Stealth is the technique and ability of remaining unseen and using covert tactical espionage to remain undetected from hostile forces. Those who utilize stealth will mostly rely on the environment to help conceal themselves, making use of cover or relying on the cloak of darkness to remain unseen.
In the Splinter Cell series here are a number of incentives for why stealth is used, the most important is that during the campaign, players are always going to be vastly outnumbered by hostile forces. Stealth, using the environment to conceal themselves and making use of distractions can turn the tables and 'even the playing field'. Even striking from the shadows and moving to a better position may still be more beneficial than simply charging the enemy head on. Additionally, there may be times where, during the campaign, the mission may require players to not trigger any alarms or risk Mission Failure.
In the Splinter Cell series Edit
In Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell and Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow, the player has an array of tactics and moves that allow the player to covertly move through the environment to avoid detection from enemy forces. The player can use the cover of shadows to move about the area, and can also crouch to slowly move through the environment. By moving slowly, the player minimizes their chances of being detected because it generates less sound that running. Additionally, the player can use the environment to slip by enemies - either by ledge hanging or utilizing hand-over-hand, using metal pipes or beam. The player can also use cover by keeping their back to the wall to minimize the chance of being detected by security cameras or enemy personnel.
In Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, the game featured a brand new engine as well as refined gameplay to include even more stealth-based gameplay for players to utilize. Along with the returning stealth meter, Chaos Theory introduced another meter for players to monitor: the sound meter. Sound output, like the first game, depended greatly upon the type of surfaces that players move across. Gravel and hollow materials will create more noise when walked upon than materials like carpet or marble. Additionally, players had the ability to grab enemies from above while on objects in the environment like beams that run overhead. In Splinter Cell: Double Agent, stealth was further utilized much of what was in Chaos Theory, but included additional actions for players, such as grabbing enemies from the corner as a human shield to avoid detection from the enemy. Another slew of equipment and gadgets was added in to help the player maintain stealth.
In Splinter Cell: Conviction, a more aggressive stealth (later named 'Panther') was encouraged and emphasized for players to use in the game. This involves killing enemies quickly and from the shadows, and not worrying about hiding bodies. This relies on brutal and quick neutralization of enemies, while also remaining undetected in the environment to avoid being too overwhelmed.
Light and Shadows Edit
From a visual standpoint, players who are in darkness are concealed more than players who are in light. Enemies who don't have any equipment to help them see in the dark (such as night vision goggles or a flashlight) are less likely to identify players who are hidden in the dark. Depending on the game, there are varying degrees of darkness that determine if the player will be detected by AI hostiles or not. Players will sometimes have the opportunity to create more shadows in the environment by shooting out light sources or disabling light sources by other means (such as turning off a light switch). For players to combat enemies who are using night vision to detect hostiles, players can 'hide' in light sources to prevent detection from the enemy.
Cover is a key aspect to stealth, as players may not always be able to rely on darkness to conceal themselves. Using cover reduces the line of sight that enemies have on the player's position, and may even allow the player to flank the enemy by finding an alternate path. Cover can also be used to 'lose' an enemy and waiting for them to continue back to a searching pattern, or to return to their former patrolling route.
Visual conditions aren't the only thing to factor into stealth - sound plays an important factor into whether enemies will detect the player or not. Moving slowly minimalizes noise and crouching will dramatically reduce the amount of noise output a player will produce. Other things that factor in is the environment: noisy environments give the player more leeway to use weapons or gadgets - or to move around - without the enemy detecting them. Another thing is the material that players walk on: soft material such as carpet will dampen the sound that the player will make, but wood and gravel will produce more noise. These factor into the chance that the enemy has of detecting the player.
Suppressors are attachments on firearms that reduce the amount of sound output they produce when they are fired from the player's weapon. While the suppressor can allow stealth kills or the chance of shooting out lights without being detected, the suppressor isn't completely silent and can still make noise. Additionally, what the bullet does determines what happens next: shooting out a light can cause somebody to be curious and investigate, or change into an alerted state and sound the alarm. Please refer to this article to learn more.
Hiding bodies Edit
When a player knocks out or kills a hostile enemy, there can be repercussions against the player for not hiding the body: an alarm may sound, enemies may enter into an alert state and make them harder to neutralize or sneak by, a loss in points, or the mission may just end in failure. To avoid a body from being found, it's advised that players hide the body before another guard finds it. The best areas are locations that are in the dark, as the enemy is less likely to detect the body.
- In Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, players have access to loadouts they can choose at the start of each campaign level: the 'Stealth' loadouts include more gadgets than the others, but also has less ammunition.
- In Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist, players who's playstyle utilize stealth the most are Ghost and Panther players. The Ghost playstyle rewards the player with more points than the Panther playstyle, following more in line of general terms of stealth.