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Optional Stealth

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Chirrut: I thought you'd charge in guns blazing.
Bria: I want to kill my dad, but it's a stealth mission. You keep stealthing until you fail, then you kill everyone.
Chirrut: So you're ready to fail then?
Bria: Sure! That's why I've got three blasters.

So there we are: just outside the enemy base, guards are roaming around, looking for you, and the MacGuffin is on a table protected by several closed doors and a little maze you have to navigate throught full of guards. Sounds like your everyday stealth mission....

Except that you have also a decent amount of weaponry, good fighting skill and the enemy AI isn't too bright in regards of disappearing guards. And if you decide to simply charge inside and shoot on everything that moves, you don't suffer from Non-Standard Game Over or other too unpleasant maluses.

Sometimes the programmers will be aware of the fact that obligatory Stealth-Based Missions tend to be hard, frustrating and sometimes even bordering on That One Level status. So they'll decide to offer an alternate way to solve the mission. It can give some variety to the game, but has its disadvantages: the most common is that if you fail or ditch the stealth part you'll be penalized somehow (less points, the mission is listed as failed, don't get the 100%, less experience points, etc.), or a successful stealth action will grant you more benefits. In other situations the enemies will be very strong or dangerous and so the stealth approach will allow you to avoid fighting those guys.

This may lead to Starts Stealthily, Ends Loudly. Compare with Combat, Diplomacy, Stealth. Do not confuse with Useless Useful Stealth, which is about stealth mechanics being present, but very hard to use and even disadvantageous at times. See also Action-Based Mission.


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    Action Adventure 
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • Twilight Princess: To reach the Arbiter's Grounds, Link must pass through the Bokoblin Compound, a mini-fortress/guard station.
      • If Link is spotted at any time, the lookouts will call for reinforcements and swarm him. If you've got the combat chops to handle it, this becomes a Multi-Mook Melee. Entering the compound by day is nearly guaranteed to go this way.
      • If stealth is preferred, Link can enter the compound at night and get much closer to the lookouts without alarming them. The darkness makes Link harder to spot, while making it easier for Link to spot (and snipe) the lookouts since their eyes glow at night. Link can also douse torches with the gale boomerang, providing him with additional cover. Also, several of the guards who normally patrol the compound will be asleep. Link can either snipe them or, if you're good, sneak on by.
    • In Majora's Mask, it appears to be necessary to infiltrate the Pirate Fortress via stealth, as the pirates will throw him out of spotted. However, if he has the Stone Mask, the pirates will not notice his presence at all.
    • The same goes for the Gerudo Fortress in Ocarina of Time, where you can either spend a good amount of time memorizing the guards' patrol routes and sneaking by them to avoid capture, or —since they don't have the sense to confiscate your gear when they capture you— you can use arrows to KO their asses and simply explore the compound at your leisure.
    • Breath of the Wild adds a stealth mechanic where you can sneak up on enemies to do more damage, or even to rob their camps blind with them none the wiser. The game lets you know if you're too loud with a waveform indicator showing all the sounds Link is making.
      • The game intends for you to be stealthy when infiltrating the Yiga Clan's hideout. You won't get a Game Over if you're caught, but the patrolling sentries have a One-Hit Kill attack that even ignores Auto-Revive. The official player's guide mentions that with luck, skill, or cheesing your way into areas with better equipment, fighting them is technically an option, but stealth is the better way to go. However, each of the 2 rooms also provides vantage points where you can't be spotted while having a lookout on the entire room, so you can also snipe them with Ancient Arrows. Whether this option is an example or a subversion shall be left up to the reader.
      • Freeing Divine Beast Vah Ruta requires you to collect Shock Arrows from a nearby Lynel's camp — while this Lynel is always the weakest variety, it's likely you'll get to this part of the game early enough that it'll still vastly outmatch you, so you'll probably want to avoid its wrath and just collect the arrows stuck in the environment because even if you have the skill to defeat it, you're likely to run out of weapons mid battle.
      • Vah Rudaniah uses drones to try to detect Link and his Guest-Star Party Member Yunobo's presence, but alternatively, Link can instead use Magnesis on a metal crate then just smash the drones with it. Or attack them with any other weapon in his arsenal.
  • The Amazing Spider-Man allows the player to have plenty of opportunities to stealth-KO any opponents who don't see them, and is the easiest way to dispose of enemies as opposed to a normal battle.
  • In Metroid: Zero Mission, when you reach the Zero Suit sequence, you have the option of using complete stealth if you have the right skills. Being spotted affects the background music for the rest of the sequence (you can't kill enemies, only briefly stun them) and also means the Space Pirates will be actively searching for you even once they've lost sight of you, but since you can stun them and trick them into shooting their own allies it's far from impossible to get through. Doing a stealth run of the level is so difficult and requiring of lightning-fast reflexes and mastery of the game's physics that it's considered bragging rights in the Metroid fandom.
  • In Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones you can either sneak up on guards and deliver stealth kills or just run into the fray and hack them to bits, depending on whatever mood you're in. Similarly there are also Press X To Stealth Kill sequences where, if you hit all the right buttons, you get a rather flashy stealth kill scene, while if you mess it up, you are spotted and have to fight reinforcements.
  • Stealth was necessary in the first Boktai game since enemies would devastate you if you were seen, but the sequels greatly increased your own abilities while nerfing the enemies' attacks. Since the stealth element was still there you were free to choose if you wanted to take them down silently or just jump into the fray and beat them down.
  • Evolves in prominence throughout the Uncharted franchise. in Drake's Fortune, stealth was more a happenstance thing you did shortly before a major gunfight. Uncharted 2 gave it its own tutorial and some bespoke rooms, while Uncharted 3 rewarded you with specialized weapons and more ammo than normal (although frustratingly you'd often be spotted automatically part-way in, which could only be avoided through exploits). It wouldn't be fully played straight until Uncharted 4 where whole battlefields could be stealthed, enemies would lose sight of and give up on you, and you could sneak and hide in tall grass.
  • You can defeat a good chunk of the combat encounters throughout Spider-Man: Miles Morales without an enemy noticing you with a good mix of invisibility, quick web-slinging, and tactical use of gadgets. You can also just smash right in front of enemies and smack them as loudly as possible until they're all unconscious. When it comes to progression, all the game cares about is that the enemies get beat.
  • Mission Impossible (1990):
    • Stealth is a big part of the game, though not strictly speaking is it necessary. Various enemies are on constant patrols, and will only attack once they spot your agent. Taking them out before they see you will save you considerable grief.
    • Nicholas' disguises are quite useful for this purpose. Though they only last for a few seconds, that's enough time to run past an enemy and/or take him out with your weapons.
    • Many rooms feature security cameras, laser tripwires, or spy bots that patrol the room. You don't need to avoid them, but doing so will avoid triggering an attack by the powerful Iron Claw enemies. Be aware that Nicholas' disguises won't fool any electronic sensors.

    Action Games 
  • In Batman: Arkham Asylum, in most of the areas, if you feel lucky, you can bring down all the nearby mooks with violent means. However, stealth is safer, especially when gun-toting enemies are around.
  • In Betrayer, there are rather developed stealth mechanics for use in the "real world" sections. Over in Otherworld, crouching down and using the sound of wind to cover your footsteps is practically meaningless when skeletons pop out of the ground beneath your feet.
  • In Hard Corps: Uprising, mission 5 has you sneaking into a laboratory. You can sneak past the Mooks, or just shoot them as normal (though doing this will put them on permanent alert and a whole strew of endless enemies and a closed gate to contend with).
  • Hotline Miami: Some enemies have fixed patrol routes, so striking, retreating and hiding in a nearby room is possible. Silenced guns exist as a mechanic and can be chosen for a level with the "Peter" mask. Despite these features, playing exposed and taking risks is the encouraged route, as performing actions in a quick succession chains into a combo and allows you to score more points. Playing primarily stealthily or cautiously in a level awards the player the "Coward" playstyle.
  • The Matrix: Path of Neo has a martial arts equivalent, if in the first training mission you sneak up and stealth-kill some Mooks with a chokehold without the other escaping and triggering an alarm you get a bonus weapon...until it breaks.
  • In Son of Nor, stealth doesn't exist as a dedicated mechanic, but the largest levels are big enough for the player to finish them without ever fighting the Sarahul patrols.

    First Person Shooters 
  • Crysis doesn't require you to be stealthy, but your Nanosuit's Invisibility Cloak certainly helps. The official strategy guide for the third game even has two separate campaign walkthroughs-one for stealth-focused players, and one for those take a more head-on approach.
  • Halo:
    • Halo: Combat Evolved has multiple sections where you can assassinate the sleeping Grunts and silently kill the few patrolling Elites and Jackals with melee to the back. Or you could just run in guns blazing too.
    • Halo 2: The Arbiter's Invisibility Cloak lasts for only about five seconds anyway, so ignoring it is a perfectly viable option if you don't like having to wear down all your enemies versus getting one free assassination. A bonus item lets Master Chief have invisibility too, but it lasts for the same amount of time and the second disadvantage of no visible timer.
  • Metro 2033 is essentially this trope. You have a (useless for stealth) fighting knife and a (lethal) set of throwing knives, almost every weapon is silent or has a silenced variant, and you can purchase a set of black stealth armor that helps conceal you from enemy vision. On the other hand, you have an arsenal of grenades and can purchase such weapons as a belt-fed automatic shotgun if stealth isn't your thing. However, it's certainly encouraged to sneak around, as ammo isn't exactly plentifulnote  and neither is the money to buy it unless you know exactly where to look it up.
    • The sequel took this even farther. Sure, if you want, you can sneak your way through the game, face-punching every mook you come across into blissful dreams, using silenced weaponry and throwing knives... or you can get a belt-fed automatic shotgun and a light machine gun with a drum magazine holding one hundred rounds and waste every single person in your path. It's your call, although stealth does reward you with some interesting and sometimes hilarious worldbuilding flavor, and your ammo capacity has a cap, unlike in 2033.
    • The more nonlinear nature of the levels in Metro Exodus also plays with this. When it's day, bandits in the world are out and about and you're easy to see, favoring a more aggressive approach. Mutants are out during the night, but most bandits are sleeping, guards at their outposts are inattentive, and it's easier to hide during the dark. An outpost that might be incredibly hard to take head-on during the day could turn trivial when you sneak around during the night.
  • In TimeSplitters 2, some missions have an optional stealth objective. The Neo Tokyo level is the only one with a compulsory stealth objective (trailing a hacker) for every difficulty level.
  • Call of Duty:
    • The other characters hide against walls before entering rooms, and lots of the players do this. It's actually easier just to stand in the middle of the doorway and shoot, as while you're trying to navigate around the edge of doors (massive pain), your enemies can get shots in. It's also far too hard to make your player drop to the ground, but there is no additional penalty or chance of injury if you just stand up in the middle of the place. Being un-stealthy is, if anything, advantageous.
    • The Modern Warfare games have a few missions where your superior will encourage you to sneak past enemies or at least use silenced weapons on them. It's not required, though, and while you'll get mobbed, it is possible to fight your way out. Said superior will chew you out, though. Plus, the missions "All Ghillied Up" and "Cliffhanger" have achievements for not being spotted.
  • Havoc from Command & Conquer: Renegade has to use stealth in one mission to sneak into Raveshaw's mansion but not only is it easier to run-and-gun every Nod guard you find but this kind of rash tactic would be something Havoc would do anyways.
  • In most of Far Cry, stealth is not explicitly mandatory, but on the Hard and Realistic difficulties, it is essential, as running and gunning will get you killed in seconds.
  • GoldenEye (1997) for N64 had stealth elements, namely in silenced weapons and alarms that mooks could trigger. Some levels were impossible to complete in total stealth (think Control) while others were very difficult if you blew your cover (think Frigate). Most levels were easy enough to barrel through guns blazing even on the most advanced difficulty, though.
  • Most "stealth" missions in the Medal of Honor series do not require you to remain under cover, and blowing it is often unavoidable.
  • No One Lives Forever, for the most part. Technically, you can complete most levels in NOLF with guns blazing, but stealth is a much better solution. Breaking stealth is not as heavily penalized in the NOLF series as in other Stealth Based Games.
  • PAYDAY 2 has Plan B approaches for almost every heist: if you want to go in dressed in heavy armor and carrying a huge gun, feel free: you'll be assured of having to fight it out with the cops, but at least now you have the equipment to handle them. The only exceptions are "Loud-Only" heists, where you start under siege already or there's functionally no way to avoid setting off an alarm, and Shadow Raid, Car Shop, Murky Station, The Yacht Heist, and Breakin' Feds, which are Stealth Required: trigger the alarm and you have only minutes, or even mere seconds depending on the heist and difficulty, to flee.
  • Soldier of Fortune II: In the Mansion and Seaward Star missions, you have the option of either running and gunning, or sneaking through; although the latter is the easier option, you are later scripted to blow your cover anyways.
  • A slight variation with the Spy in Team Fortress 2: the class is intended to use stealth and is indeed pretty weak in direct combat. That still doesn't stop players from just running around with the Ambassador trying to score headshots.
  • In any of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. titles, you could get silenced weaponry (including a VSS Vintorez, a silenced sniper rifle that hits like a freight train) and attack from a distance, killing with silenced headshots. Or you could just sprint up close and open up with an assault rifle or (in the second two titles) a light machine gun.
  • In Underhell several sections of the game are built around sneaking around and avoiding detection, but there's nothing stopping you from pulling out an SMG and fighting your way through.
  • Hunting fauna and raiding bandit camps in Borderlands 2 can usually be done indistinctly by calmly sniping from afar with a sniper rifle and a precision pistol if you run out of bullets, or by sprinting up close and unloading with abandon your submachineguns and shotgun shells.

  • Bayonetta 3: In Jeanne's chapters, she infiltrates through facilities that are overrun by homunculi. She can let them see her and engage into battle, but the game encourages the player to avoid being seen and instead dispatch the enemies via stealth assassination (Jeanne can do this by hiding and then waiting until an enemy approaches to kill it silently). There are in-game achievements that reward the player for doing this.
  • No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle: In the prison infiltration level, you can easily charge through the prison killing mooks on Mild, since they die in one hit. Averted on Bitter setting.

    Mecha Game 
  • Brigador includes a number of mechanics that allow for stealthy approaches. At the start of each mission, enemies are idling or patrolling with shields powered down, and they won't move unless you walk into their cone of vision or make noise by firing a weapon. Different guns have different noise values, so you can pick quieter guns that won't alert too many enemies at once. Attacking someone from the sides grants a damage bonus, with an even bigger bonus for attacking from the back. Smaller mechs are short enough to hide behind buildings, which block line of sight. You can equip a camouflage system that makes you invisible for short periods. Combined, these allow for a playstyle centered around sneaking past enemy patrols to reach objectives or assassinating enemy captains through crafty backstabs. Alternatively, you can always use the more traditional option of hopping into a giant assault mech covered in guns and armor and marching straight through enemy positions.

  • Azure Striker Gunvolt Series
    • Luminous Avenger iX has a couple of stages that feature grounded Patrol Bots with a line of sight represented by an infared sight. If hit or when spotted, the head will lock in place (doubling their HP) and fire a continuous stream of lasers until they are destroyed or when the target is of their sight. Bullit Dashing onto them while unaware will disable them permanently.
    • The gimmick for the Forest stage in Azure Striker Gunvolt 3 is that you have to move in stealthily while avoiding mooks and security systems with a detection sensor, and being spotted results in said mooks firing their HMG's relentlessly at you. While you can blitz your way in, being stealthy is the preferred method and the dialogue will change if you managed to sneak your way in undetected.
  • There was a hyped-before-release segment of Silent Forest Zone 2 in Sonic Lost World that involves hiding behind an owl robot's beams of light. However, it is possible (but difficult) to keep Sonic moving so fast that the owl robot's lights never catch up to Sonic. This is necessary for 100% completion, as the game grades Sonic's performance based on time taken to finish the stage, and he can't afford to lose precious seconds standing behind a bush waiting for the owl robot.
  • One level in Mega Man X8 is a Blackout Basement, where the player must avoid patrollers, tripwires and search lights as they maneuvre the level. That, or you can just go "traditional" and destroy all the mooks that show up when you trigger the traps.

    Real-Time Strategy 
  • In StarCraft, all three races offer a substantial variety of units, so you can employ a Zerg Rush, use stealthy tactics, or More Dakka. For example, in the final mission in the original game, the nominal strategy is to wage a war of attrition using stealth as a secondary tactic, but a more spectacular and equally effective (though more costly) method is to simply build a massive force for an all-or-nothing battle. Additionally, the terrans and protoss both have units that can cloak, and all three races have ones that can detect cloaked units, adding another layer of complexity.
  • Similarly, in Homeworld II, you can choose to develop cloaking technology, which can be highly effective against opponents who don't plan for you developing it, but it isn't a necessity. In general, a winning strategy requires developing a mix of forces that allow units to defend each other and win the resourcing battle, regardless of your actual combat tactics.
  • In Satellite Reign, it's perfectly feasible to go in guns blazing, but many times you can use stealth to accomplish objectives without firing a shot, and early on it's probably the better choice since your guns and Agents are weak.

    Role-Playing Games 
  • In Drakensang, there are a couple of missions where you're encouraged to adopt a stealthy approach:
    • In the first one in the Blood Mountains castle, you'll have to navigate the whole dungeons without being seen or activating traps. If you fail, the mission changes and you'll have to fight a lot, and the boss fight will be harder.
    • If you're discovered while trying to recover the Duke's hammer in the Dark Eyes hideout, you'll have to fight your way out and will receive less reward from Cano.
    • Later, in Grimtooth castle, you'll have to avoid orcish patrols, or you'll have to face a whole garrison of them.
    • The sequel too has one, but is completely optional: first, you have to evade a giant half-ogre ratcatcher in a sewer-like dungeon, then you have to sneak by a servant (or, if you're discovered, persuade him to not call the guards) and finally you have to pass by some archers on the walls trying to knocking them unconscious without they seeing you. Obviously, unless you have a stealth-oriented character, you shouldn't apply.
  • In Pokémon Ranger: Guardian Signs, at one point you have to navigate a forest of wandering Dusclops; if they spot you, you get warped back to the entrance and have to try again. On the other hand, you can wait for one to turn its back and then attack it from behind to take it out.
  • Stealth is possible in Deus Ex. While certain NPCs will react positively or negatively based on whether you primarily use lethal or nonlethal force, it usually doesn't matter if you take a stealthy approach or not (although playing stealthily makes nonlethal runs easier for obvious reasons). However, there's a mission near the end where you have to rescue a scientist's daughter from the Majestic-12, in which getting caught results in an MIB killing her, causing you to fail the mission and miss out on a reward. It is still possible to complete the game, though.
    • Also entirely possible in Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Using lethal or nonlethal force does change how a couple characters react to you, and there are achievements for being nonlethal, not setting off any alarms, etc. On the other hand, nobody who matters is going to give you real trouble for slaughtering everyone in your path
  • Mass Effect
    • The first part of "The Arrival" DLC for Mass Effect 2 gives an achievement for stealthy completion, but is perfectly doable by killing all the guards instead of sneaking past them.
    • In the beginning of "Citadel" for Mass Effect 3, you get a silenced pistol which can be used to kill enemies without alerting the rest. It's also insanely overpowered, so feel free to blast anyone in your way.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • In Morrowind and Oblivion, both the Thieves' Guild and the local assassin's guild (the Morag Tong and Dark Brotherhood, respectively) generally encourage stealth, but don't really enforce it. In fact, the Morag Tong, being an honorable and legal (within Morrowind) entity, encourages their agents to turn themselves in and present their "Writs of Execution" to ensure that the "honorable execution" remains above board. Oblivion's Dark Brotherhood includes a heavily-armored and axe-wielding Orc assassin, who disposes with stealth entirely and encourages you to do the same if you ask for mission advice. Save for occasionally giving better rewards for using stealth, you can typically advance in all of the above factions by completing the missions without using stealth.
    • Skyrim:
      • During the tutorial, you and your companion come across a sleeping bear. Your companion will advise you to sneak past it (thus teaching you the Sneak mechanic), but he also hands you a bow and suggests you could just try to kill it.
      • Compared to the aforementioned Thieves Guild branches in Morrowind and Oblivion, the Skyrim branch barely even encourages stealth. Killing your actual target is frowned upon, but you can complete your missions by hacking and blasting your way through every other foe during the quest in the least-stealthy manner possible if you so choose. It makes no difference.
      • Boethiah's Daedric quest is stated by the goddess herself to be a stealth mission, with her telling you to kill all the bandits in the mine without them seeing you. However, it doesn't matter if they see you or not, as once you get the Ebony Armor, the quest ends with Boethiah using the same dialogue.
      • The entire "Diplomatic Immunity" main quest mission is set up as a stealth mission, with patrolling guards and watchful opponents. However, you can simply complete the quest by charging in and making mincemeat of the guards and wizards. You still progress the same as if you actually snuck past.
  • The "Mark of the Assassin" DLC for Dragon Age II gives you an achievement for sneaking undetected past all the guards up until a certain point.
  • In The Last Story, there are many battles where you are encouraged to keep out of sight, attract enemy scouts from a distance, and pick them off one at a time when they're alone. Attracting attention just means you have to face their entire group at once.
  • In Final Fantasy VII, on the 60th floor of Shinra Headquarters you have the choice of sneaking past the guards or getting caught and fighting them.
  • Final Fantasy XIII allows to sneak past the Pre-existing Encounters if you choose, or you can strike from behind them to get a preemptive strike (which starts the battle with all enemies at near-Stagger). Deceptisols can be used to make slipping past enemies or getting preemptive strikes easier.
    • Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII features a mission where Lightning must stalk several cultists. Opting to fight them instead works as well. Stealth also allows for more effective preemptive strikes, as attacking an enemy in the field from behind will lower all enemies' HP by 25% rather than merely 10%.
  • Tales of the Abyss has a stealth mission, but if you fail enough times, the game lets you kill everyone.
  • In Alpha Protocol, if the enemy doesn't see you, they don't try to blast your brains out, and if you manage to get right next to an enemy without being detected, you can take them down in one hit. Amusingly, a fair amount of dialogue will change if you stealth your way through a level. Still, going in guns blazing is also a valid solution, and you will want some investment in combat skills for the unskippable boss fights.
  • In Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas people specializing in Stealth can play in this way, sneaking about and using a silenced pistol, but breaking out a BFG and Power Armor whenever things get hairy.
  • A low-level Dungeons & Dragons Online quest is called "Stealthy Repossession", and involves stealing a special gemstone back from kobolds without killing more than a few kobold prophets. Appropriately built rogues and rangers really can sneak the entire way through, but other classes have little choice but to madly blitz through the dungeon, or else play normally but carefully kill every kobold except the prophets. A handful of other quests become easier with some stealth, but are never impossible without it.
  • Chrono Trigger has two examples:
    • One is escaping Guardia's dungeon. Since you're fully armed (Seriously, what the hell guards?) and the guards aren't exactly tough, you can just tear through swinging your sword to get some tasty experience points. However if you take them down silently you get Mid Tonics for your trouble, an (at this point) valuable and expensive healing item.
    • Later aboard the Blackbird you actually are stripped of your gear and are forced to use stealth or be thrown back into the cell. However if you bring Ayla along she can fight like normal since she doesn't equip weapons to begin with.
  • Knights of the Old Republic: Stealth is usually a case of Useless Useful Stealth, but there are a few exceptions, like sneaking past the rancor in the Taris sewers, using Mission for the jailbreak, or disarming a minefield. It can also be handy on large bases - sneak past the enemy to a computer terminal, hack into the security system, and cause mayhem with gas traps and overloaded conduits, decimating the enemies with minimal effort.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic: Jedi Shadows, Sith Assassins, Scoundrels, and Operatives all have stealth capability. While it's not much use in Flashpoints and Operations, it is an excellent way to save time and effort navigating over enemy terrain and running daily missions.
  • The Tutorial Mission of Baten Kaitos Origins encourages you to sneak past the enemy guards rather than face them. However the guards aren't very tough, your health is replenished after every battle, and defeating them gives you some much needed experience for the rather cruel Wake-Up Call Boss you'll soon be facing at the end of it.
  • In Fragile Hearts, there are no random encounters, only patrolling enemies, and the areas they’re in are typically quite large and provide plenty of room for manoeuvre. While you lose the combat experience in this way, the game is already so easy you can easily get by with experience and cash from mandatory fights only, and avoiding late-game enemies typically takes less time than fighting, too.
  • In Bound by Flame, you're occasionally allowed to sneak by some of the enemy mobs instead of fighting them, and given that many late-game enemies significantly outstrip the player in terms of health, it's often a much faster way to progress.
  • Present in Hammer And Sickle, the officially sanctioned commercial mod of Silent Storm. Many missions can be finished without firing a shot if you’re good at hiding. The patrol AI and placement is pretty realistic, though, so daylight stealth is impossible (unlike the original games) , and you’ll have to wait till night. Even then, it’s best to disable light sources whenever possible to decrease chances of detection, and wear camouflage if you’re in the forest.
  • In The Fall: Last Days of Gaia, it's possible to bypass enemies by sneaking or crawling past them, which make progressively less noise at the expense of speed. Made somewhat ridiculous with the Fast Sneak and Fast Crawl skills that allow for sneaking at the running speed and crawling at a sneaking speed, respectively.
  • In The Age of Decadence, there many missions where the Sneak skill will allow your character to bypass ambushes, perform clean burglaries, and more, assuming that it is high enough for the situation at hand.
  • In Dead State, it's often possible to avoid fighting most, if not all zombies and human enemies on the level through stealth-related approaches. The most efficient is to throw a firecracker or something else that makes a lot of noise as far away from yourself as possible and before any zombies have spotted you. hey will swiftly move towards the noise and leave other approaches free for the player.
  • In Sore Losers, there are a few episodes where fighting is necessary, and just as many with enforced stealth. In the Magtrain station episode, however, you can both fight all of the Ferusian patrols in your way or sneak behind their backs as efficiently as possible.
  • In Avernum: Escape from the Pit at one point (when you're still at low level) you can come across a fort homing several, ferocious Nephar warriors, including shamans and their boss. There's a minor quest where you have to rescue the prisoners from the main hall where the chief is. You can either storm the keep and wade your way through difficult fights, risking your life in the process, or find a secret passage which, if used, can lead you to save the prisoners from under the Nephar's noses without them noticing you. In this case though, you can also gain experience by killing the Nephar themselves.
  • Pokémon OmegaRuby and AlphaSapphire has the DexNav system which allows you to search for Pokémon with high IVs and/or special moves and abilities, but it requires you to sneak up on them lest they escape.
  • Kingdom Come: Deliverance allows for stealth as an option, although some level of stealth is mandatory for one story mission. It's dependent on both Henry's skill level and whatever clothing he's wearing; darker clothing will make him less conspicuous and armour will make more noise, as the various pieces will rattle as he moves. Henry can also perform takedowns (nonlethal at first, but he can learn how to Back Stab at stealth level 5, provided he has a dagger on his person) or sneak into enemy camps to poison their food if he's feeling particularly nasty. Carrying out jobs for the millers is a useful way to practice stealth skills, as they generally involve sneaking into houses, lockpicking and/or pickpocketing.

    Simulation Games 
  • One mission in Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere advises you to stay under the radar net as you proceed to the enemy base. It doesn't matter if you are spotted or not, it only determines when you end up fighting more enemy planes.
    • Same for a mission in Ace Combat 2; the only bonus to reaching the target without breaking stealth is an easier time at destroying a pair of cargo planes that take off as soon as you're detected, which give you the option of an alternate mission if you shoot them down.
  • Multiplayer missions in Silent Hunter 5 have the players in a wolfpack ready to attack a convoy. The convoy is always protected by escorts that will react to the sudden destruction of their charges by aggressively seeking out the players. It's possible to dodge the escorts and avoid direct confrontation, but it's much easier to throw a torpedo up their tailpipe and knock them out of the fighting immediately.

    Stealth-Based Games 
  • In Shinobido all levels are supposed to be stealthy, including duels, kidnappings and assassinations. You can still try to use a more direct approach, but it will be much more dangerous, and you'll get less reward if you're spotted. And the Golden Ending pretty much require absolute stealth.
  • In the Thief series, you can ditch stealth and kill everyone in sight, but is a lot more dangerous. Alternately, if the environment is big enough, you can just run past the guard and keep running. While they might follow you, their attention span will lapse before they find you. However, there are some missions where killing or even simply getting spotted results in a Game Over. The hardest difficulty setting pretty much forces the player to play as stealthy as possible.
  • In the Hitman series, you can play the game like a typical Third-Person Shooter; however, you get a better rating (and thus unlock better weapons) by using stealth and deception to off your targets. The protagonist 47 is quite vulnerable to gunfire however, and for the first few instalments, 47 was unable to heal in the course of a mission, so even you wish to kill everyone in sight you will have to do it somewhat carefully. Blood Money added the ability to purchase bulletproof vests and medication to stave off injury, and all games after this have Regenerating Health that kicks in after a few seconds in cover, mitigating this somewhat.
  • Metal Gear is a stealth-based game series — Rather, it's the stealth-based game series. The games have varying difficulty levels. If one chooses the easiest difficulty, then it's a valid option to plow through the game without really needing to use its stealth elements. However, selecting anything above "Normal" makes using stealth absolutely necessary, as guards will be vigilant and difficult to take down, and using stealth is far easier than trying to macho one's way through. The most extreme gameplay modes in the Metal Gear series actually force the player to restart from the beginning if they are so much as noticed by one guard.
    • If you decide to save the militia in the beginning of Act 2 of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots instead of use their execution as cover to sneak past they'll be friendly towards you and you'll have an entire squad to approach Vista Mansion with, making stealth completely unnecessary until you reach the mansion grounds.
    • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain uses this trope to the fullest extent possible. It's YOUR show, from episode 1 to the bitter end, so ANY conventional stealth or shooting is optional as long as you get the mission done. Send an airstrike in the middle of a child-soldier camp? Go right ahead!note  Request an exfiltration five feet away from the enemy's base? They won't even blink! Grab your mecha and plow through the gates to fire your gatling gun? Prepare the slaughter!
  • Perfect Dark Zero, but only on the lowest difficulty setting. It is a stealth title, but on the easiest setting stealth is mostly not required.
  • The original Castle Wolfenstein and Beyond Castle Wolfenstein. It was a good idea to sneak through as much of the castle(s) as possible, because fighting German soldiers was a good way to get killed. However, you could fight them if you wanted to, and at times it was actually necessary (e.g. before you got a uniform or passes, or to "clean out" the room where the alarm box was located).
    • Wolfenstein: The New Order has an entire skill tree dedicated to stealth, but most of the time you have to fight plot-alerted enemies or armored foes / mechs.
  • The third entry in the Splinter Cell stealth series, Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, allows the player to just run through the game guns blazing if they want, going so far as to let players choose an "assault" loadout that gives them extra ammunition and grenades instead of extra stealth tools. It was mostly a reaction to the unpopular "three alarms and you're out" structure of the previous titles and the manual practically calls it Easy Mode. Nevertheless, most players will stick to the stealthy approach, but it can come in handy when things go pear-shaped.
  • Dishonored gives options in how you want to play the game. You could, for example, play through the entire game undetected... or become a whirling dervish of supernatural death. Notably, there's the Ghost achievement for playing through undetected and in a Pacifist Run.
  • In Stolen, you're supposed to use the shadows to sneak around the guards. In practice, GameSpot's reviewer found it was quicker and easier to just beat them senseless.
  • Assassin's Creed:
    • The series is like this most of the time. There are some missions that desynchronize you for being detected, but by and large it's just as doable to fight all the guards as it is to sneak past them or stealth-kill them.
    • There's also the first Assassins Creed game, and the second one, for the most part. Later ones have tended to avert this by punishing being caught with game overs.
  • In most of Syphon Filter's sneaking missions, being spotted immediately results in mission failure, but in a few, such as Rhoemer's Base, you can still continue the mission guns blazing if detected. In Omega Strain, although you can continue after blowing your cover in most missions, you won't be able to get 100% Completion for the mission.

    Survival Horror 
  • As soon as you get your hands on the weapons in Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth, you can still complete some puzzles in the stealthy way, but is much easier (and satisfying) to just whip out guns and crowbar and kill all those fishmen around.
  • In Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines, you're free to solve any kind of situation in the way you're most comfortable with, but a stealth approach will always grant you more points. Unless you're a Nosferatu, though, in which case stealth is mandatory unless you want to constantly violate The Masquerade.
  • Resident Evil 6 has the Submarine Sequence in Ada's scenario. There's plenty of ammo and cover to go More Dakka with her machine pistol and exploding crossbow bolts and mow the J'avo down, but it is possible (and a lot more satisfying) to sneak through without ever firing a shot and never being seen. There's also an achievement for going the stealth route too.
  • In all Silent Hill games that feature a flashlight you can turn on or off, going dark makes you practically imperceptible to monsters. You can use this to your advantage and either sneak up on them to attack with impunity, or bypass them completely. Of course, nothing stops you from rolling in with your light on and shoot or whack everything in your way, save for how much ammo and health supplies you have available; in the original trilogy, you also can't pick up items or look at the map.
  • In The Evil Within, stealth is very important in the early stages of the first installment. As you upgrade stats and get hold of better weapons it no longer becomes an absolute necessity (in fact it becomes a hindrance since there are no upgrades to stealth), but you'll still want to use sneak kills because they save ammo and are quite satisfying to perform. This is not the case in the DLC chapters, though, as your character can't receive any upgrades and is unarmed for a very long stretch of the two missions, so her only choice most of the time is to stay out of sight. Its sequel works in much the same way, except stealth is way more encouraged given that there are upgrades to enhance your stealth performance this time around.
  • Stealth in The Last of Us is a core gameplay mechanic, but as you start getting your hands on more weapons and begin upgrading your skills, it slowly becomes less necessary unless your resources are at an absolute minimum. It's far more encouraged in the sequel due to the enhanced enemy AI and overall providing better options for stealth (such as the ability to craft temporary silencers for your starter pistol).
  • Nothing in The Persistence requires you to sneak around, so if you just want to go around smacking ten-foot tall hulks and gunning down defective robots, more power to you. Just get used to the Game Over screen.

    Third-Person Shooters 
  • In Freedom Fighters (2003), stealth is crucial in earlier missions, and mission descriptions typically warn you to stay out of Soviet floodlights, but with a large enough squad and some good weaponry, you can easily just charge straight through enemy defenses.
  • Most shooting levels in the James Bond game Everything or Nothing are like this. It is almost always possible to complete the levels all-guns-blazing, but it's often very punishing on the highest difficulty setting. You do carry silenced and non-lethal weapons, however, and you also have a few EMP grenades which can disable security cameras and alarm systems. Sneaky actions, such as disabling the alarms or killing the guards so it seems like an accident, often give you "Bond Moments" which unlock extra content.
  • Gears of War 2 DLC campaign add on "Road to Ruin" gave you the choice between using stealth or going in all guns blazing. There's an achievement for successfully completing the stealth element.
  • In Second Sight, the very broad selection of Psychic Powers available to the main character means you always have the option of sneaking through a level vs. running through with guns blazing, though there are points where only one or the other is feasible. The game keeps a "morality" statistic and humanises some of the mooks in order to encourage stealth via Videogame Caring Potential.
  • 007: From Russia with Love strongly encourages use of stealth in many missions. Bond is by no means invincible and it's frequently easier to watch Mooks' patrol patterns so you can take them down silently than trying to run-and-gun your way through the on-foot levels. You also get more points towards your level ranking for hand-to-hand kills and Bond Focus shots than for run-and-gun. The latter is possible, though, and the vehicle levels are more of a "blast everything in sight" type deal.
  • The third chapter of Max Payne 3 has several rooms where you can either directly engage the enemy or wait in hiding until they leave, while a specific moment towards the beginning of the fifth chapter provides the opportunity to silently dispatch a pair of thugs and avoid confronting their backup; Max will even comment on how out-of-character this sort of subtlety is for him after doing so.
  • Ghost Recon: Future Soldier offers higher scores for sync-shots, neck-snaps, and stealth kills, but they're not necessary except for a few short no-alarm segments. And even then, unsuppressed weapons can be used stealthily by ensuring no one is left alive to sound the alarm.
  • In Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, chapters where you control Cliffjumper and Starscream might encourage stealth due to their particular special ability being an Invisibility Cloak and certain chapter-exclusive enemies whose only gimmick is becoming much more powerful and aggressive the moment they spot you, but it's by no means mandatory. If you're so inclined, you can go into these situations with guns blazing, which actually isn't out of character for Cliffjumper. It's entirely possible to charge into even these stealth-preferable fights head on and win, and the game still provides plenty of ammo pickups in these levels to keep things fair.
  • In Vanquish's monorail Sniping Mission, stealth is not mandatory, but you get two achievements for remaining undetected.
  • Sniper Elite 4 is mostly a stealth game, but shoot-outs are usually survivable on lower difficulties. They also only attract nearby enemies to your position, not every enemy on the map.
  • Many missions in Warframe reward stealthy approach in the form of extra affinity awarded for performing back stabs on enemies, but chances are likely that your loadout will let you eliminate entire platoons in the blink of an eye without much trouble. You can disregard caution even in Spy missions, where tripping the vault's security will still give you up to a whole minute to get into the databank, just remember that you may then have to eliminate more enemies to keep the word from getting out.

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas:
    • When infiltrating Area 69, you're told to sneak past the soldiers on the surface level, head to a control tower to open the gate to the base interior some distance away from the tower, and then enter that gate. The problem is, it's much easier to just kill any soldier in your way, ignore the gate (which becomes impossible to open once you're detected), and bust through an air vent near the gate. Even if the outside part is completed stealthily, the base goes to max alert after CJ is inside and stealth is thrown out the window anyway, so it's no loss.
    • This happens many times in this game. Earlier on, you have to infiltrate a Vietnamese boat, and a bit later, a dam. The only time where stealth is strongly advised is when you must infiltrate an aircraft carrier: getting seen will make soldiers run to the stationed jet fighters and flee with them before you can steal one, thus failing the mission.
  • In Grand Theft Auto V, some missions allow the player to take out enemies silently with silenced weapons and melee takedowns. Special mention goes to kidnapping Devin Weston in Ending C: if you go in loud, he'll be hiding in a trunk, but if you reach him without alerting the guards, he'll be calmly sunning himself-though he'll still freak out and climb into the trunk when he sees you.
  • In the mission Gator's Yacht in Driv3r it's possible to destroy the yacht without a shootout by killing the guards with the silenced pistol.
  • Red Faction: Guerrilla technically has a stealth system; for instance, certain weapons will take out a guard without alerting others. Good luck getting anywhere with this, though. There are only a handful of missions where you can stay undetected for long, and the EDF will jump to yellow alert at the slightest provocation. The Badlands Liberation mission really rubs it in — the commander tells you to get as far as possible unnoticed, but you are guaranteed to be spotted as soon as you enter the base.
  • Watch_Dogs: In most missions you can either sneak in, hack whatever you need to hack, and sneak out; or ready your grenades and your biggest assault rifle, find some cover, and waste everyone.

  • Some Geocaching members use stealth, others think it only attracts more attention.
  • XCOM 2 has a "concealment" system wherein when a mission begins, the aliens are unaware of your presence. Upon firing a weapon or wandering into an alien's detection radius, concealment breaks and the aliens will come down on you. While concealment is always temporary and you are within your rights to simply dash in guns-blazing, the game encourages you to set up ambushes first, so that when you do break concealment, you can gun down and weaken enemies as they react to your presence.

     Real Life 
  • World War II submarines. They quite regularly attacked by surface. While this was normally by night, sometimes it was by day.
  • Modern stealth aircraft are only stealthy when limited to using weapons that can fit in their internal bays. Typically this is only a basic load of air-to-air missiles. For ground strike missions all manner of ordinance can be fitted on attachable external pylons at the expense of the small radar signature.