The Decline of Stealth Games
One might say that stealth games are a lost cause, mainly because of the fact that the most popular genres in gaming consist of over-the-top action, cinematic style combat, and oversaturated use of a cover system. To that I say rubbish; there is without a doubt a large group of gamers who adore stealth based games and demand an increase of them, including myself. However, when I say "stealth based games," I'm in fact referring to video games that focus primarily on completing missions quietly and effectively, with silenced weapons, melee takedowns, using gadgets, and spy related tactics.
As featured in the picture to the right, one of the best games to utilize the spy theme and properly focus on stealth is the video game adaptation of the ABC television show, Alias, featuring Jennifer Garner. Players take on the role of CIA agent Sydney Bristow using her cunning, extensive knowledge of martial arts and array of high-tech gadgetry to accomplish dangerous missions. It successfully encompasses all of the key elements behind the series' success, including high-action combat, stealth missions and time-based objectives, espionage, intriguing plot twists, high-tech weaponry and stunning gameplay locations that span the globe. It's a nice addition to the stealth game genre and firearm combat takes a back seat while stealth is prioritised.
On a more popular playing field, the Splinter Cell series (post-Conviction) are well known to be the ultimate stealth based games due to their utilization of intense espionage, brilliant spy tactics (using distractions, split-jumping to gain a height advantage, etc.), and of course, incorporating a system that determines how noticeable you are to the naked eye due to surrounding light and how much sound you're making. Players take on the role of Sam Fisher, an elite agent for Third Echelon, who travels the globe to complete miscellaneous missions for the shadow division of the National Security Agency.
There are several other games that, while some horribly made, had the right idea, including:
⇝ Velvet Assassin
⇝ Alpha Protocol
⇝ Death to Spies
⇝ Death to Spies: Moment of Truth
⇝ Hitman series
⇝ James Bond series
⇝ Metal Gear Solid series
⇝ No One Lives Forever
⇝ Mission Impossible: Operation Surma
I think what troubles me most is that a lot of companies want to appeal to the larger audiences, and that audience is for intense, cinematic action games. In spite of this, there has been a troubling decline of stealth games, and should there be any elements in some games, stealth gameplay takes an undeserving backseat. I guess we stealthers will just have to dig into the vaults of old but gold stealth games, and just pray that the genre gets more attention in the coming years.