You don’t have to play every immersive sim as a stealth game

You there, in the shadows—you can come out now. I know why you’re hiding, clutching a stun prod the way Indiana Jones clings to a torch. You’re nostalgic for Thief, or conditioned by the disapproval of Deus Ex characters who advocated for non-lethality. You’ve been shamed by every post-level screen in Dishonored, implying you messed up by killing your enemies.

But it’s OK. I free you from your obligation to skirt around the edge of the pool, instead of bombing in and making enormous, satisfying ripples in these reactive worlds. You owe it to yourself to embrace the chaotic, surprising action that immersive sims are built to support. And with Arkane finally embracing all-out shooter mechanics in Deathloop, your time is now.

Besides: you’re going to do your back in, hunching like that.


(Image credit: Bethesda)

Don’t get me wrong, stealth has done wonders for the immersive sim. The development of Thief pushed Looking Glass away from space stations and dungeons, and towards the kind of lived-in domestic spaces the genre is now known for. Without those mansions, teeming with tiny, gleaming objects for Garrett to plunder, there’d be no Prague in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, and no Greenbrier Manor in Gone Home. A whole discipline of level design, that goes deep rather than wide, would likely not exist.

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