The air vents and backalleys of Deus Ex: Human Revolution have given me a new appreciation for stealth games. Very few stealth games get it right, and DX:HR manages this with aplomb. One of the essential ingredients is atmosphere — that tension where a guard could spot you at any minute is essential to bringing the feeling of stealth to a player.
Hide is a game that has the stealth atmosphere in spades. You start in a field with no explanation, but you hear sirens in the background. You can see searchlights in the distance, and it’s safe to say they’re searching for you. So you start running. But it’s snowing and you can’t see very clearly. Where do you go? How can you hide? Meanwhile, the searchlights and flashlights keep getting closer and closer.
There are 5 hidden locations about the map to search for, but largely this game is about soaking in the feeling of hiding from someone who is pursuing you. In that, the game succeeds. Every step and shallow breath is fully felt, while the pressure of a flashlight beam suffocates your options.
It’s also a great contrast to so many stealth games. There are no objectives, no ability to disable anyone, there’s no real way to win at all actually. It still feels great though, every bit as tense and suspenseful as the most complicated high-tech video game heist.
Talking Points: How does this simple, bare-bones stealth game pull off such a great atmosphere? How could more AAA titles take clues from a game like Hide? Would this work as well in something like DX:HR?