Not all action games have to be about obliterating hordes of monsters and saving the world. Sometimes you might want to take the low road and just liberate the bad guys from their worldly possessions, instead of ending their lives with extreme firepower and painstakingly choreographed displays of violence. Heist games can be incredibly fun, as the recently released Hood: Outlaws & Legends demonstrates.
The titles we have listed below feature satisfying stealth gameplay and elaborate acts of thievery.
7. Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain
In my opinion, the 2005 game Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain is one of the best stealth games of all time! The game follows the story of Venom Snake, a.k.a. Big Boss, who ventures into Afghanistan during a period of heavy fighting in order to track down the people responsible for destroying the MSF.
The game gives you countless opportunities for clever stealth play. Creativity is rewards, and your ability to sneak through locations successfully is limited only by your imagination.
6. Dishonored 2
Dishonored is an incredible franchise by Bethesda Softworks that relies heavily on sneaking around, although nothing is stopping you from using brute force. Dishonored 2 places the player in Karnaca, a district where two different factions, the Overseers and the Howlers, are in constant conflict in the streets. This conflict is political in principal – the Howlers wish to depose the Duke and his government, and the Overseers work as the Duke’s defenders – but it plays out through high-octane combat and backstabbing machinations.
What can you expect in Dishonored 2? Well, you can expect a lot of struggle, unless you play it right: by sneaking around. You have to kill a lot of powerful foes protected by strong guards circling around them at all times, so going in full-Rambo will make your life very difficult.
Before venturing anywhere, choose a high place and analyze the scenario for possible ways to sneak into certain buildings, and to spot blindspots the guards won’t find you in. Essentially, you can play Dishonored 2 in a similar way to Hitman 3.
5. Sly Cooper 4: Thieves in Time
Sly Cooper 4: Thieves in Time is part of the Sly Cooper game series, which first came out in 2002. This series follows a raccoon who happens to be one of the best thieves in the world. He works together with his own gang in order to steal a lot of valuable artifacts.
Don’t let the cartoony art style fool you into thinking it’s a children’s game, as it actually demands a lot of thinking. You’ll have to learn when and how to use stealth effectively to beat it.
4. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood
The Assassin’s Creed franchise was one of the first and, to date, best game series to focus at least partly on stealth gameplay.
More recently, Ubisoft introduced the online version of Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, where players get to play as various assassins, being assigned other players as targets to kill. Brotherhood players they must use stealth to hunt down their quarry.
Sure, most games in this genre are more about theft and infiltration, but assassination finds its way into the gameplay in almost every other stealth game out there, including the recent Hood: Outlaws and Legends.
What makes Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood so tense is that while you are hunting someone down, you are also being hunted. Speaking of, you should check out Murderous Pursuits; no theft action there, but a great multiplayer take on the Whodunit genre.
3. Hood: Outlaws & Legends
Hood: Outlaws and Legends came out in early May, and it has already piqued the interest of many players. The game is a mixture of PvP and PvE, with different characters, equipment, and abilities. Unlike most other games on this list, Hood: Outlaws and Legends is built around competitive multiplayer.
Instead of doing all the stealing by yourself, you do it as part of a merry band of robbers with varying degrees of coordination. The treasure must be wrestled away not only from the AI guarding it, but also from the other team of players, who are eager to steal it first and maybe put some arrows in you in the process.
Styx has got to be one of my favorites on this list. Most games will have you regard goblins as the lowliest of enemies, but not this one. In this game, you will be playing as a confident and self-possesses goblin by the name of Styx, who is 200-years-old and enjoying a prosperous life of crime. Styx gets accidentally mixed in a conflict between very powerful characters and he is then tasked with stealing an ambassador’s scepter. That’s just the beginning of his journey.
Styx’s size allows him to sneak easily past enemies; add to that his aptitude for climbing roofs and scaling walls, and you’ve got a master thief. And let’s not forget his magical ability to bypass obstacles and take down unaware enemies, and his lack of regard for human life. He’s just perfect.
1. Payday 2
Quiet and stealthy heists are a big part of Thief, but you won’t find any of that in the Payday franchise. The first Payday came out in 2011 and it follows the story of four bank robbers who decide to take on several banks and financial institutions, and they are anything but subtle in their methods.
Payday 2 is a straight improvement over the original. This co-op action heist game has you and your teammates go head to head with countless waves of police forces that will do everything they can to stop you from getting away with the goods.