Official Codex Discord Server

  1. Welcome to rpgcodex.net, a site dedicated to discussing computer based role-playing games in a free and open fashion. We're less strict than other forums, but please refer to the rules.

    "This message is awaiting moderator approval": All new users must pass through our moderation queue before they will be able to post normally. Until your account has "passed" your posts will only be visible to yourself (and moderators) until they are approved. Give us a week to get around to approving / deleting / ignoring your mundane opinion on crap before hassling us about it. Once you have passed the moderation period (think of it as a test), you will be able to post normally, just like all the other retards.
    Dismiss Notice

Decline Superfluous Stealth Sucks

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by AwesomeButton, Sep 2, 2019.

  1. AwesomeButton Cut a deal with the authorities Patron

    AwesomeButton
    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2014
    Messages:
    8,287
    Location:
    At large
    PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Make the Codex Great Again! Grab the Codex by the pussy Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    What prompted me to write this is watching the latest gameplay from The Outer Worlds and Cyberpunk. I've always been annoyed with 1st person games where you have stealth mechanics, but the locations and the enemies have been designed in such a way that stealth is more or less optional. Even if you are caught, you can easily massacre the bad guys and still reach your objectives. I guess that was why I was so let down by Dishonored too.

    In my opinion failing a stealth segment should ideally either 1) result in the PC death 9/10 times, or 2) cause significant gameplay or story consequences. Otherwise there were no real stakes and no reason for the player not to kill everyone in his path.

    Seeing modern games resort to superfluous stealth, just so they can attach it to their "list of features" makes me feel like the designers are trying to take me for a ride.

    A separate topic is that a game that takes stealth seriously should take the effort to present the player with varied tools for stealth gameplay. Let's just enumerate what various good stealth games have in addition to being able to hide in shadows and produce more or less sound while moving, which I'd say is the bare minimum for having any sort of stealth:

    - Thief had flashbombs, gas, ability to turn lights off, ability to cause distractions, ability to peek around corners, ability to use a mechanical eye to zoom, ability to use a remote-controlled camera which you could throw - similar to how you throw a flashbomb
    - Deus Ex had the ability to see through walls with the right augmentations
    - Splinter Cell Chaos Theory added some fun acrobatic and climbing possibilities, as well as the ability to hide the sounds you produce within louder background noises (shooting weapons during thunders in a storm). It also had low light and thermal vision
    - Splinter Cell Double Agent added something very cool but sadly only used in scripted moments - the ability to remotely eavesdrop on people with some kind of laser-powered device.
    - Hitman has disguises that function more or less as a puzzle game where you need one disguise to proceed and get another down the line, and they allow you a limited time window of exposure before you are uncovered and you need to use this window to do something important towards your objective.

    Most games with stealth nowadays have only a small part of this toolset, some don't even have shadows that function as cover. Shadows can function as cover at night, favorite example of mine: https://youtu.be/YQzLC_ZGEbA?t=22

    So, I'm putting this for discussion - how much of a stealth gameplay do you expect from ToW and Cyberpunk? What is known so far on this subject, and will we get anything better than "hide behind crates"?
     
    • Agree x 16
    • Disagree x 4
    • Brofist x 2
    • Button x 1
    • Cheers!! x 1
    • I found this text to be too long and as such I didn't read it x 1
    • Friendly x 1
    ^ Top  
  2. Master Arbiter

    Master
    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2016
    Messages:
    1,160
    That was also in SC1 and 3, but also only in scripted situations.
     
    • Yes Yes x 1
    ^ Top  
  3. Butter Erudite

    Butter
    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2018
    Messages:
    977
    You're not going to get deep and satisfying stealth from games that also seek to have satisfying shooting. It's like an unwritten rule that if you want players to engage in stealth, you have to make direct combat unpleasant. Not to mention the TOW and CP2077 devs were never going to bother with all the immersive sim mechanics that you'd find in DX or Thief.
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
    • Acknowledge this user's Agenda Acknowledge this user's Agenda x 1
    • Yes Yes x 1
    ^ Top  
  4. Shinji Learned

    Shinji
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2017
    Messages:
    167
    I think the problem usually arises when the game is not designed exclusively around stealth.
    In games that are heavily combat-focused, players will likely see stealth as something that only gets in the way of the "fun part".
    Also, if the character is overpowered -- or can become overpowered via skill point allocation -- the impatient player will just Rambo his way out of most situations.

    I really dislike the idea of skill points in stealth games, specially if it can make stealth pointless or boring.

    It really doesn't get better than the original Thief, really.
    Unfortunately, no one's willing to replicate Thief's gameplay, and the AAA company that has the IP is too much of a coward to risk making a proper sequel to the franchise.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2019
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Despair Despair x 1
    ^ Top  
  5. jf8350143 Learned

    jf8350143
    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2018
    Messages:
    673
    What's worse: Forcing a stealth mained character to go combat head on and get butchered, or forcing a combat mained character to go stealth and face inevitable death?
     
    • Despair Despair x 2
    • it is a mystery it is a mystery x 1
    ^ Top  
  6. lukaszek the determinator

    lukaszek
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2015
    Messages:
    5,730
    styx had enemies that can sense your presence and/or immune to ambush. Clone interaction was cool but I didnt like it much as i preferred perfect ghost runs
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
    ^ Top  
  7. Life Coach berd Patron

    Life Coach
    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2017
    Messages:
    5,225
    Make the Codex Great Again! Grab the Codex by the pussy
    Dishonored isn't a stealth game, its Dark Messiah.
    You could use the mic whenever you wanted, but yeah 9/10 convos weren't integral to the mission.

    Certain places should be designed with the need for stealth in mind, but as the player character becomes godlike, which they all do, then stealth even in those areas would become pointless.
     
    • Participation Award Participation Award x 1
    • Yes Yes x 1
    • No No x 1
    ^ Top  
  8. V_K Arcane

    V_K
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2013
    Messages:
    4,649
    Location:
    at a Nowhere near you
    Ideally, having a non-combat oriented build (as in, not likely to survive a direct confrontation) should be reason enough. Most devs are just too lazy to design with a "multiple builds = multiple approaches" philosophy in mind. That's the problem, not stealth per se.
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 7
    • Agree Agree x 1
    ^ Top  
  9. rusty_shackleford Arcane

    rusty_shackleford
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2018
    Messages:
    11,126
    alpha protocol flashbacks
     
    • Funny Funny x 4
    ^ Top  
  10. jewboy Arbiter

    jewboy
    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2012
    Messages:
    653
    Location:
    Oumuamua
    I just started Dishonored for the first time and wow the combat is really awful: shallow and non-tactical and easy. Just button mashing = win even on 'very hard'. No strategy really at least that I've seen so far. Ugh. I remember Dark Messiah as having better combat than this. I'll persist a bit more but I'm not happy. If that is all there is to the combat I don't care if it's easy or hard. It's totally uninteresting. Arx Fatalis was one of my favorite games of all time and that had stealth as an optional mode, and I thought it was done pretty well actually, but the encounter design did not really work with stealth very often. The combat in Arx Fatalis was super-fun especially against the Ylsides. I've never seen another game with incredibly fast moving opponents like that before or since where you basically need a haste spell or its equiv to have any chance against them.

    Sometimes it seems like good developers like Arkane are forced to make bad, unfun games by the money guys. Money really is the root of all evil when it comes to creativity and making nice things. Instead of doing their best very often they do their worst because some evil fuck who only cares about money believes it will sell more. Very often those guys do not play games themselves. They could not care less whether a game they are responsible for is respected and well reviewed by picky critics.

    I also recently played Thief III for the first time and that was basically shooting arrows from the shadows and dragging bodies or sneaking up behind someone much too easily even on very hard and blackjacking them and then body dragging again. Again and again. And then when I finally finished a level the game informs me that I haven't got enough loot and so I have to go back in and search everywhere for the rest without finding anything to the point that that takes up most of the playtime: searching for chests and silver candlesticks or whatever. Yawn.

    The Dark Project should have been Ultima Underworld III, but problems with money forced them to abandon an expensive and complicated RPG in favor of a more simplistic game where you just sneak around. I was very sad when I heard the news and the devs did not seem too happy about it either. If only kickstarter had been around then.

    The problem for me is just sneaking around isn't enough for an entire game. It gets boring after a while. I really think it should be an element of a larger gaming experience rather than the whole thing. It's not very realistic either although I suppose that doesn't matter. Still if I were implementing stealth I would only allow it in very limited circumstances. Never less than 20 feet from an observer/listener and only if you have some obstacle to hide behind or very dark shadows and you should probably have to wear special matte black clothes and charcoal on your face: some stealth costume or gear.

    For me it doesn't matter whether or not I can survive a direct encounter with the person I'm sneaking up on. Once you've been detected you've already lost the stealth minigame, but you should be able to run away at the very least in the right circumstances. What sucks is when stealth is like an invisibility spell as it is in some games where you can sneak up on someone in bright light while they are facing you if you have high enough stealth. Sneaking is often too easy. It certainly was in the original Thief.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Shit Shit x 1
    ^ Top  
  11. Life Coach berd Patron

    Life Coach
    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2017
    Messages:
    5,225
    Make the Codex Great Again! Grab the Codex by the pussy
    You're remembering wrong, because Dark Messiah has win button combat too.
     
    ^ Top  
  12. baturinsky Arcane

    baturinsky
    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2013
    Messages:
    4,116
    Location:
    Russia
    In real life, stealthiness is actually depending a lot on being still. It's very hard to notice static targets in cluttered space and low light.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
    ^ Top  
  13. NullFlow Learned

    NullFlow
    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2015
    Messages:
    157
    Stealth gameplay in the shallowest sense nowadays boil down to crouch walking in darkness or behind corners to occasionally sneak behind guards to choke them out, slit their throat, or shoot them in the head with a non-lethal round to put them to sleep. Get discovered? Well, you probably have an arsenal of weapons, spells and tools to dispatch the hordes of enemies who should be overwhelming you in a true stealth game, and nothing of consequence really happens for triggering alert mode. That's where the potential for stealth in contemporary RPGs and some immersive sims gets lost to me, because most skill trees, builds or items are locked for loud and lethal combat. Where's the array of creative distractions, skill/spell options, and level designs that can facilitate stealth? I saw Cyberpunk 2077 has soda machines that can be hacked and act as diversions, and distance hacking for quiet, unnoticed kills like the weight lifts, but the rest looks just like the cookie-cutter bare minimum stealth gameplay I described. Haven't seen too much of TOW, but I expect stealth to be handled like NV.

    If I could add to your list, MGS does offer cardboard boxes, throwable magazines, porn mags, knocking on walls, and decoys, and on the higher difficulties you really can't fight reinforcements head on.
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 1
    ^ Top  
  14. Sheep Dumbfuck! Dumbfuck

    Sheep
    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2014
    Messages:
    4,359
    Location:
    Hungry FOR STORYFAGGOT BLOOD
    I'll post longer post here tomorrow, but the short version is - ARPGs should remove stealth as functional mechanic or build the entire game around it.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • Shit Shit x 1
    ^ Top  
  15. Tigranes Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Tigranes
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2009
    Messages:
    8,510
    While there's much that can be done to carefully build a stealth oriented game, another question is, what is the way to invest relatively little in stealth, have it as a secondary gameplay component, and still maximise its potential?

    Easy answer: make combat challenging enough that the player wants to stealth. You add a player incentive; you add 'realism points'; you add a real source of tension in getting caught.

    Obviously the more stealth oriented skills, tools, level design you add, the better. But seems to me that's the one thing you could do to make it consequential.
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 3
    ^ Top  
  16. jewboy Arbiter

    jewboy
    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2012
    Messages:
    653
    Location:
    Oumuamua
    Yes, but it did not seem quite as bad as Dishonored. I didnt say I liked Dark Messiah combat. I didnt. But it was more fun than Dishonored iirc at least so far.
     
    ^ Top  
  17. Swigen Scholar

    Swigen
    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2018
    Messages:
    882
    Hmmmm. I think Teh Outer Worlds and Cyberpunk should employ a stealth system where you crouch to stealth mode, okay, and then you sneak close to your target with the analog stick and when the eyeball icon gets bright you attack and get a stealth bonus where damage is concerned resulting in an instakill. Outer Worlds especially needs to do this as it’d be in line with the other mechanics (like V.A.T.S. Tactical Time Dilation) they invented.
     
    ^ Top  
  18. Roguey Arcane Sawyerite

    Roguey
    Joined:
    May 29, 2010
    Messages:
    26,326
    If stealth allows one to complete a RPG without killing anyone, it is beneficial to have.
     
    • Brofist x 3
    • Agree x 3
    • Acknowledge this user's Agenda x 1
    • Disagree x 1
    • Friendly x 1
    ^ Top  
  19. Butter Erudite

    Butter
    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2018
    Messages:
    977
    Let me add that having a "Stealth" or "Sneak" skill is shit. It would be like having a "Combat" skill or "Speech" skill... Wait a second.
     
    • Funny Funny x 1
    • "It was Aliens" "It was Aliens" x 1
    ^ Top  
  20. Werdna's Revenge Erudite Patron

    Werdna's Revenge
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2015
    Messages:
    819
    Location:
    Canuckistan
    Deus Ex might be the only RPG I can think of that did stealth correctly.
     
    • [citation needed] [citation needed] x 2
    ^ Top  
  21. HarveyBirdman Scholar

    HarveyBirdman
    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2019
    Messages:
    810
    Stealth is underwhelming because developers view it as a way to achieve bonus effects instead of a discrete play style within a larger combat system.

    The Outer World and Cyberpunk 2077 will not break the cycle.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2019
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Despair Despair x 1
    ^ Top  
  22. Sigourn Arcane

    Sigourn
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2016
    Messages:
    4,249
    Location:
    Greater Buenos Aires, Argentina.
    I expect Fallout 5/Skyrim 2. Bethesda has pretty much standarized a casual stealth formula for first person RPGs.
    I believe the issue with stealth as a whole in RPGs is that most of the time it is treated like a bonus playthrough, instead of a proper playthrough with its own identity. It really depends on the quests offered to the player: some quests in New Vegas rely on the player actually completing their objective undetected. In a cyberpunk game I take it stealth would revolve around corporate espionage, where not getting caught is the name of the game because the idea is not to let the other corporations know you've run off with their secrets.

    I do believe stealth gameplay as a whole should let you do things not possible by simply going in guns blazing. This is basic "gameplay mirrors real life", there's a reason why stealth is a thing to begin with: not because someone said "wouldn't it be badass to move around undetected", but because someone said "if I'm caught, I'm dead".
     
    • retadred retadred x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • WTF am I reading WTF am I reading x 1
    ^ Top  
  23. The Brazilian Slaughter Arcane

    The Brazilian Slaughter
    Joined:
    May 11, 2007
    Messages:
    1,871,671
    Location:
    Belém do Pará
    My problem with stealth is it feels unnecessary because the enemies aren't hard enough to warrant it. Why I am sneaking around five dudes?

    Sneaking around should be a thing you do either not to get found out because reasons, or because you want to avoid the possibility of a +20 man goonsquad dropping on you.

    Stealth Dude would sneak careful like, distract people, use disguises, etc, and in the end, none would even know they were there. Smooth as ice, and with matching rewards.

    Combat Dude would rambo his way through the encounter, including the +20 man goonsquad. But would face repercussions.
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • honk honk! honk honk! x 1
    ^ Top  
  24. Machocruz Arcane

    Machocruz
    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2011
    Messages:
    3,109
    Location:
    Hyperborea
    This is axiomatic to me. Since video games did not invent sneaking, they had to take the concept from somewhere else, which is reality. In realty one sneaks because the consequence of being seen is severe in some way. It's severe because life is Hard mode. But AAA developers don't want to make games challenging, so we have a problem for those players who want stealth to be more than "also an option."

    There are instances when people sneak around for fun, and the consequences aren't severe, like kids pretending to be ninjas in some part of a public building they really shouldn't be in (personal experience). But this kind of scenario is not the kind developers choose to make games of.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
    ^ Top  
  25. orcinator Savant

    orcinator
    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2016
    Messages:
    820
    Location:
    Republic of Kongou
    If a nonlethal playthrough is boring and shallow it shouldn't be an option.
     
    • Disagree x 2
    • Agree x 1
    • FAKE NEWS x 1
    • "It was Aliens" x 1
    • Balanced x 1
    ^ Top  

(buying stuff via the above buttons helps us pay the hosting bills, thanks!)