I’ve never really been a big fan of stealth, because to me it’s the equivalent of non-action. I don’t buy games in which success is measured by how much combat and mayhem you are able to avoid. I love the Splinter Cell reboots, Conviction and Blacklist, due to their emphasis on action. I’ve always loved the Spinter Cell universe because it’s the perfect setting for an action spy thriller. However, the earlier games forced stealth upon players by having broken shooting mechanics. Splinter Cell: Blacklist changed all that, making a full frontal assault a valid and viable strategy to complete most missions. As I’ve mentioned in my previous entry, The Phantom Pain allows players to play how they want. I’ve spent a great deal of time running and gunning and having an absolute blast doing so. Then for once, I tried being stealthy and gave an earnest effort to not get caught. I was surprised by how enjoyable sneaking around is in MGSV. It feels very organic, for one thing, which really helps as it doesn’t feel like you’re merely exploiting flawed A.I. I enjoyed slinking from cover to cover in Splinter Cell: Blacklist (MGSV doesn’t actually have a cover switching mechanic) but the A.I. in MGSV is what sets it apart. The mercs in Blacklist moved more or less like glorified ghosts from Pac-Man, patrolling with predictable and defined routes. In contrast, while the enemy soldiers in MGSV have noticeable routines, they behave like real people going about their mundane schedules, your presence being the last thing on their minds. Depending on how skilled or patient you are, you can keep it that way for as long as you want. I’m not that skilled (yet) and I’m definitely lacking in patience, but I find the stealth to be quite exhilarating. It gets better the longer you stay hidden and the closer you reach your objective. It creates a very natural tension. You’ve gotten this far without alerting the enemy. You’ve only got a few yards to go. Don’t blow it. Then I blow it. The firefight that ensues feels urgent and more chaotic than the ones that I used to instigate when I first started playing the game. When you get spotted by an enemy while you’re on a stealthy mindset, having to switch gears could be quite jarring as your fight or flight response kicks in. I’ve had many of these moments. Below is the first one I remember.