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- October 8, 2022
Undetected is the latest game in the stealth genre, which clearly pays homage to the classic days of stealth games like Metal Gear Solid or even Syphon Filter. If you are old enough to have played classics like this or have even tried one recently, you will understand that it was just you and a few mechanics -none of these fancy techniques you find in more modern titles- and yet there is something pure about classic stealth games. It managed to captivate an audience and really pathed the way of stealth games you see today.
Merlino Games(Antonio Freyre) took the classic stealth game elements and made something reminiscent of the classics. While most people are expecting to be playing a Metal Gear Solid Reborn game, this is not it. Sure there are similarities in terms of gameplay but he tried to aim for something different with Undetected.
You take on the role of Tenoch Kaan, a trained agent who used to work for a shadowy organization known as CIMACORP. After reforming and no longer wanting to work for this group, he decided to rebel and join a group called Los Desplazados. While on a mission a cell of Los Desplazados has gone missing along with their leader Gloria. Now you will get to feel like a real hero, as you will have to go and rescue Gloria and Los Desplazados. But no worries, of course you have a set of skills that can be valuable in this case.
" Classic Stealth Game Nostalgia "
As it is a stealth game, you will have to infiltrate Chicxulub Perpetual Energy Station. The game takes place here, as it was where Gloria and her team were on their operation. The layout and level design in this game are pretty solid, it has that classic Metal Gear Solid vibe in terms of loading you into a specific “zone”, which is a condensed traversable area of the current setting, connected to the next part of the level by a loading point. The nostalgia was real when I hit these: with so many open-world games, now it has been a while since I had that type of loading. Even though the game is played at the energy station, you will have a nice variety of layouts as you go from outside areas, into tight corridors and big open spaces. It really makes you think of your pathing while keeping it fresh.
Undetected takes the choice of having a few simple mechanics instead of lots and lots to confuse the player, while still bringing players back to the roots of classic stealth games. Even though there are only a few mechanics to speak of, they are ones that I personally loved to see in a stealth game like this. While the game may be played from a top-down perspective, having the ability to be able to switch to first-person mode is a real plus. You will use this to your advantage to either scout ahead or aim up that perfect grenade or shot. This will not be your only means of scouting, as the game features an overhead heatmap you can use when staying still, and this will actually be very useful when coming to planning out your route.
The game offers a plethora of different bullets and grenades scattered throughout the level for you to pick up, and they are actually a necessity to complete your mission. Make sure to select the right bullet or grenade at the perfect moment, if you do not it will cause you to fail miserably as I found out one too many times. It may take some time to get used to your tools, as some of the grenades are better in certain circumstances. If you have to walk over some metal that is going to cause too much noise, equipping the slime grenade to put on your feet in order to make your steps silent is a really neat feature.
“Your Inventory Will Be Key”
All this talk about a stealth game, and you haven’t mentioned the stealth aspects? Well, in that regard it does come with a few that will keep you entertained. Along with the aforementioned noise that will draw the enemies to you, you can also leave footprints behind if you walk through water and they will try and track you down. You also have the famous knock when leaning against the wall to grab their attention to clear the path, and the shadows are your best friend when it comes to this game, as you’re going to have to either switch off the lights or shoot them to proceed undetected. Even with all this though, at some points throughout the game, I felt myself not needing to use any of these techniques, as the AI can be really oblivious sometimes.
The only downfall I have with Undetected is the enemy AI, they can feel sometimes stupid or clumsy and made me lose the feel of a stealth game. Thankfully this is more of a balancing issue, and I know it can be fixed to bring the title back to the genre appeal. After hours of a playthrough -on multiple occasions with nothing but some sort of grenade-, I was able to just run past the enemies. You can throw a grenade and draw the attention of the guards, and just sprint to the end of the level. The AI became more of a drag than fun to play around when I noticed that, even when standing behind an enemy, if I was in a certain spot before they turned around they would not spot me. I wanted the stealth aspect to be strong and I can see the mechanics are there, once the detection radius and other stuff are fleshed out it will really bring it around.
With all that being said I really feel Undetected does bring it back to the stealth genre routes, and I felt so much nostalgia during my playthrough it was really a joy. The narrative is fun and intriguing, with the comic book style cutscenes to break up the story it was really nice. After a few minor tweaks and balance adjustments, I can see many players -old and new- playing Undetected, a game in homage to the classic stealth genre.
- A Nice Take On The Classic Stealth Genre7.5
“ Undetected revitalizes the classic stealth games, giving us this Mexican Metal Gear Solid-inspired game. Even with heavy influences from early stealth games, it really stands on its own two feet when it comes to a stealth game. It just needs a few minor balance fixes and I can see anyone enjoying this one. “