• The ResetEra Games of the Year Awards 2018 results are now live! Congratulations to all the winners!
  • Sidebar and Width settings will now no longer reset after 4 hours of inactivity! We have implemented a new system that will remember these preferences on each browser, for both members and guests. This allows you to choose different settings on different devices if you so desire.

I am tired of stealth games "preferring" the non-lethal approach.

Dust

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,410
#1
Where this notion that being non-lethal is somewhat better than lethal came from?
In many stealth games even if 100% undetected, cleaning the bodies, hiding your traces you can be penalized by some arbitary point/rank system if you do not knock out your enemies.

Stealth means unseen, not pacifist or some kind of ethical angel.

I can forgive games like Dishonored where there are story reasons for why you might not want to kill people (spreading the plague/different endings).

You expect me to believe Snake/Big Boss would not act like scalpel precise killing machines, and just use tranq. darts/choke hold?
 
Oct 28, 2017
754
#2
I think it's designed this way so you feel like a badass when you do actually break the "rules" suggested by the game!
 
Oct 28, 2017
832
#3
Game mechanics make non-lethal tools harder to use effectively (guards waking up, needing to be closer/in melee range), so games reward you better as a result. As a genre, there's no morality guiding this track of design.
 
Oct 26, 2017
1,719
#6
I always prefer stealth where possible, but I agree with your comment that some games largely prefer stealth. Human Revolution and Mankind Divided are good examples, as is Dishonored. Though, I hear Death of the Outsider doesn't punish you for being lethal and stealthy.
 
Oct 25, 2017
8,610
#8
I always prefer stealth where possible, but I agree with your comment that some games largely prefer stealth. Human Revolution and Mankind Divided are good examples, as is Dishonored. Though, I hear Death of the Outsider doesn't punish you for being lethal and stealthy.
Honestly, Dishonored (the first one at least) doesn't really punish you for going lethal. If anything, it does the opposite? Unless you're really bummed about the ending I guess, but otherwise what Dishonored does if you go lethal...is giving you even more opportunities to go lethal.
 

Echo

Member
Oct 29, 2017
4,894
Mt. Whatever
#9
It does get boring yes. But you have to realize that it makes sense right? Like the moment bodies start piling up you have left "secret/covert" operations at the door. The moment you have killed on a mission is when it escalates to Assassination and potentially Open War.
 
#11
Where this notion that being non-lethal is somewhat better than lethal came from?
Because it's harder to pull off from a gameplay perspective due to the possibility of people coming to, so you'e rewarded for playing a harder game. It's not (always) about pushing for pacifism, it's a great way to add depth and optional difficulty to a game.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,452
#13
I think it's one of the few in-game situations where non-lethal mechanics are more difficult than the lethal ones (knock a man out, he can be woken up by friends and resume patrols or put them on alert), so the game's trying to reward you for playing better.

BUT

I really like Dishonored 2, but one thing I felt Dishonored did better was basically rob the game of its moral judgement. Being nonlethal in Dishonored was often morally worse, or at least equal to, violent. It made players have to think about their actions, rather than simply coasting by on the moral high ground that the nonlethal path provides.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,616
#15
It does get boring yes. But you have to realize that it makes sense right? Like the moment bodies start piling up you have left "secret/covert" operations at the door. The moment you have killed on a mission is when it escalates to Assassination and potentially Open War.
It's a good thing video games aren't real, then!
 
Jan 6, 2018
572
#16
Because someone who gets through an area with as little disruption as possible truly gets what stealth is.

It’s not just about being “unseen” by ppl in front of you. It’s about being undetected by the enemy as a whole.

Tranq-ing or killing everyone is easy mode
 
Last edited:
Oct 24, 2017
2,186
#17
What is your opinion of European Extreme mode? Do you think Big Boss just gives up and goes home when he gets seen or it's just a difficulty thing?
 
Oct 26, 2017
1,719
#18
Honestly, Dishonored (the first one at least) doesn't really punish you for going lethal. If anything, it does the opposite? Unless you're really bummed about the ending I guess, but otherwise what Dishonored does if you go lethal...is giving you even more opportunities to go lethal.
Of course it's the ending. If you spend the game killing people even without being seen, it all comes back to bite you in the ass at the end. Dishonored 2 is similar. Your killcount literally shapes the ending you get.

In Deus EX: HR and MD, you just get less XP for lethal takedowns/kills, and some quests are negatively impacted by your actions. But the overarching story and ending remain unaffected.
 
Oct 27, 2017
3,253
#19
it's a simple risk reward mechanic..a dead enemy will stay dead even if found by a comrade...meanwhile an unconscious or asleep one can be brought back up and becomea threat again.

that's why, to balance that, lethal is made more risky by making more noise..otherwise a wise player will always go lethal.
 
Nov 6, 2017
1,202
#20
I want all stealth games to have non-lethal takedowns. I love being a pacifist out of all dozen games out there where you kill. Also its more challenging and thats a fact. Have you played the original splinter cell? Compare it to any stealth nowadays and tell me that shit wasnt miles harder than anything today. Any 1 or 2 alarms or any kills would trigger game over. Dishonored is also incredibly easy just killing everyone in stealth. There are no repercussions. Non-lethal means you have to be careful, who you knock out or who you avoid, you have to take care of bodies, etc.
 

Eumi

Member
Nov 3, 2017
1,925
#21
Considering the entire point of metal gear is that war and conflict is terrible, it seems pretty damn consistent to award players who do as little as possible to contribute to the very thing the game is criticising.
 
Nov 7, 2017
2,074
#22
I like stealth games where you aren't going around incapacitating everyone by knocking them out or killing them but it gets boring to use the non-lethal approach all the time.
 

Al3x1s

Banned
Member
Nov 13, 2017
2,824
Greece
#23
it's a simple risk reward mechanic..a dead enemy will stay dead even if found by a comrade...meanwhile an unconscious or asleep one can be brought back up and becomea threat again.

that's why, to balance that, lethal is made more risky by making more noise..otherwise a wise player will always go lethal.
On the other hand a dead enemy found raises alarms, a sleeping enemy just gets woken up and court martial-ed :P
 
Oct 28, 2017
2,118
#24
The ultimate power fantasy for stealth fans is being somewhere, completing your mission and getting out with nobody ever knowing you were there.

You cant do that if you leave dead bodies.
 
Oct 27, 2017
4,405
#25
I feel generally it's just the nature of the professions/scenarios depicted in these games. You are usually some kind of government spy or working for an organization that is trying to do good in the world, so as far as the perfect execution goes, the aim is to achieve the objective and only the objective, causing as little collateral damage as possible. Meaning, no unnecessary kills. Dead people are a mess and likelier to cause retaliation or other kind of actions by the "wronged" party than a missing file or something.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,493
London
#27
I really like Dishonored 2, but one thing I felt Dishonored did better was basically rob the game of its moral judgement. Being nonlethal in Dishonored was often morally worse, or at least equal to, violent. It made players have to think about their actions, rather than simply coasting by on the moral high ground that the nonlethal path provides.
I think that's what Arkane wanted players to do (think) but I'd be surprised if most players didn't simply go with their basic lethal/non-lethal preference for that run.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,478
#28
A note iv found for me about Dishonored, i actually think the story works better when going the full on lethal route.
Its works very well in a classic revenge tale, where everyone acts on their worst impulses, and while the revenge is cathartic everything turns out for the worst.

Hell you can even go the full symbolism / Masque of the Red Death route and think of Corvo as a kind of manifestation of the rat plague, giving the city its last push off the edge after the empress, and thus the last thing holding the Dunwall above water, has been murdered.
 
Nov 1, 2017
374
#31
I think some titles might be better off if they didn't have a straightforward combat option at all. It's not what they excel at. Most immersive sims absolutely suck at providing a combat experience on par with shooters. They provide the option, but imo it's a poor one, and only something you have to do once you fail at stealth. I'm sure there's some balancing issues when it comes to rewarding stealth/combat in some games, but to me the root of the issue is that the game is providing a boring way to play it.
 
Oct 28, 2017
2,140
#32
I think games like Dishonored and Deus Ex are best with a combination of the two. I try to go non-lethal, but I'll kill if I have to.
 
Jan 10, 2018
1,649
Umeå, Sweden
#34
A more pressing issue is that the weapons and gadgets always seem to be in favour of the lethal approach. MGS V had some really great non-lethal options but many other stealth games only give you a small set of tools to encounter enemies in a non-lethal manner. This is what breaks the non-lethal approach to me the most and not a potential scoring system or alteration of the story.
 
Nov 6, 2017
1,202
#35
A more pressing issue is that the weapons and gadgets always seem to be in favour of the lethal approach. MGS V had some really great non-lethal options but many other stealth games only give you a small set of tools to encounter enemies in a non-lethal manner. This is what breaks the non-lethal approach to me the most and not a potential scoring system or alteration of the story.
Eh I dont care about the weapons that much. Even better if I have to avoid using them. Makes it harder. Deus Ex does give you a good set of tools for non-lethal though and dishonored as well if you're creative enough.
 
Oct 27, 2017
4,405
#36
I think some titles might be better off if they didn't have a straightforward combat option at all. It's not what they excel at. Most immersive sims absolutely suck at providing a combat experience on par with shooters. They provide the option, but imo it's a poor one, and only something you have to do once you fail at stealth. I'm sure there's some balancing issues when it comes to rewarding stealth/combat in some games, but to me the root of the issue is that the game is providing a boring way to play it.
I think that's often at least partly intentional. Making combat a bit cumbersome encourages stealth & punishes for failure.
 
Oct 25, 2017
8,610
#37
Of course it's the ending. If you spend the game killing people even without being seen, it all comes back to bite you in the ass at the end. Dishonored 2 is similar. Your killcount literally shapes the ending you get.

In Deus EX: HR and MD, you just get less XP for lethal takedowns/kills, and some quests are negatively impacted by your actions. But the overarching story and ending remain unaffected.
In my opinion, the ending is not really a punishment. It's simply the narrative actively adapting to your choices and actions. I think it's pretty cool even if the line is a bit arbitrary.
 
Oct 29, 2017
1,332
Germany
#38
I'm nearly at the end of Dishonored 2 and usually tried to be stealthy, choking guys primarily when needed and killing secondly when needed. Last two missions I wasn't even choking anyone (besides the objective target).

Combat and going lethal is fun in Dishonored, but it is just so chaotic... Why would I kill all the guards if there is a non-lethal option? I set out to reestablish my empire and Emily reflects on the poverty and on the wrong doings in the cities Karnaca and Dunwall and how she wants to change it. It's hard to sell you the 'good and just empress' if you have unnecessarily killed dozens or even hundreds of people.

Gameplay-wise it's easier, but it just feels wrong. But they give you the option to play a merciless character on their revenge mission.
 
Oct 25, 2017
4,179
#39
Personally, the highest calling of any stealth game is ‘ghosting’ the mission. However, I think what makes the best of the genre so compelling is the ability to experiment with AI in set-piece puzzles, so having lots of options available at any one time is crucial.

On another note, while I prefer non-lethal options over lethal when pushed, ive always thought that, in mechanical terms, they’re effectively the same level of ‘violence’; the former only meaningfully differs from the latter because the enemy can ‘respawn’.
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,682
#41
Yeah, that's why after beating games like Dishonored non-lethaly, I usually go for another round knives out. It's great in Dishonored 2 with the NG+ stuff.
 
Nov 21, 2017
311
#42
I prefer to play MGS non-lethal as much as possible. It actually annoys me when stealth games require you to take out everyone in the room, it’s much more rewarding to complete a mission with as little disruption caused as possible.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,562
#43
Takes more skill / is more challenging.

Basically what you're saying is that you are tired of stealth games doing what they're the best at. :v

Besides, unless the game is locking stuff behind it, go nuts, nobody is judging you.
 

Glio

Member
Oct 27, 2017
4,627
Spain
#46
It's more of a matter that the non-lethal route usually means you have way less options in regards to how you play the game.
Yes, that is my problem too.

In a lethal way you have a lot of fun toys to experience, usually in the other way you only have tranquilizer darts, punch in the neck and sometimes gas grenades
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,297
#47
I miss when stealth games were proper stealth games and not action games with some stealth mechanics thrown in, tbh.
 

Dr Wily

Banned
Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,112
#48
"in real life" if your job was to infiltrate an area and obtain some information or whatever, and you fucked up and ended up murdering a bunch of minimum wage security guards just doing their job to cover your tracks... yeah, you would be judged, and you should feel bad about doing that.

Losing a few points on your high score is the in-game way of reflecting that you did a shit job and people are looking at you funny.
 
Oct 25, 2017
8,159
Austria
#49
Because a lot of stealth fans like non-lethal runs, they are generally harder and more taxing and therefore developers want to reward those that do it.
If a game uses some sort of point/rank system it makes sense that a more difficult playstyle get's you more points

I miss when stealth games were proper stealth games and not action games with some stealth mechanics thrown in, tbh.
You and me both man
 
Oct 25, 2017
621
#50
i always view it as 3 difficulty levels :

Easy : just go around and kill everyone quietly .
Medium : go around and knock out everyone .
Hard : Get through the level without being seen and never knocking out /killing anyone. ( Ghost status )