The 33 Best Stealth Games of All Time

best stealth games

Note: This article was updated in July of 2019.

The defining feature of a stealth title is that the player is encouraged to stay hidden in the shadows, which is obviously very different from how most action games are played. There’s no running and gunning and players are definitely encouraged to stay out of sight instead of going up in head-to-head battles against their opponents.

The player can choose whether to sneak up behind enemies or take them out with one hit, usually sapping them instead of killing them outright, with the damage increased by a factor of surprise. Even avoiding enemies and bypassing them completely is an option when the game’s objectives revolve around getting from point A to point B instead of killing everything along the way. 

Many stealth games score the player on various measures of stealthy play after each level, like how often the character was detected, or how many enemies were dispatched. With this criteria in mind, we take a look at ten (or more) of the best stealth games of all time.

#33 We Happy Few

  • Developer: Compulsion Games
  • Publisher: Gearbox Publishing

We Happy Few is an indie survival horror video game that comes from developers Compulsion Games, previously known for their release of Contrast. Overall, within the game, players are set in an alternative timeline in Europe where citizens are forced to consume a daily drug, hindering them away from the realities of the world.

The game will feature protagonists who have refused to take the drug causing them to see the corruption and horror within the world. Now as they venture out to solve their own mysteries they’ll have to carefully stay under the radar to avoid bringing unwanted attention.

There’s even a permadeath option if you’re feeling lucky and want a real challenge going through the game, but again, it’s an option that you don’t have to take on.

#32 Tenchu: Shadow Assassins

  • Developer: Acquire, FromSoftware
  • Publisher: Ubisoft
  • Platforms: Wii, PSP
  • Release: February 5, 2009

Released a decade after the first Tenchu for both the PSP and the Nintendo Wii, Tenchu: Shadow Assassins is the fourth game in the series and one which retains the series’ roots of being a stealth-action game.

Shadow Assassins allows players to take control of two characters, feautring an over-the-shoulder camera perspective. Set across 10 missions, players can choose to opt for stealth or engage their enemies in open combat using martial arts skills.

#31 Volume

  • Developer: Mike Bithell Games
  • Publisher: Mike Bithell Games
  • Platforms: PC, PS4
  • Release: August 15, 2015

In the past year, Mike Bithell, creator of the critically acclaimed Thomas Was Alone, released a new stealth-action game called Volume. In it, players take on the role of Locksley, who commits his crimes through stealth. He sneaks, he distracts, and avoids. Never to be seen and seldom heard, Locksley blackjacks, bugles, and thunderclaps his foes with a wide arsenal of gadgets at his disposal. The game has a hundred challenging and exciting environments, and every area of the game can be remixed, added to, and expanded upon with the community getting free rein over the game’s direction.

This stealth simulation type game takes its cues from Metal Gear Solid, offering a top down third person view of the action as the player attempts to make their way through a myriad of hazards and unique guards and enemies.

#30 Styx: Shards of Darkness
  • Developer: Cyanide
  • Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO
  • Release: March 14, 2017

Styx: Shards of Darkness is a stealth focused video game developed by Cyanide. Set as the third installment to the Of Orcs and Men series, players will take on the role of protagonist Styx. Overall, the narrative goal of the game is to infiltrate the Dark Elven city of Korangar in order to discover the reason between the new alliance of dark elves and dwarves.

If you enjoyed previous installments to Styx then you’ll find most of the gameplay elements have returned in this latest release. Styx will be able to turn invisible briefly, lay down traps and even clone himself in order to take out nearby enemies.

#29 Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time

  • Developer: Sanzaru Games
  • Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
  • Platforms: PS3, PS Vita
  • Release: February 5, 2013

Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time is the latest title in the series and one which builds upon the premise of the three previous titles without changing too much about what made the series popular in the first place.

Playable on both the PlayStation Vita and the PlayStation 3, Thieves in Time, Thieves in Time is a strong return to form for the series and one that has a strong place in any list of games—not just this one.

#28 Alien: Isolation
  • Developer: Creative Assembly
  • Publisher: Sega
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO, X360, PS3
  • Release: October 7, 2014

Alien: Isolation is set fifteen years after the events of the film Alien, where players will take on the role of Amanda Ripley, the daughter of Ellen Ripley who is on an investigation of tracking down the mysterious disappearance of her mother.

Much like the old school survival horror titles, Alien: Isolation has an emphasis on players avoiding the hostile alien enemy. Instead, gamers must rely on some stealth mechanics to maneuver around the game.

#27 Castle Wolfenstein

  • Developer: Muse Software
  • Publisher: Muse Software
  • Platforms: Apple II, MS-DOS, Atari 8-bit, Commodore 64
  • Release: 1981

Before Wolfenstein 3D, which is often hailed as the first proper FPS, there was Castle Wolfenstein. Castle Wolfenstein was released in 1981 for the Apple II, and while it’s difficult to compare a game as old as this with more modern examples of the genre, it deserves inclusion for effectively inventing the genre.

The player looks down on the rooms of the castle from above, though the characters appear as if seen from the side. Despite its simple appearance, Castle Wolfenstein features many of the same stealth aspects that still appear in games today. The player character must sneak past guards or use limited ammo to kill them. Some guards can be tricked if the character dons a disguise, though others will be alerted and give chase. All enemies respond to sounds like gunshots and grenades, which is still a core feature of stealth games.

And yet “stealth game” didn’t really become a genre in its own right until the late ’90s.

#26 Assassin’s Creed Origins
  • Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
  • Publisher: Ubisoft
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO
  • Release: October 27, 2017

Assassin’s Creed Origins is the latest installment within the Assassin’s Creed series. Players are taken to the end of the Ptolemaic period in Egypt as they witness the origins of the conflict that is the Brotherhood of Assassins and the Templar Order. Being an Assassin’s Creed game, you can expect a heavy emphasis on stealth with Origins being more opened world to explore during your game progression.

#25 Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

  • Developer: Ubisoft
  • Publisher: Ubisoft
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO, NS, Google Stadia
  • Release: October 5, 2018

Ubisoft delivered Assassin’s Creed Odyssey in 2018 which was quite the big installment which was a positive as 2019 Ubisoft opted to not release an Assassin’s Creed game. Within the game, players take on the role of a descendant of Leonidas who was banished from Sparta. Left to defend on their own, players find themselves going back to their past as they discover a cult that focused on the dismantling of their family. This is an open-world game that features a massive map across Greece. Outside of having a large campaign, there are a ton of side quests, random events, locations to visit, areas to explore, and DLC featuring additional storyline.

Overall, the game can be played however players would like. If you want to form the character into a more brutal tanked type character then it’s possible, but you can still enjoy the game as a more traditional Assassin’s Creed game. As a result, players can still use stealth mechanics to go through various quests and complete missions without bringing any attention to your or the immediate area.

#24 Aragami

  • Developer: Lince Works
  • Publisher: Lince Works
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO, X360, PS3
  • Release: March 5, 2013

In this third-person stealth game, players are cast into the role of an undead assassin with the power to control the shadows. Using a unique gameplay mechanic, players can teleport to any shadow, become invisible, materialize weapons, and even mold the shadows into a terrifying dragon to infiltrate enemy ranks. The game offers players the ability to choose their own playstyle, with multiple paths to completing each scenario and situation.

#23 Invisible, Inc.

  • Developer: Klei Entertainment
  • Publisher: Klei Entertainment
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, Apple iOS
  • Release: May 12, 2015

Set in the year 2074, Invisible, Inc. is a turn-based tactics based-game where the world has been taken over by megacorporations. Developed with inspirations of X-COM though, in this game, players take on the role of an agent handler where players must conduct espionage. The game is played in a turn-based tactics style where players must take control of two agents as they navigate throughout the level of gathering intelligence and other valuable items without being captured.

#22 Hitman

  • Developer: IO Interactive
  • Publisher: Square Enix
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO
  • Release: March 11, 2016

Hitman is a return to the series’ roots. Players once again step back in the polished shoes of Agent 47 as he scopes out his designated targets and kills them with flair. Sneak around undetected and kill your targets by making use of your surroundings. The best kills are those made without setting off any suspicion.

#21 Watch Dogs 2
  • Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
  • Publisher: Ubisoft
  • Platforms: PS4, XBO, PC
  • Release: November 15, 2016

After the success Ubisoft had with their new IP Watch Dogs, a sequel, Watch Dogs 2, was released back in 2016. This time around, players are taken to the San Francisco Bay Area to explore and cause havoc by hacking various terminals connecting to city functions or personal smartphones. Much like the past installment, there is an emphasis on taking the stealth approach when going through various missions. You’ll luckily have the ability to use various gadgets to help you in locating the enemies along with taking them out.

#20 Gunpoint

  • Developer: Suspicious Developments
  • Publisher: Suspicious Developments
  • Platforms: PC
  • Release: June 3, 2013

Gunpoint is a bit unique in that it adds stealth elements to a puzzle platformer, eschewing the straightforward level navigation and tactics seen in 3D games. It also features a cross-section screen that allows the player to view various enemies and traps to plan out their best path. developed by a single man, PC Gamer’s Tom Francis, the game debuted to positive reviews in June 2013.

#19 Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

  • Developer: Eidos Montreal
  • Publisher: Square Enix
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO
  • Release: August 23, 2016

Adam Jensen is best played stealth. Yes, it’s true that you can simply shoot everyone in your way, but would Jensen do that? That’s up to you. Jensen can use his cloaking abilities and slip past his opponents (or choke them out) to get what he wants, like a true futuristic secret agent. Coupled with a heavily political narrative and excellent gameplay, Mankind Divided lets you decide how to play the game.

#18 Splinter Cell Conviction

  • Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
  • Publisher: Ubisoft
  • Platforms: X360, PC, iOS, Android
  • Release: April 13, 2010

Splinter Cell: Conviction is a lot like its predecessors, but it comes with the introduction of new gameplay, one of which is the “Mark & Execute” feature, which allows the player to mark specific targets, such as enemies or objects, and shoot them in rapid succession without manually targeting each. Other features, such as “Last Known Position” allow Sam, the protagonist, to track his foes, to aid in stealth.

With the exception of a few open-combat missions, Conviction has a very strong emphasis on stealth and is a good addition to the series.

#17 Thief: Deadly Shadows

  • Developer: Ion Storm
  • Publisher: Eidos Interactive
  • Platforms: PC, Xbox
  • Release: November 30, 1998

Players once again assume the mantle of Garrett, master thief, and roam the streets of The City in search of wealth. While previous games simply sent Garrett from mission to mission, Thief: Deadly Shadows has a small, but open world environment allowing Garrett to wander through the city, stealing from passers-by and spying on the daily lives of townspeople.

#16 Rise of the Tomb Raider
  • Developer: Crystal Dynamics
  • Publisher: Square Enix
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO, X360,
  • Release: November 10, 2015

Set as the sequel to the reboot Tomb Raider, Rise of the Tomb Raider tells the story of Lara Croft who has become labeled insane with the organization Trinity covering up the events that took place in Yamatai. Now to prove she’s not insane, Lara Croft must make her way into the ancient city of Kitezh.

What the city contains may prove to be something of use in order to prove to those who’ve doubted her. Unlike Tomb Raider, this latest installment has Lara Croft with a few well tuned skills in which she can put to use.

#15 Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus

  • Developer: Sucker Punch Productions
  • Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
  • Platforms: PS2, PS3, PS Vita
  • Release: June 3, 2013

It isn’t just dark murderous games that can be stealthy. Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus, the first in the Sly Cooper series, is a far jollier affair, with cartoony graphics and plenty of humour. Sly must be stealthy because he is a thief, and spends a lot of time exploring where he’s not supposed to be. He can be defeated with one hit, so avoiding combat is the safest option.

In this game, Sly has a “thief sense” that highlights (with blue sparkles) areas that can be used for stealthy moves like shimmying along a wall. The closer Sly is to being spotted, the faster the dynamic music. As happens in many stealth games, if he’s detected an alarm will sound.

If you haven’t played this, you can pick up the HD remastered version on the PlayStation Store. It’s the perfect introduction to stealth for anyone not interested in adult-only games.

#14 Tomb Raider
  • Developer: Crystal Dynamics
  • Publisher: Square Enix
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO, X360, PS3
  • Release: March 5, 2013

Tomb Raider has been around for years since its release on the original PlayStation. However, developers Crystal Dynamics gave the video game title a proper reboot showing Lara Croft as a vulnerable young woman trapped alone on a hostile island.

It’s through this adventure title that Lara Croft becomes the famed tough Tomb Raider who must stop supernatural entities and opposing forces while using the element of surprise to her advantage. During your journey, Lara will need to sneak around the enemy force lurking about while learning to become the iconic heroine.

#13 Tenchu: Stealth Assassins

  • Developer: Acquire
  • Publisher: Activison
  • Platforms: PlayStation
  • Release: February 5, 2013

1998 is the year stealth games properly appeared on our radar, and Tenchu: Stealth Assassins is one reason why. Set in feudal Japan, this was one of the first ninja games to actually incorporate the important ninja skill of stealth. Each level takes place at night to make up for the limited draw distance achievable with the original PlayStation, but that only improves the atmosphere of the game.

In Tenchu: Stealth Assassins, the two playable characters each have a grappling hook that lets them quickly reach the rooftops and run along the top of buildings to avoid being seen by those below. The characters can sneak up behind unsuspecting enemies and cut their throats, something which features a lot in modern action games, or engage them in open combat.

This game will look old to a lot of young gamers today, but at the time it came out it was rated very highly.

#12 Hitman 2: Silent Assassin

  • Developer: IO Interactive
  • Publisher: Eidos Interactive
  • Platforms: PC, PS2, Xbox, GC
  • Release: June 3, 2013

The Hitman games are based on the concept of untraceable assassinations, with Agent 47 using things like poison to take out his targets. He must remain unseen in order to do his job, and he has various ways to do that. One method, of course, is that favourite of stealth games: disguise. Agent 47 can don outfits he finds or recovers from his victims to play dress-up and sneak past guards, though suspicion will be raised if he gets too close, or starts behaving inappropriately.

Like in many stealth games, Hitman 2: Silent Assassin features post-level scoreboards. Players are ranked, from things like “Silent Assassin” (completing the level without being noticed, and with only two non-targets killed) to “Mass Murderer” (not bothering with stealth, killing everyone). Achieving the first nets you bonus weapons, so it’s obvious which route the game prefers the player to take.

#11 Dishonored 2

  • Developer: IO Interactive
  • Publisher: Square Enix
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO
  • Release: March 11, 2016

In the sequel to the critically acclaimed Dishonored, players can now play the role of Emily Kaldwin in addition to Corvo Attano and experience the game through two different lenses. Like the first game, you can take an entirely stealth approach and not harm or kill any of your opponents–or you can use the characters’ rich assortment of supernatural abilities, weapons and gadgets to inflict massive violence.

#10 Deus Ex

  • Developer: Ion Storm
  • Publisher: Eidos Interactive
  • Platforms: PC, PS2
  • Release: June 17, 2000

Back in the “heyday” of stealth games, approximately 1998-2002, Deus Ex is another game that offers stealth as a choice. But again, getting into combat is problematic as enemies come running once alerted to your presence. And the backstory awarded for thorough exploration encourages playing the slow, stealthy way.

Like the Dishonored it clearly inspired, Deus Ex lets the player upgrade the character to fit a certain play style. For stealthy play, this will mean using skill points to enhance the character’s ability to hack computers and pick locks, rather than prowess in combat.

Deus Ex was critically-acclaimed at the time of its release, and 2011’s Deus Ex: Human Revolution was highly popular too.

#9 Deus Ex: Human Revolution

  • Developer: Eidos Montreal
  • Publisher: Square Enix
  • Platforms: PC, PS3, x360, Wii U
  • Release: August 23, 2011

Human Revolution seems, for the most part, like a first-person shooter with strong RPG elements, but it offers a wide array of stealth options that, for the most part, make it a better stealth game than an FPS.

Like the first two Deus Ex games, the game allows you to approach combat situations based on your own personal preference. You can take out enemy combatants through stealth, and even use your hacking abilities to get sentry guns and armed robots to do your bidding for you.

#8 Mark of the Ninja

  • Developer: Klei Entertainment
  • Publisher: Microsoft Studios
  • Platforms: X360, PC, NS, XBO, PS4
  • Release: September 7, 2012

Mark of the Ninja is a 2D platforming game that uses and refines the stealth mechanics that have featured throughout the growth of the genre. The unnamed ninja protagonist must stay out of sight of the guards by remaining aware of both light and sound, extinguishing lights and staying in the shadows, keeping noise to a minimum.

Mark of the Ninja also opts for the recent trend of allowing the player to upgrade the character. The player racks up points for silent kills and sneaking past an enemy undetected, and loses them for raising the alarm. Points buy seals, which can be used to purchase extra skills.

This game may not have come from an AAA team, but it has been so well-received that some critics have even awarded it a perfect score.

#7 Splinter Cell

  • Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
  • Publisher: Ubisoft
  • Platforms: Xbox, PC, PS2, GC, GBA, PS3
  • Release: November 17, 2002

The first in this stealth series, the original Splinter Cell arrived at just the right time to build on the blossoming success of stealth games that occurred around the turn of the millennium. The game was praised for its use of lighting, and Sam Fisher makes much use of the shadows as he sneaks around various dangerous locations. He even has night vision goggles to help him on his way.

Sam Fisher and stealth go hand in hand, so much so that fans of the Splinter Cell series were worried to see his unsubtle behaviour in the E3 trailer for upcoming Splinter Cell: Blacklist. Luckily, Ubisoft responded with another trailer that shows a “ghost” play through of the same level, proving that stealth is very much still a part of Fisher’s repertoire.

#6 Dishonored

  • Developer: Arkane Studios
  • Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
  • Platforms: PC, PS3, X360, PS4, XBO
  • Release: October 9, 2012

Stealth is not the only way to play Dishonored, but that side of things is definitely big enough to merit its inclusion in this list. On paper, the player is completely free to choose whether to rampage through the streets making a lot of noise and killing everyone on sight or remain completely unseen, potentially not killing anyone at all. But the stealthier route is subtly encouraged.

For one thing, Dishonored features those same post-level scoreboards that are in so many stealth games, with checkboxes that are only ticked if you don’t alert a single guard or kill a single person. And Corvo can upgrade his magical skills to the extent that he can leap across rooftops in a split second, freeze time, and instantly turn a downed enemy into dust.

Dishonored is a recent success for the stealth genre, and hopefully a sign that more IPs will come along soon to refresh and improve on the concept of a “stealth game”.

#5 Thief: The Dark Project

  • Developer: Looking Glass Studios
  • Publisher: Eidos Interactive
  • Platforms: PC
  • Release: November 30, 1998

Thief: The Dark Project was one of the first stealth games to use both light and sound, both of which have been used in many stealth games since. The character must stick to the shadows, with a monitor showing the current visibility level to the player. More than that, the character must be careful where he treads, as some surfaces cause more noise when stepped on than others. Sound was also used to detect the movements of NPCs or to distract them.

Released way back in 1998, this is another highly-praised game that influenced many that came after.

#4 Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

  • Developer: Konami
  • Publisher: Konami
  • Platforms: PC, PS3, PS4, X360, XBO
  • Release: September 1, 2015

Kojima Productions continues its Metal Gear Solid franchise with the latest chapter, The Phantom Pain, whish ushers in a new era for the franchise with cutting-edge technology powered by the Fox Engine. The game is the first in the series to take stealth into an open-world setting, offering more tactical freedom than ever before.

Set nine years after the events of Ground Zeroes, the game resumes its story in1984 with the Cold War still as the backdrop.

#3 Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

  • Developer: Konami
  • Publisher: Konami
  • Platforms: PS3
  • Release: June 12, 2008

In MGS4, Players assume the role of Solid Snake, now an old man aged prematurely by his genetics. The game offers a new, over-the-shoulder camera view. Everything we’ve come to expect from the MGS series is present in Guns of the Patriots, which makes a fine addition to the series.

#2 Metal Gear Solid

  • Developer: Konami
  • Publisher: Konami
  • Platforms: PC, PlayStation
  • Release: September 3, 1998

Hiding in boxes, crawling underneath objects, and using noise to distract enemies, Solid Snake really knows his stealth. Equipped with a radar, he must avoid detection lest he set off any alarms, which puts him in “alert mode” and forces him to hide. Once hidden, the “evasion mode” counter ticks away until the guards lose the trail and Solid Snake is back in “infiltration mode” once more.

This was the first Metal Gear game to be made in 3D, which meant there was lots of experimentation with things like line of sight and height. Luckily, the experimentation paid off, and we ended up with not only the best stealth game of all time, but one of the best games ever made.

#1 The Last of Us

  • Developer: Naughty Dog
  • Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
  • Platforms: PS3, PS4
  • Release: June 14, 2013

The Last of Us is a game that offers a surprising amount of freedom. While it’s possible to play it as a shooter, it’s a lot better to approach the game’s challenges with the use of stealth. The game provides you with many different angles of attack and plays very much like a survival horror game. Every resource counts, and the best way to save what you have on-hand is to play it intelligently—through stealth.

Thankfully, the game is designed with precisely this sort of play in mind. You can distract and stun enemies with bricks and bottles, lay traps for them, and brutally strangle them before they make a sound. And on top of that, it feels entirely cinematic to boot. The Last of Us is, in all, one of the best stealth titles around.