There’s Got to Be a Better Way to Do Stealth in Non-Stealth Video Games

Victoria Zelvin
5 min readNov 12, 2018

So, here’s the thing. The Breath of the Wild is nearly a perfect game. It’s epic, it’s engaging, it’s absolutely breathtaking. But, it still falls prey to one of the biggest complaints in game missions: the mandatory, horrible, controller-smashing forced stealth section. And, more than that, the game tacks on an escort mission to that forced stealth, two things that send gamers into fits.

I am speaking of course, of that mission spent crouched in the grass as a tiny, green Korok who blends in to the same grass races ahead, checks behind him, and at one point sprints directly back at you.

There’s also the occasional enemies that attack Link and only Link to blow your cover, regardless of the fact that you’re meant to be “protecting” this little guy. Aforementioned little guy shows nothing but contempt for your saving him from wolves twice his size or, one a few occasions, literal skeleton monsters rising from the ground. No, he just exclaims, insists that he can do it alone, and deposits you back at the start to try again.

This mission could have been copy pasted from many other games, one those missions where you have to follow someone to trail or eavesdrop on them and their walking speed is slower than your slowest walking speed. That’s to say nothing of games like, say, the most recent Spider-Man wherein an action game quite suddenly hits you with a stealth section, wherein detection of your usually not-stealth oriented character is an insta-death and failure. Done poorly, these sections can grind games to a halt, frustrate players, and induce epic and memorable rage quits — ask me about that one section of Jak II sometime.

And, the thing is, every gamer I know has one game, one forced stealth section, that haunts them. But, when done right, stealth is my favorite aspect of video games. I play a sneaky mage who summons weapons in Skyrim. I’ve beaten all the Batman Arkham games several times over. The most fun I’ve ever had hiding in closets was in Alien: Isolation. So, what do those games have that games like Breath of the Wild don’t in their mandatory stealth sections?

There is absolutely a stealth system in Breath of the Wild, there to use if you so desire. It is right there denoted in the lower…

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Victoria Zelvin

Freelance and speculative fiction writer, as well as a lifelong book, video game, and movie hoarder. www.victoriazelvin.com