Spy Game Recommendations (Besides Invisible Inc and SpyParty)


#1

So after playing a few hours of Phantom Doctrine and reading Rob’s review of it. It felt so disheartening that a genre that I love to bits isn’t really all that represented well in video games.

So I come to you, the Waypoint community to ask for some good spy games. I’m taking off Invisible Inc and SpyParty from the list because I play through those already, (So many hours sunk into the PC version of Invisible Inc and then even more for the iPad version…)

So any recommendations Waypointers?


#2

I guess Alpha Protocol is a “classic” but honestly I’m not convinced that it holds up so well. Ask yourself if you’re interested in the answer to the question: what if Obsidian Entertainment made a James Bond movie? If you are, Alpha Protocol is for you.

The Metal Gear series presumably doesn’t need my recommendation, but it’s definitely the thing within games that is the most rooted in the wider tradition of spy fiction and film.

Other than that, yeah, it’s usually present as a sideplot in a bigger game that isn’t all about spy nonsense itself. If anyone else knows about something I’m forgetting, I’d love to hear about it.


#3

These are all in different genres so they might not be what you’re looking for, but here’s some games that comes to my mind.

The Low Road is a super stylish point and click adventure game (with some other puzzle mechanics sprinkled here and there) revolving around corporate espionage. I had some issues with it but it’s fun enough if you’re into something that doesn’t take itself seriously.

I guess this one doesn’t entirely fit, but The Last Express: the main character’s not really a spy but his actions throughout the game are not all that dissimilar from what you would expect if he were one (investigating, collecting information and evidence, eavesdropping conversations). Everyone around you has an agenda and the time management aspect in this game also adds an interesting tension similar to spy narratives.

Also, play Gunpoint if you haven’t! It’s a puzzle game at its core but the stealth mechanics allow for different approaches that are a lot of fun to play with.


#4

Along with Metal Gear, it’s probably worth mentioning Splinter Cell.

And there’s No One Lives Forever and its sequel which I’m not sure hold up, but certainly at the time they were pretty great.

Even though it’s maybe not a spy game per se, the recent Hitman reboot is probably one of the better spy games around. Honestly surprised someone with control of the Mission Impossible license hasn’t commissioned a Hitman knockoff with the MI spy tech masks as part of the disguise/uniform changing.


#5

I would argue HITMAN (2016) is within the spy genre even if you aren’t technically a spy. Many of the things you do in the game are the things you see in any traditional Bond film. You infiltrate all sorts of places from lavish parties to a military base using disguises and stealth and hide in plain sight.


#6

Sid Meier’s Covert Action is an old favourite of mine. I have no idea how well it’s aged… but turns out it’s currenly 70% off on Steam and for the low low price of a buck fifty I guess I’m going to grab a copy and find out for myself I guess.

And yeah, you should definitely look into Alpha Protocol. It’s a glorious mess of a game and is worth playing to see just how close it comes to being something truly special.

The recent Deus Ex games might fit the bill.


#7

It does hold up really well. The texture issues didn’t bug me at all.

That said, it’s most rewarding if you focus on stealth and the pistol, which gets the single most broken power in the game and is amazing.


#8

How do waypointers feel about Counterspy?

It’s a side scroller where you go through procedurally generated levels, taking out enemies and gathering blueprints in an attempt to stop two superpowers from launching nukes at each other. It’s mostly stealth but in certain levels you have no option but to do some shooting.


#9

Splinter Cell: Double Agent doesn’t get much love as other games in the series, but to me it felt like the best representation of Sam Fisher as a spy. Like the title implies, you’re undercover in a right wing militia, and throughout the game you’re managing your trust level with them and your actual handlers. For a cross-gen effort from 2005, it’s surprisingly well crafted.


#10

I would argue that Trouble In Terrorist Town (TTT) is a spy game. Yes it’s a spin off of Mafia/Werewolf but the 3d space it takes place in lends itself to being about not just lying but physical cover up and deciet as well.


#11

It was mentioned but No One Lives Forever! It captures all the good goofy things about James Bond and manages to be genuinely funny with great gameplay. They hold up very well today!

I do agree otherwise, there should be more spy games.


#12

I’d agree with critic George Weidman that the HITMAN 2016, but also a lot of the Hitman games in general, are better representations of espionage than most spy games, going as far as to say “it’s the James Bond game the game industry never had the guts to make.” The Hitman series has always been far less about not being seen and more about hiding in plain sight. HITMAN 2016 takes this to another level for a lot of reasons, one of which being how much it encourages eavesdropping.


#13

I’m not sure that there’s a single one of these games where the pistol/handgun (especially if it has a tranq) isn’t the best/most-used weapon in the game.


#14

True, but it’s broken in Alpha Protocol in such a way that it basically ends every boss fight in one move.

The moment you have a chance at a headshot, do the slo-mo pistol shot, which gives you multiple perfect accuracy shots, aim for the head, and you win. I’d complain about broken balance if the bosses weren’t such damage sponges.


#15

Saw this for the first time, I am impressed.