The 10 BEST PS2 Stealth Video Games
VOICE OVER: Aaron Brown
WRITTEN BY: Aaron Brown
For gamers who like sneaking and snooping, the PS2 had some stellar stealth games. For this list, we'll be looking at games that snuck up on us in the best possible way and disappeared without a trace, leaving only the memories of our time with them behind. Our list includes “Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory” (2005), “Sly 2: Band of Thieves” (2004), “James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing” (2004), “Manhunt” (2003), and more!
Script written by Aaron Brown
Welcome to MojoPlays and we’re feeling sneaky as we investigate the 10 best stealth games on the PS2. For this list, we’ll be looking at games that snuck up on us in the best possible way and disappeared without a trace, leaving only the memories of our time with them behind. What was your favorite stealthy experience on the PS2? Tiptoe into the comments and let us know.
“Second Sight” (2004)
Unlike the similar telekinetic experience Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy, Second Sight scaled things back and rewarded the player for approaching each encounter more strategically or using their powers to avoid combat altogether. Focusing more on puzzle solving rather than outright combat, players can use their psychic abilities to avoid detection from patrols and security cameras, but if necessary, can knock out guards with a handy tranquilizer gun. Should encounters get too intense, players can use their abilities to heal themselves while they retreat and wait out the encroaching patrols. Players have access to a wealth of combat weapons and close quarter takedowns, but using your psychic abilities and taking things stealthy should always be your first option, lest you end up back on the operating table.
“Deus Ex” (2000)
Many games offer the player freedom of choice, but none do it better than Deus Ex. Players are able to approach nearly every single situation in whatever way they choose, from diplomacy and the ability to talk their way out of encounters entirely, to heavy assault where you bring your full arsenal and let your bullets do the talking. Many players, however, would choose the stealthier approach, and the game accommodated them completely. With numerous vents and other entry points to choose from, those looking to avoid encounters entirely had a wealth of options to choose from and could invest as many skill points into their stealth tree as they wanted. The game would also encourage this approach with much of the story reacting to how players approached each mission, completely affecting the overall narrative based on their choices as well as how violent they were throughout the game.
“James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing” (2004)
The world’s best British secret agent knows a thing or two about how to approach a situation with style and there’s nothing more stylish than infiltrating undetected and slipping out the back before they even knew you were there. 007 would be nothing without his gadgets, and luckily Q has more than enough to keep Bond well prepared for any scenario. The 3rd person perspective allows Bond to take cover, and along with Q’s Q Spider, you can quickly dispatch whole groups of enemies by sending the little mine through the vents and catching a group of guards completely by surprise. Bond has never been one to go in guns blazing and Everything or Nothing’s enemy AI will quickly send Bond to early retirement should he get careless. The best spy is a cautious spy, after all.
While all the games on this list make stealth their primary focus gameplay wise, none take it as deadly serious as Manhunt. In other stealth games, stealth is not the only option, and you are still the danger for many of the enemies you encounter. In Manhunt however, Rockstar set out to make sure that if you attempt to approach things in any way but slow and methodical, you’ll most certainly be the victim. It’s all too easy to become overwhelmed, even against only a couple combatants, so keeping to the shadows and choosing the best moment to strike is key to survival. Players are encouraged to take as much time as possible with their stealth kills using a myriad of impromptu weapons on hand and are ranked for their efforts at the end of the level.
“Syphon Filter: Logan’s Shadow” (2010)
Although Snake was the more prominent figure in stealth in the early days of PlayStation, there was another hero sneakily working his way through the shadows of Metal Gear. Gabe Logan’s exploits were always a bit more action heavy than Snake’s, but that doesn’t mean he can’t take things a bit quieter. Taking cues from the Solid man himself, Gabe could now move from cover to cover as well as blind fire around corners and even take hostages to use as human shields. While not every mission called for it, the stealthy approach usually incurred less resistance during missions. One new aspect Gabe brought to the table himself was underwater combat and exploration which opens up all new infiltration possibilities. Gabe’s trusty taser makes a return but most players would find themselves using the far quicker and quieter CGC mechanics and knife kills.
“Sly 2: Band of Thieves” (2004)
Not every stealth game needs to take a serious approach to sneaking around in the shadows. The Thievius Raccoonus is back for his second and arguably best adventure and he’s bringing a whole new bag of tricks along with him. Just like the first entry, players are encouraged to guide Sly around his environments by sticking to the shadows as much as possible. Enemies will now even chase Sly onto rooftops, often forcing him to engage in open combat, but Sly comes equipped with all new gadgets to lose his pursuers, including smoke grenades to cover his escape. While Bentley and Murray have also joined the lineup this time around, the focus is still very much on Sly and making the best use of his sneaking skills around some of the series’ most vibrantly detailed environments.
“Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven” (2003)
When discussing those who work within the shadows, there are no greater masters of stealth than ninjas, and Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven gave players all the tools of a ninja and set them loose across the rooftops of Feudal Japan. With a full ninja arsenal at their disposal, and featuring two separate campaigns, players can engage in open combat but are encouraged to keep to the shadows and are rewarded points that can be used to unlock better and more powerful ninja equipment to bring into each new level. As the game progresses, all your ninja skills are put to the test as there will be other ninjas that know all of your moves and can even stealth one-shot you if you let your guard down. Published by FromSoftware in Japan, the Tenchu series influences can still be felt today in FromSoft’s own Sekiro series.
“Hitman: Blood Money” (2006)
Scientifically created specifically to be invisible, Agent 47 epitomizes the modern stealth genre, and one of his best contracts was Blood Money on the PS2. A master of disguise, regardless of the bald head and barcode, Agent 47 is able to become almost anyone in pursuit of his target. Blood Money gave 47 access to all new mechanics to aid him in his contracts, such as improvised weaponry, body disposal and the ability to reduce his own notoriety within the level by destroying the surveillance equipment that unfortunately caught a glimpse of him. Although a full-frontal assault is possible, 47 is encouraged to make every assassination look like an accident and disappear without a trace. Much of what makes 47 the effective assassin he continues to be today all began with his Blood Money contract.
“Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory” (2005)
Splinter Cell introduced players to one of the most realistic stealth experiences possible at the time with Sam Fisher and his hallway splits. Chaos Theory took the foundation of the first game and took things even further. Besides the standard light detection meter, players also had to be concerned with how much noise they were making as they crouch walked around but could make use of ambient noise to mask their own approach and takedowns. Players were also given more freedom in how they approach each mission with each giving them one of three kit options to take with them. Enemies would also now do sweeps of the area searching for bodies that could trigger alarms eventually leading to a mission failure should you have gotten careless. Sam Fisher and Splinter Cell represent some of the best the stealth genre has to offer, but there once was another.
“Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater” (2004)
From the mastermind creator of the stealth genre itself, Hideo Kojima’s third entry into the Metal Gear Solid series was and still is one of his best. While the previous two entries were set in more industrial and modern playgrounds, Snake Eater takes things a bit more primal by dropping Naked Snake into the jungle and forcing him to survive using only what he can find. Stealth played a much more prominent role in Snake Eater than ever before as players needed to constantly change up their camouflage to blend in with their surroundings. With fewer over the top action moments, although there were still plenty (this is Kojima after all), the focus was purely on the stealth aspect this time around and players could even complete the entire game undetected using the game’s mechanics built specifically allowing them to do so.