Stealth: How Blink Broke the Genre

How can one ability in a game completely change the feeling of a entire genre?

First off, I want to mention this article was sparked by reading this other post.

Go and give it a read and comment as well if you have an account.  I wanted to also point out that this writer shares similar views of one Patrick Klepek of Giantbomb.com. Patrick has continuously praise the game as it also made the stealth genre more accessible to him.

I don't think they are wrong by any means.  If they enjoyed the game, I am happy for them and hope they also enjoy the new DLC they released for it.  What I am trying to go over is WHY the Blink ability in Dishonored breaks any need for stealth in a game that is suppose to be a stealth game.

Let me fully disclose my idea of Stealth as a genre:

You must maintain a form of allusiveness and use evasion as a means of sneaking into a location undetected for a mission.

To me, Dishonored is Stealth Lite.  It is made to be fudge proof so even if you goof up, you are not totally screwed.  It is a good introduction to the stealth genre but really it is hardly a stealth game.  This sentence says it all:

It ignores the confinement of stealth games, speeds up the laborious process of sneaking, and gives me options when I’m caught.

-Tyler Colp, SideQuesting

Ultimately that is taking away the aspects of WHY the stealth genre has garnered so many fans.  You NEED to think multiple steps ahead of your enemies by watching them from a distance, looking for patterns and reacting accordingly.  There is a sense of accomplishment in completing a mission completely undetected as though you were never even there.  You feel like you are the worlds greatest assassin or ninja when the end level recap pops up and shows that you killed only your target and there being no detection of you at all.

The ability of Blink breaks that.  It makes EVERYTHING easier and turns away any sense of accomplishment for me.  

If I get cornered, I must become the rat as I only have seconds to react.  My fight or flight sense starts to kick in as I frantically look for a hiding spot.   I hear the steps getting closer... I look up, down and all around as I find nothing large enough to hide in or behind so now I corner myself, setting up a last ditch effort.  I steady my aim and point the barrel of my gun toward where his head should peak through the door way.  I hear him start to whistle as he rounds the corner and I only pray my shot is true...  

Blink just has me pop behind him and snap his neck.

All tension is GONE!  Once I realized this is how I could play the game, I felt sorta empty.  I no longer felt like a bad ass assassin as much as now I could be the world's clumsiest parkour amateur because I could just snap behind anyone and kill them if they saw me. 

Stealth games are a taste that is acquired, not learned.  Some games are just not meant to pull other crowds in.  Dark/Demon's Souls and the Monster Hunter series will most likely not be enjoyed by Call of Duty fans.  Same can be said of a normal Joe trying out an Arma game.  Some games have a limited crowd and when you market outside of it you might alienate those that love the original (Looking at you Splinter Cell: Convictions and Blacklist).

Sorta says it all

You might get a new crowd interested but then you might also lose a good deal of people that enjoy the way those games are suppose to feel and function.

I know it may sound like I am saying you are wrong for liking Dishonored but I'm not.  I am just saying you need to understand WHY Blink is a game breaker.  

If you enjoyed Dishonored, branch out a bit and try some more challenging games in the stealth genre.

  • Splinter Cell series (Not Convictions)
  • Thief series
  • Hitman series (Convictions and Absolution excluded)

Columnist

I like video games so I talk about them! Works for me!

Published Apr. 23rd 2013

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