Monday, 15 October 2012

Stealth Week Part 1 - Silent Running

Musings on a concept that seems equal parts fun and frustration at times.

So, because I'm entirely up to date on what I should be playing I started Fallout 3 last week. Let no one accuse me of being the fastest to get through a backlog, which is perhaps the reason I have one to begin with. Anyways, since this was the Game of the Year addition with all the DLC included, my wanderings eventually took me to a point which turned out to be the setting for the Operation: Anchorage DLC. Basically you play through a virtual reality setting in order to unlock a room so that the Brotherhood of Steel Outcasts and you (mostly you) can get the sweet, sweet loot inside. If you've already played the game and this particular DLC, then you already know where I'm going with this, but if not I have three words for you:

Chinese Stealth Armor.

I was planning on doing a somewhat stealth based run in the game before I got this, but this little gem basically cemented the deal. Now I wasn't just a sneaky asshole, I was a frigging ninja-ghost. Since I got this piece of equipment I've greatly enjoyed shooting raiders in the head with a silenced pistol and watching them meander around cluelessly in search of what's giving them a headache. I've punched giant ants in their craws (ants have craws, right?) with a powerfist from two inches away to watch them go splat with the satisfying critical. I haven't even gotten that far into the main questline yet, I've been too busy dicking around and having a blast to bother.

This hasn't been my first foray into stealth based gameplay, and I very much doubt that it will be my last either. However, given my enjoyment and interest of this type of experience (to say that I would love to tear into Dishonored after I clear some of the backlog would be an understatement, given how the game looks) I thought that it would be fruitful to go over so games that include stealth, and the various upsides and downsides to using stealth and stealth mechanics in games.

The stealth in Fallout 3 for example really does remind me quite a bit of one of the first experiences I ever had with this gameplay mechanic: Metal Gear Solid. The game itself did focus on stealth mechanics and covertness, but these were dialed up to eleven when when you went through the game using one of the unlockable rewards: the stealth camo.

The Fallout 3 camo acts much like the stealth camo from MGS, but has some ability for the enemy to see through it, even if you're not doing anything. The stealth camo though is pretty much infallible so long as you don't bump into anyone. Another point of commonality is that both of these items seem to make me act like a giant dick to enemies.

Although that's not the major point of stealth in games, I believe that it's one of the greatest benefits of the system. Unlike god modes and building giant tanks of characters, stealth makes you strong, but not invincible, in the best scenarios it rewards patience, cunning, and in some cases even outside of the box gameplay. There are of course cases where stealth is more abused than used, but we'll cover those as well. Stay tuned, it should be an interesting week.

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