Our list of the best VR stealth games is stepping out of the shadows to help you on your next sneaking mission.
Stealth is one of those genres that seems like a perfect fit for VR. The ability to physically hide around corners, distract enemies by making noises and then knock them out when they get close feels incredibly empowering, and one of the best expressions of how the medium can enhance traditional games.
But making a good, comprehensive VR stealth game is incredibly hard; not only do you have to accommodate all those elements, you have to make sure enemy AI doesn’t fold under the weight of these systems. This list of the 10 best VR stealth games definitely isn’t free of those issues, but they’re all encouraging signs developers are getting closer to nailing the perfect experience.
Best VR Stealth Games
10. Republique VR – Quest, PSVR, PC VR
Republique might not make the most exciting use of VR, but you can’t deny that it’s a good stealth game in its own right. Camouflaj first dived into VR with this port of its third-person episodic series, which borrows liberally from Metal Gear Solid and other series. There are some neat features here for the VR version and the campaign’s quite lengthy, but this is definitely more your traditional stealth experience that just happens to be playable in VR, putting it at the tenth spot of our best VR stealth games list.
9. The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners – Quest, PSVR, PC VR
Though it might be one of the overall best games on this list, Saints & Sinners scores towards the high end of our top ten given that its stealth is only one small part of the overall experience. The option to sneak through enemy encampments and avoid walkers definitely has tactical advantages and works pretty well, too. Ultimately, though, it’s more fun to stab zombies than it is evade them, so Saints & Sinners comes near the start of our best VR stealth games list.
8. Panther VR – PC VR
Panther VR is a hugely ambitious stealth game that aims to let players pick and choose how they navigate through its levels. And developer Wolfdog Interactive has certainly proven its commitment to the Early Access release in the past year, having released plenty of updates to help improve the gameplay. We’re looking forward to Panther’s full release, which is when we’ll really be able to judge if it can climb the ranks of the best VR stealth games.
7. Arashi: Castles of Sin – PSVR
It’s not quite VR’s answer to Tenchu, but Arashi: Castles of Sin still offers around five hours of rock-solid sneaking, tasking players with taking down six Japanese warlords. Open level design gives you some say in how to get from point A to B, and a range of weapons can make for some intentive scenarios. Plus, Arashi features VR’s goodest dog, who can distract enemies on command. Sold.
6. Jurassic World Aftermath – Quest
Jurassic World is definitely on the short side (a second part is still to come later down the line), but what’s already here works really well. Remember the classic kitchen scene from the original Jurassic Park? This is basically that incredibly tense moment stretched across an entire game, asking players to sneak through environments and avoid becoming dino-food. Once the second part arrives we’re hopeful this’ll rank higher on our best VR stealth games list.
5. Espire 1: VR Operative – Quest, PSVR, PC VR
Of all the games inspired by Metal Gear Solid on this list, Espire 1 is definitely the most blatant. The game directly lifts a lot of the key features first established in MGS2 but finds new use from them in VR. You can actually say ‘Freeze’ into your headset’s microphone to hold up enemies, for example, and then knock them out cold with the end of your gun. Weak enemy AI holds the game back from being something really special, but we’re hoping to see this franchise expand with a stronger sequel in the future.
4. Sniper Elite VR – Quest, PSVR, PC VR
Like Saints & Sinners, stealth is really only an option in Sniper Elite VR, but it’s much more intrinsic to the gameplay. When you’re not nestled up in a sniper nest you’re crawling past enemies, scoring headshots with silenced pistols and trying to make it as far into a level as possible before the game’s up. And by building on its work with the existing series, Sniper managed to be a consistent, comprehensive and fair stealth experience. It’s an easy pick for one of the best VR stealth games, then.
3. Hitman 3 VR – PSVR
Once again, stealth is merely an option in the Hitman series but, whereas Sniper Elite and Walking Dead emphasize action first, Agent 47 is all about sticking to the shadows and fighting back only when absolutely necessary. Adopting a first-person perspective for the first time completely changes the sneaking in IO’s iconic series, making every careful lean from behind the corner a potential run-ruining decision. But it really gives you the feeling of sneaking through areas you shouldn’t be in, making it one of the best VR stealth games.
2. Phantom: Covert Ops – Quest, PC VR
Lots of VR stealth games aim to give players an expansive set of tools to play with. The result is something that’s often a fun sandbox, but crumbles when you expect enemies to properly react to your discovery. Phantom is a smartly constrained experience in that sense – not only is the kyack-based gameplay completely immersive, but it keeps enemies at a distance and makes their reactions much more believable. Add in some great weapons and inventive use of the game’s sole location, and Phantom: Covert Ops remains one of the best VR stealth games to date.
1. Budget Cuts 1 + 2 – PC VR, PSVR (Budget Cuts 1 only)
Budget Cuts 1 may have launched with some problems but Neat Corp has addressed a lot of those issues over time and, more importantly, worked with Fast Travel Games to greatly expand on its premise in Budget Cuts 2. This is VR stealth at its physical best: teleportation-based movement that gives the world context without breaking immersion, skill-dependent gameplay that leaves you feeling lethally effective in your best moments and an utter clutz in your worst, and tongue-in-cheek humor that makes this one of VR’s funniest games. For that reason, the Budget Cuts series finds itself at the top of our best VR stealth games list.
What did you make of our list of the best VR stealth games? Let us know in the comments below!