-entirely-terrible Game of Thrones RPG, Impire, Dungeonbowl, and Of Orcs & Men. The latter, while depressingly flawed, is most relevant here given that Styx: Master of Shadows presumably takes place in the same world. It stars fleet-footed, dagger-tongued goblin Styx, who is apparently the Very First Of All Goblins. The game will be a mix of extremely vertical stealth and fantasy role-playing, which sounds downright fascinating.
There’s just one problem, and I’ll let Jim’s Of Orcs & Men WIT take it from here: “The game is essentially a series of stealth-then-fight setpieces. This would be fine, except it’s a terrible stealth game.” That, um, doesn’t bode particularly well.