Immersive Sims: Dumb Name, Dope Games


Deus Ex, System Shock, Bioshock, Dishonored, Thief, Prey, Alien Isolation, Hitman are games that all fall under the veil of an Immersive Sim game. Open ended gameplay with multiple options to tackle missions, all at the mercy of the player’s creativity. They’re really good. But they’re dying, because they don’t sell.

But who cares about sales, lets talk about these games!


Hitman is sort of the pinnacle, thus far, of this idea for me. There’s a linearity to some of the other modern ones (Deus Ex especially) that ultimately left me walking away a bit cold, whereas the new Hitman really runs with the clockwork idea and letting reprecussions spill out across entire spaces in wonderfully chaotic ways.

Thinking about this also made me realize that this “immersive sim” style of stealth game is also the only type of stealth game I really like. The original two Thief games still remain unmatched in that regard


Just throwing it out there; we all agree that Breath of the Wild is a legit immersive sim, right?


Dishonored is probably my favourite game! I love it’s casual but confident world building, the character design is beautiful, the Heart is one of my all time favourite game conceits.

But I think the thing I love most about it is its broken stealth. I’m not into stealth games in general and honestly, a lot of first person games give me anxiety. I know my vision isn’t that limited compared to third person games but that doesn’t stop my lizard brain from going 'oh god that weird sound you heard is an enemy and it’s right behind you’. Bioshock is the perfect example of that kind of game for me. I had to try to actively shut off that skin-crawling anxiety in order to play it.

I get that feeling with a lot of first person, immersive sims but I don’t with Dishonored. I often have the opposite feeling. I know exactly where I need to go and I know the best way to do it, all like I was never even there.

I’m not great at a lot of games, and maybe that fear I feel playing other immersive sims is the point, but I love the feeling of being in control I get with Dishonored. I struggle a lot in my daily life with anxiety and my OCD and I’ll always be grateful to Arkane for giving me such a wonderful respite.

Also that sky box tho


Funny, Breath of the Wild’s chemistry system is VERY similar to the behavior of the elemantal plasmids from Bioshock, but I don’t know if that’s enough to consider it an Immersive Sim.


Hey speaking of Prey, isn’t it crazy that a mediocre corridor shooter from the mid-2000s was rebooted into a System Shock-style immersive sim?

I recently beat the original Deus Ex for the first time and really loved it. I’ve kinda been on an immersive sim binge this year. Deus Ex, Thief 3 and Dishonored 1 is an excellent run of games to play one after the other. Even though they do a lot of tricks to make you feel like you have more freedom than you actually have, I still really dig this genre. Let’s hope they stick around for a while.