EarlyGame Talk

Why Does Stealth in Video Games Suck? A rant.

EarlyGame Talk Why Does Stealth in Video Games Suck? A rant.

Graphics have come a long way. Stealth hasn't. (Image credit: Ghost of Tsushima & Metal Gear Solid)

Time for another EarlyGame Talk. Get a snack, sip on that coffee, kick back and relax. It’s time for our EarlyGame Talk.

If you’re a person of taste you’re probably playing Ghost of Tsushima. If you’re not, you probably have an Xbox and are not a person of taste.

Sorry, not sorry.

As a person of taste (PlayStation owner) and a lifelong manga and anime fan, certified nani(!?) expert and Miyamoto Musashi admirer, Ghost of Tsushima is a dream come true. It has everything... except good stealth.

Yes. No smooth transitions or foreplay here, I’m getting straight to the point: How is it possible that I can blow someone up with a sticky bomb and the guy on the other side of the paper-slide door - that probably has a proper Japanese name - can’t hear it? This isn’t Skyrim. It’s the year 2020. ‘Hm? Must’ve been the wind’ is not good enough anymore.

Skyrim meme comic

Image credit: Jeremy Vinar & Mike Fahmie

Why do guards still have static routes that they walk over and over again while you stalk out the camp with sweaty Dorito greased fingers? Why do whole enemy camps react to a dead body, go into a frenzy for 45 seconds and then forget about the corpse that they continue to pass by? Why can’t they hear the screams of their fallen comrades? Why are they tanning leather over and over again? Rummaging through over and over and over?

This is simply not good enough anymore. If Red Dead Redemption 2 can script a whole world with bears fighting off wolves and NPC’s getting up, going to work, doing their taxes and having different dinner every day of the week, then games with stealth should be able to do better. Nevermind the AI stumbling upon the dead body and forgetting it - even if I were to hide the corpse, the last guy in the camp should notice that his 20 colleagues have disappeared as he walks up and down the same stretch of 20 yards for the 50th time. Again: Not good enough anymore.

EarlyGame Talk Ghost of Tsushima

I love you Ghost of Tsushima but this is not how stealth works... (Image credit: Ghost of Tsushima)

The last time we had any big addition to stealth mechanics was when Metal Gear Solid added knocking and crawling under things and hanging from railings. Since then, stealth improvements have been lackluster. I love Ghost of Tsushima, but the game has the word 'ghost' in it and the whole storyline is centered on a samurai adopting uncharacteristic stealth methods. It is simply not acceptable that I can eagle dive from a 15-foot building in full Samurai plate armor, land in clear sight of a guard, quick dash into a patch of grass that does not hide my neon colored armor at all and the guard acts like all of that never happened and goes about staring off the same rock into utter nothingness, while my AI partner is hiding in plain sight next to him because it has the worst stealth programming ever. And yes, that was a long rant sentence. You know why:

Because that is simply not good enough.

Why are we improving graphics when game AIs are still acting like toddlers on weed?.


Amidu Njiemoun

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