Stealth Bastard Review

February 13, 2012

Original website: http://www.stealthbastard.com/

Stealth Bastard. It is very appropriately named. It is both bastardly hard at times and revolves a good bit around stealth. It’s four mini-campaigns it starts you out with teach you the basics, introduce new concepts every campaign, and have varying level of challenge. I’ve got to be honest though, the most difficult campaigns are 2 and 3, rather than 4 and 5. Conviently, the game lets you skip up to 3 levels without playing a level, and will give you another ability to skip within each campaign with every successful mission. The gameplay itself jumps between masochistic platforming and ocassionaly stealth-centric moments (I say occasionally because really almost everything is twitch-based platforming). There’s some vague allusions to something akin to the basic premise for Portal’s story, but even then the story just doesn’t really maintain itself. That doesn’t necessarily hold the game back, but it makes the few weak attempts feel more like a frustrating reminder that we’re supposedly here for some reason that the developer left out. When the game isn’t pointing to its few faults, the game is really good at platforming. In the place of wall running, the game has a cliff-hanging platforming element that I wish more 2D games had (grabbing edges works in 3D, why not 2D?). In the recent few years I’ve played a good number of free 2D platformers, and I’ve got to say that Stealth Bastard is worth a download. It’s not exactly going to beat out the Great Gatsby “NES” platformer ( http://greatgatsbygame.com/ ), but it’s clearly got promise. The 663 (as of this writing) free additional levels made by fans of the game certainly means you won’t run out of content in this addictively masochistic platformer.

Nitpick moment Honestly the most questionable element included in the game has to be the Seeker enemy type. It’s hamfisted in at the last minute and just feels like an excuse to not reuse other elements in a differing way. It’s gameplay useage in downloadable levels may be more innovative, but in the main campaigns it feels unnecessary attempt at avoiding just making 3 scripted enemy paths.

Why You Should Play: Platforming is polished, Puzzles are (for the most part) Intelligent, and Graphics are Well Done. Very rewarding missions in campaigns 4-5.
Why You Shouldn’t: Stealth isn’t as much a focus as it could be, missions in campaigns 2 and 3 can vary in difficulty a bit too much, vague attempts at story telling are laughable at best.

XCOM as the new 2K shooter is delayed, many of the older fans are pleased to see a new Turn-Based reboot of the main games, yet few seem to show a great deal of concern at the shooter’s fate. While acknowledgements can be given considering the fact that the last time X-Com became a shooter, it was a mindless game that most fan’s hated, the new game actually looks to be almost like a hybrid between Insomniac Game’s Resistance series and Gearbox’s Brothers in Arms, with a progression and choice system like out of a Bioshock game. The weapons look like a decent mix of the familiar and the distant, the control of your squad looks smooth and efficient based on one preview that Game Informer had. The art style isn’t cliche, and has a very nice “Pixar” feel to it in that it dodges the issues of the uncanny valley. The game will even let you have freedom in how you progress with most missions similar to how Mass Effect generally only made you have to recruit 3/4s of your team and only required about two to three loyalty missions completed to go through the Omega Four Relay.

Despite this, there’s not been much praise for the game. When the game was first presented, the criticism and skepticism were understandable, but they’ve clearly gotten a handle on this and the game will likely end up being at least worth an 7.75/10 (in the language of the Hate out of Ten-ers, it’ll be 8.95/10). ( http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/jimquisition/4966-Hate-Out-Of-Ten for those of you who’d like clarification on what I mean).

So please, cut the devs at 2K Marin a break and give them the benefit of the doubt.

Nit requested to add his own little bit to this:

I will find a way to critcize you. Have no fear.

If there’s someone who needs a vocal enough community that it effects the very development of a game, it’s Ubisoft. Think you can make me link my copy of Brotherhood to Uplay, don’t ya Ubisoft? You thought wrong! Which for you is like breathing. Don’t think I’ve been ignoring you, we’ll have a nice long chat about your DRM in the days to come…

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