In a bit of randomness, Valve has launched a brand-new sale on Steam, dubbed the Steam Stealth Game Sale. From now until October 16, 1pm EDT/10am PDT, you can save on some of the best stealth titles available. But what should you spend your hard-earned dollars on? Here's a list that should help you out a bit, pointing out the games that reviewed highly here on USgamer or are just that good.
Splinter Cell Blacklist
I'm putting this at the top because I can. I feel that Splinter Cell: Blacklist was an amazing Splinter Cell game that happened to launch at exactly the wrong time: two months before the launch of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Is it as good as Chaos Theory ($2.49, 75% Off)? No, but it's a really great stealth game. If Ubisoft was smart, this would be high on the list for an HD remake, Definitive Edition, or even a sequel.
As I said in my review of the game:
Blacklist is a quality game and despite what some may think, it's clear that Ubisoft Toronto has a clear love for the Splinter Cell franchise up until this point. The game is caught between providing a hard stealth experience while reaching for a larger audience and it's a testament to Ubisoft's efforts that they pulled it off. While you'll occasionally be thrust into a 24-style action movie, for the most part the stealth roots are strong and deep. Splinter Cell: Blacklist isn't perfect, but it's a damn good start for a new series.
Sadly, it does include UPlay.
Far Cry 3
Back when Far Cry was just another "How strong is your PC" benchmark title, did we ever think it would lead to a solid open-world series? Every Far Cry game is on sale, but my money is on Far Cry 3. This entry in the franchise provides an awesome open-world playground full of guns, vehicles, and hunting. It's more tuned towards fun than Far Cry 2 ($2.49, 75% Off), which is a harsher title that leans heavily on survival aspects. It also comes together a bit better than the larger Far Cry 4 ($33.29, 33% Off), which at times seems bloated with side content.
Sometimes I want to just head off in a direction and get into trouble and Far Cry 3 lets you do that more than any other game in the franchise. You may be wondering about the stealth, since this is a "Steam Stealth Sale". I can say that stealth is a part of the Far Cry series, but it's certainly not the focus of the games. When it comes to stealthy gameplay, you get what you put into it; if you want to sneak everywhere, the games give you the tools to do so. You're not forced in that direction, like a number of other stealth titles.
Oh, and UPlay again.
Mark of the Ninja
Probably one of the best 2D stealth experiences on PC or console. The story and main character are remarkably generic, but the gameplay is perfect. You can tell at a glance if you can be seen or heard, which can be an issue for some stealth games (see: Far Cry). When you're in the darkness, your character is a sketchy outline. When you walk, a bubble of sound radiates from every footstep. Vision cones are clearly marked. This information is absolutely key for stealth titles.
From start to finish, the game has a smooth difficulty curve too: the tools you have for different situations increase and the game starts throwing new foes into the mix. I can't say I ever found Mark of the Ninja to be hard, but that's what difficulty settings are for. At the very least, it's not as punitive as certain titles - *coughSplinterCellcough* - can be.
If that hits you in the right spot, you might want to try the semi-clone, Assassin's Creed Chronicles: China ($74.9, 25% Off). It's not as good, but once you're done with Mark of the Ninja, there's not much else like it out there.
You could also try a different 2D stealth experience. Gunpoint has your lone gumshoe breaking into highly-secure buildings and stealing important data. You do this by hacking doors and cameras, knocking out guards, leaping around like Daredevil, and generally trying to stay out of sight. There's a large amount of emergent play and on-the-fly solutions available to you in Gunpoint, making it satisfying when you complete a level.
At three hours, Gunpoint doesn't overstay its welcome and once you're done the main game, there's user-created levels on Steam Workshop to enjoy. That means if you want to, you can play Gunpoint for a long, long time.
Monaco is an pixel-heavy overhead heist game. Pick one of the game's character classes - The Lockpick, The Hacker, and The Mole, for example - each with their own unique ability, and attempt to borrow items that aren't yours. What's striking about Monaco is the art style, which clearly shows your character's line of sight. The fog of war covers what you haven't seen, while that which you can't see is colored grey. This makes you more cautious, taking your time to plan out what you're doing next.
And when you're done playing alone, you can play Monaco with your friends. The game's co-op mode allows for 2-4 players, each choosing a different class skill to bring to the team. It's here that Monaco begins to feel like Ocean's Eleven or any other great heist flick. You use your ability here, so that I can use my ability in there. It's so simple, elegant, and well-balanced.
Outlast is a genuinely frightening first-person survival horror game. You play a journalist who find himself trapped in the Mount Massive Asylum while investigating its secrets. Unfortunately, you're not a fighter, so you have to run and hide if you want to live through the night. Armed with little more than a night-vision camera, can you find out what's going on at this horrific location?
Outlast does not mess around. In fact, it's one of the few games I won't play for too long or in certain situations. You will slip up, the monsters will find you, and you will die. Of course, you'll probably enjoy it.
Volume is a recent release, as the price shows. If you remember the Metal Gear Solid VR Missions, this is like an entire title that's just those missions. Like Monaco and Mark of the Ninja, where Volume succeeds is clear indicators of stealth status, like vision cones and sound bubbles.
As I said in my preview:
An enemy's vision cone is the extent that they can see you. Even if you're in line of sight, if you're not within that cone, you're in the clear. You can make noise - there's even a throwable bugle device that allows you to do so remotely - and the sound bubble is a stark indicator of what your enemy can and cannot hear. If they're within the sound bubble, they'll hear the noise and investigate it. The top-down camera gives you information you'd lack if the game had you playing in the traditional behind-the-back third person camera. (It's one of the reasons modern stealth games require Eagle Vision/Detective Mode, otherwise you lack that information about your surroundings.)
The game also includes a level creator and the dev team picks the best user-created levels weekly, so there's always a flow of solid content coming into Volume.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
Perhaps I don't know what stealth means. Maybe it means something different to Valve?